Szczecin, Poland, the capital of Zachodniopomorskie province. It lies near the German border on the Oder River, some 40 miles (64 km) south of the Baltic Sea. Szczecin is a major seaport. It is also a ship-building and engineering center and has iron smelters and plants producing chemicals, processed foods, synthetic fibers, and wood products.
Szczecin was founded by the Wends, a Slavic people, in the ninth century. Following periods of Polish rule between 1000 and 1200, it was made the residence of the dukes of Pomerania and was known as Stettin for more than 700 years. The city became a prosperous trading center, joining the Hanseatic League in 1360, and German colonists gradually displaced the original Slavic population. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 granted the city, with Hither Pomerania, to Sweden, which, in turn, ceded it to Prussia in 1720. The city remained part of Prussia and later Germany until after World War II, when it was awarded by the Allied powers to Poland and given its present name. After 1945 the German population was expelled and replaced by Poles.