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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Rzeczpospolita (Polish) Res Publica Serenissima (Latin)[1] Žečpospolita (Lithuanian) Рѣч Посполита (Ruthenian) ← 1569–1795
century Europe

The location of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (purple) in relation to mid-seven

Capital Language(s)

Kraków until 1596, Warsaw with Hrodna from 1673)


See list Polish Latin Ruthenian Lithuanian German Hebrew Armenian (see Languages of the Com section for details)


→ → →

See list Roman Catholic Greek Catholic Eastern Orthodox Church Protestantism (various sect Judaism Islam (mainly Tartars and T Noble Democracy List List Sejm July 1, 1569 August 5, 1772 May 3, 1791 January 23, 1793 October 24, 1795

Government King of Poland Grand Duke of Lithuania Legislature History - Union established - 1st partition - May 3rd Constitution - 2nd partition - 3rd partition

Coat of arms Motto Latin: Si Deus Nobiscum quis contra nos (If God is with us, then who is against us) Pro Fide, Lege et Rege (Latin: For Faith, Law and King, since 18th century)

Area - 1582 - 1618 Population - 1582 est. Density - 1618 est. Density

815,000 km² (314,673 sq m 990,000 km² (382,241 sq m 6,500,000 8 /km² (20.7 /sq mi) 10,500,000 10.6 /km² (27.5 /sq mi)

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was one of the largest and most populous countries in 16th and 17th-century Europe,[2][3][4][5] formed by a union of Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1569. It was characterized by many particularities that made it unique among contemporary states. The Commonwealth’s political system, often called the Noble’s democracy or Golden Freedom, was characterized by the sovereign’s power being reduced by laws and


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the legislature (Sejm) controlled by the nobility (szlachta). This system was a precursor of the modern concepts of broader democracy[6] and constitutional monarchy[7][8][9] as well as federation.[10] The two comprising states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, although in reality Poland was a dominant partner in the union.[11] Its population was hallmarked by a high level of ethnic and confessional diversity and the state was noted for having religious tolerance unusual for its age,[12][13] although the degree of it varied with time.[14] After several decades of unparalleled power and greatness,[15][16][17] the Commonwealth went by the middle of 17th century into a period of protracted political,[9][18] military and economic[19] decline that lasted into 1795, when its existence was extinguished by growing absolutist neighbors: Austria, Prussia and Russia. Shortly before its demise however, the Commonwealth underwent a massive reform effort and adopted one of the world’s oldest codified national constitutions in modern history.[20]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty, in an effort to preserve the monarchy by adopting elective monarchy. His death in 1572 was followed by a three-year interregnum during which adjustments were made to the constitutional system that effectively increased the power of the nobility (the szlachta) and established a truly elective monarchy.

The official name of the Commonwealth was Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Polish: Królestwo Polskie i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie, Belarusian: Рэч Паспалітая Абодвух Народаў, Lithuanian: Lenkijos Karalystė ir Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė). It was referred to in written sources prior to the XVIII century by its Latin name Regnum Poloniae Magnusque Ducatus Lithuaniae. Since the XVII century it was usually referred as The Most Serene Commonwealth/Republic of Poland[21] (Polish: Najjaśniejsza Rzeczpospolita Polska, Latin: Serenissima Res Publica Poloniae) in the international relations. Its inhabitants referred to it in Polish as Rzeczpospolita (Ruthenian: Рѣч Посполита, Lithuanian: Žečpospolita). Foreigners often called it simplistically Poland, applying the pars pro toto synecdoche. Recently widespread Polish term Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów ("The Commonwealth of Both/Two Nations") was coined only in the 20th century.[22]

Grand Standard Bearer of the Polish Crown (Chorąży Wielki Koronny), Stanisław Sobieski, at the wedding procession of King Sigismund III of Poland and Sweden, as painted anonymousely on the Stockholm Roll, c. 1605. The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the first half of the 17th century. Its powerful parliament (the Sejm) was dominated by nobles who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years’ War, sparing the country from the ravages of this largely religious conflict devastating most of contemporary Europe. The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against Sweden, Russia, and vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and at times launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. During several invasions of Russia, which was weakened in the

The creation of the Commonwealth by the Union of Lublin in 1569 was one of the signal


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early 17th century by the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops managed to take Moscow and hold on to it from September 27, 1610 to November 4, 1612, until driven out after a siege.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
By the 18th century, the Commonwealth was facing many internal problems and was vulnerable to foreign influences. In 1768 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has become a protectorate of Russian Empire;[24] control of Poland was central to Russian diplomatic and military strategies.[25] Destabilization of its political system brought Poland to the brink of anarchy. Attempts at reform, such as those made by the Four-Year Sejm of 1788–92, which culminated in the May 3rd Constitution of 1791, came too late, and the country was partitioned in three stages by the neighboring Russian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, and the Habsburg Monarchy. By 1795, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had been completely erased from the map of Europe. Poland and Lithuania re-established their independence, as separate countries, only in 1918.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the reign of Władysław IV, c. 1635. Commonwealth power waned after a double blow in 1648. The first blow was history’s greatest Cossack rebellion (the Khmelnytskyi Uprising, supported by Crimean Khanate Tatars, in the eastern territories of Kresy), which resulted in Cossacks asking for the protection of the Russian Tzar[23] (1654) thus leading to Russian influence over Ukraine gradually supplanting the Polish. The other blow to the Commonwealth was the Swedish invasion in 1655 (supported by troops of Transylvanian duke George II Rakoczy and Friedrich Wilhelm I, Elector of Brandenburg), known as The Deluge, provoked by the policies of Commonwealth kings from the Swedish royal House of Vasa. In the late 17th century, the weakened Commonwealth under King John III Sobieski in alliance with the forces of the Holy Roman emperor Leopold I dealt crushing defeats to the Ottoman Empire: In 1683, the Battle of Vienna marked the final turning point in a 250-year struggle between the forces of Christian Europe and the Islamic Ottoman Empire. For its centuries-long stance against the Muslim advances, the Commonwealth would gain the name of Antemurale Christianitatis (forefront of Christianity).[10] Over the next 16 years (in the "Great Turkish War"), the Turks would be permanently driven south of the Danube River, never to threaten central Europe again.

State organization and politics
See also: Offices in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Golden Liberty

Union of Lublin of 1569, by Jan Matejko, 1869, oil on canvas, 298×512cm, National Museum, Warsaw. The political doctrine of the Commonwealth was: our state is a republic under the presidency of the King. Chancellor Jan Zamoyski summed up this doctrine when he said that Rex regnat et non gubernat ("The King reigns and does not govern"). The Commonwealth had a parliament, the Sejm, as well as a Senat and an elected king. The king was obliged to respect citizens’ rights specified in King Henry’s Articles as well as in pacta conventa, negotiated at the time of his election.


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The monarch’s power was limited, in favor of a sizable noble class. Each new king had to subscribe to King Henry’s Articles, which were the basis of Poland’s political system (and included near-unprecedented guarantees of religious tolerance). Over time, King Henry’s Articles were merged with the pacta conventa, specific pledges agreed to by the king-elect. From that point onwards, the king was effectively a partner with the noble class and was constantly supervised by a group of senators. The foundation of the Commonwealth’s political system, the "Golden Liberty" (Polish: Zlota Wolność, a term used from 1573 on), included: • free election of the king by all nobles wishing to participate; • Sejm, the Commonwealth parliament which the king was required to hold every two years; • pacta conventa (Latin), "agreed-to agreements" negotiated with the kingelect, including a bill of rights, binding on the king, derived from the earlier King Henry’s Articles. • rokosz (insurrection), the right of szlachta to form a legal rebellion against a king who violated their guaranteed freedoms; • liberum veto (Latin), the right of an individual Sejm deputy to oppose a decision by the majority in a Sejm session; the voicing of such a "free veto" nullified all the legislation that had been passed at that session; during the crisis of the second half of the 17th century, Polish nobles could also use the liberum veto in provincial sejmiks; • konfederacja (from the Latin confederatio), the right to form an organization to force through a common political aim. The three regions (see below) of the Commonwealth enjoyed a degree of autonomy.[26] Each voivodship had its own parliament (sejmik), which exercised serious political power, including choice of poseł (deputy) to the national Sejm and charging of the deputy with specific voting instructions. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania had its own separate army, treasury and most other official institutions.[27] Golden Liberty created a state that was unusual for its time, although somewhat similar political systems existed in the contemporary city-states like the Republic of

