Tatra Area Timeline
(...a work-in-progress prepared by Paul K. Bingham, with special thanks to Rick Iglar.)
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Pre-Historic Peoples in and Around the Tatras:
· 120,000 B.C. "Ganovce" man (pre-historic Neanderthal) is now living in the Liptov & Spis regions, mostly in the travertine hot-springs areas.
· 90,000 B.C. Last signs of Ganovce man in Liptov & Spis.
· 18,000 B.C. Stone-age man living near Poprad's hot-springs, and other thermal springs around the Tatras, even survives the ice age. In the 1900s a boomerang made from mammoth tusk dating back to this period will be found in Podhale.
Limited Early Settlement in and Around the Tatras:
· 4000 B.C. The "Beech Mountain" and "Channeled" cultures (both Upper Stone-age groups) clear small sections of Tatra foothills forest to farm and herd sheep. They leave behind bone and copper tools.
· 3500 B.C. The first "Lusation" culture (Lower Iron-age group) lives in the Tatra foothills and they begin herding cattle and doing simple farming.
· 3500 B.C. The first Ottoman (Turkish Bronze-age culture) settlements along the Vah and Orava rivers include stone bastions and ditches. One elaborate settlement in Spissky Strvok will be found many years later buried Pompeii-style: everything still in place.
· 300 B.C. The first Rheinland Celts arrive, subduing the locals in Vazec, Gerlachov, Velky Slavkov and Spisske pod Tatrami. They bring iron, glass and ceramics, build mines, smelters, and clear the woods for smelting fire fuel. Their mines in the High Tatras will still visible in the 21st century. Carpathian, Pieniny, Dunajec, Arva (Orava) are all local words of Celtic origin.
· 1 A.D. An early trade route between Saxony (Germany) and Rome passes through the Tatras. Silver Roman coins will be found in Poprad and elsewhere in the 1900s along this route, but no Romans actually ever settle here.
· 100 A.D. The Goths and other early Germanic peoples invade the region. One tribe, the "Gepids" occupy Spisz. Other Saxons begin to settle along the trade route, including near the Tatras.
· 300 A.D. The first Slavic peoples sweep into the Tatra region and subdue the Celts and Saxons. The Tatras themselves, however, are still more-or-less a no-man's land.
· 600 A.D. Slavic tribal federations begin to control areas around the Tatras.
· 833 A.D. Mojmir unites the Slavs into the Greater Moravian Empire, which includes the Tatra region both north and south.
· 863 A.D. The empire receives the great missionaries to the Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius.
· 992 A.D. Mieszko I, unites the Vislanes and the Polanes into the first Polish kingdom and claims the northern section of the Tatras as part of Poland.
First More Active Settlement of the Tatra Region Begins:
· 1000 A.D. The Tatra-area Celts, Saxons and Slavs mix. Slavic ways dominate, becoming the early Slovak Tatra culture.
· 1030 A.D. After the death of King Boleslav Chrabry, the western Tatra region becomes part of Hungary.
· 1050 A.D. The Monastery originates in what is now Spisska Kapitula.
· 1063 A.D. King Boleslav II first makes reference to "the Tatras" as being in the far eastern extent of his Bohemian kingdom.
· 1086 A.D. King Henrich IV first makes reference to "the Tatras" as being in the far southern extent of his Polish Kingdom. Some Poles by now have begun settling around the Tatras.
· 1100 A.D. By cavalry, King Ondrej II of Hungary conquers all groups living on the west, south and eastern sides of the Tatras. All become Hungarian subjects.
· 1108 A.D. King Boleslaw Krzywousty of Poland presents Spisz to the Hungarian king, Bela IV, as a dowry for his daughter Kunegunda.
· 1120 A.D. The Original Spis Castle is built.
· 1200 A.D. The Hungarian king sets up the original administrative "Comitates" or Counties, which will survive until the late 1800s. The original Comitate center for the Tatras is at Spis Castle, where the greatest population is. Squabbles between the Slovaks and Poles result in the Hungarian king inviting German farmers, craftsmen, merchants and miners to settle in the Tatra area as a cultural wedge to quell their disputes. Soon many Germans come and settle (most heavily in Spis) and form a federation of towns known as the "Zipser Bund". Spis will be referred to as "Upper Zips" and "Lower Zips" and under the control of the "Zipser Saxons" for nearly five more centures.
