Crown of the Kingdom of Poland

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For the crown used by Polish kings, see Polish Crown Jewels.
Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, 1635
The Crown possessions of the Kingdom of Poland marked in       on high-level administration map of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its fiefdoms in 1619 (superimposed on present day political map of Central and Eastern Europe).
 • Light-Grey: the Duchy of Courland (     ).
 • Plum: Grand Duchy of Lithuania (     ).
 • Pink: Miscellaneous other semi-independent fiefdom territories such as the Duchy of Prussia (     ).

The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (Polish: Korona Królestwa Polskiego, Latin: Corona Regni Poloniae), or simply the Crown, is the common name for the historic (but unconsolidated) Late Middle Ages territorial possessions of the King of Poland, including Poland (     ) proper.

History[edit]

The kingdom has been traditionally dated back to c. 966, when Mieszko I and his pagan Slavic realm joined the Christian Europe (Baptism of Poland), thus culminating the process of creation of the state of Poland started by his Polan Piast dynasty ancestors, and finally his oldest son and successor prince Bolesław I Chrobry, Duke of Poland, became the first crowned King of Poland in 1025.

Political aspect[edit]

It marked a milestone in the evolution of Polish statehood, and represented the concept of the Polish kingdom (nation) as distinctly separate from the person of the monarch.[1] The introduction of that concept marked the transformation of the Polish government from the patrimonial monarchy to the class monarchy (monarchia stanowa).[1]

A related concept that evolved soon afterward was that of Rzeczpospolita, both of which served as the alternate names for the Polish state.[1] The Crown of Poland was also related to other symbols of Poland, such as the capital (Kraków), Polish coat of arms and the flag of Poland.[1]

Geographical aspect[edit]

The concept of Crown also had a geographical aspect, in particularly related to the indivisibility of the Polish (Crown) territory.[1] It can be also seen as a unit of administrative division, the territories under direct administration of Polish state from middle-ages to late 18th century (currently lands of Ukraine, Poland, some border lands of inter alia: Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania). Some of them belonged to the early Kingdom of Poland, then to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until its final collapse in 1795.

At the same time, the Crown also referred to all lands that the Polish state (not the monarch) could claim to have the right to rule over, including those that were not within Polish borders.[1]

The term distinguishes those territories federated with the Crown Grand Duchy of Lithuania (     ) from various fiefdom territories (which enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy or semi-independence from the King) inter alia the Duchy of Prussia (     ), the Duchy of Courland (     ).

Prior to the 1569 Union of Lublin, Crown territories may be understood as those of Poland proper, inhabited by Poles, or other areas under the sovereignty of Polish nobility. With the Union of Lublin, however, most of present-day Ukraine (which had a negligible Polish population and had until then been governed by Lithuania) passed under Polish administration, becoming likewise Crown territory.

In that period, a term for a Pole was koroniarz(plural: koroniarze), derived from Korona.

Depending on context, "Crown" may also refer to "The Crown," a term used to distinguish the personal influence and private assets of the Commonwealth's current monarch from government authority and property. This often meant a distinction between persons loyal to the elected King (royalists) and persons loyal to Polish magnates.

Provinces[edit]

Crown was divided into two provinces: Lesser Poland (Polish: Małopolska) and Greater Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska) which were further divided into administrative units known as voivodeships (Polish names of voivodships and towns below in brackets).

Greater Poland Province[edit]

(Polish) Voivodeships of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations
(Polish) (English) Map showing voivodeships of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations

Lesser Poland Province[edit]

Royal Prussia Province (1569–1772)[edit]

Main article: Royal Prussia

Royal Prussia Polish: Prusy Królewskie) was a province of the Kingdom of Poland from 1466 and then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1772. Royal Prussia included Pomerelia, Chełmno Land (Kulmerland), Malbork Voivodeship (Marienburg), Gdańsk (Danzig), Toruń (Thorn), and Elbląg (Elbing). Polish historian Henryk Wisner writes that Royal Prussia belonged to the Province of Greater Poland.[2]

Other holdings or fiefs[edit]

Towns in Spisz (Szepes) County (1412–1795)[edit]

As one of the terms of the Treaty of Lubowla, the Hungarian crown exchanged, for a loan of sixty times the amount of 37,000 Prague groschen – approximately seven tonnes of pure silver, 16 rich salt-producing towns in the area of Spisz (Zips), as well as a right to incorporate them into Poland until the debt is repaid. The towns affected were: Biała, Lubica, Wierzbów, Spiska Sobota, Poprad, Straże, Spiskie Włochy, Nowa Wieś, Spiska Nowa Wieś, Ruszkinowce, Wielka, Spiskie Podgrodzie, Maciejowce, Twarożne.

