The vicinity of Lwówek Śląski, densely wooded and located on the inner side of the unsettledSilesian Przesieka, was gradually cleared and populated by German peasants in the first half of the 13th century during the Ostsiedlung. The town was founded by Duke of PolandHenry the Bearded who designated it for an administrative centre in a previously uninhabited, borderline Polish - Lusatian territory. By 1217 the settlement, founded by the Duke of Wrocław, had important privileges, such as rights to brew, mill, fish, and hunt within a mile from settlement. German colonists expanded upon the preexisting settlement and in 1217 it received town rights as the second town in Silesia; its style of governance was duplicated by other local towns, such as Bunzlau (Bolesławiec), as Löwenberg Rights or Lwówek Śląski Rights. The dukes then constructed a castle, documented for the first time in 1248. In the second half of the 13th century Löwenberg became the capital of a SilesianPiast principality, whose duke took the title of a Duke of Silesia and Lord of Löwenberg.
After the death of Duchess Agnes of Habsburg, the widow of Bolko II, the last Piast of Świdnica, the region was inherited with the Duchy of Świdnica-Jawor (Schweidnitz-Jauer) by the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1393. Löwenberg's placement on a trade route allowed it to become one of the more prosperous towns in Bohemia. It passed with the Bohemian crown to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. During the Thirty Years' War, Löwenberg was devastated by Swedish and Imperial troops, especially between 1633-1643. By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the town was largely destroyed and had a decimated population of only hundreds.
Löwenberg slowly recovered during its reconstruction, but began to prosper again after its acquisition by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1741 during the Silesian Wars. Troops of the First French Empire occupied Löwenberg in May 1813, and Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in the town from August 21–23 while organizing his defenses against the Prussian troops of General Gebhard von Blücher. A few days later the Prussian army defeated the Frenchmen; more than 3,000 French soldiers drowned in the flooding Bober (Bóbr) as they retreated.
In the last days of World War II, Löwenberg's medieval center was 40% destroyed and numerous buildings of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque were lost. At war's end the town was placed under Polish administration as Lwówek Śląski according to the Potsdam Agreement. Its remaining German population was expelled and replaced with Poles.
Westermann Verlag; Erich Stier; Ernst Kirsten; Wilhelm Wühr; Heinz Quirin; Werner Trillmilch; Gerhard Czybulka; Hermann Pinnow; Hans Ebeling (1963). Westermanns Atlas zur Weltgeschichte: Vorzeit / Altertum, Mittelalter, Neuzeit (in German). Braunschweig: Georg Westermann Verlag. p. 170.
Krallert, Wolfgang (1958). Atlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Ostsiedlung. Bielefeld: Velhagen & Klasing. p. 33.