Kujawy (k, sometimes referred to as Kuyavia or Cuyavia (from ), is a historical and ethnographic region in the north-central Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, situated in the basin of the middle Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 and upper Noteć
Noteć is a river in central Poland with a length of 388 km and a basin area of 17,330 km². It is a tributary of the Warta river and lies completely within Poland....

 Rivers, with its capital in Włocławek.


The origin of the name Kujawy was seen differently in history. The most probable explanation has been put forward by professor Stanisław Rospond who thinks the name Kujawy derives from the words kui, kuiati, meaning: gale and also flat, dune land which was at the risk of this gale. Though, the etymology of the name Kujawy is connected with the physiography of the land.

For the first time, the name Kujawy appeared in written sources in the 1136 Bull of Gniezno
Bull of Gniezno
The Bull of Gniezno was a papal bull issued on July 7, 1136 by Pope Innocent II. The bull split Archbishop of Magdeburg from the rest of the Polish church. From a historical perspective, the bull is especially important as it contains the earliest written record of the Polish language...

  issued by Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II , born Gregorio Papareschi, was pope from 1130 to 1143, and was probably one of the clergy in personal attendance on the antipope Clement III .-Early years:...

. Later, the name of the land was mentioned in many documents from medieval times. It is also mentioned in the chronicles of Wincenty Kadłubek.


In the north Kujawy borders with the historic regions of Gdańsk Pomerania
Gdańsk Pomerania
For the medieval duchy, see Pomeranian duchies and dukesGdańsk Pomerania or Eastern Pomerania is a geographical region in northern Poland covering eastern part of Pomeranian Voivodeship...

Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

) and Old Prussian Chełmno Land
Chełmno Land
Chełmno land or Chełmno region is a historical region of Poland, located in central Poland, bounded by the Vistula and Drwęca rivers....

, in the west with Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

, and in the east with Masovia. The borders of Kuyawy stretch out on the left bank of Vistula River: from the mouth of Skrwa River in the south, to the mouth of the Wda
The Wda is a river in northern Poland, a tributary of the Vistula river , with a length of 198 kilometres and a basin area of 2,325 km²...

 River on the north. The borders of Kujawy spread out to the west from Koronowo
Koronowo is a town on the Brda River in Poland, located in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, 25 km from Bydgoszcz, with 10,818 inhabitants . It is located at N 53°19 - E 17°56...

 and Nakło to the Noteć River where they turn west, cross Trląg
Trląg is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Janikowo, within Inowrocław County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland. It lies approximately south of Janikowo, south-west of Inowrocław, south of Bydgoszcz, and south-west of Toruń.-References:...

 Lake, and onto the Strzelneński Forests. They reach Skulski Lake and the upper Noteć River. They also include Brdowski
Brdów is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Babiak, within Koło County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland. It lies approximately east of Babiak, north of Koło, and east of the regional capital Poznań.- Famous people :...

 Lake, Chodecz
Chodecz is a small town in Włocławek County in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland. It is situated in Central Poland, midway between Lubień Kujawski and Przedecz. It is about north of Łódź, west of Warsaw and south of Włocławek. The southwest side of Chodecz borders on Lake...

 and Lubień Kujawski
Lubien Kujawski
Lubień Kujawski is a town in Włocławek County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, with 1,318 inhabitants .- References :...

 and go through the Skrwa River and finally end at the Vistula River.

General description

Kujawy lowland has an average high of 100-130 meters above sea level, is post-glacial landscape, slightly undulating, in some places there are moraine hills elevations and sandy gravel embankments. In deep dykes and depressions is about 600 lakes with surface higher than 1 kilometre, under ice formation there are layers of rock-salt and potassium, in the layers from the Tertiary Period there are layers of lignite and ceramic clay.

Since 1999, they are part of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
-Transportation:Transportation infrastructure is of critical importance to the voivodeship's economy. Kuyavia-Pomerania is a major node point in the Polish transportation system. Railway lines from the South and East pass through Bydgoszcz in order to reach the major ports on the Baltic Sea...

 (excluding some parts) and the northern outskirts of Koło County in Greater Poland province. In Kujawy there are black soils (also called black land, Polish: czarnoziem), one of the best soils in Poland. Thanks to the fertile soils, Kujawy is called “the granary of Poland”.


The episcopal see of Kujawy was Kruszwica
Kruszwica is a town in central Poland and is situated in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship , previously in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship .It has a population of 9,412 people .-History:...

, and later Włocławek (after the episcopal see in the early 12th century). The capital of this Duchy, and - from the late 14th century - the residences of the Voivode governors were Inowrocław, Brześć Kujawski
Brzesc Kujawski
Brześć Kujawski is a town in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Population - 4,521 , Poland.It has been the seat of one of two small duchies into which Kuyavia has been temporarily divided....

