The oldest, 2500 years old, traces of a settlement were discovered on Bielawa Island on Drawsko Lake (Kalk werder) and in Stare Drawsko (Alt Draheim). At the beginning of our era, this place was occupied by Germanic Goths. Slovians, who came later, built a town here which was burned in the XII century probably by Boleslaw Krzywousty. In this way Slavic Pomorze became a part of Slavic Poland.
Those days the Polish - Pomeranian and Pomeranian - Wielkopolska borders were set here. The pass between the lakes acted as a natural barrier.
In autumn 1286, the duke of Wielkopolska - Przemyslaw II, claimant to the Polish throne, brought the knights of powerful Jerozolimska's Temple Order. They built a Temple Town (Swiatynny Grod) - Tempelborh/burg near the existing fishing settlement Czaplinek. Around the year 1300, Czaplinek's land was joined to Branderburgia, ruled by Ascanians, and later to kamieńskie bishopric.
In 1345 the Templars' property was taken over by Joannites. The Temple Town was burned 10 years later by Szczecin's duke - as a punishment for Joannites' favour to Branderburg's margraves. The monks rebuilt the temple, but on a pass, 6 km away, they began the new investment - defensive Drahim.
Kazimierz Wielki bought Czaplinek from Joannites and in 1368 took the order in Polish custody. In the same time Drawski Treaty finished the war between Poland and Brandenburg and included Drahim in the feudal system of Poland. The borderland was not a peaceful place and a rich order was not a faithful vassal. After the death of Kazimierz in 1370, on Drahim's borderland began the Joannic - Pomeranian war. Pomeranians ruined everything, but Drahim remained not conquered. Joannites started to negotiate with Teutonic Knights to detach Drahim from Poland. It did not happen, because of Wladyslw Jagiello, who in 1407 during a round in western Poland, visited Drahim. He ordered Joannites to submit and when they did not listen, he sent his knights who gained control over the castle. The king drove out all inhabitants of the castle and made there a seat for Polish starosty of Drahim. It appeared to be very useful, when in 1410 knights from west went to Grunwald; Drahim's people stopped many of them. The Teutonic Knights did not stop to fight for Drahim. They started quarrels between Pomeranian families. In 1422, according to their suggestion, townsmen from Drawsko attacked and for a short time occupied the castle.
This event is connected with a legend about a fisherman Pawel Wasznik. According to chronicles, he was living in Drahim. During the war, he dropped a net from his window that allowed Polish troops to enter the fortress. The fisherman's monument in the city commemorates this history.
German explorer TUMPEL qualified the situation from half of the XV to the beginning of the XVII century as a 150 - year long "border war".
Throughout the period of a starosty existence, Czaplinek remained in the background of Drahim, playing a menial role towards the castle. Swedish invasion in July, 1655 was the next important historical fact that influenced the status of Czaplinek's land. Invaders' army crossed the starosty borders near Siemczyno, plundered this town and moved towards Walcz. In 1657, after a series of defeats, main Swedish forces made their way back and burned Drahim.
According to Bydgoski Treaty, Jan Kazimierz gave back the starosty to Branderbugs in exchange for recruitment during the war. In spite of insistent actions taken among others by Polish hetman Stanislaw "Rewery" Potocki, it miscarried to regain the starosty until the first partition of Poland in 1772, after which these lands were under Prussian annexation.
The XVII century turned out to be profitable for Czaplinek - especially in the field of economic development and town-planning. The city possessed a cloth craft center (one of the largest in Pomorze Zachodnie), mills, the windmills, sawmill, as well as a brick-yard. Unfortunately, Czaplinek did not avoid great fires which destroyed the big part of the city. In the second half of the XVIII century Drahim was gradually loosing its meaning in comparison to the growth of the city and began to be a ruin. In the end of XIX century a railway line improved the city's communication with the rest of the country. The construction of roads and paved streets began, gas fittings were installed, a post office and a telegraph appeared. In the period of the Second World War in Czaplinek and its neighborhoods, the labour camp was created for Soviet prisoners, and a group of Poles worked here for Germans as compulsory workers.
The city was on the German resistance line called "Pommersche Seenstelung" and was protected by SS squads from brigade "Schneider". After a break of the main positions of Pomeranian Embankment, the squads of 7 regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division moved towards Czaplinek. From the order of Major Stanislaw Rusijan, three battalions supported by artillery subunits took control of the city on 3 March 1945. After three hundred years they were the first Polish soldiers in this area. After the war, Czaplinek lost its agricultural character and functioned as an agricultural subsidiary. At present, electronics and tourism are its main industries.