· 1209 A.D. The Roman Catholic church creates divisions similar to the Comitates, with Spisska Kapitula being the center for this area. King Andrew II of Hungary gives a portion of the High Tatras, including Lomnicky Peak, to Adolf the Presbyter of Spisz. This begins a trend and soon the High Tatras are divided up into fourteen sections all with different ownerships.
· 1233 A.D. German settlers establish "Rosenberg" which later becomes Ruzomberok.
· 1234 A.D. King Henrich the Bearded grants Teodor Cedro of Krakow the privilege to establish the first towns in the Czarny Dunajec basin.
· 1234 A.D. Bishop Wislaw of Krakow consents to the building of a church in Ludzmierz. A castle in Szaflary, just south of Nowy Targ, is also built.
· 1241 A.D. The massive Tartar (Mongol) invasion sweeps across Eastern Europe, including the Tatra region. Many villages and towns are burned. The Tatra area inhabitants that survive do so by hiding in the forests.
· 1249 A.D. Recovering after the Tartar invasion, Spis's town of Levoca becomes a trade center and further magnet for German settlers. The Wronin castle, a wooden structure overlooking the Dunajec survived the Tartar invasion. It is replaced by the king with a stone castle to be known as Czorsztyn castle.
· 1265 A.D. The Hungarian King begins issuing the first "privileges" to spur immigration, a practice that will continue until 1566. Germans and Vlachy (Wallachians or Romanian and Baltic shepherds) are given special rights to settle. The Vlachy come predominantly to Liptov and the Germans to Spis. The famous Zehra's UNESCO wooden church is built in Spis. Also in this year "Sholtys" villages of German serfs begin to be set up.
· 1267 A.D. In light of the Tartar Invasion, King Belo IV decides to improve Hungary's border defenses by building six new castles in the Tatra region. The first of these mighty fortresses to be completed is Orava castle.
· 1274 A.D. The Templar Knights of Poland establish Lapsze Nizne.
· 1285 A.D. The Markusovce Castle is completed outside present-day Spisska Nova Ves.
· 1300 A.D. The Polish order of Templars have now founded parishes in Frydman and Krempachy. Intensive settlement along the Dunajec takes place under Kazimierz the Great. The first Germans settle here coming up from Levoca and other Germanic towns in Spis. The mix of Germans, Slovaks, Poles, Wallachians, and Russians in Zamagurie becomes an unusual blend of customs, costumes and architecture. Oddly, Hungarian rule and language will leave almost no mark on the immerging culture. Because of so much growth in the Orava and Liptov areas, the two are split off from Spis into their own Hungarian administrative districts.
· 1308 A.D. What will one day become "Spisska Stara Ves" is established on the Dunajec under special privileges from the king.
· 1319 A.D. The Carthusian monastery "Cerveny Klastor" is founded nearby.
· 1311 A.D. The first Stara Lubovna castle is completed.
· 1315 A.D. Both the Ruzomberok and Likavsky castles are completed in Orava and Liptov.
· 1317 A.D. Germans establish the village of "Durchstein", later called Dursztyn, where they raised sheep and cattle. During the 1800's it will become one of the most impoverished villages in the region with starvation commonplace.
· 1320 A.D. Germans establish the settlement of "Katzenwinkel", later to become Kacwin. Isolated with poor farming conditions, it will become a smuggling town between the 1800 and 1900's.
· 1325 A.D. The "Nedec", later called the Niedzica castle, is completed along the southern bank of the Dunajec river west of Cerveny Klastor.
· 1330 A.D. The Polish King Wladyslaw Lokietek gives Zamagurze as well as part of Spisz (including Lubovna and Podolinec) to the Hungarian king Charles Robert.
· 1334 A.D. Flooding of the Dunajec destroys the village of Sromowce.
· 1341 A.D. The Liptovsky castle is completed.
· 1342 A.D. Granted the Magdeburg right, Count Teodoryk establishes Nowy Targ. Soon it is acting as a customs community on the trade route between Silesia and Old Hungary. The nearby Szaflary castle is rebuilt and Germans establish the village of Waksmund.