Duchy of Siewierz (1443–1795)[edit]

Main article: Duchy of Siewierz

Wenceslaus I sold the Duchy of Siewierz to the Archbishop of Kraków, Zbigniew Cardinal Oleśnicki, for 6,000 silver groats in 1443.[3] After that point it was considered to be associated with the Lesser Poland Province[4] and was the only ecclesiastical duchy in Lesser Poland. The junction of the duchy with the Lesser Poland Province was concluded when in 1790 when the Great Sejm formally incorporated the Duchy as part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Prince-Bishopric of Warmia (1466–1772)[edit]

The Prince-Bishopric of Warmia[5] (Polish: Biskupie Księstwo Warmińskie,[6]) was a semi independent ecclesiastical state, ruled by the incumbent ordinary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warmia, and a protectorate of Kingdom of Poland, later part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after the Peace of Thorn (1466-1772)[7]

Lauenburg and Bütow Land[edit]

After the childless death of the last of the House of Pomerania, Bogislaw XIV in 1637, Lauenburg and Bütow Land again became a terra (land, ziemia) of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1641 became part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the 1657 Treaty of Bydgoszcz, which amended the Treaty of Wehlau, it was granted to the Hohenzollern dynasty of Brandenburg-Prussia in return for her help against Sweden in the Swedish-Polish War under the same favorable conditions the House of Pomerania had enjoyed before. Lauenburg and Bütow Land was officially a Polish fiefdom until the First Partition of Poland in 1772 when King Frederick II of Prussia incorporated the territory into Prussia and the subsequent Treaty of Warsaw in 1773[8] made the former conditions obsolete.

Duchy of Livonia[edit]

Main article: Duchy of Livonia

The Duchy of Livonia was held as a condominium (joint domain) with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Duchy of Courland and Semigallia[edit]

The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was held as a condominium (joint domain) with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Duchy of Prussia (1525–1618)[edit]

Main article: Duchy of Prussia

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Juliusz Bardach, Boguslaw Lesnodorski, and Michal Pietrzak, Historia panstwa i prawa polskiego (Warsaw: Paristwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1987, p.85-86
  2. ^ Henryk Wisner, Rzeczpospolita Wazów. Czasy Zygmunta III i Władysława IV. Wydawnictwo Neriton, Instytut Historii PAN, Warszawa 2002, page 26
  3. ^ Davies, Norman (2005). God's Playground: A History of Poland. Columbia University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-231-12817-9. 
  4. ^ Zygmunt Gloger Geografia historyczna ziem dawnej Polski "Właściwą Małopolskę stanowiły województwa: Krakowskie, Sandomierskie i Lubelskie, oraz kupione (w wieku XV) przez Zbigniewa Oleśnickiego, biskupa krakowskiego, u książąt śląskich księstwo Siewierskie"
  5. ^ Lubieniecki, Stanisław; George Huntston Williams (1995). History of the Polish Reformation. Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-7085-6. 
  6. ^ Biskupie Księstwo Warmińskie @ Google books
  7. ^ Lukowski, Jerzy; Hubert Zawadzki (2006). A Concise History of Poland. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-85332-3. 
  8. ^ Translation of a treaty between the King of Prussia and the King and Republic of Poland. In: The Scots Magazine, vol. XXXV, Edinburgh 1773, pp. 687–691.

References[edit]

  • Jan Herburt, Statuta Regni Poloniae: in ordinem alphabeti digesta, Cracoviae (Kraków) 1563.
  • Jan Dąbrowski(author), Korona Królestwa Polskiego w XIV wieku:studium z dziejów rozwoju polskiej monarchii stanowej, Zakład im. Ossolińskich, 1956.
  • Stanisław Szczur, Historia Polski Średniowiecze (History of Poland - Middle Ages), Wydawnictwo Literackie 2002, ISBN 83-08-03272-9