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Dobrzyń Land (Polish: ziemia dobrzyńska) is a historic region, with the capital in the town of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą, in central-northern Poland, within the Greater Poland, between Mazovia and Prussia. It lies northeast of the Vistula River, south of the Drwęca, and west of the Skrwa. The territory approximately corresponds with the present-day powiats of Lipno, Rypin, and half of Golub-Dobrzyń within the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodship, although it encompasses parts of other counties as well. Totally, it has about 3,000 km2 and 200,000 inhabitants.
Those areas have been a part of Piast state probably since the duke Mieszko I of Poland (960–992). Upon the death of his descendant Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, they were allocated to the newly established Duchy of Masovia. In his Prussian Crusade, Duke Konrad I of Masovia in 1228 established the Order of Dobrzyń of German knights (fratribus militiae Christi in Prussia), whom he vested with the Dobrzyń estates. Soon after however, this order was absorbed by the Teutonic Knights, who had established the Order's State in the adjacent Chełmno Land. During the whole second half of 13th century it belonged to Kuyavian Piasts, the new branch of Mazovian dynasty. Finally, along with their other states, it became a part of resurrected Kingdom of Poland.
During the Polish–Teutonic War of 1326–1332, the forces of the Order's State occupied Dobrzyń Land, which however was relinquished to the Kingdom of Poland in the 1343 Treaty of Kalisz. The Knights temporarily regained control in the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War of 1409–1411, but after their defeat at the Battle of Grunwald had to return it again according to the Peace of Thorn. It was incorporated into the Inowrocław Voivodeship of the Polish Crown and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Nevertheless, it has been still in the Mazovian Diocese of Płock (and not in the Greater Polish Diocese of Włocławek).
While the western part of the voivodeship had already been annexed by Prussia in the course of the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Dobrzyń Land on the eastern banks of the Vistula was incorporated into South Prussia during the Second Partition in 1793. It was administered with New East Prussia from 1795 onwards, until in 1807 it became part of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw according to the Treaties of Tilsit. In 1815 however, it was attached to Congress Poland under the Russian Empire.
Dobrzyń Land after World War I fell from Russia to the re-established independent Second Polish Republic, it was occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II, whereafter it was finally restored to Poland.
The region has numerous lakes (like adjacent Prussia or Greater Poland) and descendants of yeomanry (drobna szlachta, similar as Mazovia). Cities of Toruń and Włocławek, as well as towns of Ciechocinek and Sierpc, lie just besides its border. Its oldest officially crowned sanctuary of Our Lady is Skępe; another is Obory. Ecclesiastically, it is divided between the dioceses of Włocławek and Płock. After 1793, it has been part of administrative units with the capital in Płock and Warsaw; since 1938 it belonged to Toruń and Włocławek. Dialectologically, it is usually adjoined to Chełmno Land. Therefore, it is considered as the transitory subregion between three big and different provinces: Greater Poland, Mazovia and Prussia.
- Ziemia Dobrzyńska On-line (in Polish)