, and Radziejów
Radziejów is a town in Poland, in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, about 45 km south of Toruń. It is the capital of Radziejów County. Its population is 5,804 .-History:...

 as the seat of the shared regional Sejmik
A sejmik was a regional assembly in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and earlier in the Kingdom of Poland. Sejmiks existed until the end of the Commonwealth in 1795 following the partitions of the Commonwealth...

council of the two Kujawy voivodeship
Voivodship is a term denoting the position of, or more commonly the area administered by, a voivod. Voivodeships have existed since medieval times in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia....


Today, the biggest centres of Kujawy are Bydgoszcz, Włocławek and Inowrocław (Novo Wladislaw, i.e. "New Włocławek"). Also the southern part of Toruń (Podgórz) lies in the historical region of Kujawy. The region is divided into White Kujawy (west) with the capital in Inowrocław and Black Kujawy (east) with the capital in Włocławek.


Some ethnographists and historians, for example Oskar Kolberg
Oskar Kolberg
Henryk Oskar Kolberg, , was a Polish ethnographer, folklorist, and composer.- Life :He was born in Przysucha, the son of Juliusz Kolberg, a professor at Warsaw University, and Fryderyka Mercoeur...

 and Zygmunt Gloger
Zygmunt Gloger
Zygmunt Gloger was a Polish historian, archeologist, geographer and ethnographer, bearer of Wilczekosy coat of arms.-Life:...

, count the lands of Dobrzyń
Dobrzyn Land
Dobrzyń Land is a historic region around the town of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą in Poland, east of the Vistula River and south of the Drwęca, where it borders on the Kulmerland...

 and Chełmno
Chełmno Land
Chełmno land or Chełmno region is a historical region of Poland, located in central Poland, bounded by the Vistula and Drwęca rivers....

 east of the Vistula as parts of the Kujawy region.
  1. Kujawy szerokie:
  2. Chełmno Land
  3. Dobrzyń Land
  4. Kujawy właściwe (ścisłe)
  5. Bachorza
  6. Białe Kujawy
  7. Kujawy borowe
  8. Kujawy czarne
  9. Kujawy garbate
  10. Kujawy leśne
  11. Kujawy nadwiślańskie
  12. Kujawy zagoplańskie

Eary Middle Ages

The beginnings of the state in Kujawy are connected with the tribal state of the West Slavic Goplans
Goplans, Goplanes or Goplanie is a name of an early medieval West Slavic tribe, later to become part of the Polish nation. They were mentioned by Bavarian Geographer as 'Glopeani' and believed to have lived around Lake Gopło, with its capital in Kruszwica, between 7th-9th century AD.Medieval...

. The Goplans, which some researchers identify with the Mazowszanie-Kłobianie or simply with the Kujawianie, had created a country with the main centers in Kruszwica on the northern shore of Lake Gopło. During the 10th century, their territory was conquered by another West Slavic tribe, the Polans
Polans (western)
The Polans were a West Slavic tribe, part of the Lechitic group, inhabiting the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century.During the reign of King Svatopluk I of Great Moravia , who subdued the tribes of the Vistulans and Ślężanie...

 settling in the adjacent Greater Polish land around Poznań
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

 and Gniezno
Gniezno is a city in central-western Poland, some 50 km east of Poznań, inhabited by about 70,000 people. One of the Piasts' chief cities, it was mentioned by 10th century A.D. sources as the capital of Piast Poland however the first capital of Piast realm was most likely Giecz built around...

 and upon the death of Duke Mieszko I of Poland
Mieszko I of Poland
Mieszko I , was a Duke of the Polans from about 960 until his death. A member of the Piast dynasty, he was son of Siemomysł; grandchild of Lestek; father of Bolesław I the Brave, the first crowned King of Poland; likely father of Świętosława , a Nordic Queen; and grandfather of her son, Cnut the...

 in 992, the Kujawy lands were part of his Civitas Schinesghe
Civitas Schinesghe
Civitas Schinesghe is the first officially written down name of Poland originating from 991–992. The original deed is missing, but mentioned in an 11th-century papal regesta called Dagome iudex, according to which the Piast duke Mieszko I of Poland had given the guidance of unam civitatem in...

 as circumscribed in the Dagome iudex
Dagome iudex
"Dagome iudex" is one of the earliest historical documents relating to Poland. Poland is not mentioned by name, but reference is made to Dagome and Ote and their sons in 991, placing their land under the protection of the Apostolic See...

papal regesta.

According to Andrzej Bańkowski, the Polans had moved into the region of Greater Poland after they had to leave together with the Morawianie, their former Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

n territories, conquered by the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

. According to some sources, during the war with the Goplans, the Polans were supported by a Great Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

n army. As a result of occupation of the Goplans’ territory, the lands of Kujawy were under the strong influence of the Pannonian culture and they lost their primary Masovian spirit.