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Republic at the Zenith of Its Power. Golden Liberty. The Royal Election of 1573, by Jan Matejko. Venice.[28] (Interestingly, both states were styled the "Most Serene Republic".[29]) At a time when most European countries were headed toward centralization, absolute monarchy and religious and dynastic warfare, the Commonwealth experimented with decentralization,[10] confederation and federation, democracy, religious tolerance, and even pacifism. Since the Sejm usually vetoed a monarch’s plans for war, this constitutes a notable argument for the democratic peace theory.[30] This political system unusual for its time stemmed from the victories of the szlachta noble class over other social classes and over the political system of monarchy. In time, the szlachta accumulated enough privileges (such as those established by the Nihil novi Act of 1505) that no monarch could hope to break the szlachta’s grip on power. The Commonwealth’s political system is difficult to fit into a simple category, but it can be tentatively described as a mixture of: • confederation and federation, with regard to the broad autonomy of its regions. It is, however, difficult to decisively call the Commonwealth either confederation or federation, as it had some qualities of both of them; • oligarchy,[10] as only the szlachta—around 10% of the population—had political rights; • democracy, since all the szlachta were equal in rights and privileges, and the Sejm could veto the king on important matters, including legislation (the adoption of new laws), foreign affairs, declaration of war, and taxation (changes of existing taxes or the levying of new ones). Also, the 10% of Commonwealth


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population who enjoyed those political rights (the szlachta)[31] was a substantially larger percentage than in majority European countries;[32].

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
The magnates and the szlachta were far from united, with many factions supporting either the monarch or various of the magnates.[33]

See also: General sejm

Politically influenced Elżbieta Sieniawska, portraied in Sarmata pose and in male coat delia, c. 1725. • elective monarchy, since the monarch, elected by the szlachta, was Head of State; • constitutional monarchy, since the monarch was bound by pacta conventa and other laws, and the szlachta could disobey any king’s decrees they deemed illegal.

Grand Marshal of the Crown Łukasz Opaliński portraited with the insignium of his power in the parliament - the Marshal’s cane, 1640. Until 1569, Poland and Lithuania each had its own diet (Sejm/Soim), but after the agreements reached at Lublin, the nobels from both parts of the Commonwealth sat in one body.[34] Poland’s diet met for the first time at 1493 in Piotrków, and thereafter (mostly in Warsaw) every two years for six-week sessions.[34] From the second half of the 17th century meetings of Sejms were also held in Hrodna, as a result of which the town’s influence on regional and national politics grow.[35] The king was dependent on the diet, whose authority covered both Poland and Lithuania.[36] The diet was composed of three orders: the king himself, the senate

The political players
See also: list of szlachta The major players in the politics of the Commonwealth were: • monarchs, who struggled to expand their power and create an absolute monarchy.[33] • magnates, the wealthiest of the szlachta, who wanted to rule the country as a privileged oligarchy, and to dominate both the monarch and the poorer nobles.[33] • szlachta, who desired a strengthening of the Sejm and rule of the country as a democracy of the szlachta.[33]


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whose members were great aristocrats, and representatives of provincial assemblies (Chamber of Deputies).[36][34] All decisions of the diet had to be unanimous. The king was forbidden to name his successor, who would be elected by the diet.[36] He required the consent of the senate before marring; and a council of six senators kept a permanent watch on the king to make sure that he did not exeed his powers.[36] The king of Poland, in short, was mainly a war leader who executed the will of the diet.[36] The diet, in turn, was dominated by the aristocracy, who were renowed for their sense of individualism and independence. Unlike most other parts of monarchic Europe, where the general trend was towards the augmentation of royal authority, Poland remained a kingdom run by semi-autonomous aristocrats.[36] Only the cities of Kraków, Poznań and Lublin, Vilnius after the Union of 1569 and Lviv after 1658, had the right to send representatives to the Sejm, but from 1565 they had no vote there except in matters directly affecting the cities themselves.[37]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Shortcomings of the Commonwealth
Once the Jagiellons had disappeared from the scene in 1572, the fragile equilibrium of the Commonwealth’s government was disrupted. Power increasingly slipped away from the central government to the nobility. When presented with periodic opportunities to fill the throne, the szlachta exhibited a preference for foreign candidates who would not found another strong dynasty. This policy often produced monarchs who were either totally ineffective or in constant debilitating conflict with the nobility. Furthermore, aside from notable exceptions such as the able Transylvanian Stefan Batory (1576–86), the kings of foreign origin were inclined to subordinate the interests of the Commonwealth to those of their own country and ruling house. This was especially visible in the policies and actions of the first two elected kings from the Swedish House of Vasa, whose politics brought the Commonwealth into conflict with Sweden, culminating in the war known as The Deluge (1648), one of the events that mark the end of the Commonwealth’s Golden Age and the beginning of the Commonwealth’s decline. The Troelfth Cake, an allegory of the First Partition of Poland. Contemporary drawing by Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune, 1773. Zebrzydowski’s rokosz (1606–07) marked a substantial increase in the power of the magnates, and the transformation of szlachta democracy into magnate oligarchy. The Commonwealth’s political system was vulnerable to outside interference, as Sejm deputies bribed[38][39] by foreign powers might use their liberum veto to block attempted reforms. This sapped the Commonwealth and plunged it into political paralysis and anarchy for over a century, from the mid-17th century to the end of the 18th, while its neighbors stabilized their internal affairs and increased their military might.

Late reforms
The Commonwealth did eventually make a serious effort to reform its political system, adopting in 1791 the May 3rd Constitution, Europe’s first[20] codified national constitution in Modern Times, and the world’s second, after the United States Constitution, which had been ratified two years earlier.


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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
the Prussian monarchy",[43] fearing that strengthened Poland would once again dominate Prussia.[40][44] In the end, the May 3rd Constitution was never fully implemented, and the Commonwealth entirely ceased to exist only four years after the Constitution’s adoption.

Commonwealth military

Adoption of the Constitution of May 3, 1791 by the Four-Year Sejm. The revolutionary Constitution recast the erstwhile Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as a Polish–Lithuanian federal state with a hereditary monarchy and abolished many of the deleterious features of the old system. The new constitution: • abolished the liberum veto and banned the szlachta’s confederations; • provided for a separation of powers among legislative, executive and judicial branches of government; • established "popular sovereignty" and extended political rights to include not only the nobility but the bourgeoisie; • increased the rights of the peasantry; • preserved religious tolerance (but with a condemnation of apostasy from the Catholic faith). These reforms came too late, however, as the Commonwealth was immediately invaded from all sides by its neighbors which were content to leave the Commonwealth alone as a weak buffer state, but reacted strongly to king Stanisław August Poniatowski’s and other reformers’ attempts to strengthen the country.[26] Russia feared the revolutionary implications of the May 3rd Constitution’s political reforms and the prospect of the Commonwealth regaining its position as a European empire. Catherine the Great regarded the May constitution as fatal to her influence[40] and declared the Polish constitution Jacobinical.[41] Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin drafted the act for the Confederation of Targowica, referring to the constitution as the "contagion of democratic ideas".[42] Meanwhile, Prussia and Austria, also afraid of a strengthened Poland, used it as a pretext for further territorial expansion.[41] Prussian minister Ewald von Hertzberg called the constitution "a blow to

Commonwealth hussars, by Józef Brandt. Commonwealth armies were commanded by two Grand Hetmans and two Field Hetmans. The armies comprised: • Wojsko kwarciane: Regular units with wages paid from taxes (these units were later merged with the wojsko komputowe) • Wojsko komputowe: Semi-regular units created for times of war (in 1652 these units were merged with the wojsko kwarciane into a new permanent army) • Pospolite ruszenie: Szlachta levée en masse • Piechota łanowa and piechota wybraniecka: Units based on peasant recruits • Registered Cossacks: Troops made up of Cossacks, used mainly as infantry, less often as cavalry (with tabors) were recruited.


