Gdańsk ( gə-DANSK, also US: gə-DAHNSK; Polish: [ɡdaj̃sk] (listen); German: Danzig [ˈdantsɪç] (listen); Kashubian: Gduńsk) is a city on the Baltic coast of northern Poland. With a population of 470,907, Gdańsk is the capital and largest city of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the most prominent city in the geographical region of Pomerania. It is Poland's principal seaport and the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city is at the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay, on the Baltic Sea, in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, the resort town of Sopot, and suburban communities; these form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population of approximately 1.5 million. Gdańsk lies at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, which drains 60 percent of Poland and connects Gdańsk with the Polish capital, Warsaw. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is also an industrial centre.
The city's history is complex, with periods of Polish, Prussian and German rule, and periods of autonomy or self-rule as a free city state. In the early-modern age, Gdańsk was a royal city of Poland. It was considered the wealthiest and the largest city of Poland, before the 18th century rapid growth of Warsaw. In the late Middle Ages it was an important seaport and shipbuilding town and, in the 14th and 15th centuries, a member of the Hanseatic League.
In the interwar period, Gdańsk lay in a disputed region between Poland and Germany, which became known as the Polish Corridor. The city's ambiguous political status was exploited by Germany, furthering tension between the two countries, which would ultimately culminate in the Invasion of Poland and the first clash of the Second World War just outside the city, followed by the ethnic cleansing and executions of Polish-speaking minority population and ultimately flight and expulsion of the German-speaking majority of the city's population in 1945.
In the 1980s, Gdańsk was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in bringing an end to communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact.
Gdańsk is home to the University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology, the National Museum, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, the Museum of the Second World War, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the European Solidarity Centre. The city also hosts St. Dominic's Fair, which dates back to 1260, and is regarded as one of the biggest trade and cultural events in Europe. Gdańsk has also topped rankings for the quality of life, safety and living standards worldwide.