· 1348 A.D. The village of Czorsztyn is established along the Dunajec and soon becomes famous as far away as Warsaw for its trout. While the rest of Europe is struck by the "Black Plague", the Tatra's inhabitants are largely spared.
· 1364 A.D. King Ludovit I grants Stara Lubovna and Podolinec Magdeburg privileges.
· 1371 A.D. "Bingenstadt" (Trstena) is founded by German settlers.
· 1367 A.D. The UNESCO village of Vlkolinec is first established in Liptov.
· 1390 A.D. The town of Jablonka is established on a continental dividing point. Water falling on the village either flows to the Black Sea or to the Baltic.
· 1400 A.D. While the German and Polish immigration into Podhale has slowed, more Wallachians have come up from Orava and along the Carpathians to the east in search of better pastures.
· 1412 A.D. King Sigismond of Luxembourg and King Wladyslaw Jagiello meet in Sromowce along the Dunajec. King Sigismond turns over 16 villages in northern Spis county (an area known locally as Zamagurie) to Poland to settle a debt.
· 1415 A.D. A Bohemian priest, Jan Huss, is burned at the stake in Prague for his reformation activities.
· 1431 A.D. The Hussites (followers of martyred Jan Huss) invade the Tatra region from the north. Spisska Stara Ves and Falsztyn are burned as the troops invade. Oddly, the end result of the invasion will be to cause the region's culture to become more Slavic.
· 1439 A.D. The village of "Tripps", later known as Trybsz, is established. It will be known as the birthplace of the famous Tatra explorer Ferenc Denes. Without enough ground to sustain it, many will emigrate to America in the 1800's.
· 1470 A.D. Imre Zapolyai, Zupan of Spisz, acquires Niedzica castle. It is passed on to Janos Zapolyai who is later crowned king of Hungary.
· 1480 A.D. The famous UNESCO wooden church in Debno is built near the Dunajec.
· 1490 A.D. King Stefan Batory of Poland grants privileges needed to found Zakopane.
· 1494 A.D. Around natural mineral springs, the town of Szczawnica is established in the Pieniny and by 1828 will become a spa town of European standards.
The Tatra Area's Real Exploration and Development Begins:
· 1500 A.D. The influx of newcomers to the region continues, with more Wallachians settling in Orava and Zamagurie under the "Wallachian Right" and more Czechs, Poles and Hungarian squires moving to Liptov. Ghost stories which have prevailed through most of the middle ages still keep most out of the High Tatras and the very dense woods surrounding them. It has remained undeveloped and the realm exclusively of outlaws, deserters and the severely persecuted. It is still considered by most to be simply "the frontier" between Poland and Slovakia.
· 1526 A.D. After the Battle of Mohacs with the Turks, Janos Zapolyai is attacked by Ferdinand I of Austria attempting to take the Hungarian crown. The Tatra region becomes one of the struggle's battlegrounds.
· 1528 A.D. Having fallen into the hands of the armies of Ferdinand, Niedzica castle is retaken by a daring night-time raid where Zapolyai's commander Piotr Kostka floats Wallachian mercenaries down the Dunajec for their surprise attack. The king of Hungary later that year gives Niedzica castle to a Polish magnate, Hieronim Laski.
· 1556 A.D. Frantisek Thurzo, as new owner of Orava castle, begins to intensely settle Orava with Wallachians and also more Poles from Zywiec and Skawa.
· 1563 A.D. Emperor Ferdinand closes the Cerveny Klastor Monastery on the Dunajec.
· 1566 A.D. The first explorers venture into the High Tatras from Kezmarok. Facsinated by their experiences, students and professors soon follow. Word gets around and everyone from intellectuals to poets now want to see it for themselves. The town of Jablonka has grown and is now an important market town with a customs office and two churches. By this time ¼ of the population in the town is Evangelical (Lutheran) and ¾ Roman Catholic.
· 1587 A.D. The village of Frydman and others are swept by the Protestant Reformation.
· 1589 A.D. Hieronim Laski sells Niedzica castle to a Hungarian noble named Gyorgy Horvath-Palocsa.
