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Articles | Volume 1
15 Jul 2019
 | 15 Jul 2019

There is no Kashubia without Kashubians – maps as sources in historical research of folk culture

Agnieszka Małek

Keywords: historical maps, Kashubia, folk culture, cultural heritage

Abstract. The old maps are a cultural heritage of great historical importance. Maps’ great value is also a set of data documenting socio-economic changes.

Kashubia is a cultural region in northern Poland. In written sources, the name Kashubia appears in the XIII century. The range and boundaries of historical lands that were part of Kashubia are the subject of disputes between historians. Generally, it was referred to the territories of the Duchy of Pomerania, and in modern times - the area between Łeba River and Parsęta River. Over time, this name appeared widely to describe the areas of the Gdańsk Pomerania.

In the 20th century, Kashubia as a community underwent huge changes in the political, socio-economic and cultural spheres. At the beginning of the 20th century Kashubians lived in a Prussian state, repressive towards this community, as well as all Poles. In the interwar period they were divided into three parts – the largest lived within the borders of the Second Polish Republic, the second in the Free City of Gdańsk, the third remained within Germany. During World War II, the elite of this community was almost completely murdered. After the war, the authorities of the Polish People's Republic were very distrustful towards the Kashubians; the renaissance of Kashubian cultural activity took place after the political breakthrough of 1989.

The twentieth century also brought a great social revolution: intensive urbanization, industrialization, educational revolution and migration movements.

Kashubian culture can not be limited to a variety of local culture, created by a small community and its needs. It was for a very long period of time, but from the moment when the Kashubian regional movement (XIX century) appeared, a single, nation-wide culture began to take shape. The separateness and specificity of the material and spiritual heritage of Kashubia is determined by the communal awareness of history, the community of tradition, language and religion, which at the same time does not exclude the internal identity diversity of Kashubians.

The aim of the presentation is to show the territorial changes of Kashubia as a reason for shaping the cultural specificity of the region. Historical and contemporary maps of Kashubia constitute the subject of analysis.

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