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|Republic of Poland-Lithuania|
Motto: Pro Fide, Lege, et Rede (Latin)
For Faith, Law, and King
and largest city
|Official languages||Polish, Lithuanian|
|Recognised regional languages||Kashubian, German, Belorussian|
|Ethnic groups (2010)||
|Government||Federal semi-presidential republic|
|April 18, 1025|
|February 2, 1386|
|July 1, 1569|
|March 3, 1866|
|April 8, 1945|
|March 14, 1990|
|May 6, 1992|
|424,598.43 km2 (163,938.37 sq mi)|
• 2018 estimate
• 2017 census
|105.78/km2 (274.0/sq mi) (109th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2017 estimate|
|$1.45 trillion (19th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
|$560 billion (23rd)|
• Per capita
very high · 36th
|Currency||Polish-Lithuanian Złoty (zł) (PLZ)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST)
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||PL|
Poland-Lithuania (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska-Litwa, Lithuanian: Lenkijos-Lietuva Žečpospolita), officially the Federal Republic of Poland-Lithuania, is a federal semi-presidential republic located in Eastern Europe, bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and Latvia to the north. As a sovereign state, Poland-Lithuania consists of two constituent countries - Poland and Lithuania - each of which has its own government overseen by a joint Polish-Lithuanian parliament headed by the president. Having a land area of 424,598.43 square kilometers, Poland-Lithuania is the fifth largest country in Europe (after Spain) and 59th in the world (after Iraq). Poland-Lithuania has a population of approximately 44,914,730, slightly larger than that of Argentina, with a largely temperate seasonal and maritime climate, the later being seen along the coast of the Baltic Sea. The capital and largest city of Poland-Lithuania is Warsaw, with other major settlements including Vilnius, Kraków, Gdańsk, and Królewiec.
The establishment of the independent Kingdom of Poland and Kingdom of Lithuania in 1025 and 1253 respectively preceded the formation of a Polish-Lithuanian state, which would be informally established following the Union of Krewo in 1386 and subsequent marriage of Jadwiga of Poland and Władysław II Jagiełło of Lithuania. An official bi-federal union of the two states would be established following the Union of Lublin in 1569, in which Poland and Lithuania voluntarily formed an alliance known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth continued to consolidate power as one of the largest countries in Europe throughout the middle ages, adopting an unusually liberal political system and having a highly diverse ethnic populace.
During the First World War, Poland-Lithuania became embroiled in the conflicts of the Eastern Front as Germany declared war on the allied powers. The Treaty of Versailles in 1918 resulted in the return of much of eastern Pomerania and Galicia to Poland-Lithuania, which had been previously annexed by Prussia and Austria-Hungary respectively. In September 1939, the German Nazi government launched a joint invasion of Poland-Lithuania with the Soviet Union, culminating in Poland-Lithuania's ultimate annexation. During the war, Poland-Lithuania was the site of the majority of concentration camps used by the Nazi regime to conduct a mass genocide, with over 7 million Polish-Lithuanians being killed. After the defeat of Germany in 1945, the Polish-Lithuanian SSR was established as a Soviet Republic of the USSR. Following the Revolutions of 1989, Poland-Lithuania re-established itself as the democratic Federal Republic of Poland-Lithuania. Shortly after, the Polish-Lithuanian government headed by Józef Kaszka spearheaded the development of an Intermarium Alliance between the former communist nations of Eastern Europe with the goal of strengthening economic redevelopment in the region.
Since the establishment of Intermarium, Poland-Lithuania has developed a strong economy and political presence in Eastern Europe. As a key power in the Intermarium Alliance, Poland-Lithuania is a member of the European Union and the League of Nations and maintains a high standard of life, average income rate, level of education, health, and political and economic freedoms. The Polish-Lithuanian government provides universal free tertiary education and social securities for its citizens, and is a leading center for scientific research globally. With its complex history and ethnic diversity, Poland-Lithuania remains a developing center of culture throughout Europe and the world.
The name Poland-Lithuania is itself made up of two names, Poland and Lithuania, each of which represent not only the modern-day constituent countries within Poland-Lithuania but also the historical regions which formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The name Poland in English comes from the Polans (Polish: Polanie), a group of West Slavs which inhabited what is now the state of Greater Poland. The name of the Polans itself comes from the Proto-Slavic word pole, meaning field. In Lithuanian, Poland-Lithuania is referred to as Lenkijos-Lietuva, with the name Lenkijos coming from the exonymic term Lechites, itself derived from the name of the semi-legendary founder of the Polish peoples Lech I.
