The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi- federation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch in real union, who was both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch.
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The history of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1648–1764) covers a period in the history of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, from the time their joint state became the theater of wars and invasions fought on a great scale in the middle of the 17th century, to the time just before the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
- Administrative division
- Reforms of the 1793 Grodno Sejm
- Proposed divisions
Subdivisions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth evolved over many centuries from the fragmentation of the Piast dynasty to the union of Poland and Lithuania. The lands that once belonged to the Commonwealth are now largely distributed among several central, eastern, and northern European countries: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, most of Ukraine, parts of Russia, southern half of Estonia, and smaller pieces in Slovakia, Romania and Moldova.
While the term "Poland" was also commonly used to denote this whole polity, Poland was in fact only part of a greater whole – the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which comprised primarily two parts: 1. the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, colloquially "the Crown"; and 2. the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, colloquially "Lithuania". The Crown in turn comprised two "prowincjas": Greater Poland and Lesser Poland. These and a third province, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, were the only three ...
The Duchy of Prussia was a duchy in the eastern part of Prussia from 1525–1701. In 1525 during the Protestant Reformation, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert of Hohenzollern, secularized the Prussian State of the Teutonic Order, becoming Albert, Duke in ...
Caffa Main article: Feodosia § Kaffa In 1462, during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Tatars, Caffa placed itself under the protection of King Casimir IV of Poland. The proposition of protection was accepted by the Polish king but when the real danger ...
Following the territorial losses of the Second Partition of Poland, the Grodno Sejm of 1793 introduced a new administrative division: 1. in the Crown: Chełm Voivodeship, Ciechanów Voivodeship, Kraków Voivodeship, Lublin Voivodeship, Masovian Voivodeship, Podlasie Voivodeship, Sandomierz Voivodeship, Warsaw Voivodeship, Włodzimierz Voivodeship and Wołyń Voivodeship 2. in the Grand Duchy: Brasław Voivodeship, Brześć Voivodeship, Grodno Voivodeship, Merecz Voivodeship, Nowogródek ...
Thought was given at various times to the creation of a Grand Duchy of Ruthenia, particularly during the 1648 Cossack insurrection against Polish rule in Ukraine. Such a Duchy, as proposed in the 1658 Treaty of Hadiach, would have been a full member of the Commonwealth, which wou
For similar reasons, plans for a Polish–Lithuanian–Muscovite Commonwealth also were never realized, although during the Polish–Muscovite War the Polish Prince Władysław IV Waza was briefly elected Tsar of Muscovy.
- Operational history
- Logistics and tactics
The military of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth consisted of two administratively separate armies of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania following the 1569 Union of Lublin, which joined to form the bi-conderate elective monarchy of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish army was commanded by the Hetmans of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, commanding the armies of their respective country. The most unique formation of both armies was the heavy cavalry...
The Commonwealth was formed at the Union of Lublin of 1569 from the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The armies of those states differed from the organization common in western Europe, as according to Bardach, the mercenary formations, common there, never gained popularity in Poland. Brzezinski, however, notes that foreign mercenaries did form a significant portion of the more elite infantry units, at least till the early 17th century. In the 15th century Poland, several other
At its heyday, the Commonwealth comprised the territories of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. It was engaged in the struggles along most of its borders, with only the Western border with the lands of the Holy Roman Empire being relatively peaceful. In its first decades, major conflicts included the Livonian campaign of Stephen Báthory, the interventions in Moldavia, the Danzig rebellion, and the War against Sigismund. Early 17th century saw a ...
Polish–Lithuanian military men, 1576–1586. Painting by Jan Matejko
The Commonwealth Navy was small and played a relatively minor role in the history of the Commonwealth. Despite having access to the Baltic Sea, neither Poland nor Lithuania had any significant navy throughout their histories. In the 16th century, as Poland and Lithuania became involved in conflicts in Livonia, Polish king Sigismund II Augustus supported the operations of privateers, but that met with opposition of the Poland's primary port, Gdańsk, which saw them as a threat to its trade ...