· 1590 A.D. Gyorgy Horvath-Palocsa builds a fortified manor house/small castle in Frydman complete with a wall, turrets and a moat.
· 1592 A.D. King Zygmund III grants rights for pasture and construction of the village of Chocholow. Its first log homes will one day become a museum.
· 1594 A.D. Ruthenians establish the village of Osturna, the western-most Rusyn village.
· 1600 A.D. The Thurzos of Orava castle have in the last 40 years established 24 new Goral villages in Orava, including the customs town of Jablonka. Seven new Goral villages have also been started in the Pieniny area.
· 1601 A.D. Gyorgy Horvath-Palocsa rebuilds and enlarges Niedzica castle.
· 1605 A.D. The feared tyrant and mayor of Nowy Targ, Mikolaj Komorowski, takes control of Zakopane and Zywiec. As a result, many refugees come to Orawa, Podhale and Spisz.
· 1608 A.D. The greatest number of refugees flow now from Zywiec into Orava, Podhale and Spisz. In this resulting melting pot of races, languages and customs, is born a new culture of the Highlander or "Goral." Bound by their search for freedom, general toughness, practicality and intensely religious (but rebellious) spirit, they soon prove themselves well suited to taming the Tatras.
· 1618 A.D. The Thirty Years War begins in Germany.
· 1623 A.D. The villages of Spytkowa, Lachowka and Kiera are established by clearing the forest.
· 1640 A.D. Frydman returns to the Catholic faith.
· 1648 A.D. The Thirty Years War ends.
· 1650 A.D. Several Jewish-owned taverns are now open in Dolny Kubin. Most of the towns and villages in the Tatra area now have a small Jewish population. The Horvaths, rich Hungarian landowners living in Zamagurie, now had wine cellars 600 feet in length at their Frydman manor house in order to store Hungarian wine for sale in Nowy Targ - a privilege to do so granted to them by the king.
· 1651 A.D. The Goral rise up against Komorowski and his oppressions in the name of "slebodu" (freedom in the Goral dialect). The Goral also overtake Czorsztyn castle, driving their oppressive owners away. A royal army ultimately defeats the rebels and three of their leaders are taken to Krakow where they are drawn and quartered.
· 1655 A.D. Nowy Targ is destroyed by the invading Swedes.
· 1670 A.D. Goral again clash with royal troops in Nowy Targ.
· 1670 A.D. The mayor's house, now a museum, is built in Jurgow. Niedzica castle becomes the property of the Giovanelli family.
· 1671 A.D. A trial in Spisske Podhradie leads to the expulsion of Evangelical priests from thirteen Spis towns.
· 1671 A.D. Anti-Hapsburg rebellions reach Orava as local rebels take Orava castle. The Imperial army puts down the revolt and 25 of its leaders are impaled. The troops burn many villages and many villagers flee south or north to Poland.
· 1674 A.D. The Zipser Bund is disbanded. Most towns receive charters from the Hungarian king allowing for various freedoms like electing their own leaders and no longer being subject to any local lords.
· 1683 A.D. Lithuanian and Polish troops sack northern Orava villages, including Zuberec and Tvrdosin. General lawlessness by various brigands and their mercenary groups befalls much of the Tatra area. Imre Thokoly, a Calvanist and wealthy Hungarian, lays siege with his "Kuruc" fighters and ultimately takes Niedzica castle from the Counter-Reformation owners, the Giovanellis. Their occupation is short-lived, however.
The Highland Culture Matures:
· 1700 A.D. The first water-driven sawmills, fulling mills and flour mills come to Podhale.
· 1704 A.D. Cerveny Klastor Monastery reopens along the Dunajec and becomes home to a Camaldolese Order of monks.
· 1709 A.D. The last anti-Hapsburg rebel battle is fought in Liptov. The 10,000 rebels win the battle, then retreat in panic believing more Imperial troops are coming.
· 1710 A.D. Plague and hunger hit the Tatra area - an estimated 20,000 die.
· 1711 A.D. The Szatmar Armistice is signed, new guilds are established and some economic development begins for furriers, tailors, hatters and cobblers. The first Hungarian census is begun in the Tatra area. Information on landowners and their holding is gathered from 1711 through 1717 by officers of the King.
