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Baranow Sandomierski

Baranów Sandomierski [baˈranuf sandɔˈmʲɛrskʲi] is a small town in southern Poland, in the Subcarpathian Voivodship, Tarnobrzeg County on the Vistula River, with 1,440 inhabitants (02.06.2009). Baranów lies near the Vistula river, along regional road nr. 985, which goes from Tarnobrzeg to Mielec. It belongs to the historic province of Lesser Poland, and for centuries was part of the Sandomierz Voivodeship. Its name comes either from sheep husbandry, which was prevalent in this area in the past (baran means ram in Polish), or from the Baranowski family, owners of the town.

The settlement or the gord of Baranów was first mentioned in 1135. It was conveniently located near the Vistula river ford, and in 1354 it was granted town charter by King Casimir III the Great. Baranów belonged to the Baranowski family, and in the late 15th century it became property of the Kurozwecki family. In 1518 Barbara Kurozwecka married Stanisław Górka, so Baranów remained in the hands of the Górka family until 1560, when it was sold to Rafał Leszczyński. During the Protestant Reformation, Baranów was an important center of Calvinism. The town prospered due to grain trade, as well as its artisans. Its decline began during the catastrophic Swedish invasion of Poland (1655 - 1660), when Baranów was ransacked and burned.

In 1677 the town was sold to Dymitr Wiśniowiecki, later on it belonged to the Lubomirski family, and the Potocki family. In the mid-18th century its population was ca. 1,200. After the partitions of Poland Baranów found itself in the Austrian province of Galicia, where it remained from 1772 until 1918. The town further declined, as it was located near the tightly sealed Austrian - Russian border. Furthermore, frequent Vistula floods caused extensive damages, and on August 24, 1898 almost whole town burned in a fire. Its decline was so severe that Baranów lost its town charter in 1896, remaining a village until 1934.

In the Second Polish Republic Baranów became part of Tarnobrzeg County, Lwów Voivodeship. In 1933, Baranów received its coat of arms. During the 1939 Invasion of Poland, units of the Kraków Army withdrew eastwards in the area of Baranów, and in 1939 - 1944, the Baranów Castle was the seat of a local German administrative office. In July 1944, units of the Red Army crossed the Vistula near the town, creating the so-called Baranów Bridgehead (see Vistula–Oder Offensive).

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