Due to lack of centralized logistical system, the Polish armies were encumbered by large baggage trains. To some degree, this was turned into an advantage with the development of the tabor – military horse-drawn wagons, usually carrying army supplies. The wagon use for defensive formations was perfected by the Cossacks, and to a smaller extent used by other Commonwealth units. The Commonwealth army relied on cavalry, which the nobility saw as a much more respectable type of a troop than ...
- 16th – 18th centuries
- 19th and 20th centuries
- Modern usage
The Polish-Lithuanian identity describes individuals and groups with histories in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth or with close connections to its culture. This federation, formally established by the 1569 Union of Lublin between the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania, created a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state founded on the binding powers of national identity and shared culture rather than ethnicity or religious affiliation. The term Polish-Lithuanian has been...
Self-identifications during the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth often made use of the Latin 'gens-natione' construct. The construct was used by the elite inhabitants of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, by the Ruthenian elites, and in Prussia. Religious affiliation was sometimes added, leading to self-identifications such as Natione Polonus, gente Ruthenus; Natione Polonus, gente Prussicus; or Natione Polonus, gente Ruthenus, origine Judaeus. The Latin phrasing reflects the ...
The Commonwealth ceased to exist after the late 18th century Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; Poland and Lithuania achieved independence as separate nations after World War I. The development of nationalism through the Lithuanian National Revival was a crucial factor that led to the separation of the modern Lithuanian state from Poland; similar movements took hold in Ukraine and later in Belarus. Lithuanian nationalism was a reaction to both the Russification in the ...
The use of the expressions "Polish-Lithuanian," "Polonized Lithuanian," and "Pole of Lithuanian descent" persists in recent biographical descriptions of the Radziwiłł family and in those of several notable 19th and 20th-century figures such as Emilia Plater, Józef Piłsudski, Adam Mickiewicz, Czesław Miłosz, and Gabriel Narutowicz, among others. At the same time, other sources simply use the word "Polish", just as the word "Poland" is used to refer to the Polish–Lithuanian ...
- Political influence
- Sejm gatherings
- Special sessions
The General Sejm was the bicameral parliament of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was established by the Union of Lublin in 1569 from the merger of the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland and the Seimas of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Ruthenia and Samogitia. It was one of the primary elements of the democratic governance in the Commonwealth. The sejm was a powerful political institution and the king could not pass laws without the approval of that body. Duration and frequencies of the sejms...
The Polish word sejm is derived from old Czech sejmovat, which means to bring together or to summon. In English, the terms general, full, or ordinary sejm are used for the sejm walny.
The Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was established by the Union of Lublin in 1569 and merged the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland and the Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Both countries had centuries-long tradition of public participation in policy making, traced to the Slavic assembly known as the wiec. The sejmik "little sejm" was a regional or local assembly, among whose later tasks were sending delegates and instructions to the "general sejm". Another form of public ...