Duchy of Kujawy

When the name Cuiavia arose for the first time in the 1136 Bull of Gniezno, it referred to the lands east of Greater Poland around Kruszwica and Włocławek, bordering with the Vistula river. The bull confirmed the position of the Bishopric of Kujawy at Włocławek as a suffragan diocese
Suffragan Diocese
A suffragan diocese is a diocese in the Catholic Church that is overseen not only by its own diocesan bishop but also by a metropolitan bishop. The metropolitan is always an archbishop who governs his own archdiocese...

 of the Archdiocese of Gniezno.

In the times of the Polish fragmentation upon the 1138 Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty, Kujawy at first became part of the Duchy of Masovia
Duchy of Masovia
The Duchy of Masovia with its capital at Płock was a medieval duchy formed when the Polish Kingdom of the Piasts fragmented in 1138. It was located in the historic Masovian region of northeastern Poland...

 under Bolesław IV the Curly and his son Leszek
Leszek, Duke of Masovia
Leszek of Masovia was the second Duke of Masovia and Kuyavia from 1173 until his death.He was the second but only surviving son of Bolesław IV the Curly, High Duke of Poland by his first wife Viacheslava, daughter of St. Vsevolod, Prince of Novgorod and Pskov...

; it was claimed by the Polish High Duke Casimir II the Just
Casimir II the Just
Casimir II the Just was a Lesser Polish duke at Wiślica during 1166–1173, and at Sandomierz since 1173. He became ruler over the Polish Seniorate Province at Kraków and thereby High Duke of Poland in 1177; a position he held until his death, interrupted once by his elder brother and predecessor...

 in 1186, contested by his elder brother Mieszko III the Old
Mieszko III the Old
Mieszko III the Old , of the royal Piast dynasty, was Duke of Greater Poland from 1138 and High Duke of Poland, with interruptions, from 1173 until his death....

 and his son Bolesław. Casimir's son Duke Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia , from the Polish Piast dynasty, was the sixth Duke of Masovia from 1194 until his death and High Duke of Poland from 1229 to 1232.-Life:...

 in 1233 created the Duchy of Kujawy for his second son Casimir I
Casimir I of Kuyavia
Casimir I of Kuyavia was Prince of Kujawy, Mazovia and Wielkopolska, from 1233 until his death. He was the son of Konrad I of Masovia, King of Poland, and his wife Agafia of Rus.- Life :...

. When Casimir's elder brother Duke Bolesław I of Masovia
Bolesław I of Masovia
Boleslaw I of Masovian was a member of the House of Piast. He was the eldest son of Konrad I of Masovia and his wife Agafia of Rus.He was the Duke of Sandomierz from 1229 to 1232...

 died in 1248, he took the occasion and took Dobrzyń Land east of the Vistula River from the heritage of his younger brother Siemowit I. Upon Casimir's death 1267, the Duchy of Kujawy was divided by his sons Leszek II the Black
Leszek II the Black
Leszek the Black , named after his black hair, was one of the High Dukes of the fragmented Kingdom of Poland. He ruled from 1279 to 1288, and was married to Agrippina of Slavonia with no children.- Life :...

 (d. 1288), Ziemomysł
Ziemomysł of Kuyavia
Ziemomysł of Kuyavia was Prince of Kuyavia from 1267-1271 and 1278-1287. He was a member of the large House of Piast- Early life :...

 (d. 1287) and Władysław I the Elbow-high into the two separate duchies of Inowrocław and Brześć-Kujawy.

In 1306 Ziemomysł's son Casimir II
Casimir II of Kuyavia
Casimir II of Kuyavia was Duke of Kuyavia and was a member of the House of Piast. He was son of Ziemomysł of Kuyavia and his wife Salome , daughter of Sambor II, Duke of Pomerania.-Life:...

 swore allegiance to his uncle Władysław I, who began to re-unite the Lands of the Polish Crown under his rule. The duchy was devastated during the Polish–Teutonic War
Polish–Teutonic War (1326–1332)
Polish–Teutonic War was the war between the Kingdom of Poland and the State of the Teutonic Order over Pomerelia, fought from 1326 to 1332.-Background:...

 of 1326–32, culminating in the 1331 Battle of Płowce, but was finally restored by the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 in the 1343 Treaty of Kalisz. With the death of Casimir's son Władysław the White in 1388, the Kujawy line of the Piast dynasty
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

 became extinct.