· 1712 A.D. Juraj Janosik becomes leader of a band of Tatra robbers who's escapades become legendary for stealing from the rich and supporting the poor.
· 1713 A.D. Janosik is caught and dies by being hanged by a hook in Liptovsky Mikulas.
· 1729 A.D. An outbreak of influenza grips most Hungarian and Polish lands. Except for infants and the old, most do survive the epidemic.
· 1735 A.D. Czorsztyn castle is sacked by robbers and left to decay.
· 1741 A.D. Maria Theresa is crowned queen of the Empire in Bratislava.
· 1750 A.D. With more roads and cottages to stay in, the Tatras are now becoming a bigger draw to tourists. Liptov, which is becoming increasingly Evangelical, is now the cheese capitol of the region, including the sheep cheese called "Brindza". Sawmills are springing up everywhere and fresh Tatra timber is floating down the Vah.
· 1756 A.D. With the discovery of iron ore outside Zakopane, the area's first smelter is established in Kuznice.
· 1763 A.D. Monks in Cerveny Klastor complete a 942-page Latin-Slovak dictionary. It is the first attempt at codifying the Slovak language. This follows their translating the Bible into Slovak 13 years earlier.
· 1767 A.D. A second smelter opens in Koscielisko also outside of Zakopane.
· 1770 A.D. Austria takes control of southern Poland from Nowy Targ to Nowy Sacz and the region becomes part of their Crownland called "Galicia".
· 1771 A.D. Austria takes over Spis. All of Zakopane is controlled by Kuznice's smelter owner: a Moravian named Emanuel Homolacz. At the same time, Father Cyprian, a Silesian monk, completes his famous "Herbarium" botanical work at Cerveny Klastor.
· 1776 A.D. Maria Theresa grants Namestovo market privileges and it becomes a linen center. Niedzica castle is acquired by the Horvath-Palosca family once again from its owners the Giovanellis.
· 1778 A.D. The sixteen villages given to Poland in 1412 to pay a debt are returned to Spis.
· 1788 A.D. Another outbreak of influenza grips the Tatras. Except for infants and the old, most do again survive.
· 1790 A.D. Vacant Czorsztyn castle is hit by lightning and burns. Nothing but the stone walls are left. It will remain a ruin until restoration begins in the late 1990's.
· 1791 A.D. The upper Tatra foothills area is still undeveloped except for Stary Smokovec.
· 1792 A.D. Ore discoveries in the mountains to the south bring new iron and copper mills to Liptov. Ingots are now being shipped down the Vah and to the world.
· 1793 A.D. Mighty Krivan peak, held by most in Orava and Liptov for centuries to be the tallest of the Tatras, is found to be shorter than Lomnicky, a rival peak in Spis.
· 1794 A.D. Tatra robbers burn down the smelter in Kuznice.
· 1800 A.D. While some industry has come to the region, most Tatra-area inhabitants are still serfs subsisting on meager farming and raising a few cattle and sheep. Many villages are poor and starvation, especially in early spring is common. Some who can, begin to emigrate to America. Zakopane, however, begins to experience its first tourist boom, becoming more and more important as a tourist destination.
· 1809 A.D. Jan Sabala, the quintessential Goral is born, later to be called "the Bard of Zakopane". His Highland tales will make their way into the writings of Sienkiewicz, Witkiewicz, Chalubinski and Tetmajer, and into the hearts and minds of those in Warsaw and the rest of Poland.
· 1817 A.D. After extensive renovation, the Horvath-Palosca family moves into Niedzica castle as their primary residence. Baron Andrew Horvath becomes famous among Hungarian aristocrats for the balls he throws in the castle.
· 1831 A.D. A cholera epidemic hits Galicia also also affects the Tatra area. Many die.
· 1846 A.D. The Goral in Chocholow rise up against Austrian troops over pasture and logging rights.
· 1848 A.D. Serfdom is abolished in Hungarian lands, but in some of the remote areas of the Tatras, forms of it persist for many years. The longest will actually survive until 1931 under the control of the Salamons, owners of Niedzica castle.
