Voivodships of Poland

Poland's present voivodships (since 1999)


A voivodship (in Polish województwo) is a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland since the 14th century. As a result of Local Goverment Reogranization Act of 1998, 16 new voivodships were created (effective January 1 1999) and replaced the 49 voivodships which had existed since 1 July 1975.

Today's provinces are largely based on the country's historical regions, whereas those of 1975-1998 were centered on and named for individual cities. The new units range in area from under 10,000 km2 (Opole Voivodship) to over 35,000 km2 (Masovian Voivodship), and in population from one million (Lubusz Voivodship) to over five million (Masovian Voivodship).

Polish voivodships 1975-1998 (49) This reorganisation of administrative division of Poland was mainly a result of local government reform acts of 1973-1975. In place of three level administrative division (voivodship, county, commune), new two-level administrative division was introduced (49 small voidships and communes). Three smallest voivodships of Warsaw, Cracow and Lodz had special status of city voivodship; the city president (mayor) was also province governor.
Polish voivodships 1950-1975 (17+5) Poland_1957

In 1950 new voivodships created: Koszalin - previously part of Szczecin, Opole - previously part of Katowice, and Zielona Góra - previously part of Poznan, Wroclaw and Szczecin voivodships.

1950-1975 2 cities with voivodship status: Warsaw and Lodz,
1957-1975 5 cities with voivodship status: additionally Wroclaw , Krakow and Poznan.

Polish voivodships 1945-1950 (14+2) Poland_1946 Newly acquired teritories in the west and north organized into the voivodships of Szczecin, Wroclaw, Olsztyn and partly joined to Gdansk, Katowice and Poznan voivodships.
Poland under German occupation 1939-1945 Poland_1939
Polish voivodships 1921-1939 (16+1) Poland_1921 Poland1921-39_Today

The Second Polish Republic is an unofficial name applied to the Republic of Poland between World War I and World War II.

Polish Government

Local government actually operates at three levels. The smallest "gmina" (district/commune) is more or less at the level of village or small town administration. The next level, "powiat" (county), is a bit broader with wider responsibilities, say for a large town or city. The biggest level of local government though is the "województwo" (region).

  • On July 27, 1998, President Aleksander Kwasniewski signed into law a bill dividing Poland into 16 new provinces.
  • On August 7, 1998, the government decided there will be 308 counties (powiaty) in Poland.

A Voivodship (Romanian: Voievodat, Polish: Województwo, Serbian: Vojvodstvo or Vojvodina) was a feudal state in medieval Romania, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Serbia, ruled by a Voivod. Since the Voivod was initially the military commander next to the ruler, a voivodship meant the whole territory of Poland. During the feudal partition, each from small prinicpalities had its own voivod, and therefore after the reunification the territory was called a voivodship.

A teritorry over which a voivod rules is called Voivodship. The term is often translated into English as "duke".

"Wojewoda" is a current name of the governor of a province (voivodship - "województwo") in Poland.

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, actually called the "Republic of the Two Nations" or "Commonwealth of Both Nations", was a federal monarchic republic that was formed in 1569 by the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and lasted until its final partition in 1795.

( See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth)

The Commonwealth at its greatest extent (ca. 1630)

Partitions of Poland

The Partitions of Poland happened in the 18th century and ended the existence of a sovereign state of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They involved Prussia, Russia and Austria dividing up the Polish-Lithuanian lands between themselves. The three partitions occurred in:

  • February 17, 1772
  • January 21, 1793
  • October 1795
The First Partition (1772) The Second Partition (1793) The Third Partition (1795)

