Wolin (Wollin) is the name shared by an island located in the Baltic Sea located just off the Polish coast, and a town located on the island. It is separated from the island of Usedom by the Świna river, and from mainland Pomerania by the Dziwna river. Origins of the name are unknown, probably it is of Slavic origin, in the old Slavic language the word "wolyn" meant a wetland, and in the course of the time, it was germanised.
Water from the river Oder (Odra) flows into the Szczecin Lagoon. From there it flows through the Peene (to the west of Usedom), Świna and Dziwna into the Bay of Pomerania, which is part of the Baltic Sea.
Most of the island consists of forests and postglacial hills. Located in the middle is the Wolin National Park. The island is a main tourist attraction of northwestern Poland, and it is crossed by several specially marked tourist trails, such as 73-kilometer long trail from Miedzyzdroje to Dziwnowek. There is a main, electrified rail line, which connects Szczecin and Swinoujscie, also across the island goes an international road E65, which crosses Europe from north to south.
Archaeological finds on the island are not very rich but they dot an area of 20 hectares, making it the second largest Baltic marketplace of the Viking Age after Hedeby. Some scholars speculated that Wolin may have been the basis for the semi-legendary settlements Jomsborg and Vineta. This is dubious, as "no trace has been found there of its artificial harbour for 360 warships, or of a citadel, unless the nearby hill of Silberberg is accepted as the site of such; but there were Norsemen there around the year 1000, and the archaeological finds reveal a mixed population of Vikings and Slavs".
Around 972 the island became controlled by Poland, under prince Mieszko I, however, it has not been established if Wolin became part of Poland, or if it was a fief. Polish influences were not firm and they ended around 1007. In the following years Wolyn became famous for its pirates, who would plunder ships cruising the Baltic. As a reprisal, in 1043 it was attacked by the Danish king Magnus the Good.
In early XII century the island as part of the Pomeranian duchy was captured by the Polish king Boleslaw III Wrymouth, also at that time the inhabitants of Wolyn accepted Christianity, and in 1140 pope Innocent II created a diocese there, with capital in the town of Wolyn. In 1181 the dukes of Pomerania decided to accepted the German emperor as their liege lord instead of the Polish king. Since then Pomerania was part of the so called Holy Roman Empire and the Pomeranians were Germanized. In 1535 Wolyn accepted Protestantism Lutheranism. In 1630 the island was captured by Sweden. In the meantime Pomerania became part of the Prussian (at that time Brandenburgian) kingdom. Wolyn followed in 1679. Since the German political unification in 1870 it was part of Germany. After the annexation of Pomerania by Poland in 1945 the (German) population was expelled and replaced with Poles who were expelled from territories in eastern Poland ceded to the Soviet Union. Then the German place names were translated or reconstructed after their original Slavic connotation in a modern Polish version. This is the reason that all of the places on this island as in Pomerania also have former German names.