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• Royal guard: A small unit whose primary purpose was to escort the monarch and members of his family • Mercenaries: As with most other armies, hired to supplement regular units, such as Germans, Scots, Wallachians, Serbs, Hungarians, Bohemians, Moravians and Silesians. • Private armies: In time of peace usually small regiments (few hundred men) were paid for and equipped by magnates or cities. However, in times of war, they were greatly augmented (to even a few thousand men) and paid by state Some units of the Commonwealth included: • Hussars: heavy cavalry armed with lances, koncerzes, sabers or axes, bows, maces, later pistols; their charges were extremely effective until advances in firearms in the late 17th century substantially increased infantry firepower. Members were known as towarzysz husarski and were supported by 3-4 pocztowy’s. • Cossack cavalry general name for all Commonwealth units of light cavalry, even if they did not contain a single ethnic Cossack; fast and maneuverable like oriental cavalry units of Ottoman Empire vassals, but lacking the firepower of European cavalry such as the Swedish pistol-armed reiters. • Tabor: military horse-drawn wagons, usually carrying army supplies. Their use for defensive formations was perfected by the Cossacks, and to a smaller extent by other Commonwealth units. The Commonwealth Navy was small and played a relatively minor role in the history of the Commonwealth, but won the very important naval battle of Oliwa, breaking Swedish sea blockade in 1627. On the Black Sea, Cossacks with their small boats (chaika) were known for their plundering raids against the Ottoman Empire and its vassals. They even burned suburbs of the Ottoman capital of Constantinople.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

"Grain pays"...

...and "Grain doesn’t pay". The two pictures illustrate that agriculture, once extremely profitable to the nobility (szlachta) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, became much less so beginning in the second half of the 17th century. country’s exports to western markets by overland- and maritime trade.[45] The economy of the Commonwealth was dominated by feudal agriculture based on exploitation of agricultural workforce (serfs). Slavery in Poland was forbidden in the 15th century; in Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588.[46] They were replaced by the second enserfment. Typically a nobleman’s landholding comprised a folwark, a large farm worked by serfs to produce surpluses for internal and external trade. This economic arrangement worked well for the ruling classes in the early era of the Commonwealth, which was one of the most prosperous eras of the grain trade.[47] However the country’s situation worsened from the late 17th century on, when the landed szlachta sought to compensate for falling grain prices by increasing the peasants’ workload, thus leading to the creation of

Poland-Lithuania played a significant role in the supply of 16th century Western Europe by the export of three sorts of goods, notably grain (rye), cattle (oxen) and fur.[45] These three articles amounted to nearly 90% of the


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second serfdom, a phenomenon common throughout contemporary Eastern Europe. The Commonwealth’s preoccupation with agriculture, coupled with the szlachta’s dominance over the bourgeoisie, resulted in a fairly slow process of urbanization and thus a fairly slow development of industries. While similar conflicts among social classes may be found all over Europe, nowhere were the nobility as dominant at the time as in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. There is, however, much debate among historians as to which processes most affected those developments, since until the wars and crises of the mid-17th century the cities of the Commonwealth had not markedly lagged in size and wealth behind their western counterparts. The Commonwealth did have numerous towns and cities, commonly founded on Magdeburg rights. Some of the largest trade fairs in the Commonwealth were held at Lublin. See the geography section, below, for a list of major cities in the Commonwealth (commonly capitals of voivodships).

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
consumed some 19% and the remainder was consumed by the villages. Commonwealth grain achieved far more importance in poor crop years, as in the early 1590s and the 1620s, when governments throughout southern Europe arranged for large grain imports to cover shortfalls in their jurisdictions. Still, grain was the largest export commodity of the Commonwealth. The owner of a folwark usually signed a contract with merchants of Gdańsk (German: Danzig), who controlled 80% of this inland trade, to ship the grain north to that seaport on the Baltic Sea.[48] Many rivers in the Commonwealth were used for shipping purposes: the Vistula, Pilica, Western Bug, San, Nida, Wieprz, Neman. The rivers had relatively developed infrastructure, with river ports and granaries. Most of the river shipping moved north, southward transport being less profitable, and barges and rafts were often sold off in Gdańsk for lumber. Hrodna become particlarly pivotal location after creation of a customs post at Augustów in 1569, which was a checkpoint for merchants going from the Grand Duchy to the Crown lands.[49]

Coat of arms of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth on 15 ducats of Sigismund III, 1617. Although the Commonwealth was Europe’s largest grain producer, the bulk of her grain was consumed domestically. Estimated grain consumption in the Polish Crown (Poland proper) and Prussia in 1560–70 was some 113,000 tons of wheat (or 226,000 łaszt (a łaszt, or "last", being a large bulk measure; in the case of grain, about half a ton). Average yearly production of grain in the Commonwealth in the 16th century was 120,000 tons, 6% of which was exported, while cities

Portrait of a rich merchant and banker from Kraków, Wilhelm Orsetti, c. 1644. His wealth enabled him to make large loans to the Commonwealth.[50] From Gdańsk, ships, mostly from the Netherlands and Flanders, carried the grain


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to ports such as Antwerp and Amsterdam. Besides grain, other seaborne exports included lumber and wood-related products such as tar and ash. By land routes, the Commonwealth exported hides, furs, hemp, cotton (mostly from Wielkopolska) and linen to the German lands of the Holy Roman Empire, including cities like Leipzig and Nuremberg. Large herds (of around 50,000 head) of cattle were driven south through Silesia. The Commonwealth imported spices, luxury goods (e.g. tapestries), clothing, fish, beer and industrial products like steel and tools. A few riverboats carried south imports from Gdańsk like wine, fruit, spices and herring. Somewhere between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Commonwealth’s trade balance shifted from positive to negative. Commonwealth currency included the złoty and the grosz. The City of Gdańsk had the privilege of minting its own coinage.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
conditions of their new lives, local customs and traditions, these masters created new works that were different from those of their western brethren.[51] Spoons made by Polish masters in the 17th and 18th centuries were widely known.[51] The spoons often have moralizing phrases engraved on their handles.[51] In the second half of the 18th century, Warsaw was the most important production center of silver objects.[51] Aside from expensive presentation items, the silversmiths also produced utilitarian items for a broader clientele. Among these were tankards, dishes and vodka tumblers with biblical scenes. Tankards and tumblers with inlaid coins and medals constitute a special category of silver objects.[51] In the 16th century Lublin become major center of bronze production also the large scale production of clocks began in Poland during the 16th century.[52]


Regia Civitatis Gedanensis (Royal City of Gdańsk) coin of 1589, Sigismund III Vasa period. The craft of silver and goldsmiths in Poland followed the general development of Western European traditions and styles.[51] Most of the masters arrived from the major cities of Western Europe such as Nuremberg, Augsburg and Amsterdam. The brought with them new shapes and objects. But as they entered into the local milieu and took up the

Cimon and Pero, amber sculpture by Christoph Maucher, Gdańsk, 1690. Towards the end of the 17th century a workshop in the Kraków region was supplying large consignments of hussar armours for captains throughout the Commonwealth, and it has been speculated that it produced many of the canonial hussar armours, especially those with Carpathian highland motifs, such as heart shapes, still seen in metalwork of the region today.[53] Much architectural detail has been made of the Dębnik black


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marble.[54] They can be found not only in Kraków but also throughout Poland and in other countries (Vienna, Graz and Salzburg in Austria and Frankfurt am Main in Germany). [54] The historical quarries of this limestone are located about 20 km from Kraków in Dębnik village. [54] The Armenians in Lviv were skilled in weapon decoration, especially that of hilts.[55] Products decorated with enamels, especially those from Kraków, and cameos set with coral were also popular in the Commonwealth at this time.[52] By the mid-17th century Gdańsk was patronized by the Polish court and flourished as the prime center for amber working.[56] The technique of incrustation practised in Gdańsk was a major development.[56] This is how the most beautiful works of Gdańsk amber craft were made: chests, beer mugs, pitchers, plates and cups.[57] The rich Gdańsk furniture made of Baltic oak, often became a model for the upper middle class.[58] Pile carpets with patterns based on Ushak medallion carpets were woven in the Commonwealth during the 17th century.[52] Polish made carpets of the 18th century featured homely motifs as baskets of flowers or fruit, birds, and cornucopias and executed in bright, well-harmonized colors.[52] There was also a flourishing production of kilims made of wool.[52] The soft, pliable sashes were produced locally and were some of the finest produced in the Commonwealth.[52] The first workshops were established in the 1740s on the estates of magnate families and were equipped with mangels or rolling presses, which gave luster to the silk woven with gold or silver thread.[52] With the advent of the Age of Exploration, many old trading routes such as the Amber Road lost importance as new ones were created. Poland’s importance as a caravan route between Asia and Europe diminished, while new local trading routes were created between the Commonwealth and Russia. But even with improvements in shipping technology the Commonwealth remained an important link between Occident and Orient, as many goods and cultural artifacts passed from one region to another via the Commonwealth. For example, Isfahan rugs imported from Persia to the Commonwealth were actually known in the West as "Polish rugs" (French: Polonaise).[59]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Tapestry with the Arms of Michał Kazimierz Pac, Jan Leyniers, Brussels, 1667-1669.

