Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

I did not study much history at school, instead choosing geography, part of which specifically included NW Europe.

That interest has continued since school days, enhanced by political events . . . and, back in 1968 directly contributed to my decision to “take-the-Queen’s-shilling” when I Joining the RCT(V), and add my principled and indignant adolescent presence, to bolster the might of NATO in confronting the USSR . . . that had just invaded Czechoslovakia to quell the “Prague Spring”.

“Fast-forward” twenty plus years, to the 1990s and the effects of Perestroika and Glasnost in contributing to the disintegration of the USSR, and associated break-up of the Warsaw Pact . . . and, the total re-alignment of – individual – European nation states, which brings us to the geo-political situation with which we are now familiar.


With that quick “canter” through the last 50 years, I was interested to listen this morning to another edition of Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time”, focusing on the situation in “Eastern Europe” 500 years ago, with a programme devoted to the . . .
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise and fall of the largest republic in Europe, which for centuries elected its kings to rule alongside parliament and avoided religious wars.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


+ + + + + + + + +

Although @Condottiere has recently referred several times to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is not something of which I was really aware; and, there is only a one paragraph mention in my otherwise excellent well-used, and generously “highlighted” reference book “The Hamlyn HISTORICAL ATLAS”.

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/belarus.300893/page-59#post-10917220

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/poland-1939-was-hitler-right.300255/page-47#post-10924734

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...t-from-the-times.276757/page-85#post-10650405

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...stopped-the-bear.306251/page-28#post-11027018

+ + + + + + + + +

After years of the Soviet Russia deliberately surpressing the “European” history of Ukraine, and of Belarus, the Melvyn Bragg programme, pointedly refers to the populations of Ukraine, and of Belarus . . . both now re-discovering their (shared) history as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as a means of re-establishing a national identity, to differentiate them from their previous domination by the Soviet Russians.

All of which must seriously irritate (the former Soviet) Russia; and, which has manifested itself in the recent demonstration is Belarus; and, previously in the “Euromaidan” wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013.

Euromaidan - Wikipedia


The BBC’s Melvyn Bragg programme, is available to listen to on-line, and if anyone has read this far, they may well find it of interest (Link is provided above).


225px-Poland_and_Lithuania_in_1526.PNG

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1526.

225px-Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth_1582.PNG

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1582

250px-Rzeczpospolita_1619_-_1621.png

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619

220px-Rzeczpospolita_Rozbiory_3.png

Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, 1793 and 1795.


 
Last edited:
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

I did not study much history at school, instead choosing geography, part of which specifically included NW Europe.

That interest has continued since school days, enhanced by political events . . . and, back in 1968 directly contributed to my decision to “take-the -Queen’s-shilling” when I Joining the RCT(V), and add my principled and indignant adolescent presence, to bolster the might of NATO in confronting the USSR . . . that had just invaded Czechoslovakia to quell the “Prague Spring”.

“Fast-forward” twenty plus years, to the 1990s and the effects of Perestroika and Glasnost in contributing to the disintegration of the USSR, and associated break-up of the Warsaw Pact . . . and, the total re-alignment of – individual – European nation states, which brings us to the geo-political situation with which we are now familiar.


With that quick “canter” through the last 50 years, I was interested to listen this morning to another edition of Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time”, focusing on the situation in “Eastern Europe” 500 years ago, with a programme devoted to the . . .
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise and fall of the largest republic in Europe, which for centuries elected its kings to rule alongside parliament and avoided religious wars.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


+ + + + + + + + +

Although @Condottiere has recently referred several times to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is not something of which I was really aware; and, there is only a one paragraph mention in my otherwise excellent well-used, and generously “highlighted” reference book “The Hamlyn HISTORICAL ATLAS”.

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/belarus.300893/page-59#post-10917220

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/poland-1939-was-hitler-right.300255/page-47#post-10924734

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...t-from-the-times.276757/page-85#post-10650405

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...stopped-the-bear.306251/page-28#post-11027018

+ + + + + + + + +

After years of the Soviet Russia deliberately surpressing the “European” history of Ukraine, and of Belarus, the Melvyn Bragg programme, pointedly refers to the populations of Ukraine, and of Belarus . . . both now re-discovering their (shared) history as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as a means of re-establishing a national identity, to differentiate them from their previous domination by the Soviet Russians.

