Bochnia בוכניה

Name in English: 
Bochnia
Name in Ukrainian: 
Бохня
Name in Polish: 
Bochnia
Name in German: 
Bokhnya
Name in Russian: 
Бохня
Name in Hebrew: 
בוכניה
Historical-cultural region: 
Western Galicia
Coordinates: 
49°58' N, 20°26' E
Administrative History: 

 

 

Years Town District Province  Country
Till 1772 Bochnia      Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Kingdom of Poland
1772-1918 Bochnia Bochnia Galicia  Austrain-Hungarian Empire
1918-1939 Bochnia Bochnia Krakow  Poland
1939-1945 Bochnia Bochnia    Under Nazi German occupation
 Since WWII  Bochnia      Poland

 

Population Data: 
 Years  Total population  Jewish population  Jewish ecentage of population
 1880  6480  927  15%
 1900  9550  1911  20%
 1921  11027  2459  22.3%
 1939    approxemtly 2000  20%

Bochnia is situated on the east bank of the Raba River, a southern tributary of the Vistula, c. 30km east of Krakow and c. 40km west of Tarnów. In the late twelfth or mid-thirteenth century, there were many salt mines in the area. These became the main economic cornerstone of the city. Bolesław V, the Chaste, granted the settlement the privileges of a city and renewed the mining operations that had stopped, apparently because of the Tatar invasion.


Over the course of generations, Polish kings assisted the economic development of the city and invested in the development of infrastructure necessary for the salt industry. In 1393 and 1398, special privileges were granted to miners. It was then that the city began to prosper, but different events slowed and impeded the city’s progress. In 1447, a fire broke out and destroyed a large part of the city. (The same happened in 1510 and 1644.) Plague struck in 1453. In 1494, the city was granted the privilege of holding a free market for meat. This was in addition to the continuous population growth enabled by the salt mines. The city also developed a woven fabric industry.
During the wars of the sixteenth century, Bochnia was transferred to Austria to secure the military assistance it granted Poland in the war against the Swedes. It remained under Austrian rule until the beginning of the eighteenth century, after the Treaty of Karlowitz. The period under Austrial rule led to a steep decline in the city’s conditions.
After the Partition of Poland, the Austrians understood the importance of Bochnia’s natural treasures and further developed the mining and export of salt. This, of course, led to growth in all sectors of the economy, trade, and industry. After World War I, the city was visited by several catastrophes: a flood in 1925 and a fire in 1930 that harmed the city, the mines, and the mining equipment. The harsh economic conditions led, in 1937, to uprisings and labor strikes.