Silver tankard by Józef Ceypler, Kraków, 1739-1745.

Example of the merchant architecture: Konopnica’s tenement house in Lublin, 1575.

Hussars’ armours, first half of the 17th century.

Further information: Renaissance in Poland, Baroque in Poland and Enlightenment in Poland

Science and literature
The Commonwealth was an important European center for the development of modern social and political ideas. It was famous for its rare quasi-democratic political system, praised by philosophers such as Erasmus; and, during the Counter-Reformation, was known for near-unparalleled religious tolerance, with peacefully coexisting Catholic, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Muslim communities. The Commonwealth gave rise to the famous Christian sect of the Polish Brethren (also called Arians), antecedents of British and American Unitarianism. Polish Arian circles carefully followed west-European intellectual trends and eagerly used any occasion to establish contacts with innovative personalities.[60] These links facilitated the development of Raków as well as other dissident academies at Leszno, Toruń, Gdańsk and Elbląg, and in certain disciplines the instruction which they provided rivalled that of major universities.[60] The Arian academy in Raków attracted students and lecturers as well as wandering intellectuals from various European countries - among them the Scot, Thomas Segeth, who visited it in 1612.[60] With its political system, the Commonwealth gave birth to political philosophers such as Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski


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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Multi-stage rocket, from Kazimierz Siemienowicz’s Artis Magnæ Artilleriæ pars prima, 1650.

Commonwealth referred to as ’Polonian Empyre’ in the title page of Goślicki’s The Counsellor published in England in 1598. (1503–72), Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki (1530–1607) and Piotr Skarga (1536–1612). Later, works by Stanisław Staszic (1755–1826) and Hugo Kołłątaj (1750–1812) helped pave the way for the Constitution of May 3, 1791, the first modern codified national constitution in Europe,[20] which enacted revolutionary political principles for the first time on that continent. Kraków’s Jagiellonian University is one of the oldest universities in the world. Vilnius University and the Jagiellonian University were the major scholarly and scientific centers in the Commonwealth. The Komisja Edukacji Narodowej, (Polish for Commission for National Education), formed in 1773, was the world’s first national Ministry of Education.[61] Commonwealth scientists included: Martin Kromer (1512–89), historian and


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cartographer; Michał Sędziwój (1566–1636), alchemist and chemist; Krzysztof Arciszewski (Crestofle d’Artischau Arciszewski in Portuguese) (1592–1656), engineer, ethnographer, general and admiral of the Dutch West Indies Company army in the war with the Spanish Empire for control of Brazil;[62] Kazimierz Siemienowicz (1600–51), military engineer, artillery specialist and a founder of rocketry; Johannes Hevelius (1611–87), astronomer, founder of lunar topography; Michał Boym (? ?? in Chinese) (1612–1659), orientalist, cartographer, naturalist and diplomat in Ming Dynasty’s service; Adam Adamandy Kochański (1631–1700), mathematician and engineer; Baal Shem Tov (‫ בוט םש לעבה‬in Hebrew) (1698-1760), considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism; Marcin Odlanicki Poczobutt (1728-1810), astronomer and mathematician.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
(1621-1693), one of the leading poets of the baroque in Poland; Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780) Lutheran pastor and poet, founder of Lithuanian poetry; Ignacy Krasicki (1735–1801), writer, poet, fabulist, author of the first Polish novel; Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1758–1841), writer, dramatist and poet. Many szlachta members wrote memoirs and diaries. Perhaps the most famous are the Memoirs of Polish History by Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł (1595–1656) and the Memoirs of Jan Chryzostom Pasek (ca. 1636–ca. 1701). Prolific diarist was Jakub Sobieski (1590-1646) (father of John III Sobieski). During the Khotyn expedition in 1621 he wrote a diary called Commentariorum chotinensis belli libri tres (Diary of the Chocim War), which was published in 1646 in Gdańsk. It was used by Wacław Potocki as a basis for his epic poem, Transakcja wojny chocimskiej (The Progress of the War of Chocim). He also authored instructions written for the journey of his sons to Kraków (1640) and France (1645) which contain the principles of best liberal education of the times.

Art and music

Taurus Poniatovii, constellation originated by Marcin Poczobutt in 1777 to honor the king Stanisław August.[63] In 1628 famous Czech teacher, scientist, educator, and writer John Amos Comenius took refuge in the Commonwealth, when the Protestants were persecuted under the Counter Reformation.[64] He settled in Leszno, the center of the Polish Unity, where he was consecrated as a senior (bishop) of the Unity in 1632.[64] In Leszno Comenius wrote many of his pedagogical works that made him famous throughout Europe.[64] He also put many of his theories into practice in the operation of the school in Leszno.[60] The many classics of Commonwealth literature include: Jan Kochanowski (1530–84), writer, dramatist and poet; Wacław Potocki (1621–96), writer, poet; Jan Andrzej Morsztyn

Coffin portrait of Barbara Domicela Lubomirska née Szczawińska, 1676. The fine arts are represented by painters: Daniel Schultz,[55] Jerzy Siemiginowski, Szymon Czechowicz, Franciszek Smuglewicz, Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine, Zygmunt Vogel, architects: Santi Gucci, Tylman Gamerski, Jonas Kristupas Glaubicas,


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Domenico Merlini, Laurynas Gucevičius, Szymon Bogumił Zug, art of south-eastern borderlands of the Commonwealth associated with the Orthodox Church[65] and works of foreigners active in the Commonwealth: Andreas Schlüter,[66] André Le Brun, Marcello Bacciarelli and Bernardo Bellotto. An inseparable branch of the Sarmatian culture are the coffin portraits, a special variety of Commonwealth art culture.[67] They were designed for funeral ceremonies, particularly for grandiose occasions.[67] As a rule, such portraits were nailed on sheet metal six — or eight — sided in shape, fixed to the front of a coffin placed on a high, ornate catafalque.[68] Another characteristic is common usage of black marble. Altars, fonts, portals, balustrades, columns, monuments, tombstones, headstones and whole rooms (e.g. Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, St. Casimir Chapel of the Vilnius Cathedral and Vasa Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral) were decorated with black marble.[54] Musical life flourished during the reign of the Vasas. Many Italian composers, to mention only Luca Marenzio and Annibale Stabile, were brought to the court of King Sigismund III Vasa to write music for the royal orchestra, which was directed by Asprilio Pacelli and Marco Scacchi, later by Bartłomiej Pękiel and Jacek Różycki.[69] Marcin Mielczewski, who was a member of King Władysław’s orchestra, composed instrumental Canzoni and church concerts.[69] Diomedes Cato, a native-born Italian who lived in Kraków from about the age of five, became one of the most famous lutenists at the court of Sigismund III, and not only imported some of the musical styles from southern Europe, but blended them with native folk music.[70] Choirs were founded at churches and schools, music was played during religious and secular ceremonies.[69] Many noblemen supported their own companies of musicians.[69] Stanisław Lubomirski had his own opera theatre in Nowy Wiśnicz, while Kristupas Radvila Jaunasis and Jonušas Skuminas Tiškevičius maintained their music ensembles in Vilnius, in a characteristic display of the noblemen’s interest in the arts.[69] Magnates often undertook construction projects as monuments to themselves: churches, cathedrals, and palaces like the present-day Presidential Palace in Warsaw

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Baroque Leżajsk organ by Stanisław Studziński and Jan Głowiński, accomplished in 1693, has mechanical controls (tracker system) and 75 voices altogether.[71]

The Rape of Europa, Guido Reni. The painting was made for King Władysław of Poland, shortly before 1640.[72] and Pidhirtsi Castle built by Grand Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski herbu Pobóg. He also constructed a Brody Castle (1630-1635) and Kodak Fortress (1635), both designed by the French military engineer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan. The magnates throughout Poland competed with the kings. The monumental castle


