Wyrzysk (pronounce: ['v
iʒ isk], German Wirsitz) is a town in Poland with 14,500 inhabitants, situated in Greater Poland Voivodship.
Gmina Wyrzysk has a population of about 14,500 and occupies an area of 160.7 km². It lies on the northern edge of Greater Poland Voivodship; in the east it borders gmina Sądki in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodship. Of the district area, 117.11 km² are occupied by arable land and 19.65 km² by forests.
The district is cut through by national road No. 10 leading from Szczecin to Warsaw. This road connects Wyrzysk with Piła (37 km) and Bydgoszcz (55 km). The railway station in Osiek nad Notecią also provides a railway connection with Piła (39 km) and Bydgoszcz (48 km).
The district lies in Krajna Plateau. Its southern border is formed by the River Noteć with its tributary, the Łobżonka, which cuts through the picturesque moraine hills rising over the wide valley of the Noteć. One of these hills, Dębowa Góra, reaches a height of 192 metres above sea level and is the highest elevation of the Krajna Region. Over 60 per cent of the district is protected as an area of scenic beauty.
Conditions favourable for human settlement occurred in the present Wyrzysk Region in the postglacial period. Its relics are now left on the moraine hills along the Noteć River. Archaeological excavations in the village of Żuławka revealed that humans arrived here as early as nine thousand years ago. Soon they built a permanent crossing over the Noteć. Those wooden bridges in the vicinity of present Żuławka were maintained by people settling in this area for the following 3,500 years, which is a unique example of engineering skills in prehistoric Europe.
In the Middle Ages the Noteć became a natural border between the regions of Greater Poland and Pomerania, which long resisted the expansion of the Polish Piast dynasty, German margraves, and since the 13th century also the Teutonic Knights. With time, people adopted the name Krajna for the area to the north of the Noteć. The Polish prince Bolesław the Wrymouth (1106-1138) conquered the castles on the Noteć and incorporated Krajna into his state. Over the following centuries, Krajna was connected with Greater Poland.
The first preserved mention of Wyrzysk dates back to 1326; the name of the place was then recorded in the so-called Greater Poland Codex. Wyrzysk was probably granted the royal charter before 1450; in 1565 it became a town under the so-called Magdeburg law. As a result of series of wars in the second half of 17th century and beginning of 18th Wyrzysk became in fact a village. Wyrzysk was annexed by Prussia in 1772 following the first Partition of Poland. The city rights were renewed in 1773 by the Prussian King Frederick the Great who made the town a centre administering the construction of the Bydgoszcz Canal and the regulation of the Noteć. From 1807 to 1815 the town was a part of Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw and subsequently it was given back to Prussia as a result of Congress of Vienna. It remained Prussian until the end of First World War.
In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, Krajna was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian ruler and his successors aimed at fast Germanisation of the captured land. The methods which served this purpose included the introduction of Prussian administration and education, encouraging and supporting Prussian settlement and purchase of estates from the Polish gentry. Thus Wyrzysk was sold by Karol Rydzyński to King Frederick II himself as early as 1773. In 1807-1815 the Wyrzysk area belonged to the Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815 it was recaptured by the Prussians. In 1818 Wyrzysk became the seat of a county in the Grand Duchy of Poznań.
The period of Prussian rule accelerated the economic development and progress, especially in agriculture, in which the Prussians abolished the law of corvée at the beginning of the 19th century. The conflict arose especially during the Kulturkampf period. However, the pressure of Germanisation encountered the growing resistance of the Polish population of Krajna, which stuck doggedly to its native language and the Roman Catholic religion. This found expression in establishing Polish associations, choirs, sports clubs, banks and self-help organizations.
Wyrzysk was given to new re-born Poland by Treaty of Versailles, although 53 percent of its population were Germans at that time. Most of them preferred to move to Germany as so called optants. From 1939 to 1945 the city was occupied by Germany and was put into the new created province of Danzig-West Prussia. Wyrzysk has been recovered by Poland in 1945.