· 1854 A.D. Robbers seeking forgiveness for past deeds, build a wooden church in Zakopane.
· 1855 A.D. A cholera epidemic hits Orava.
· 1857 A.D. Kornelia Horvath marries Alapi Salamon, and Niedzica castle passes into the control of the Salamon family where it will remain for the next 88 years.
· 1865 A.D. A famous and influential Goral writer, Kazimierz Przewa-Tetmajer is born in Ludzmierz.
· 1867 A.D. The coronation of Hapsburg emperor Franz Joseph takes place, making him the new ruler over a "dual monarchy" referred to as Austria-Hungary. Hungary and Austria maintain separate armies and jurisdictions under the common monarch. In Hungarian-controlled lands the campaign of "Magyarization" (an effort to establish the Hungarian language and culture in Slovakia) begins. The Highlanders reject the idea.
· 1869 A.D. Homolacz's son buys Zakopane and it begins to grow. By 1900 the population will mushroom to 4,452. A more extensive Kingdom-wide Hungarian census is done, documenting serfs, family sizes and their holdings in more detail than in 1711.
· 1870 A.D. With years of marginal crops, hard winters and increasingly burdened as serfs by the Hungarian nobles, mass emigration to America and Canada ensues.
· 1871 A.D. The Tatra railway through Poprad opens. Visitors to the Tatras increase in the first year six-fold. In the eastern Tatras, Gerlach peak at 8711 feet, is found to be the highest Tatra peak, higher than Lomnicky at 8635 feet and Rysy at 8217 feet on the Polish side. Another cholera epidemic hits the Tatras.
· 1873 A.D. The "Tatra Association" is founded, promoting tourism and spas among the Poles. Meanwhile a Cholera outbreak returns to the Tatra's villages.
· 1884 A.D. The Industrial Association of Orava Linen Producers is organized in Orava.
· 1886 A.D. The hunting of Tatra Chamois and Marmots is banned.
· 1895 A.D. The railroad in the Tatra region is expanded.
· 1899 A.D. The first steam train arrives in Zakopane from Nowy Targ. With the iron ore depleted, Zakopane's smelters close and tourism takes over. Though Szczawnica and its spas have long desired a rail link, it is still not under consideration by government officials.
· 1900 A.D. The transversal "Road of Freedom" giving new access around and into the Tatras is opened. The "Carpathian Union" (of Hungary) starts building a network of Tatra trails. It organizes the first Tatra mountain guides and rescue teams to aid tourists. The "Building Institute", the "School of Fine Arts", and many museums soon open in Zakopane.
· 1906 A.D. Hungarians frustrated by rejection of their 49-year-old "Magyarization" efforts, hold their first trials of resistance leaders in Ruzomberok.
· 1911 A.D. The newly-created "Congress of the Podhale People", a purely Goral organization, holds its first meeting in Zakopane. Nowy Targ is chosen as the capitol of greater Podhale.
· 1914 A.D. Archduke Ferdinand, the Hapsburg heir, is returning from the Szczawnica spas when he is killed, sparking the events leading to World War I.
· 1918 A.D. World War I ends: Poland and Slovakia emerge from centuries of oppressive Austrian-Hungarian rule. Podhale becomes part of a new Krakow-centered province. Slovakia is asked to join the Czech lands becoming a new state called "Czechoslovakia." A severe influenza epidemic hits world-wide.
· 1920 A.D. The Conference of Ambassadors votes to change the Polish/Slovak border, turning over 30 Slovak villages in northern Orava and Spis counties to Poland. Most inhabitants are shocked but believe the mistake will soon be overturned.
· 1924 A.D. The villages of Sucha Hora and Glodovka are turned back over to Slovakia. No other changes are made. Within ten years many of the Slovak villages turned over to Poland in 1920 lose a third of their population as many inhabitants relocate to Slovakia.
· 1930 A.D. Pieniny National Park, based on the U.S. model, is established to preserve the Pieniny Mountains in Polish territory on the north side of the Dunajec river.
· 1932 A.D. The Slovaks then establish Pieniny National Park on the Slovak side.
· 1934 A.D. There is massive flooding along the Dunajec river damaging structures and farms in most communities along its banks.
