Topics of coins


Mława is a town which grew at the crossroads of trade routes and at the point where various political influences and cultures met. The town of Mława entered – in a full sense of the word – the arena of history in 1429, when a charter of incorporation was granted to it by the three Dukes of Masovia, i.e. Siemowit V, Casimir II and Władysław I, in the town of Płock. On several occasions, the young town was a venue for assemblies convened to settle the transboundary disputes between the Duchy of Masovia and the Teutonic Knights, to which local noblemen arrived in great numbers. Mława was a major centre of trade and crafts, involved both in local and external trading activities. The town attracted a number of merchants even from distant Netherlands, and various craftsmen. Surely, the first wave of Jewish settlers arrived in the town at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries.

The gradual decline of economic activity in the Republic of Poland and in neighbouring Prussia, outbreaks of plague and fires, and finally war damage, confiscation and tributes led to a steady fall of the town. As early as in the second half of the 18th century, Mława came to life again, although it did not regain its old splendour. Under the decision of the Crown Sejm of 1764, Mława was made the seat of administrative and judicial authority of the land of Zawkrze. King Stanisław August Poniatowski authorised the burghers of Mława to have the town hall reconstructed. A very telling inscription was put on the facade of this Baroque building – it read: “Let there be equal justice for the poor and the rich, for the town residents and the newcomers”. After the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Mława became part of Prussia, was later incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw, and under provisions of the Congress of Vienna of 1815 was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland.

A milestone in the history of the town was the construction of a railway station of the Vistula River Railroad in 1877. In addition to Płock, which was located in the Governorate, Mława became the largest and wealthiest town in northern Masovia, however with diverse religious, national and cultural backgrounds. Further growth of the town was halted by the outbreak of World War I. In November 1918, Mława residents seized full power in the town. It was shortly turned into the seat of the powiat (county), included this time into the newly-established Warsaw province. The interwar period (1918-1939) saw a further territorial growth of the town and an increase in the number of residents (to around 25,000), mostly of Polish origin – the Jews accounted for around 30% of its population. The Battle of Mława of 1–4 September 1939, when the 20th Infantry Division showed heroism by defending the town against the German troops, went down in the history of Poland. Fifty five bunkers, which formed the fortification line known as the Mława position, can be found today. The Re-enactment of the Battle of Mława is an annual event organized at the site of the fortification defence line during the last weekend of August.

Although Mława was destroyed and heavily damaged during the war, lost its multicultural character, and had its “ups and downs” in People’s Poland, the town was rebuilt and its population increased. Since 1 January 1999, Mława – with present population at over 31,000 – has again become the seat of the powiat. The town’s urban and housing infrastructure is fairly well developed. The consumer electronics industry is the town’s best performing sector; the food processing industry and construction as well as a number of service businesses are also thriving. Mława also has a strong tradition in the craft trades.

Leszek Zygner