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Toruń

Toruń (tô´rōōnyə), Ger. Thorn, city (1993 est. pop. 201,700), capital (with Bydgoszcz) of Kujawsko-Pomorskie prov., N central Poland, on the Vistula River. It is a river port and a railway junction. The major industries produce precision instruments, electrical equipment, textiles, and fertilizers. It grew around a castle founded in 1231 by the Teutonic Knights. A flourishing trade center, it was a member of the Hanseatic League (14th–16th cent.). Toruń's importance made it an object of dispute between Poland and the Teutonic Knights. The First Peace of Toruń (1411) resulted in a short-lived settlement of the struggle. When Toruń recognized the Polish crown in 1454, it was taken and burned by the Knights. The ensuing war between Poland and the Knights ended with the Second Peace of Toruń (1466), by which Poland gained Toruń, extensive Prussian territories, access to the sea, and suzerainty over the area left to the Knights. A synod (1595) of Polish and Lithuanian Protestants and a synod (1645) of Polish Protestants and Catholics (known as the Colloquium Charitativum) were held in the city. In the early 17th cent. Toruń's population (30,000) was equal to that of Warsaw, but the city suffered heavily in the Swedish invasion. A religious riot there (1724) caused Russia and Prussia to guarantee the rights of religious minorities in Poland. The city passed to Prussia in 1793 and again in 1815, after its occupation by Napoleon I. It reverted to Poland in 1919. Toruń has preserved several fine Gothic buildings, the most notable of which are the churches of St. John (13th–14th cent.), St. James (14th cent.), and the Virgin (14th cent.). It was the birthplace of Copernicus; its university (founded 1945) bears his name.

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