· 1936 A.D. The funicular from Kuznice to Kasprowy peak is completed.
· 1937 A.D. The World Ski Championships are held for the first time in Zakopane. An unimaginable crowd of 55,000 tourists pack the town for the event.
· 1938 A.D. The Kasprowy Peak Weather Station is completed, more railroad expansion in Podhale is finished, and the road to Morskie Oko Lake opens.
· 1939 A.D. In the Tatras, a project to build a funicular to the top of Lomnicky peak is finally completed. In this same year Germany begins to invade its neighbors. The Slovak Premier, Josef Tiso, forms an alliance with the Third Reich in an effort to spare distruction and have a measure of independence. He creates a police state with uniformed Hlinka guards. At the same time Czech lands fall to Nazi control. The first fighting between Goral Freedom Fighters and German troops takes place. Through courage, mountain experience and the love for freedom, the Highlanders will manage to control and keep the courier routes through the Tatras open during the entire war with Germany.
· 1940 A.D. A new observatory and weather station opens on Lomnicky peak and a new airport opens in Poprad below.
· 1941 A.D. Hitler declares war on Russia.
· 1942 A.D. The bulk of Poland and Slovakia are now under tighter Nazi control. Slovakian Jews are now being rounded up and deported.
· 1943 A.D. Nazis begin invading Tatra-area towns to quell building resistance. 60% of Namestovo is destroyed by their fires. The Nazis intensely battle resistance fighters in Ruzomberok and Zverovka. By Fall the Slovak's VRV or "Vojenske revoucne velitelstvo" (Military Revolutionary Command) is forming headed by Lt. Colonel Kirko Vesel. By December the Slovak National Council working with them is secretly headquartered in Banska Bystrica.
· 1944 A.D. Russian officers begin to organize and recruit resistance freedom-fighters or "Partizans". A DC-3 from Krosno, Poland, loaded with supplies for the Partizans, slams into the Tatras' Gerlach peak on approach to Poprad in bad weather. All Tatra-area Jews at this time are being shot or sent to Auschwitz. In August the so-called "Slovak National Uprising" is officially proclaimed and German troops pour in to crush it. By October it has been reduced to just a few ill-equipped bands of Partizans taking refuge in the mountains.
· 1945 A.D. The Germans burn Bobrovec to the ground. Later Nazi troops hunker down in Bukowina Tatrzanska and incoming Russians prepare to launch an all-out artillery barrage. During the night the Spisz region is covered by thick mist. Through the fog the Nazis retreat toward Germany. The Russians, unable to target their strikes, abort the plan saving the town and surrounding areas from the great devastation that would surely have resulted. Waksmund, long a center for Partizan Freedom Fighter and anti-Nazi activity, is the site of World War II's last battle in Podhale. In May, the Germans surrender and the war is over. The state of Czechoslovakia is reformed again. Poland takes control of Niedzica castle.
· 1947 A.D. All Polish and Slovak lands struggle to recover from the war, in the Tatra areas as well. The Communists make gains in both Czechoslovakia's and Poland's emerging post-war governments.
· 1948 A.D. Both Poland and Czechoslovakia now come under Communist control. Officials begin confiscating private property, arresting priests, seizing church records, and taking all such documents to armed central archives. Getting wind of these operations, most Highlanders hide their priests and their parish records. When government officials arrive, the village churches are empty. When asked the whereabouts of their priests, the Gorals answer: "He left. We don't know." When asked about the records they reply: "What records?" When Communist restrictions later eases, the priests and the records will quietly return.
· 1954 A.D. A Communist hydroelectric dam is built in Lavkovo creating Orava Lake in northern Orava and flooding five existing villages.
· 1970 A.D. A Communist dam built in Liptovska Mara creates Liptov Lake.
· 1975 A.D. The Tatras become most attractive to Poles wanting to vacation. As a result the Communists build many new large hotels in Zakopane. Unfortunately most are stark and drab, not at all incorporating the local Goral architecture.
· 1976 A.D. Having discussed plans since the Dunajec flooding in 1934, the Communists finally begin construction on two dams that will create the Czorsztyn and Sromowce lakes between Debno and Sromowce Wyzne.