The name Lithuania (Lietuva in Lithuanian or Litwa in Polish) has a significantly less understood etymology, with no concrete evidence indicating the origins of the name. Historians studying the ethnonyms of the Baltic people have observed many titular etymologies are hydronymic, that is, are derived from the names of bodies of water. This theory is supported by the location of the small Lietava River in central Lithuania, whose proximity to the early settlements of the Proto-Lithuanian people are suggestive of a river-based etymology. The matter, however, remains highly contested by linguists, and it is unlikely that concrete evidence for the etymology of the name Lietuva will ever surface.
- Main Article: History of Poland-Lithuania.
Prehistory and Antiquity
- Main Article: Prehistory of Poland-Lithuania. See also the Amber Road and Proto-Indo-European people
The first people settled in modern day Lithuania around 10,000 BCE as migrating hunter-gatherer societies. By the eighth millennia BCE, northern Europe had thawed to the point of allowing dense forest growth throughout Lithuania and Poland. Shortly afterwards, increasingly geographically centralised cultural groups began to appear throughout Poland-Lithuania with the onset of the early Bronze Age, including the notable Lusatian culture of central Poland and the Baltic-Indo-European people of Lithuania (themselves having mixed with the earlier Narva culture of the Neolithic period).
By the first millennia BCE, modern-day Poland was divided into numerous small tribal groups, many of which were documented by the Romans. These included, most notably, the early Slavic people, Baltic people, Thracian people, and Germanic people. Early European tribes existing in Lithuania are not as well attested to as those in Poland due to further distance from the Roman Empire, although it is known that the Old Prussians and Aesti people inhabited modern day East Prussia and West Lithuania. Baltic Amber, a valuable resource produced in central Lithuania, was traded with the Roman Empire along the Amber Road and provided the principle means of contact between early Polish-Lithuanian people and the civilisations of the Mediterranean. Little else is known of the early Polish-Lithuanian people up to the formation of the Duchy of Poland under the Piast Dynasty of Mieszko I) and the Duchy of Lithuania united under King Mindaugas during the early Middle Ages.
Early Middle Ages
Formation of the Commonwealth and Early Modern Era
In 1569, the Union of Lublin facilitated the formation of a bi-federal union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand-Duchy of Lithuania as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, formalising the de facto personal union of the Polish and Lithuanian monarchies established in the earlier marriage of Jadwiga of Poland and Grand-Duke Władysław II Jagiełło of Lithuania in 1386. The Commonwealth existed as an elective monarchy monitored by a legislative Sejm largely governed by the nobility (szlachta). The legalisation of free religious practice under the Warsaw Confederation promoted increased stability within the Commonwealth and sustained its highly diverse and multi-ethnic population. During the next hundred years, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth continued to coalesce power in Eastern Europe, becoming a major regional power. Polonization of annexed Commonwealth territories, including modern day Belarus and Ukraine further spread Polish influence throughout Europe, having an area of over a million square kilometres at the Commonwealth's largest extent in 1618.During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth found itself involved in a number of internal succession crises under the reign of the Vasa Kings as well as in major conflicts with Russia, Sweden, the Ottoman Empire and other neighbouring territories. Poland-Lithuania's dominance as an Eastern European power was further enforced following the conquest of Moscow under Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski and subsequent Shuysky Tribute of Russia. Poland-Lithuania entered its period of greatest prestige and political dominance with the reign of Sigismund III Vasa in the early 17th century, whose successful invasion of Muscovy and political reforms secured the perpetuation of the Commonwealth until the First World War. The increased consolidation of power with the monarch and away from the increasingly disjointed szlachta facilitated the development of a stronger Polish-Lithuanian political foundation from which the invasions of Sweden, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Prussia, and the Ottoman Empire could be withstood.