Sejms, including their senate, and sejmiks severely limited the king's powers. Already the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland has a great impact on the king's powers. From 1505 the king could not pass laws himself without the approval of the sejm, this being forbidden by Polish szlachta privilege laws like nihil novi. According to the nihil novi constitution, a law passed by the sejm had to be agreed by the three estates. There were only few areas in which the king could pass legislation without cons
A sejm began with a solemn mass, a verification of deputies mandates, and election of the Marshal of the Sejm. Next, the kanclerz declared the king's intentions to both chambers, who would then debate separately till the ending ceremonies. After 1543 the resolutions were written
The majority of the sejms were held at the Warsaw's Royal Castle. A few were held elsewhere, particularly in the first years of the Commonwealth, and from 1673, every third sejm was to take place at Grodno in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In practice, most of the sejms were still
In the mid-15th century the general sejm of the Kingdom of Poland met about once per year. There was no set time span to elapse before the next session was to be called by the king. If the general sejm did not happen, local sejmiks would debate on current issues instead. King Hen
In addition to the regular sessions of the general sejm, three special types of sejms handled the process of the royal election in the interregnum period. Those were: 1. Convocation sejm. This sejm was called upon a death or abdication of a king by the Primate of Poland. The depu
Confederated sejm first appeared in 1573, and became more popular in the 18th century as a counter to the disruption of liberum veto. Seen as emergency or extraordinary sessions, they relied on majority voting to speed up the discussions and ensure a legislative outcome. Many roy
After the Treaty of DywilinoVoivodeshipsCommonwealth of Both Nations at the peak of its strengthBorders of the Commonwealth in 1619, superimposed on present-day national borders
- Civitates Orbis Terrarum
- Art and Culture
1. The Marshal's cane was the insignium of the power in the parliament 2. Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, 1667 3. Franciszek Bieliński, 18th century
1. Senate session in the Jasna Góra Monastery, 1661 2. Senate Chamber at the Wawel Castle in Kraków, second half of the 16th century 3. Old Senate Chamber at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, second half of the 16th century (demolished) 4. New Senate Chamber at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, 1733
Chamber of Deputies
1. Diet (Seym) session (two chambers together) at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, 1622 2. Chamber of Deputies at the Wawel Castle in Kraków, first half of the 16th century 3. Old Chamber of Deputies at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, first half of the 16th century 4. New Chamber of Deputies at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, second half of the 17th century
1. Infanta Anna Jagiellon 2. Tsarina Marina Mniszech 3. Urszula Meyerin 4. Queen Constance of Austria 5. Elisabeth Sophie Hohenzollern 6. Raina Movilă of Moldavia 7. Princess Anna Vasa of Sweden 8. Katarzyna Potockaand Maria Lupu of Moldavia 9. Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga de Nevers 10. Katarzyna von Bessen Denhoffowa 11. Klara Izabella de Mailly Lascaris 12. Queen Marie Casimire d'Arquien 13. Elżbieta Sieniawska 14. Katarzyna Opalińska 15. Maria Leszczyńska 16. Maria Karolina Sobieska 17. Anna...Polish cavalry marching in the wood, Roelant Savery, 1614Polish Rider - Lisowczyk, Rembrandt, 1655Chainmail armor of an "Armoured companion", 17th centuryPrzybyła Granary in Kazimierz Dolny, 1591Allegory of Gdańsk trade, 1608Lamentation over the dead credit, ca. 1655Kretkowski-Guldenstern carpet, ca. 1667
1. Dance of Salome, Szymon Boguszowicz, 1610s 2. Still life with a squirrel and a pitcher, Andreas Stech, 1658 3. Allegory of Summer, Jerzy Siemiginowski, 1684-1686 4. Ethiopian king meeting ambasadors of Persia, Franciszek Smuglewicz, 1785
1. Leżajsk organ, Stanisław Studziński and Jan Głowiński, 1693 2. Our Lady of the Scapular of Bydgoszcz in silver riza, 1700 3. Interior of the St. Anne's Church in Kraków, Baldassare Fontana and Monti brothers, 1705 4. Dominican Church in Lviv, Jan de Witte, 1744-769
1. The Last Judgment from Lipie, 17th century 2. Pokrov of Our Lady - detail with King John III Sobieski and Queen Marysieńka, 1670s 3. Iconostasis in the Holy Spirit Church in Vilnius, Johann Christoph Glaubitz, 1753–1756 4. Greek-Catholic St. George's Cathedral in Lviv, Bernard Meretyn, 1746–1762
Mar 01, 2021 · The Bracław Voivodeship (Latin: Palatinatus Braclaviensis; Polish: Województwo bracławskie) was a unit of administrative division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Created in 1566 as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania , it was passed to the Crown of Poland in 1569 following the Union of Lublin .
- related to: Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth wikipedia