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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Krzyżtopór, built in the style palazzo in fortezza between 1627 and 1644, had several courtyards surrounded by massive starshaped fortifications.[73] Due to efforts of powerful Radziwiłł family, the town of Nesvizh in today’s Belarus came to exercise great influence in the sciences, arts, crafts and architecture. The complex consists of the residential castle and the mausoleum Church of Corpus Christi with their setting. Late baroque fascination with the culture and art of the "central nation" is reflected in Queen Masysieńka’s Chinese Palace in Zolochiv.[74] The largest projects involved entire towns, although in time many of them would lapse into obscurity or be totally abandoned. Usually they were named after the sponsoring magnate. Among the most famous is the town of Zamość, founded by Jan Zamoyski in 1580 and designed by the Italian architect Bernardo Morando.[75] 18th century magnate palaces represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture — a merger of European art with old Commonwealth building traditions are visible Eleusa, Allegory of Tylman in Branicki Palace in Białystok and in anonimous Summer, Jerzy Gamerski, Warsaw, Potocki Palace in Radzyń Podlaski, Ruthenian Siemiginowski, built Raczyński Palace in Rogalin and Sapieha painter, 1680s, Wil1691-1697. Palace in Ruzhany. 17th cenanów Palace in Apart from the Church and the royal tury icon Warsaw. court, the great magnates were the main patfrom rons of art and handicrafts, surrounding Hłomcza. themselves with beautiful objects in their town and country residences. Many magSzlachta and Sarmatism nates were conscientious collectors of art.[76] Further information: Sarmatism Stanisław Lubomirski gathered objects of art The prevalent ideology of the szlachta beand the collection included paintings by [77] Over the pericame "Sarmatism", named after the SarmaRaphael, Titian and Dürer. tians, alleged ancestors of the Poles. This beod of 1614–1621, the most frequent Polish lief system was an important part of the caller at the Rubens studio was the nobleman [78] Żeroński took upon himszlachta’s culture, penetrating all aspects of Piotr Żeroński. its life. Sarmatism enshrined equality among self some of his King’s liabilities vis a vis the szlachta, horseback riding, tradition, provinpainter, likewise those of certain Polish magcial rural life, peace and pacifism; chamnates, including Żółkiewski and the Sapieha [78] In 1621 Żeroński donated to the pioned oriental-inspired attire (żupan, konfamily. tusz, sukmana, pas kontuszowy, delia, szChurch of St. Nicholas in Kalisz a Rubens abla); and served to integrate the multi-ethpainting depicting the Deposition.[78] nic nobility by creating an almost nationalistPažaislis ic sense of unity and of pride in the szlachta’s Monastery Golden Freedoms. in Kaunas, In its early, idealistic form, Sarmatism Pietro PutBranicki represented a positive cultural movement: it tini, built Palace in supported religious belief, honesty, national 1674-1712. Białystok, pride, courage, equality and freedom. In


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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Polish nobleman by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1637. time, however, it became distorted. Late extreme Sarmatism turned belief into bigotry, honesty into political naïveté, pride into arrogance, courage into stubbornness and freedom into anarchy.[79] The faults of Sarmatism were blamed for the demise of the country from the late 18th century onwards. Criticism, often one-sided and exaggerated, was used by the Polish reformists to push for radical changes. This self-deprecation was accompanied by works of Prussian, Russian and Austrian historians, who tried to prove that it was Poland itself that was to blame for its fall.[80]

Cossack’s wedding. Painting by Józef Brandt. nations: Lithuanians, Poles, Belarusians and Ukrainians; the latter two usually referred to as the Ruthenians. Sometimes inhabitants of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were called Litvins, a Slavic term for Lithuanians, despite being of different ethnicities. Shortly after the Union of Lublin, the Commonwealth population was around 7 million, with a rough breakdown of 4.5 m Poles, 0.75 m Lithuanians, 0.7 m Jews and 2 m Ruthenians.[81] In 1618, after the Truce of Deulino, the Commonwealth population increased together with its territory, reaching 11.5 million people, which was composed roughly of 4.5 m Poles, 3.5 m Ukrainians, 1.5 m Belarusians, 0.75 m Lithuanians, 0.75 m Prussians, 0.5 m Jews, and 0.5 m Livonians. At that time nobility was 10% of the population, and burghers were 15%.[82] In the period from 1648–57, populations losses are estimated at 4 m.[82] Coupled with further population and territorial losses, in 1717 the Commonwealth population had fallen to 9 m, with roughly 4.5 m Poles, 1.5 m Ukrainians, 1.2 m

Demographics and religion
Further information: Historical demographics of Poland The population of the Commonwealth was never overwhelmingly either Roman Catholic or Polish. This circumstance resulted from Poland’s possession of Ukraine and confederation with Lithuania, in both of which countries ethnic Poles were a distinct minority. The Commonwealth comprised primarily four


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Belarusians, 0.8 m Lithuanians, 0.5 m Jews, and 0.5 m others.[82] To be Polish, in the non-Polish lands of the Commonwealth, was then much less an index of ethnicity than of religion and rank; it was a designation largely reserved for the landed noble class (szlachta), which included Poles but also many members of non-Polish origin who converted to Catholicism in increasing numbers with each following generation. For the non-Polish noble such conversion meant a final step of Polonization that followed the adoption of the Polish language and culture.[83] Poland, as the culturally most advanced part of the Commonwealth, with the royal court, the capital, the largest cities, the second-oldest university in Central Europe (after Prague), and the more liberal and democratic social institutions had proven an irresistible magnet for the non-Polish nobility in the Commonwealth.[10] Many referred to themselves as gente Ruthenus, natione Polonus (Ruthenian by blood, Polish by nationality) since 16th century onwards.[84]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
decades of peace brought huge colonization efforts to Ukraine, heightening the tensions among nobles, Jews, Cossacks (traditionally Orthodox), Polish and Ruthenian peasants. The latter, deprived of their native protectors among the Ruthenian nobility, turned for protection to cossacks that facilitated violence that in the end broke the Commonwealth. The tensions were aggravated by conflicts between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Greek Catholic Church following the Union of Brest, overall discrimination of Orthodox religions by dominant Catholicism,[85] and several Cossack uprisings. In the west and north, many cities had sizable German minorities, often belonging to Reformed churches. The Commonwealth had also one of the largest Jewish diasporas in the world - by the mid-16th century 80% of the world’s Jews lived in Poland.[86] Until the Reformation, the szlachta were mostly Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. However, many families quickly adopted the Reformed religion. After the Counter-Reformation, when the Roman Catholic Church regained power in Poland, the szlachta became almost exclusively Roman Catholic, despite the fact that Roman Catholicism was not a majority religion (the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches counted approximately 40% of the population each, while the remaining 20% were Jews and members of various Protestant churches). It should be noted that the Counter-Reformation in Poland, influenced by the Commonwealth tradition of religious tolerance, was based mostly on Jesuit propaganda and was very peaceful when compared to more violent efforts such as the Thirty Years’ War elsewhere in Europe. The Crown had about double the population of Lithuania and five times the income of the latter’s treasury. As with other countries, the borders, area and population of the Commonwealth varied over time. After the Peace of Jam Zapolski (1582), the Commonwealth had approximately 815,000 km² area and a population of 6.5 million. After the Truce of Deulino (1618), the Commonwealth had an area of some 1 million km² (990,000 km²) and a population of 10–11 million (including some 4 million Poles).

Greek Catholic St. George’s Sobor in Lviv, 1746-1762. As a result, in the eastern territories a Polish (or Polonized) aristocracy dominated a peasantry whose great majority was neither Polish nor Roman Catholic. Moreover, the

Languages of the Commonwealth

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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
November Uprising (1830–31), the January Uprising (1863–64) and in the 1920s, with Józef Piłsudski’s failed attempt to create a Polish-led Międzymorze ("Between-Seas") federation that would have included Lithuania and Ukraine. Today’s Republic of Poland considers itself a successor to the Commonwealth,[105] whereas the Republic of Lithuania, re-established at the end of World War I, saw the participation of the Lithuanian state in the old Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth mostly in a negative light at the early stages of regaining its independence,[106] although this attitude has been changing recently.[107]

Crimean falconer of King John II Casimir with his family , Daniel Schultz, 1664. • Polish (officially recognized;[87] dominant language, used by most of Commonwealth nobility[87][88][89][90] and by peasantry in the Crown province;[91] official language in Crown chancellery and since 1697 in Grand Duchy chancellery)[92] Dominant language in the towns.[91] • Latin (off. recog.;[87][93] commonly used in foreign relations[92] and popular as second language among the nobility[94]) • Ruthenian (also known as Chancery Slavonic;[92] off. recog.;[87] official language in Grand Duchy chancellery until 1697 (when replaced by Polish); used in some foreign relations[92][93][95] its dialects were widely used in Grand Duchy and eastern parts of the Crown as spoken language) • Lithuanian (not off. recog.[87][96] but used in some official documents in Grand Duchy[97][98][99] and, mostly, used as a spoken language in the northwest part of Grand Duchy (in Lithuania Proper) and the northern part of Royal Prussia (see Lithuania Minor).[100] • German (off. recog.;[87] used in some foreign relations,[92] in Royal Prussia and by minorities in cities,[91][101]) • Hebrew (off. recog.;[87] used by the Jews; Yiddish was also used[91] but not recognized as official language[102][103]) • Armenian (off. recog.[87] used by Armenian minority[103][104])