After the union of Polish lands in the 14th century, the division into provinces and counties was introduced. That division finalized in 15th century, existed until the dissolution of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. Kujawy was divided into the two administrative divisions of Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship
Brzesc Kujawski Voivodeship
Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship was a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland from 14th century to the partitions of Poland in 1772–1795...

 and Inowrocław Voivodeship. The voivodeship of Brześć-Kujawy was further divided into five powiat
A powiat is the second-level unit of local government and administration in Poland, equivalent to a county, district or prefecture in other countries. The term powiat is most often translated into English as "county", although other terms are also sometimes used...

s: Brześć, Kowal
Kowal is a town in Włocławek County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, with 3,478 inhabitants .The town is the birthplace of Casimir III, King of Poland .Kowal is also a common last name in the Ukraine, which means Smith....

, Kruszwica
Kruszwica is a town in central Poland and is situated in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship , previously in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship .It has a population of 9,412 people .-History:...

, Przedecz
Przedecz is a town in Koło County in the Greater Poland Voivodeship of Poland, with 1,779 inhabitants . It is situated west of Central Poland, midway between Chodecz and Kłodawa. It is about northwest of Łódź, west of Warsaw and east of Poznań. The southeast side of Przedecz borders on Lake...

 and Radziejów
Radziejów is a town in Poland, in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, about 45 km south of Toruń. It is the capital of Radziejów County. Its population is 5,804 .-History:...

, while the Inowrocław province was divided into the Bydgoszcz and Inowrocław powiats and Dobrzyń Land east of the Vistula.


As a result of the First Partition of Poland
First Partition of Poland
The First Partition of Poland or First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in 1772 as the first of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by 1795. Growth in the Russian Empire's power, threatening the Kingdom of Prussia and the...

 in 1772 the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 took a considerable part of Inowrocław and the western part of Brześć-Kujawy as part of the Netze District
Netze District
The Netze District or District of the Netze was a territory in the Kingdom of Prussia from 1772 until 1807. It included the urban centers of Bydgoszcz , Inowrocław , Piła and Wałcz and was given its name for the Noteć River that traversed it.Beside Royal Prussia, a land of the Polish Crown...

. After the Second Partition
Second Partition of Poland
The 1793 Second Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the second of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by 1795. The second partition occurred in the aftermath of the War in Defense of the Constitution and the Targowica Confederation of 1792...

 of 1793 the whole of Kujawy was taken by Prussia and incorporated into the South Prussia
South Prussia
South Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807. It was created out of territory annexed in the Second Partition of Poland and included in 1793*the Poznań, Kalisz and Gniezno Voivodeships of Greater Poland;...

 province. Upon the 1807 Treaties of Tilsit
Treaties of Tilsit
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman...

, it was part of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony...

 and administrated within the Bydgoszcz Department
Bydgoszcz Department
Bydgoszcz Department was a unit of administrative division and local government in Polish Duchy of Warsaw in years 1806-1815.Its capital city was Bydgoszcz....


In 1815 under the provisions of the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

, Kujawy was divided between the Kingdom of Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

 (Congress Poland remaining in a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 with the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

) and the Kingdom of Prussia. While the Brześć-Kujawy province (counties: Aleksandrów, Radziejów and Włocławek) remained with the Masovia Governorate
Masovia Governorate
Masovia Governorate was an administrative unit of the Congress Poland.It was created in 1837 from the Masovia Voivodeship; in 1844 it was merged into a larger Warsaw Governorate....

 of Congress Poland, Inowrocław (Hohensalza) was incorporated into the Prussian Grand Duchy of Posen.

That division outlasted the 1871 unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

 until the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. In 1909 the Kujawy and Dobrzyń District Museum in Włocławek was created. It was founded by the Polish Tourist Society.

Republic of Poland

In times of Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, from 1918, the western part of Kujawy belonged to province poznański, and the other part, eastern, belonged to the Warsaw province. In 1938 almost all Kujawy became a part of Pomeranian province. In 1934 the Muzeum Nadgoplańskie in Kruszwica was built. It was opened in 1939, and it had valuable collection of ethnographical objects, inter alia: furniture and clothing.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 almost all of Kujawy was in the borders of Warta District “Warthegau”, except the region of Bydgoszcz that was joined to the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia (German: Gau Danzig-Westpreussen)

In the years 1945-1975 Kujawy was in the borders of Bydgoszcz province. Włocławek province was created in 1975, and the western part of Kujawy remained in Bydgoszcz province. In 1999 almost the whole of Kujawy was joined to the Kujawy-Pomerania province. Furthermore, small parts of Kujawy were included in the borders of Masovia (regions between the border of the province and Skrwa River) and Wielkopolskie province (Przedecz, Wierzbinek).

See also

  • History of Poland during the Piast dynasty
  • Duchy of Greater Poland
  • Duchy of Masovia
    Duchy of Masovia
    The Duchy of Masovia with its capital at Płock was a medieval duchy formed when the Polish Kingdom of the Piasts fragmented in 1138. It was located in the historic Masovian region of northeastern Poland...

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