LIEGNITZ, a town in Germany, in the Prussian province of Silesia, picturesquely situated on the Katzbach, just above its junction with the Schwarzwasser, and 40 m. W.N.W. of Breslau, on the main line of railway to Berlin via Sommerfeld. Pop. (1885) 43,347, (1905) 59,710. It consists of an old town, surrounded by pleasant, shady promenades, and several wellbuilt suburbs. The most prominent building is the palace, formerly the residence of the dukes of Liegnitz, rebuilt after a fire in 1835 and now used as the administrative offices of the district. The Ritter Akademie, founded by the emperor Joseph I. in 1708 for the education of the young Silesian nobles, was reconstructed as a gymnasium in 1810. The Roman Catholic church of St John, with two fine towers, contains the burial vault of the dukes. The principal Lutheran church, that of SS. Peter and Paul (restored in 1892-1894), dates from the 14th century. The manufactures are considerable, the chief articles made being cloth, wool, leather, tobacco, pianos and machinery. Its trade in grain and its cattle-markets are likewise important. The large market gardens in the suburbs grow vegetables of considerable annual value.
Liegnitz is first mentioned in an historical document in the year 1004. In 1163 it became the seat of the dukes of Liegnitz, who greatly improved and enlarged it. The dukes were members of the illustrious Piast family, which gave many kings to Poland. During the Thirty Years' War Liegnitz was taken by the Swedes, but was soon recaptured by the Imperialists. The Saxon army also defeated the imperial troops near Liegnitz in 1634. On the death of the last duke of Liegnitz in 1675, the duchy came into the possession of the Empire, which retained it until the Prussian conquest of Silesia in 1742. On the 15th of August 1 760 Frederick the Great gained a decisive victory near Liegnitz over the Austrians, and in August 1813 Bliicher defeated the French in the neighbourhood at the battle of the Katzbach. During the 19th century Liegnitz rapidly increased in population and prosperity. In 1906 the German autumn manoeuvres were held over the terrain formerly the scene of the great battles already mentioned.
See Schuchard, Die Stadt Liegnitz (Berlin, 1868); Sammter and Kraffert, Chronik von Liegnitz (Liegnitz, 1861-1873); Jander, Liegnitz in seinem Entwickelungsgange (Liegnitz, 1905) ; and Fiihrer fiir Liegnitz und seine Umgebung (Liegnitz, 1897) ; and the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Liegnitz bis 1455, edited by Schirrmacher (Liegnitz, 1866).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)