Administrative division

Outline of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with its major subdivisions after the 1618 Peace of Deulino, superimposed on present-day national borders. The Crown Duchy of Prussia, Polish fief Grand Duchy of Lithuania Duchy of Courland, Lithuanian fief Duchy of Livonia Swedish and Danish Estonia 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: • the Crown of the Polish Kingdom (Poland proper), colloquially "the Crown"; and • the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, colloquially "Lithuania". The Commonwealth was further divided into smaller administrative units known as voivodships (województwa). Each voivodship was governed by a voivod (wojewoda, governor). Voivodships were further divided into starostwa, each starostwo being governed by a

The Duchy of Warsaw, established in 1807, traced its origins to the Commonwealth. Other revival movements appeared during the


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starosta. Cities were governed by castellans. There were frequent exceptions to these rules, often involving the ziemia subunit of administration. See also: Offices in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth The lands that once belonged to the Commonwealth are now largely distributed among several Central and East European countries: Poland, Ukraine, Moldova (Transnistria), Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Also some small towns in Slovakia, then within the Kingdom of Hungary, became a part of Poland in the Treaty of Lubowla. Other notable parts of the Commonwealth often referred to, without respect to region or voivodship divisions, include: • Lesser Poland (Polish: Małopolska), southern Poland, with its capital at Kraków (Cracow); • Greater Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska), west–central Poland around Poznań and the Warta River system; • Masovia (Polish: Mazowsze), central Poland, with its capital at Warszawa (Warsaw); • Lithuania Proper, the catholic, or, perhaps, in some cases ethnically Lithuanian, part of Grand Duchy in the northwest of it. • Samogitia (Polish: Żmudź, Lithuanian: Žemaitija), an autonomous area of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the westernmost part of it, the western part of Lithuania Proper. • Royal Prussia (Polish: Prusy Królewskie), at the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, was an autonomous area since the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), incorporated into the Crown in 1569 with the Commonwealth’s formation; • Pomerelia (Polish: Pomorze Gdańskie), Pomerania around Gdańsk (Danzig), western part of Royal Prussia; • Ruthenia (Polish: Ruś), the eastern Commonwealth, adjoining Russia; • Duchy of Livonia (Polish: Inflanty), a joint domain of the Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Parts lost to Sweden in the 1620s and in 1660; • Duchy of Courland (Polish: Kurlandia), a northern fief of the Commonwealth. It established a colony in Tobago in 1637 and on St. Andrews Island at the Gambia River in 1651 (see Courland colonization);

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
• Silesia (Polish: Śląsk) was not within the Commonwealth, but small parts belonged to various Commonwealth kings; in particular, the Vasa kings were dukes of Opole from 1645 to 1666. Commonwealth borders shifted with wars and treaties, sometimes several times in a decade, especially in the eastern and southern parts. After the Peace of Jam Zapolski (1582), the Commonwealth had approximately 815,000 km² area and a population of 6.5 million. After the Truce of Deulino (1618), the Commonwealth had an area of some 990,000 km² and a population of 10–11 million (including some 4 million Poles).


Topographical map of the Commonwealth in 1764.

16th century map of Europe by Gerardus Mercator. In the 16th century, the Polish bishop and cartographer Martin Kromer published a Latin atlas, entitled Poland: about Its Location, People, Culture, Offices and the Polish


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Commonwealth, which was regarded as the most comprehensive guide to the country. Kromer’s works and other contemporary maps, such as those of Gerardus Mercator, show the Commonwealth as mostly plains. The Commonwealth’s southeastern part, the Kresy, was famous for its steppes. The Carpathian Mountains formed part of the southern border, with the Tatra Mountain chain the highest, and the Baltic Sea formed the Commonwealth’s northern border. As with most European countries at the time, the Commonwealth had extensive forest cover, especially in the east. Today, what remains of the Białowieża Forest constitutes the last largely intact primeval forest in Europe.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth watch?v=83hwEc7B9CI. Retrieved on 2009-02-01. [2] "Poland." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 20 Feb. 2009 [3] Heritage: Interactive Atlas: PolishLithuanian Commonwealth. Retrieved March 19, 2006: At its apogee, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth comprised some 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km2) and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million. For population comparisons, see also those maps: [1], [2]. [4] Norman Davies, Europe: A History, Pimlico 1997, p. 554: Poland-Lithuania was another country which experienced its ’Golden Age’ during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The realm of the last Jagiellons was absolutely the largest state in Europe. [5] Yale Richmond, From Da to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans, Intercultural Press, 1995, p. 51 [6] Maciej Janowski, Polish Liberal Thought, Central European University Press, 2001, ISBN 963-9241-18-0, Google Print: p3, p12 [7] Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-820654-2, Google print p84 [8] Rett R. Ludwikowski, ConstitutionMaking in the Region of Former Soviet Dominance, Duke University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8223-1802-4, Google Print, p34 [9] ^ George Sanford, Democratic Government in Poland: Constitutional Politics Since 1989, Palgrave, 2002, ISBN 0-333-77475-2, Google print p11—constitutional monarchy, p3—anarchy [10] ^ Aleksander Gella, Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors, SUNY Press, 1998, ISBN 0-88706-833-2, Google Print, p13 [11] "Formally, Poland and Lithuania were to be distinct, equal components of the federation… But Poland, which retained possession of the Lithuanian lands it had seized, but Poland had greater representation in the Diet and became the dominant partner.""Lublin, Union of".

See also
• • • • Historical Powers List of Polish Coats of Arms List of szlachta Polish heraldry

History of Belarus

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[1] ""The Commonwealth of Diversities"". YouTube. 2008-03-27.


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2006. article-9049222. [3] [12] Halina Stephan, Living in Translation: Polish Writers in America, Rodopi, 2003, ISBN 90-420-1016-9, Google Print p373. Quoting from Sarmatian Review academic journal mission statement: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was […] characterized by religious tolerance unusual in premodern Europe [13] This quality of the Commonwealth was recognized by its contemporaries. Robert Burton, in his The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621, writes of Poland: "Poland is a receptacle of all religions, where Samosetans, Socinians, Photinians [...], Arians, Anabaptists are to be found"; "In Europe, Poland and Amsterdam are the common sanctuaries [for Jews]". [14] Feliks Gross, Citizenship and Ethnicity: The Growth and Development of a Democratic Multiethnic Institution, Greenwood Press, 1999, ISBN 0-313-30932-9, Google Print, p122 (notes) [15] "Poland." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 20 Feb. 2009 [16] (English) Francis Dvornik (1992). The Slavs in European History and Civilization. Rutgers University Press. p. 300. ISBN 08-13507-99-5. books?id=LACpYPg1y8C&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. [17] (English) Salo Wittmayer Baron (1976). A social and religious history of the Jews. Columbia University Press. ISBN 02-31088-53-1. [18] Martin Van Gelderen, Quentin Skinner, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-80756-5 Google Print: p54 [19] The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis, discussion and full online text of Evsey Domar (1970) "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis", Economic History Review 30:1 (March), pp18–32 [20] ^ John Markoff describes the advent of modern codified national constitutions and states that "The first European country to follow the U.S. example was Poland in 1791." John Markoff, Waves of

