The Establishment of Krakow under Magdeburg Law 1257

The Great Charter of Krakow under Magdeburg Law was issued together by their highnesses Boleslaus V the Chaste (Bolesław Wstydliwy) (1226-1279), Prince of Krakow and Sandomierz, his mother, Grzymisława (after 1190-1256), and also his wife, Kunegunda (Kinga) (1234-1292) on the 5th of June in 1257. The fact that it was proclaimed at a great gathering and authenticated by the highest officials in the Duchy, testifies to the great importance of this document. The establishment of the city under Magdeburg Law gave the then existing Krakow the character and standing of a municipality, which later became a community with its own local government and judicial rights, granted by the ruler. As a city under Magdeburg Law, it had precise boundaries, a layout, building lots which had been surveyed and recorded as well as predetermined rentals.

Such a great undertaking was organised by the settlers, Gedko Stilvojt, Jakub, once a judge in Nysa and Detmar Wolk, who subsequently became administrators of the city occupying the hereditary positions of Wójts [Latin:advocatus]. Some of their tasks included the surveying and demarcation of the new market place, the laying out of streets and building lots, bringing settlers into the city, the organising, choosing and chairing of the court of assessors and lastly the creating and choosing of the city council. The Wójts received considerable returns from the prince and their income as well as their economic privileges were specified and known.

The establishment of Krakow under Magdeburg Law greatly benefited its inhabitants, those who came to settle in the city, the Wójts and also the ruler. The inhabitants became a free people, paying no rental for some short time, while those who moved into the city caused an increase in production trade and wealth. The Wójts themselves received enormous wealth, economic privileges and hereditary authority and lastly the ruler benefited from the economic development of the city which yielded an increase in income

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