Żarnowiec [ʐarˈnɔvjɛt͡s] (Kashubian: Żarnówc, German Zarnowitz) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Krokowa, within Puck County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies close to Żarnowieckie Lake, approximately 5 kilometres (3 mi) west of Krokowa, 23 km (14 mi) north-west of Puck, and 59 km (37 mi) north-west of the regional capital Gdańsk. In 2005 the village had a population of 861.
Żarnowiec was the location for the first Polish nuclear power plant (Żarnowiec Nuclear Power Plant), but construction was stopped in 1990 due to protests of the local population and lack of funds. Recently, the construction plans are being reconsidered.
The earliest evidence of settlement in the region dates from the 8th century BC: the inhabitants were apparently linked with the Lusatian and East Pomeranian cultures. There was a settlement near the Żarnowiec lake from the seventh to the tenth century AD. A village known alternately as Sarnkow, Sarnowitz, Sarnowicz or Czarnowicz is first mentioned in sources dating from the thirteenth century, when it was inhabited by the Kashubians.
In 1215, Żarnowiec belonged to the Cistercian order based in Oliwa Abbey, which founded a monastery for women there. In 1297 the monastery received special economic and juridical privileges from Mściwój II, Duke of Pomerania.
In fourteenth century Żarnowiec, together with all of Pomerelia was incorporated by the Teutonic Order. In 1433, it was raided by a Hussite army. In 1462, during the Thirteen Years' War, the Polish army under Piotr Dunin defeated the Teutonic Knights there (see Battle of Świecino, also known as the Battle of Żarnowiec). After the war Żarnowiec became a part of Royal Prussia (Prusy Królewskie).
In 1590 it was taken over by a female order of Benedictines from Chełmno, who founded an abbey there in 1617. In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, it was taken over by Prussia, and in 1834 the abbey was liquidated. It was refounded in 1946 by a female order of Benedictines from Vilnius.
The American writer Joel Barlow (1754-1812) died here on December 26, 1812, while fleeing Russian forces pursuing remnants of the French army after Napoleon's unsuccessful invasion of Russia.
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