All of which must seriously irritate (the former Soviet) Russia; and, which has manifested itself in the recent demonstration is Belarus; and, previously in the “Euromaidan” wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013.

Euromaidan - Wikipedia


The BBC’s Melvyn Bragg programme, is available to listen to on-line, and if anyone has read this far, they may well find it of interest (Link is provided above).


225px-Poland_and_Lithuania_in_1526.PNG

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1526.

225px-Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth_1582.PNG

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1582

250px-Rzeczpospolita_1619_-_1621.png

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619

220px-Rzeczpospolita_Rozbiory_3.png

Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, 1793 and 1795.



Thanks for that heads up. Will catch up with it tonight.
 
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

I did not study much history at school, instead choosing geography, part of which specifically included NW Europe.

That interest has continued since school days, enhanced by political events . . . and, back in 1968 directly contributed to my decision to “take-the-Queen’s-shilling” when I Joining the RCT(V), and add my principled and indignant adolescent presence, to bolster the might of NATO in confronting the USSR . . . that had just invaded Czechoslovakia to quell the “Prague Spring”.

“Fast-forward” twenty plus years, to the 1990s and the effects of Perestroika and Glasnost in contributing to the disintegration of the USSR, and associated break-up of the Warsaw Pact . . . and, the total re-alignment of – individual – European nation states, which brings us to the geo-political situation with which we are now familiar.


With that quick “canter” through the last 50 years, I was interested to listen this morning to another edition of Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time”, focusing on the situation in “Eastern Europe” 500 years ago, with a programme devoted to the . . .
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise and fall of the largest republic in Europe, which for centuries elected its kings to rule alongside parliament and avoided religious wars.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


+ + + + + + + + +

Although @Condottiere has recently referred several times to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is not something of which I was really aware; and, there is only a one paragraph mention in my otherwise excellent well-used, and generously “highlighted” reference book “The Hamlyn HISTORICAL ATLAS”.

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/belarus.300893/page-59#post-10917220

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/poland-1939-was-hitler-right.300255/page-47#post-10924734

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...t-from-the-times.276757/page-85#post-10650405

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...stopped-the-bear.306251/page-28#post-11027018

+ + + + + + + + +

After years of the Soviet Russia deliberately surpressing the “European” history of Ukraine, and of Belarus, the Melvyn Bragg programme, pointedly refers to the populations of Ukraine, and of Belarus . . . both now re-discovering their (shared) history as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as a means of re-establishing a national identity, to differentiate them from their previous domination by the Soviet Russians.

All of which must seriously irritate (the former Soviet) Russia; and, which has manifested itself in the recent demonstration is Belarus; and, previously in the “Euromaidan” wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013.

Euromaidan - Wikipedia


The BBC’s Melvyn Bragg programme, is available to listen to on-line, and if anyone has read this far, they may well find it of interest (Link is provided above).


225px-Poland_and_Lithuania_in_1526.PNG

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1526.

225px-Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth_1582.PNG

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1582

250px-Rzeczpospolita_1619_-_1621.png

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619

220px-Rzeczpospolita_Rozbiory_3.png

Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, 1793 and 1795.


Thanks for that heads up. Will catch up with it tonight.
I'm on a short break with limited connectivity. I shall endeavour to comment in due course.
 
Expressed as a Venn diagram, you will find that the intersection is identical (as it is for the UK and all other Western countries, with the exception, perhaps, of the US).
Their religion is not referred to (in the Latvian press at least) and is not relevant to this discussion. This is seen as an act of hybrid war by Lukashenko.
 
It very likely is. But Lukashenko is merely weaponising a ready-made situation. The Turks can do exactly the same kind of thing. We have to buy them off.
Not really, He authorised the flights from various locations to Minsk and then laid on the buses to the border.
 
View attachment 610031
This is the map in modern money.
With this (ancient) history; and, amongst the peoples, the shared animosity towards Moscow, I would have expected more overt talk, communications, support, between Belarus and Ukraine at grassroots level, if not at Government level ?!

