Łódź is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial centre. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 693,797. It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately 135 kilometres south-west of Warsaw. The city's coat of arms is an example of canting, as it depicts a boat, which alludes to the city's name.
Łódź was once a small settlement that first appeared in written records in around 1332. In the early 15th century it was granted city rights, but remained a rather small and insubstantial town. It was the property of Kuyavian bishops and clergy until the end of the 18th century, when Łódź was annexed by Prussia as a result of the second partition of Poland. Following the collapse of the independent Duchy of Warsaw, the city became part of Congress Poland, a client state of the Russian Empire. It was then that Łódź experienced rapid growth in the cloth industry and in population due to the inflow of migrants, most notably Germans and Jews.