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Democracy, 1996, ISBN 0-8039-9019-7, Google Print, p121 [21] Polish–Prussian alliance of 1790 [22] Although the terms Rzeczpospolita (Commonwealth/Republic) and Oba Narody (Two/Both Nations) were widespread in the period, they were used in the combined form for the first time only in 1967 in Paweł Jasienica’s book thus entitled. [23] . In 1651, in the face of a growing threat from Poland, and forsaken by his Tatar allies, Khmelnytsky asked the Tsar to incorporate Ukraine as an autonomous duchy under Russian protection."Pereyaslav Agreement". 2006. article?tocId=9059219. [4] [24] Andrzej Jezierski, Cecylia Leszczyńska, Historia gospodarcza Polski, 2003, s. 68. [25] Russia’s Rise as a European Power, 1650-1750, Jeremy Black, History Today, Vol. 36 Issue: 8, August 1986 [26] ^ Pacy, James S.; James T. McHugh. Diplomats Without a Country: Baltic Diplomacy, International Law, and the Cold War (1st Edition ed.). Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. doi:10.1336/0313318786. ISBN 0-313-31878-6. books?ie=UTF-8&visbn=0313318786&id=wRbdAwtx Retrieved on 2006-09-03. [27] Bardach, Juliusz (1998). O Rzeczpospolitą Obojga Narodów. Warszawa. [28] Joanna Olkiewicz, Najaśniejsza Republika Wenecka (Most Serene Republic of Venice), Książka i Wiedza, 1972, Warszawa [29] Joseph Conrad, Notes on Life and Letters: Notes on Life and Letters, Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-56163-9, Google Print, p422 (notes) [30] Frost, Robert I.. The Northern Wars: War, State and Society in northeastern Europe, 1558–1721. Harlow, England; New York: Longman’s. 2000. Especially pp9–11, 114, 181, 323. [31] (English) David Sneath (2007). The headless state: aristocratic orders, kinship society, & misrepresentations of nomadic inner Asia. Columbia University Press. p. 188. ISBN 02-31140-54-1. books?id=OR14qaApQbgC&printsec=frontcover&hl=


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[32] (English) M. L. Bush (1988). Rich noble, Europe from the Middle Ages to the poor noble. Manchester University Press Present, Routledge (UK), 2001, ISBN ND. p. 8-9. ISBN 07-19023-81-5. 0-415-25491-4, Google Print p131 [45] ^ (English) The role of East-Central books?id=TIG7AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. in international trade, 16th and Europe [33] ^ (English) Piotr Stefan Wandycz (1980). 17th centuries. Akadémiai Kiadó. 1970. The United States and Poland. Harvard p. 220. University Press. p. 17. ISBN books?id=xFZ9AAAAMAAJ&hl=pl&pgis=1. 06-74926-85-4. [46] "Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica’s books?id=_XaFaNshCrkC&printsec=frontcover& History". Guide [34] ^ (English) Paul R. Magocsi (1996). A 1910-01-31. history of Ukraine. University of Toronto blackhistory/article-24160. Retrieved on Press. p. 142. ISBN 08-02078-20-6. 2009-02-01. [47] books?id=t124cP06gg0C&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN086091710X&id=EhtMb [35] (English) Nigel Roberts (2008). Belarus. [48] (English) Krzysztof Olszewski (2007). Bradt Travel Guides. p. 159. ISBN The Rise and Decline of the Polish18-41622-07-9. Lithuanian Commonwealth due to Grain books?id=CsJshOnGFW8C&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. 7. Trade. p. [36] ^ (English) David J. Sturdy (2002). olszewski/ Fractured Europe, 1600-1721. WileyPolish%20Grain%20Trade%20-%20Krzysztof%20Olsz Blackwell. p. 236. ISBN 06-31205-13-6. Retrieved on 2009-04-22. [49] (English) Jarmo Kotilaine (2005). books?id=Y8_mapl_JS0C&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. Russia’s foreign trade and economic [37] (English) A Republic of nobles: studies in expansion in the seventeenth century: Polish history to 1864. CUP Archive. windows on the world. BRILL. p. 47. 1982. p. 147. ISBN 05-21240-93-X. ISBN 90-04138-96-X. books?id=p7U8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. books?id=57LnE5DO2rQC&printsec=frontcover&hl= [38] William Bullitt, The Great Globe Itself: A [50] (Polish) Warszawa, jej dzieje i kultura. Preface to World Affairs, Transaction Arkady. 1980. p. 667. ISBN Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-4128-0490-6, 83-21329-58-6. Google Print, pp42–43 books?id=gPorAAAAMAAJ&hl=pl&pgis=1. [39] John Adams, The Political Writings of [51] ^ (English) "Polish Silver from the 17th John Adams, Regnery Gateway, 2001, Century to the First Half of the 19th ISBN 0-89526-292-4, Google Print, p.242 Century in the Collection of the [40] ^ Henry Eldridge Bourne, The Hermitage". Revolutionary Period in Europe 1763 to 1815, Kessinger Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-4179-3418-2, Google Print p161 html_En/04/2004/hm4_1_87.html. [41] ^ Wolfgang Menzel, Germany from the Retrieved on 2009-05-13. Earliest Period Vol. 4, Kessinger [52] ^ (English) Alicja Deck-Partyka (2006). Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-4191-2171-5, Poland, a Unique Country & Its People. Google Print, p33 AuthorHouse. p. 351-353. ISBN [42] ;Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age 14-25918-38-7. of Catherine the Great, Sterling books?id=3C8JR8Gv3AkC&printsec=frontcover. Publishing Company, Inc., 2002, ISBN [53] (English) Polish Winged Hussar 1-84212-511-7, Google Print p431 1576-1775. Osprey Publishing. 2006. [43] Carl L. Bucki, The Constitution of May 3, p. 15. ISBN 18-41766-50-X. 1791, Text of a presentation made at the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo on the books?id=GCW2VIgJ5o0C&printsec=frontcover. occasion of the celebrations of Poland’s [54] ^ (English) Building stone decay: from Constitution Day on May 3, 1996. diagnosis to conservation. Geological Retrieved March 20, 2006 Society. 2007. p. 109. ISBN [44] Piotr Stefan Wandycz, The Price of 18-62392-18-8. Freedom: A History of East Central books?id=_NS5PaO_LeQC&printsec=frontcover.


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[55] ^ (English) Jane Turner (1996). The Dictionary of Art: 34 Volumes. Grove’s Department-XVIII-OrthodoxDictionaries. p. a - 128, b - 173. ISBN art.185.0.html?&L=1. Retrieved on 18-84446-00-0. 2009-05-13. books?id=nr4YAAAAIAAJ&hl=pl&pgis=1. [66] (English) Wiesław Gierlowski. "The [56] ^ (English) Gordon Campbell (2006). Amber Study of King Frederick I". The Grove encyclopedia of decorative arts. Oxford University Press US. p. 13. ISBN 01-95189-48-5. amber_study_of_king_Frederick_I.php. Retrieved on 2009-05-13. books?id=jGsVHV098K0C&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. [67] ^ (English) "Portraits collection". [57] (English) Elzbieta Mierzwinska. "The Heyday of Artistic Amber Craft by the Baltic Sea". _index.php?wer=en&op=zbiory. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. amber_artistic_craft.php. Retrieved on [68] (English) Mariusz Karpowicz (1991). 2009-05-20. Baroque in Poland. Arkady. p. 68. ISBN [58] (English) The National Museum in 83-21334-12-1. Warsaw: handbook of the collections. books?id=A3lZAAAAIAAJ&pgis=1. The Museum. 1963. p. 40. [69] ^ (English) Michael J. Mikoś. "Baroque". books?id=ALYcAAAAIAAJ&hl=pl&pgis=1. [59] (English) ""Polonaise" carpet". Mikos_baroque/Cultural_b.html. Retrieved on 2009-05-13. [70] (English) "The Music Courts of the Polish obra.asp?num=t71&nuc=a4&lang=en. Vasas". 244. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. [60] ^ (English) A Republic of nobles: studies muzyczne_dwory_summary.pdf. in Polish history to 1864. CUP Archive. Retrieved on 2009-05-13. 1982. p. 209. ISBN 05-21240-93-X. [71] (English) Mirosław Gieroń. "The Bernardine Monastery in Leżajsk". books?id=p7U8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. [61] (English) Norman Davies (2005). God’s Playground: A History of Poland. culture/relics/monuments/ Columbia University Press. p. 167. ISBN bernardine_monastery. Retrieved on 02-31128-19-3. 2009-03-12. books?id=EBpghdZeIwAC&hl=pl. [72] (English) "The Rape of Europa". [62] (English) "Setting Sail". 29 May 2003. bin/WebObjects.dll/ Retrieved on 2009-05-21. CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/ [63] (English) Ian Ridpath. "Taurus Poniatovii work?workNumber=L898. Retrieved on - Poniatowski’s bull". 2009-05-19. [73] (English) "“Krzyżtopór” Castle". poniatowski.htm. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. co_zobaczyc-en/zabytki/zamki_i_palace/ [64] ^ (English) Paul Peucker. "Jan Amos 201ckrzyztopor201dcastle/ Comenius (1592-1670)". pot_category_view. Retrieved on 2009-05-13. [74] During the 1690s, Queen Marie often 550_resources/ vacationed in Zolochiv and thanks to her Jan_Amos_Comenius_Bulletin_Insert.pdf. presence a distinctive Chinese palace Retrieved on 2009-05-18. appeared in the castle grounds. (English) [65] (English) "Orthodox art". "Palaces and Castles in a Lion Country". June 2, 2008.