Or . . . is this actually going on, but just not reported ?!

I wonder what cross-border, north-south, traffic there is between the two ?!
 
Their religion is not referred to (in the Latvian press at least) and is not relevant to this discussion. This is seen as an act of hybrid war by Lukashenko.
Lukashenko may not (yet) be concerned about the religious "profiles" of those he believes are just transitting through Belarus.

The situation, and his attitude, will change when he realises he is stuck with them :( .
 
It very likely is. But Lukashenko is merely weaponising a ready-made situation. The Turks can do exactly the same kind of thing. We have to buy them off.
We do NOT have to "buy off" (pay) anyone.

We do need more affective borders . . . then Lukashenko (and Turkey), will both have to then deal with their own problems, as a result of their own actions . . . trying to play "silly-buggers", with the lives of real people !! :( .
 
We do NOT have to "buy off" (pay) anyone.

I was referring to the situation as it currently exists rather than how it should be. The Erdogan government is paid to keep would be immigrants within Turkish borders.

How effectively Turkey does this, I am unable to say. We have a similar separate arrangement with the French authorities. We know that this is far from effective and it seems that, according to the French, we are welching on the arrangement.
 
We do NOT have to "buy off" (pay) anyone.

We do need more affective borders . . . then Lukashenko (and Turkey), will both have to then deal with their own problems, as a result of their own actions . . . trying to play "silly-buggers", with the lives of real people !! :( .
The Estonians have shipped a load of barbed wire to Lithuania. The Latvians have moved element of the armed forces forward: Baltkrievijas robežsargi “ierokas” pie Latvijas robežas; iespējams jauns migrantu pieplūdums
 
With this (ancient) history; and, amongst the peoples, the shared animosity towards Moscow, I would have expected more overt talk, communications, support, between Belarus and Ukraine at grassroots level, if not at Government level ?!
This was 500 years ago... Don't forget the whole thing was carved up 1772-1795.
 
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

I did not study much history at school, instead choosing geography, part of which specifically included NW Europe.

That interest has continued since school days, enhanced by political events . . . and, back in 1968 directly contributed to my decision to “take-the-Queen’s-shilling” when I Joining the RCT(V), and add my principled and indignant adolescent presence, to bolster the might of NATO in confronting the USSR . . . that had just invaded Czechoslovakia to quell the “Prague Spring”.

“Fast-forward” twenty plus years, to the 1990s and the effects of Perestroika and Glasnost in contributing to the disintegration of the USSR, and associated break-up of the Warsaw Pact . . . and, the total re-alignment of – individual – European nation states, which brings us to the geo-political situation with which we are now familiar.


With that quick “canter” through the last 50 years, I was interested to listen this morning to another edition of Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time”, focusing on the situation in “Eastern Europe” 500 years ago, with a programme devoted to the . . .
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise and fall of the largest republic in Europe, which for centuries elected its kings to rule alongside parliament and avoided religious wars.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


+ + + + + + + + +

Although @Condottiere has recently referred several times to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is not something of which I was really aware; and, there is only a one paragraph mention in my otherwise excellent well-used, and generously “highlighted” reference book “The Hamlyn HISTORICAL ATLAS”.

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/belarus.300893/page-59#post-10917220

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/poland-1939-was-hitler-right.300255/page-47#post-10924734

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...t-from-the-times.276757/page-85#post-10650405

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/t...stopped-the-bear.306251/page-28#post-11027018

+ + + + + + + + +

After years of the Soviet Russia deliberately surpressing the “European” history of Ukraine, and of Belarus, the Melvyn Bragg programme, pointedly refers to the populations of Ukraine, and of Belarus . . . both now re-discovering their (shared) history as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as a means of re-establishing a national identity, to differentiate them from their previous domination by the Soviet Russians.

All of which must seriously irritate (the former Soviet) Russia; and, which has manifested itself in the recent demonstration is Belarus; and, previously in the “Euromaidan” wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013.

Euromaidan - Wikipedia


The BBC’s Melvyn Bragg programme, is available to listen to on-line, and if anyone has read this far, they may well find it of interest (Link is provided above).


