Rzeszów is the largest city in southeastern Poland, with a population of 187,208 . It is located on both sides of the Wisłok River in the heartland of the Sandomierz Basin. Rzeszów has been the capital of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship since 1999, and is also the seat of Rzeszów County.The history of Rzeszów begins in 1354, when it received city rights and privileges by Casimir III the Great. Local trade routes connecting the European Continent with the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire resulted in the city's early prosperity and development. In the 16th century, Rzeszów had a connection with Gdańsk and the Baltic Sea. It also experienced growth in commerce and craftsmanship, especially under local rulers and noblemen. Following the Partitions of Poland, Rzeszów was annexed by the Austrian Empire and did not regain its position until it returned to Poland after World War I. During World War II Rzeszów's large Jewish community perished in the Holocaust.