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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Service. [5]. Retrieved lviv/336. Retrieved on 2009-05-19. February 10, 2006 and "Ukraine", [75] (English) Stanisław Turski. "Region Encyclopædia Britannica from Zamość". Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. [6]. Retrieved February 14, 33/0/. Retrieved on 2009-05-19. 2006. [76] (English) "The Glory of Art". [86] "European Jewish Congress - Poland". publications/2002/cd1/17/6.htm. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. news.php?id_article=107. Retrieved on [77] (Polish) Kamila Follprecht. "Plan zamku i 2009-02-01. klasztoru w Wiśniczu z 1696 roku". [87] ^ Anatol Lieven, The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence, Yale University Press, dokumentyarchiwalne/ 1994, ISBN 0300060785, Google Print, gallery,Plan_zamku_i_klasztoru_w_Wisniczu_z_1696_roku,gid,276938,cid,5230.htm?body=desc. p.48 Retrieved on 2009-05-18. [88] Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael, [78] ^ (English) Kamila Follprecht. "The Language and Nationalism in Europe, masterpiece of Peter Paul Rubens, The Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN descent from the cross from the 0199250855, Google Print p.184 collection of the State Hermitage in St. [89] Östen Dahl, Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Petersburg". The Circum-Baltic Languages: Typology and Contact, John Benjamins Publishing details/412/. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. Company, 2001, ISBN 9027230579, [79] Andrzej Wasko, Sarmatism or the Google Print, p.45 Enlightenment: <space>The Dilemma of [90] Glanville Price, Encyclopedia of the Polish Culture, Sarmatian Review XVII.2, Languages of Europe, Blackwell online Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0631220399, [80] Dziejochciejstwo, dziejokrętactwo, Google Print, p.30 Janusz Tazbir, Polityka 6 (2591) [91] ^ Mikulas Teich, The National Question 10-02-2007 (in Polish) in Europe in Historical Context, [81] Total and Jewish population based on Cambridge University Press, 1993, ISBN Frazee; others are estimations from 0521367131, Google Print, p.295 Pogonowski (se following reference). [92] ^ Kevin O’Connor, Culture And Customs Charles A. Frazee, World History the of the Baltic States, Greenwood Press, Easy Way, Barron’s Educational Series, 2006, ISBN 0313331251, Google Print, ISBN 0812097661, Google Print, 50 p.115 [82] ^ Based on 1618 population map (p115), [93] ^ Daniel. Z Stone, A History of East 1618 languages map (p119), 1657–67 Central Europe, p.46 losses map (p128) and 1717 map (p141) [94] Karin Friedrich et al., The Other Prussia: from Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Poland a Royal Prussia, Poland and Liberty, Historical Atlas, Hippocrene Books, 1569-1772, Cambridge University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-880-29394-2 2000, ISBN 0521583357, Google Print, [83] Linda Gordon, Cossack Rebellions: Social p.88 Turmoil in the Sixteenth Century [95] Piotr Eberhardt, Jan Owsinski, Ethnic Ukraine, SUNY Press, 1983, ISBN Groups and Population Changes in 0-87395-654-0, Google Print, p.51 Twentieth-century Central-Eastern [84] (English) Serhii Plokhy (2006). The Europe: History, Data, Analysis, M.E. origins of the Slavic nations: premodern Sharpe, 2003, ISBN 0765606658, Google identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Print, p.177 Belarus. Cambridge University Press. [96] Östen Dahl, Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, p. 169. ISBN 05-21864-03-8. The Circum-Baltic Languages: Typology and Contact, John Benjamins Publishing books?id=pCdUmCWxwJ8C&printsec=frontcover. Company, 2001, ISBN 9027230579, [85] "Poland, history of", Encyclopædia Google Print, p.41 Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica


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[97] Zinkevičius, Z. (1993). Rytų Lietuva praeityje ir dabar. Vilnius: Mokslo ir Retrieved on 2009-02-01. enciklopedijų leidykla. p. 70. ISBN 5-420-01085-2. "Official usage of Lithuanian language in the 16th century Lithuania’s cities proves magistrate’s decree of Vilnius city, which was sealed by Žygimantas Augustas’ in Polish statehood 1552...//Courts juratory were written in • Kingdom of the Piasts Lithuanian language. In fact, such • Kingdom of the Jagiellons [courts juratory written in Lithuanian] • Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth survived from the 17th century..." • Partitions of Poland [98] ""Mes Wladislaus..." a letter from • Kingdom of Galicia Wladyslaw Vasa issued in 1639 written • Duchy of Warsaw • Congress Kingdom in Lithuanian language". • Free City of Kraków • Grand Duchy of Posen no_name_2/Edt1458.jpg. Retrieved on • Grand Duchy of Cracow 2006-09-03. • Second Polish Republic [99] Ališauskas, V.; L. Jovaiša, M. Paknys, R. • Polish Underground State • People’s Republic of Poland Petrauskas, E. Raila and others (2001). • Third Polish Republic Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštijos kultūra. Tyrinėjimai ir vaizdai. Vilnius. p. 500. ISBN 9955-445-26-2. "In 1794 • Norman Davies, God’s Playground, ISBN Government’s declarations were carried 0-231-05353-3 and ISBN 0-231-05351-7 out and in Lithuanian." (two volumes). [100] aniel. Z Stone, A History of East D • Jan Chryzostom Pasek, Memoirs of the Central Europe, p.4 Polish Baroque: The Writings of Jan [101] zesław Miłosz, The History of Polish C Chryzostom Pasek, a Squire of the Literature, University of California Press, Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, 1983, ISBN 0520044770, Google Print, ISBN 0-520-02752-3. p.108 • Adam Zamoyski, The Polish Way: a [102]an K. Ostrowski, Land of the Winged J Thousand-Year History of the Poles and Horsemen: Art in Poland, 1572-1764, Their Culture, ISBN 0-7818-0200-8. Yale University Press, 1999, ISBN • Pawel Jasienica, Rzeczpospolita Obojga 0300079184, Google Print, p.27 Narodów (Commonwealth of the Two [103] (English) Joanna B. Michlic (2006). ^ Nations), ISBN 83-06-01093-0. Poland’s threatening other: the image of • Zdzisław Kowalewski, Rzeczpospolita nie the Jew from 1880 to the present. U of doceniona: Kultura naukowa i polityczna Nebraska Press. p. 42. ISBN Polski przedrozbiorowej (Commonwealth 08-03232-40-3. not valued: Science and political culture of books?id=t6h2pI7o_zQC&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl. the pre-partition Poland), ISBN [104]English) Rosemary A. Chorzempa ( 83-211-0312-X. (1993). Polish roots. Genealogical Pub.. • Teresa Chynczewska-Hennel, ISBN 08-06313-78-1. Rzeczpospolita XVII wieku w oczach [105] . stated, for instance by the preamble of A cudzoziemców (Commonwealth of the the Constitution of the Republic of 17th century in the eyes of the foreigners), Poland of 1997. ISBN 83-04-04107-3. [106] lfonsas Eidintas, Vytautas Zalys, A • Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł, Pamiętnik o Lithuania in European Politics: The Years dziejach w Polsce (Memoires on the Polish of the First Republic, 1918–1940, history). ISBN 83-06-00092-7 Palgrave, 1999, ISBN 0-312-22458-3. • Lukowski, Jerzy Tadeusz, Liberty’s Folly: Print, p78 The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in [107]"Zobaczyć Kresy". Grzegorz Górny. " the Eighteenth Century, 1697–1795. Rzeczpospolita 23-08-2008 (in Polish)" Routledge, 1991 (ISBN (in (Polish)). 2008-08-23. 0-415-03228-8).Google Print

Further reading


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Snyder, Timothy. "The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999", New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-300-10586-X). • Stone, Daniel Z. The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386–1795 (A History of East Central Europe; 4). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2001 (hardcover, ISBN 0-295-98093-1).

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

External links
• Commonwealth of Diverse Cultures: Poland’s Heritage • History of Lithuania in the Middle Ages • (Polish) The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth–Maps, history of cities in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania

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