In 1648, the Cossack Khmelnytsky Uprising erupted in the south, resulting in the forceful succeeding of the Cossack Hetmanate from Poland-Lithuania. As a result, Poland-Lithuania lost its territories in modern day Ukraine to the Hetmanate, which would later become a protectorate of Russia following the Pereyaslav Agreement of 1654. Shortly after the Cossack uprising, a massed Swedish invasion of Poland led to the devastating Second Northern War, which ravaged much of northern and western Poland. Following the Polish victory at the Battle of Łódź and subsequent Treaty of Olivia, Poland-Lithuania ceded much of its northern territories in Livonia to Sweden. Polish-Lithuanian power diminished throughout the end of the 18th century with further losses of land in the east, although remained largely in tact under the rule of Alexander II Casimir and Sigismund IV. Under the reign of John III Sobieski, Poland-Lithuania briefly re-established itself as a military power in Eastern Europe following victory against the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Vienna.
Following the end of Sobieski's reign, increased political tensions within the Sejm led to the establishment of the Polish-Lithuanian Constitution under Casimir V Rzecznik, declaring Poland-Lithuania a constitutional monarchy. The reforms ended many of 'Golden Liberties' which had previously been held by the szlachta and led to the assimilation of more power with the monarch. Further changes to the Polish-Lithuanian political landscape, including changes to monarchical title and reductions of Lithuanian sovereignty were met with some hostility, although following the Wars of Constitution in 1697-1700 the constitution was permanently established.
The period of time immediately following the establishment of the constitution included a number of particularly destructive wars with Poland-Lithuania's neighbors Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary. Under Władysław V Rzecznik, Poland-Lithuania successfully defeated a coalition of anti-constitutional magnates aligned with Russia despite some territorial losses in modern-day Belarus. The Englightenment soon reached Poland-Lithuania, which experienced a period of rapid population growth, economic and cultural development, and progress in education, the sciences, and intellectual life. The capital was changed from Kraków to Warsaw, which became an increasingly important center of commerce and the arts as Poland-Lithuania developed.
Following the defeat of Napoleon in the 6th coalition, Poland-Lithuania, which had historically been a close ally of France, suffered significant territorial losses under the Congress of Vienna. As a result of the act, much of the country's east was seized by Russia, Galicia and Poland-Lithuania's possessions in modern-day Ukraine were taken by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the vitally important port of Gdańsk was lost to Prussia. In particular, the seizure of Gdańsk and subsequent removal of all Polish sea ports lead to a significant decrease in the amount of sea-based trade able to be conducted within Poland-Lithuania, resulting in a slow economic decline culminating prior to the Polish-Lithuanian Revolution.
Polish-Lithuanian Revolution and Civil War
Following the partition of Poland-Lithuania as part of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, a number of small insurgent conflicts broke out in Polish-Lithuanian majority regions under occupation by foreign powers, particularly in Eastern Pomerania and Lithuania. These minor uprisings resulted in the enforcement of foreign power and subsequent oppression of Polish-Lithuanian culture and people in occupied regions. Further conflicts between the actual Polish-Lithuanian government and neighbouring territories led to a series of brutal and bloody wars, the most notable of which, the Third Russo-Polish War (1861-62) led to thousands of casualties and the wide-spread destruction of many regions of eastern Poland-Lithuania. The subsequent Massacre of Brest-Litovsk by Russians against Polish insurgents led to increased dissatisfaction with King Władysław VII Leszczyński's abilities to defend the polish people. Furthermore, increased division between the working class and the increasingly wealthy (and many times foreign) szlachta within the now industrialised region of Greater Poland led to further disillusionment of the Polish-Lithuanian people. This, coupled with severe starvation as a result of war-time destruction of crops in eastern Poland-Lithuania and poor harvest led to increased anger against the perceived ineffective monarchy.
