Etnocentrum Ziemi Krośnieńskiej

History of settlements

The Krosno Region was inhabited by humans as early as the New Stone Age, as evidenced by numerous neolithic stone tools found there. Obsidian objects found in Wietrzno date back to the same period, which indicates the existence of the meridian transport route running across the Dukielska Pass. In the beginning of the present era, the region was influenced by Roman culture. Indeed, Ancient Roman coins were found in several locations across the area.

In the Early Middle Ages, large fortified wooden settlements were established around Dukla. They served not only as defence fortifications, but also as agricultural settlements. In the 10th and 11th centuries the transport route through the Dukielska Pass enjoyed substantial economic and political significance. This was probably the route which St. Adalbert chose when travelling to Poland from Hungary in 996. The area was gradually settled by people coming from two directions: the Ruthenian settlement was moving from the east to the west, and the Lesser Poland settlement from the west to the east. The economic growth of the region was hindered by Tatar  invasions in the 13th century, leaving settlements devastated and taking their inhabitants into captivity. A consistent settlement campaign run in the 13th century on the areas granted to monasteries (Cistercians in Koprzywnica and Benedictines in Tyniec near Kraków) proved a remedy to these hardships. Until the end of the 12th century, settlements were established under the so called Polish law, while in the 13th and 14th centuries they were established under German law. In addition to the monasteries’ settlement initiatives, the bestowal of land to knights by dukes and kings (for example to the Bogoria family) also played a significant role, improving security in the borderland with Ruthenia. The settlement in the Krosno region was developed after King Casimir III the Great attached the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia to Poland in 1340. During his reign, the first towns were granted municipal rights in the area, including the royal Krosno (around 1348), Jasło (1365), Jaślisk (1365), Frysztak (1366), Brzozów (1366) , Rymanów (1376) and Dukla (1380). The 14th century settlement boom around Krosno contributed to the migration of settlers from Silesia, the Wrocław area, Saxony and even Wallonia and Flanders. Coming from these distant countries, settlers brought with them specific customs and habits, advanced agricultural and animal farming methods, craftsmanship skills which had not been known in the area, and very often the ability to read and write. Polish settlements reached into the valleys of the Carpathian Mountains, where Vlachs also appeared in the 15th and 16th centuries, bringing with them Ruthenian farming communities. The once sparsely populated Low Beskids were soon filled with gradually developing villages established under Vlach law.

The last stage of settlement development (17th century) was marked by industrial settlements, mainly related to glass works, operating until the first half of the 19th century. Some of the settlements later became agricultural villages.

The 17th century was also marked by significant damages – devastations made by the Lisowczycy light cavalry (1619), the Tartar invasion (1624), the Swedish “deluge”, attacks from behind the Carpathian Mountains, and invasions of Russian forces in 1770.

Despite the turbulent times, and further transformations in the 19th century, when serfdom was abolished (1848), the progressive growth of rural areas in the 18th century contributed to the thriving of local folk culture, the fostering of a sense of belonging, as well as the development of regional building styles, festive outfits and elements of verbal and musical folklore.

The oil industry developed in the second half of the century near Dukla. The first explorations took place in 1854 around Bóbrka, and were led by Ignacy Łukasiewicz and Tytus Trzecieski. The mine in Ropianka was opened in 1868, followed by mining locations in Rogi and Równe.

During World War I the area around Dukla witnessed the battles between the Austro-Hungarian army, trying to defend the Carpathian Mountains line, and the Russian army. Their bloody struggle left numerous military cemeteries in the area, but by now most of them have been levelled to the ground, and are difficult to find.

The interwar period was a time of a dynamic growth of health resorts in Iwonicz and Rymanów.

The growth of settlements was, however, stopped by the outbreak of World War II, during which most of the villages were destroyed by the occupying forces, and the Jewish population from Rymanów, Dukla, Jaśliska and Nowy Żmigród was exterminated. The battle for Dukielska Pass in 1944 resulted in the total destruction of nearby villages.

The end of the War marked the period of relocation of the Lemkos community. It took place between 1945 and 1946, and was called “repatriation” to Ukraine. This “repatriation” was officially voluntary, but in reality it involved various forms of pressure. In 1947 the remaining Lemkos were subject to forced relocation to the Recovered Territories as part of Operation Vistula, while Poles settled in the abandoned villages. Between 1956 and 1958 about 100 Lemkos decided to return to their little homeland, mainly to Polany (27), Tylawa (31), Zyndranowa (29) and Barwinek (10).