225px-Poland_and_Lithuania_in_1526.PNG

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1526.

225px-Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth_1582.PNG

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1582

250px-Rzeczpospolita_1619_-_1621.png

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (green) with vassal states (light green) at their peak in 1619

220px-Rzeczpospolita_Rozbiory_3.png

Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, 1793 and 1795.


Thanks for that heads up. Will catch up with it tonight.
I have just finished listening on i-Player to the Radio 4 programme mentioned in the OP. I would say that it is a very good synopsis of a very complicated subject; this includes the bit at the end where there is a bonus discussion tacked on.

The programme hit the nail on the head in several key areas:

1. The part played by Poland and the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania in European history is generally ignored in western Europe and particularly in Britain. The greatest factor in this was the 19th Century input and influence of the Russian and particularly Prussian/German schools of history which sought to downplay and denigrate Poland and prevent any possible resurgence.

2. Prior to the Commonwealth, there was a Personal Union, where the King of Poland and the Grand-Duke of Lithuania were one and the same person and this was established to combat the threat of the Teutonic Order to both countries' political stability. (Union of Krewo - Wikipedia) . At the time Lithuania was far larger in area, as it had expanded to the south and east into the political vacuum left by the destruction of Ky'ivan (Kievan) Rus by the Mongols. In much of this territory the pagan Lithanian senior nobility exercised an umbrella overlordship, while the Ruthenian populace remained locally governed by their minor nobility and continued to worship under the Orthodox rite. In fact much of Lithuanian governance was conducted in Old Church Slavonic.

3. Poland-Lithuania was a religiously tolerant state. It was stated that about 85% of the world's Jews can trace their ancestry back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (other sources say about 70%). Poland was a multi-ethnic state since before the Union and had welcomed significant Jewish settlement while they were persecuted across Western Europe. Excerpt from Wikipedia:
On 9 October 1334, King Casimir III, the Great, confirmed the privileges granted to Jews in 1264 by Bolesław V the Chaste. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism, and he inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. While Jews had lived in Poland since before his reign, Casimir allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king. (Casimir III the Great - Wikipedia)

4. This religious tolerance (at least in the first few centuries of the Union) was broad, It originally encompassed Roman Catholics, Orthodox, as well as various other schismatics. It later encompassed various Protestant sects after the Reformation, which included the population of its fiefdom Prussia when in 1525 the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order converted it to Lutheranism and became the secular Duke of Prussia, swearing fealty to the Polish King (and Grand Duke of Lithuania). (Prussian Homage - Wikipedia).

5. As the long years passed much of the nobility (of all ethnic backgrounds) across the Commonwealth became culturally "Polonised" and many became Catholic (some after a period of Protestantism).

6. It was the Counter-Reformation and the slow erosion of this religious tolerance that precipitated the decline of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The main factor in the great Cossack revolt of 1648 (Khmelnytsky Uprising - Wikipedia) was a refusal to continue to accommodate Orthodox Christianity as equally valid to Roman Catholicism. This was successfully exploited by Moscow which offered the co-religionist Ruthenians (proto-Ukrainians) considerable autonomy (later revoked).

7. But the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth remained a considerable power and the Polish King Jan III Sobieski led the allied army to victory against the Ottoman Turks besieging Vienna in 1683. (Battle of Vienna - Wikipedia).

8. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's political system and dependance on compromise leading to unanimous parliamentary agreement was exploited by external powers using venal local agents calling "veto" and refusing to be swayed to compromise. This caused an inability to enact laws and reforms and progressively weakened the Commonwealth.

9. After the First Partition in 1772 (between Russia, Prussia and Austria), the fact that the Polish Parliament passed the Constitution of 3rd May 1791 (Constitution of 3 May 1791 - Wikipedia) and thus reformed itself led to Prussia and Russia seeing a threat to themselves and enacting the Second Partition in 1793 and the final one in 1795 (again with the participation of Austria). (Partitions of Poland - Wikipedia).
 
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I have just finished listening on i-Player to the Radio 4 programme mentioned in the OP. I would say that it is a very good synopsis of a very complicated subject; this includes the bit at the end where there is a bonus discussion tacked on.