· 1979 A.D. John Paul II, who was raised near Krakow and visited the Tatras many times in his youth, makes his first visit to Podhale as Pope, coming to Nowy Targ.
· 1989 A.D. All of Eastern Europe breaks from Communism and become free nations.
· 1992 A.D. The Czech and Slovak parts of what was Czechoslovakia split peacefully into two separate and independent republics in what becomes known as "the Velvet Revolution."
· 1994 A.D. Podhale becomes a tourist magnet for Poland, Slovakia and Hungary as 4.5 million tourists pass through the Lysa Polana border crossing.
· 1996 A.D. Pope John Paul II is named an "Honorary Citizen" of Nowy Targ. Meanwhile the population of Orava, Liptov and Spis still measure only half a million, just half the density of the rest of Slovakia. The two-dam project on the Dunajec river below the Niedzica and Czorsztyn castles is completed.
· 1997 A.D. Pope John Paul II returns again to Podhale. 30,000 come to greet him, most dressed in their traditional Goral folk dress.
· 2000 A.D. After a decade of freedom from Communism, the Polish economy is doing well, while the Slovak economy is still struggling. With unemployment over 20%, many Slovaks in the Tatras relocate to other areas and even other countries to find work.
· 2003 A.D. Both Poland and Slovakia vote to join the European Union.
· 2004 A.D. November: a feared "Halny" wind, known by the Gorals for centuries to blow sparks dangerously down chimneys and flattening whole mountainsides of tall Spruce, hits the southern foothills of the Tatras between Podbanske and Lendak. Its 108 mile-per-hour winds flatten more timber in four hours than the Slovak Nation's logging industry normally harvests in a year.
1. Dusan Kovac, Kronika Slovenska, Vol I (Bratislava: Fortuna Print & Adox, 1998) written in Slovak
2. Jan Reychman, Podhale (Warsaw: "Our Library" Communist State Publishers 1949) written in Polish. This book was translated and shared in sections in the TARG monthly newsletter -- section one is in the May 2004 Issue.
3. Jan Gutt-Mostowy, Podhale: A Companion Guide to the Polish Highlands (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1998) translated into English
4. Duncan Gardiner, German Towns in Slovakia & Upper Hungary, 3rd Edition (Lakewood, Ohio: The Family Historian, 1991) written in English
5. Daniel Kollar, Jan Lacika, Roman Malarz, The Slovak-Polish Tatras (Bratislava: Dajama Press, 1998) translated into English
6. Mary Rogers, Slovakia in Pictures (New York City, NY: Lerner Publications 1995) written in English
7. J.V. Polisensky, History of Czechoslovakia in Outline (Prague: Bohemia International 1991) translated into English
8. Jim Downs, World War II: OSS Tragedy in Slovakia (Oceanside, CA: Liefrinck Publishers, 2003) written in English
9. Theodor Scheider, The Expulsion of the German Population from Czechoslovakia (Bonn, Germany: Gerhard Rautenberg 1960) translated into English
10. Mark W. A. Axworthy, Axis Slovakia: Hitler's Slavic Wedge 1938-1945 (Bayside, NY: Axis Europa Books 2002) written in English
11. Rosemary A. Chorzempa, Polish Roots (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, Inc. 1993) written in English
12. Erich Bachmann, Baedeker's Czech & Slovak Republics (Basingstoke, UK: Prentice Hall 1994) translated into English
13. Anna Liscar, Brief Guide: Tatra Museum in Zakopane (Krakow: The Tatra Museum Society 1999) translated into English
14. Jared H. Suess, Central European Genealogical Terminology (Logan, UT: Everton Publishers 1978) written in English
15. Richard Iglar, "The History of Spisz," "The History of Frydman," "Niedzica Castle" (personal family history writings 2002)
16. Dr. Thaddeus V. Gromada, "Tatrzanski Orzel -- The Tatra Eagle" (New York, NY: Tatra Eagle Publishing, a 56-year-old quarterly) written in English and Polish
Paul K. Bingham is the Founder of the Tatra Area Research Group (see www.mytarg.net) and can be contacted easily by e-mail at: targ_nethotmail, or by writing to: TARG, P.O. Box 3533, Escondido, CA 92033.
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