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Gdansk, Poland
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    (circa 980- )
    Known as 'Danzig' in German
    Principal seaport of Poland
    4th largest metropolitan area in Poland
    Population (city): 455,830 (2009)
    Population (metro area): 1,080,700
    Control of the city kept going back and forth between Poland and Germany, with a few interludes as an independent city.
    As the Free City of Danzig, it elected a Nazi government (1933).
    Hitler's demands that the city be returned to Germany were one of the triggers for his invasion of Poland and thus of World War II.
    After WWII, its population went from 90% German to over 90% Polish as German residents fled or were forcibly expelled.
    German names on streets, buildings and even tombstones were changed to Polish.
    It was a center of the Baltic amber trade.
    It was the birthplace of the Solidarity labor movement that led to the end of Communist rule in Poland.
    It was one of the New York Times' 'Places to Go in 2011.'
    It was one of the hosts of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.
    It was described by one travel writer as 'a delightful place, full of old world charm that hasn't been Americanized yet like many other parts of Europe.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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