History of Nowy Tomyśl

In the past the today's area of Nowy Tomyśl was covered with huge forests. It was a thinly populated region. Nevertheless there are certain signs of early colonization to be found, which are about eleven thousand years old. Among these there are some well preserved box-graves near Wytomyśl or a tar production site, discovered near Jastrzębsko Stare.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Dutch colonization contributed to development of this region.

In the area of great forests, around river springs of Dojca, Czarna Woda and Szarka, owned by the Szołdrski family, new colonies emerged. Colonists acquired the forested areas on easy terms and changed them into arable lands. Among colonists there were mostly Germans coming from Brandenburg, Silesia and Pomerania, but also Polish people. The colonists were mostly protestants. In order to avoid long migrations to distant protestant churches, in one village, called nova colonia Glinki, a protestant church was built in the years 1778-1779. The owner of these regions, Feliks Szołdrski, assumed it would be wise to build a city next to the church, a city which would serve as a trade and craft centre for the surrounding settlements. On the strength of a privilege of 8 April 1786 granted by the king Stanisław August the city of Nowy Tomyśl was founded. The former village Tomyśl acquired a name Stary Tomyśl. In a short period of time the New Market - today Niepodległości Square - was set out, linking Złota Street (today Mickiewicz Street) with the Church Square called the Old Market (today Chopin Square).

The new city was a craft and services' centre. Its central location in relation to Dutch settlements made it also a local trade centre. The fair events and markets organized in Nowy Tomyśl enjoyed great popularity, performing an important role in the economic development of the city.

In consequence of the partitions of Poland, the young, because only seven-years-old city, was for 125 years incorporated into Prussia and Germany. At the beginning Nowy Tomyśl belonged to the Babimost county in the Prussian sector. In the years 1807-1815 it was in the newly founded Duchy of Warsaw. After the fall of Napoleon and dissolving of this substitute of independent Poland, the city returned to the Prussian sector. At first it was incorporated into the Babimost county, but after its dissolving in response to its participation in the Spring of Nations, Nowy Tomyśl became a county city in 1848.

On 3 January 1919 as a result of the strike of insurgents of Wielkopolska, Nowy Tomyśl regained its freedom.

The period of the World War II was a time of germanization of the partitioned lands and annihilation of the Polish people. Nowy Tomyśl was incorporated into the Reich. Many people were convicted to forced labour in the General Government. An especially tragic day of the World War II for the city inhabitants was 26 January 1945. In the school building at the Chopin Square eight innocent hostages were murdered.

27 January 1945 Nowy Tomyśl was liberated.