Kingdom of Poland of the Piasts

Early Piast dynasty

9th c. Siemowit (disputable)
9th c.-10th c. Lestko (disputable)
10th c. Siemomysł (disputable)
ca 960-992 Mieszko I (duke)
992-1025 Bolesław I the Brave (king in 1025)
1025-1031 Mieszko II Lambert (1st reign, as king)
1031-1032 Bezprym
1032-1034 Mieszko II Lambert (2nd reign, as duke)
1039-1058 Casimir I the Restorer
1058-1079 Bolesław II the Generous (king 1076-1079; deposed)
1079-1102 Władisław I Herman
1102-1107 Zbigniew of Poland
1102-1138 Bolesław III the Wrymouth
1138-1146 Władisław II the Exile (overlord; exiled by his brothers)
1146-1173 Bolesław IV the Curly (overlord)
1173-1177 Mieszko III the Old (overlord)
1177-1194 Casimir II the Just (duke of Kraków)
1194-1202 Leszek I the White (1st reign, duke of Kraków)
1202-1206 Władisław III Spindleshanks (1st reign)
1206-1210 Leszek I the White (2nd reign, duke of Kraków)
1210-1211 Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
1211-1227 Leszek I the White (3rd reign, assassinated)
1227-1229 Władisław III Spindleshanks (2nd reign)
1229-1232 Konrad I of Masovia (1st reign)
1232-1238 Henry I the Bearded (duke of Kraków)
1238-1241 Henry II the Pious (duke of Kraków; killed in the Battle of Legnica)
1241-1243 Konrad I of Masovia (2nd reign, duke of Kraków)
1243-1279 Bolesław V the Chaste (duke of Kraków)
1279-1288 Leszek II the Black
1288-1290 Henry IV Probus (duke of Kraków)
1290-1296 Przemysł II (duke of Kraków 1290-1291, king 1295-1296)

Premyslid Dynasty

1291-1305 Wenceslaus II (king 1300-1305)
1305-1306 Wenceslaus III (king; assassinated before crowning)

Piast Unification

1306-1333 Władisław I the Elbow-high (duke of Kraków 1305-1320; king 1320-1333; all of his successors were kings)
1333-1370 Casimir III the Great

Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons

Angevin dynasty

1370-1382 Louis of Hungary
1384-1399 Jadwiga of Poland (crowned King of Poland; reigned together with her husband Wladislaus from 1386)

Jagiellon dynasty

1386-1434 Władisław II Jagiełło (reigned together with his wife Jadwiga until 1399)
1434-1444 Władisław III of Varna (killed in the Battle of Varna)
1447-1492 Casimir IV the Jagiellonian
1492-1501 John I Olbracht
1501-1506 Alexander the Jagiellonian
1506-1548 Sigismund I the Old
1548-1572 Sigismund II Augustus

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Valois dynasty

1573-1574 Henry Valois (abandoned the throne)

House of Bathory

1575-1586 Stephen Bathory

Vasa dynasty

1587-1632 Sigismund III Vasa
1632-1648 Władisław IV Vasa
1648-1668 John II Casimir (abdicated)

House of Wiśniowiecki

1669-1673 Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki

House of Sobieski

1674-1696 John III Sobieski

Wettin dynasty

1697-1706 Augustus II the Strong (1st reign, renounced the throne in the Treaty of Altranstadt)

House of Leszczyński

1704-1709 Stanisław I Leszczyński (1st reign, emigrated after the Swedish defeat in the Battle of Poltava)

Wettin dynasty

1709-1733 Augustus II the Strong (1st reign)

House of Leszczyński

1733-1736 Stanisławs I Leszczyński (2nd reign, abdicated)

Wettin dynasty

1734-1763 Augustus III

House of Poniatowski

1764-1795 Stanisław II Augustus Poniatowski (abdicated after the Third Partition of Poland)


Duchy of Warsaw

Wettin dynasty

1807-1815 Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (the Duchy was abolished at the Congress of Vienna)

Congress Kingdom

Romanov dynasty

1815-1825 Alexander I of Russia
1825-1831 Nicholas I of Russia (deposed)

Grand Duchy of Poznan

Hohenzollern dynasty

1815-1840 Frederick William III of Prussia (represented by Duke-Governor Antoni Radziwiłł until 1831)
1840-1849 Frederick William IV of Prussia (the autonomy of the Grand Duchy was abolished in 1849)