In Kórnik commune we have many different relics of past. Excavations which archeologists made in different points of commune showed that in surroundings of our lakes by a few dozen centuries very intensive developed communities of settlers. The oldest traces of human activity on our terrain come from fifth millennium B.C. This activity developed most intensive something about 1300 B.C. in connection with develops of Lusatian culture. At the beginning of Iron Age on the „Szyja” peninsula (Bnińskie Lake) arose one with biggest fortified settlements in Wielkopolska. In next centuries number of settlements and people residences in them increased. In the middle of tenth century settlements existed constantly in Biernatki, Błażejewo, Bnin and Kórnik. During reign of Mieszko the First on the „Szyja” peninsula founded fortified settlement. In 13-th century on the terrain of current Bnin started develop city. In the same century Bnin became a castellany seat, where the region’s landlords of Łodzia families resided. About 1390 Polish king – Władysław Jagiełło – gave Bnin a township rights. Since that time position of Bnin continuously increased to the middle of 17-th century when Bnin started losing in competition with Kórnik.
The beginning of Kórnik is little-know the first mention about this settlement comes from the 12-th century and historical records from 1426 when its owner Mikołaj Górka expanded the castle. In 1437 year Łukasz Górka commissioned building of the parish church and evolved Kórnik into ancestral seat. About 1450 Kórnik settlement obtained township rights due to the efforts of Łukasz Górka, the city was location on the Magdeburg law. The privately-owned town self-governed by the city council, headed by the mayor, and by judicial council.
In the 16-th century, the Górka family remained very influential, holding offices in the town council and enlarging their estate. When the last of the family, Stanisław, died, the property went into the hands of Czarnkowski, then Grudziński families. In 1676, for above 200 years, Kórnik property got to the Działyński family, who turned the residence and the villages into a flourishing estate. Teofila Działyńska-Szołdrska-Potulicka was one of greatest contributors to its expansion, not only by rebuilding the mansion but also by reconstructing and modernizing the town, bestowing privileges on new settlers, encouraging craftsmanship. At that time there was a silk producing workshop with its own silk-worm breeding.
At the beginning of the 19-th century, Kórnik’s landlord was Tytus Działyński, a great patriot and patron of arts, who collected national relics, rebuilt the castle, modernized farms, created a library, Arboretum, tree and shrub nursery. His endeavors were continued by his son, Jan, who developed the Kórnickie Arboretum into Poland’s largest collection of trees and shrubs. He increased libraries collections and – like his father – supported in varied cases actions to head towards regain independence, because our country was divided between three other countries (partition made us Russia, Germany and Austria and Wielkopolska was under German annexation).
At the end of the 19-th century, the estate was taken over by Tytus’s grandson, Władysław Zamoyski, preoccupied mainly with anti-German resistance and protection of Polish land ownership. He increased his estate, among other things about Zakopane and Morskie Oko in Tatra Mountains. In the 1918 Poland regained independence and Kórnik was again in Poland. Władysław, before death in 1925, endowed his estate – 20.000 ha – to Polish nation. In the same year Polish Seym converted this estate in „Zakłady Kórnickie” Foundation. After the Second World War the Foundation was closed down by Polish communist government; the Library and Dendrology Institute were taken over by the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1953. The Foundation was reestablished only in 2001.
Insufficient number of inhabitants cost Bnin its township rights in 1934. In 1961 it became incorporated into Kórnik’s administrative community.