Dantzic (Germ. Danzig; Pol. Gdansk), a seaport town of Prussia, capital of a district of the same name in the province of West Prussia, in lat. 54° 21' 18" N., lon. 18° 41' 12" E., on the left bank of the west or principal arm of the Vistula, about 3 m. from its mouth in the bay of Dantzic, and 250 m. E. N. E. of Berlin; pop. in 1871, 89,121, of whom 76 per cent, were Protestants. It is traversed by the Mottlau and Radaune, two small affluents of the Vistula. The town, which ranks as a fortress of the first class, is nearly circular, and is surrounded by walls and bastions, defended by a citadel and outworks, and provided with the means of flooding a considerable part of the country on three sides. Including its nine suburbs, it has a circumference of more than 12 m. It is divided into five principal parts, the Old, New, and Low towns, the Speicherinsel (Granary island), and the Langgarten. The latter is the more modern part, and is regularly and well built. On the Speicher island are immense granaries capable of holding 4,000,000 bushels. No dwelling houses and no lights or fires are allowed on this island.
The principal street of Dantzic is the Langgasse, which intersects it from E. to W., and leads into the Lange-markt, or Long Market. It abounds in antique buildings of splendid and fantastic architecture, the most remarkable of which is the Rathhaus, erected in the 14th century. In the older parts of the town the streets are narrow and winding, and the houses poor. The principal buildings are the cathedral or Ma-rienkirche, begun in 1343 and finished in 1503, which contains the celebrated picture of " The Last Judgment," supposed to be the work of Memling, though attributed to Jan van Eyck; the Catharinenkirche, which is still older; the exchange, built in 1379; the town house, arsenal, navigation school, and school of arts. There are also three monasteries, a nunnery, a number of other churches, several synagogues, foundling and orphan asylums and hospitals for the sick, a lunatic asylum, a theatre, and many institutions of learning and art. The port of Dantzic is Neufahrwasser, at the mouth of the Vistula, which has been built since 1841, when the. river changed its course and formed a new outlet, reducing the depth of the main channel. Of late years, however, a canal with 15 ft. of water has been excavated, and large vessels now come up to the town as in former times.
In 1869, 1,388 vessels entered with cargoes, and 415 in ballast; total tonnage, 428,888. In the same year 1,753 vessels sailed from the port with cargoes, and 98 in ballast; total tonnage, 440,679. Three steamers and 125 sailing vessels were owned here. The exports by sea in 1869 included 4,057,768 bushels of wheat, 1,323,344 of rye, 697,752 of barley, and 520,000 tons of timber. In 1870 nearly 8,000,000 bushels of grain were exported. The other chief articles of export are liqueurs, beer, wool, flax, hemp, pitch, tallow, leather, potash, salt, saltpetre, starch, and chiccory. The great staple is grain, particularly wheat, which is chiefly Polish, and is noted for the fine quality of the flour made from it. The imports are principally iron, iron nails, coal, coffee, rice, herrings, cotton, guano, lead, and dyewoods. The exports in 1869 amounted to 25,693,310 thalers, the imports to 29,257,910 thalers. The manufactures are chiefly brandy, beer, tobacco, starch, oil, refined sugar, potash, woollen and linen cloths, ship biscuit, and various articles of metal. Amber is also wrought to a considerable extent, supporting a large number of workmen.
It is collected on the beach of the Baltic, where it is thrown up by the sea, and large quantities are annually exported to France in the crude state. Dantzic contains 40 beer breweries, 25 distilleries, and 80 establishments where the liqueur known in commerce as Danziges Goldwasser is made. It is connected by railway with Berlin, Stettin, and Konigsberg. - There was a considerable town on the site of Dantzic before the end of the 10th century, but its early history is involved in obscurity. It was captured by the Poles in 1294, and in 1310 it fell into the hands of the Teutonic knights, and became a German city among a Polish population. In 1454 it placed itself under the supremacy of the king of Poland, who made it a free city with important privileges. In 1793, on the second partition of Poland, it fell under the dominion of Prussia. It was besieged, bombarded, and taken by the French under Marshal Lefebvre in 1807, and was retaken by the Prussians in 1814, after the famous defence of 12 months made by Gen. Rapp, when the town was half destroyed and the inhabitants were reduced by famine and pestilence to the deepest distress. Dantzic has now partially regained its ancient importance.
It is one of the four naval ports of the German empire.