1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schweidnitz

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SCHWEIDNITZ, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Silesia, picturesquely situated on the left bank of the Weistritz, 28 m. S.W. of Breslau by rail. Pop. (1905) 30,540. The town has wide streets and contains several old churches, one of which, a Roman Catholic church, built in the 14th century, has a tower 330 ft. high. It has an old town hall, a theatre and several statues of eminent men. The surrounding country is fertile and highly cultivated, and the large quantities of flax and hemp there raised encourage an active weaving industry in the town. Beetroot for sugar, grain and fruit are also grown. The manufacture of woollens, linens, hosiery, furniture, gloves, paper, machinery and tools, carriages, nuts and screws, needles and other hardware goods is carried on. The beer of Schweidnitz has long been famous under the name of “Schwarze Schöps,” and in the 16th century it was exported as far as Italy. Schweidnitz is the chief grain market of the district.

Schweidnitz, dating from about the 11th century, received civic rights in 1250. About 1278 it became the capital of a principality, with an area of about 1000 sq. m., which belonged to Bohemia from 1353 till 1741, when it passed into the possession of Prussia. The “Pölerei of Schweidnitz” is the name given to the riotous revolt of the town, in 1520-1522, against a royal edict depriving it of the right of coining its own money. One of the strongest towns in Silesia it was besieged several times during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1807 it was captured by the French, who demolished the fortifications. Restored to Prussia in 1816 it was again fortified, but in 1862 the fortifications were converted into a public park.

See F. J . Schmidt, Geschichte der Stadt Schweidnitz (2 vols., Schweidnitz, 1846-1848).