The first written record of Lodzia (the original name of the city), in which the village is granted to the bishop of Wroclaw, dates back from 1332. However, a crucial moment in the history of Lodz was granting the city charter by King Wladislaw Jagiello in 1423. Originally, Lodz was an agricultural town with wooden architecture with no fortifications or town walls. The main activity of Lodz inhabitants was still farming. At the end of the 14th century a parish church and a town hall were built at the market square.
In the prosperity period in the 16th century the population of Lodz was only about 700 people. For a few centuries Lodz had hardly developed. The 17th century was a hard period for Lodz.. The Swedish invasion, fires and epidemics contributed to the decrease in the town population. In 1793 Lodz became under the Prussian rule.
Being part of the estates of the Bishop of Wroclaw, it was secularized and taken over by the state authorities. The situation changed dramatically in 1815 when upon the Vienna Congress Treaty Lodz became incorporated into the Polish Kingdom and was under the Russian rule. It was then that developing strong and modern economy in Poland became the state's priority.
The origins of Lodz as an industrial city can be traced to the year 1820 when Rajmund Rembielinski, President of the Committee for the Mazowieckie Voivodship, was inspecting the nearby clothier workshops under construction. Lodz, with its geographical location and forests full of timber as a construction material, seemed to him as a perfect venue for establishing a clothiers' settlement. Upon the state directive of 1820, Lodz became an industrial town. The first settlement, inhabited by clothiers, was situated to the south of the old agricultural part of Lodz. It was called Nowe Miasto (New Town) – today's Plac Wolnosci.
The first settlers , skilled in weaving, dyeing and spinning, were given a plot of land and timber necessary for house building. The loans and temporary duty exemptions were addional incentives attracting people from Silesia, Bohemia, Prussia and of Jewish origin, making Lodz a multinational town. The clothier industry flourished. In the 1840s, Ludwik Geyer's factory, equipped with a steam engine, became the largest cotton factory , whereas Lodz was regarded as the second largest city in the Polish Kingdom.