Elbląg [ˈɛlblɔŋk] ( listen) (German: Elbing; Old Prussian: Elbings) is a city in northern Poland on the eastern edge of the Żuławy region with 124,257 inhabitants (December 31, 2011). It is the capital of Elbląg County and has been assigned (since 1999) to the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Previously it was the capital of Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998) and a county seat within Gdańsk Voivodeship (1945–1975). Elbląg is one of the oldest cities in the province. Its history dates back to 1237, when the Teutonic Order constructed their fortified stronghold on the banks of a nearby river. The castle subsequently served as the official seat of the Teutonic Order Masters. Elbląg became part of the Hanseatic League, which contributed much to the city's wealth. Through the Hansa agreement, the city was linked to other major ports like Danzig (Gdańsk), Lübeck and Amsterdam. After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald and conclusion of the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466, the city was annexed by Poland. It then flourished and turned into a significant trading point, but its growth was eventually hindered by the Second Northern War and the Swedish Deluge.
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