Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries
Edited by H. S. Geyer
Z. Rykiel and I. Jażdżewska THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Three main phases of development of the Polish urban system can be identified (Dziewonski et al., 1984). The first phase started with the crystallisation of the feudal urban network in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when most towns were located in Western and Central Europe up to Estonia. The first groups of settlements in Poland date from the tenth century. They represented networks of functional units grouped around local or, occasionally, regional economic, social and political centres. Although originally tribal, they were subsequently transfonned into the seats of a strongly integrated military, political and ecclesiastical organisation imposed by the victorious rulers. These centres underlay the original boroughs that, 2 with their subsidiary' and supplementary settlements subsequently developed into towns (Dziewonski et al., 1984). A dense network of towns developed during the period of internal colonization from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. Most urban areas that developed at the time are still in existence today, which shows how viable they are. Not all of them developed in the same area at the same time. The process of establishment of urban settlements started in the twelfth century in Silesia in the southwest and ended in the sixteenth century in Masovia and Ducal, Eastern Prussia in the Northeast (Dziewonski et al., 1984). The gradual development of human settlements in the country from the southwest to the Northeast occurred over centuries and is the cause of two forces that shaped urban-economic development in Central Europe. One...
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