City (pop., 2000 est.: 384,500), northern Poland. Originally a commercial city of the Teutonic Order, it received town rights in 1346. It prospered as a grain and timber centre until it was devastated in the 17th-century Swedish wars. In the 18th century the Bydgoszcz Canal, which linked the basins of the Vistula and Oder rivers, made the city a major inland port. It fell under Prussian rule in 1772–1919. The Germans held it throughout World War II, but it was noted for its staunch resistance to the Nazi invasion of 1939. It remains important as a water transport route, connecting Upper Silesia with the Baltic ports.
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