The programme hit the nail on the head in several key areas:

1. The part played by Poland and the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania in European history is generally ignored in western Europe and particularly in Britain. The greatest factor in this was the 19th Century input and influence of the Russian and particularly Prussian/German schools of history which sought to downplay and denigrate Poland and prevent any possible resurgence.

2. Prior to the Commonwealth, there was a Personal Union, where the King of Poland and the Grand-Duke of Lithuania were one and the same person and this was established to combat the threat of the Teutonic Order to both countries' political stability. (Union of Krewo - Wikipedia) . At the time Lithuania was far larger in area, as it had expanded to the south and east into the political vacuum left by the destruction of Ky'ivan (Kievan) Rus by the Mongols. In much of this territory the pagan Lithanian senior nobility exercised an umbrella overlordship, while the Ruthenian populace remained locally governed by their minor nobility and continued to worship under the Orthodox rite. In fact much of Lithuanian governance was conducted in Old Church Slavonic.

3. Poland-Lithuania was a religiously tolerant state. It was stated that about 85% of the world's Jews can trace their ancestry back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (other sources say about 70%). Poland was a multi-ethnic state since before the Union and had welcomed significant Jewish settlement while they were persecuted across Western Europe. Excerpt from Wikipedia:


4. This religious tolerance (at least in the first few centuries of the Union) was broad, It originally encompassed Roman Catholics, Orthodox, as well as various other schismatics. It later encompassed various Protestant sects after the Reformation, which included the population of its fiefdom Prussia when in 1525 the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order converted it to Lutheranism and became the secular Duke of Prussia, swearing fealty to the Polish King (and Grand Duke of Lithuania). (Prussian Homage - Wikipedia).

5. As the long years passed much of the nobility (of all ethnic backgrounds) across the Commonwealth became culturally "Polonised" and many became Catholic (some after a period of Protestantism).

6. It was the Counter-Reformation and the slow erosion of this religious tolerance that precipitated the decline of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The main factor in the great Cossack revolt of 1648 (Khmelnytsky Uprising - Wikipedia) was a refusal to continue to accommodate Orthodox Christianity as equally valid to Roman Catholicism. This was successfully exploited by Moscow which offered the co-religionist Ruthenians (proto-Ukrainians) considerable autonomy (later revoked).

7. But the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth remained a considerable power and the Polish King Jan III Sobieski led the allied army to victory against the Ottoman Turks besieging Vienna in 1683. (Battle of Vienna - Wikipedia).

8. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's political system and dependance on compromise leading to unanimous parliamentary agreement was exploited by external powers using venal local agents calling "veto" and refusing to be swayed to compromise. This caused an inability to enact laws and reforms and progressively weakened the Commonwealth.

9. After the First Partition in 1772 (between Russia, Prussia and Austria), the fact that the Polish Parliament passed the Constitution of 3rd May 1791 (Constitution of 3 May 1791 - Wikipedia) and thus reformed itself led to Prussia and Russia seeing a threat to themselves and enacting the Second Partition in 1793 and the final one in 1795 (again with the participation of Austria). (Partitions of Poland - Wikipedia).
All of which is undisputed.
it all went belly up later.
 
Something not mentioned in the BBC brief run through was the fact that the Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellon Dynasty was, for a while, also the ruling family in Hungary and Bohemia and their lands encompassed much of central and eastern Europe in the late 15th Century. (Jagiellonian dynasty - Wikipedia)
1159px-Europa_Jagellonica.svg.png

Yellow: Kingdom of Poland
Diagonals: Fiefdoms of the Kingdom of Poland (Prussia and Moldavia).
Green: Grand Duchy of Lithuania (incorporating much of current Belarus and Ukraine).
Orange: Kingdom of Bohemia or Czechia (incorporating former Polish and later German and Polish Silesia).
Red: Kindom of Hungary (incorporating current Slovakia and parts of Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Ukraine).

The Jagiellonian King Wladyslaw III (Władysław III of Poland - Wikipedia) was co-leader of the Christian Crusade Forces which battled the Ottoman Turks at Varna in 1444 in what is now Bulgaria.
(Battle of Varna - Wikipedia)
 

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