By the 1860s, Poland-Lithuania found itself divided into three growing political factions - the Congress of Kraków, a group of organised szlachta nobles who wanted to re-establish an elective monarchy similar to that of the earlier Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the Polish-Lithuanian Socialist Revolutionaries (PLRS), a small group of radical left-wing Marxists who sought to overthrow the government and establish a socialist state; and the Free the People (Uwolnij Ludzi, or UL) movement, which, under the leadership of the charismatic Jacek Kaczerowski, aimed to establish a democratic republic in the style of the ideological French republic.In 1861, following increased pressure by members of the Sejm nobility to relinquish certain powers, Władysław VII Leszczyński authorised a series of political actions aimed to destabilise the Sejm and further centralise power around himself. This provocation of the szlachta led to the formation of the Congress of Kraków and subsequent conspiratorial efforts to destabilise the Polish-Lithuanian monarchy. At the same time, acts of terrorism by the PLRS in Warsaw and other major cities posed a serious threat to monarchical security. Following Polish-Lithuanian defeat in the Third Russo-Polish War, further insurrections against the crown throughout Masovia and Greater Poland led to increasingly aggressive responses from royalist forces, including the infamous Palm Sunday Massacre of 1863. Within the factories of Warsaw, Kaczerowski began to amass a large following of republicans. Tensions between various civil belligerents continued to amass until September 1864, when a series of increasingly violent strikes in Warsaw resulted in the abdication of Władysław VII and seizure of power by the Sejm.
Chaos immediately followed the sudden abdication of Władysław VII as the various political alignments sought power. Initially a provisional Sejm was established which aimed to rewrite the constitution in favour of those in the Congress of Kraków, however, discussions between the leaders of the Republican movement (which held the majority of public support) and the Congressionalists led to the drafting of a republican constitution headed by a bicameral legislature, of which the upper house (known as the Małysejm, or Little Sejm) would consist almost entirely of members of the old szlachta. Although initially accepted by Kaczerowski and his supporters, it soon became clear that the new republican government led by Tomasz Bednarek, was designed in favour of the Congressionalists. In November 1864, Kaczerowski approached the Bednarek government proposing a reform to the legislative structure of the Polish-Lithuanian republic which would include better representation of the non-szlachta, which was refused.As a result of the refusal of the Małysejm to negotiate restructuring of government, Kaczerowski, in a famous speech in the Old Town Market Place of Warsaw, declared the Nowaszlachta government an enemy of Polish-Lithuanian democracy, calling for a second revolution of the people. Two days after, on the 30th of November, 1864, the bombing of the Sejm by republican insurgents triggered the Polish-Lithuanian Civil War - a bloody conflict chiefly between the Congressionalists and Republicans which would last two years.
The Civil War climaxed on the 2nd of March 1866 on an event known as Red Evening, wherein republican forces under the guidance of General Bartosz Mieszkowski led a night-time attack on the Congressionalist headquarters resulting in the assassination of Tomasz Bednarek and massacring of the revolutionary armed forces. Having forcibly eliminated much of the opposition to Kaczerowski's seizure of power, the Second Polish-Lithuanian Republic was established, thus effectively ending the civil war.
Following Kaczerowski's declaration of presidency, a new Polish-Lithuanian constitution was written which outlined the process by which elections would be held. Kaczerowski, under the urging of Mieszkowski and threat of foreign invasion, quickly rebuilt the Polish-Lithuanian army. A number of legislative reforms were introduced throughout the country which resulted in a period of rapid economic and social redevelopment throughout areas most ravaged by revolution and war, with Poland-Lithuania entering its first period of substantial peace during the 1880s. Under the new ideal of liberalism Polish-Lithuanian culture flourished, particularly through the works of notable writers Roman Palaszczuk and Leszek Rudasz and artists Nadia Siedlecki, Wiktor Dawidowski, and Krzysztof Brózda.
Early 20th Century
Second World War
1990s to Present
Geology, Waters, and Land Use
Main political parties in Poland-Lithuania include as follows (listed from furthest right wing to furthest left wing):
|Flag||Voivodeship||Native Name||State||Population (2017 census)||Capital||Map|
|125px||East Prussia||Prusy Wschodnie (Polish)
Rytų Prūsija (Lithuanian)
|125px||Greater Poland||Wielkopolska (Polish)
Didesnis Lenkija (Lithuanian)
|125px||Greater Vilnius||Wielkowilno (Polish)
Didesnis Viļņa (Lithuanian)
|125px||Lesser Poland||Małopolska (Polish)
Mažesnė Lenkija (Lithuanian)
|125px||Western Lithuania||Zachodnia Litwa (Polish)
Vakarietiška Lietuvia (Lithuanian)
Science and Technologies
Largest cities or towns in Poland-Lithuania
|2||Kraków||Lesser Poland||766,739||12||Kaunas||Western Lithuania||312,120|
|9||Bydgoszcz||Greater Poland||353,938||19||Rzeszów||Lesser Poland||187,422|