Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth facts for kids
Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów
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)
The location of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
|Capital||Commonwealth and Crown of the Polish Kingdom: Kraków, Warsaw ca. 1600; Grand Duchy of Lithuania: Vilnius|
|King & Grand Duke|
|Sigismund II Augustus|
|Stanisław II Augustus|
• Privy Council
• Union established
|July 1 1569|
• fief of the Ottoman Empire
• May 3rd Constitution
|May 3, 1791|
|January 23, 1793|
• 3rd Partition
|October 24 1795|
|1582||815,000 km2 (315,000 sq mi)|
|1618||1,153,465 km2 (445,355 sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Belarus
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (or Union, after 1791 the Commonwealth of Poland) was a state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. The Commonwealth was an extension of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, a personal union between those two states that had existed from 1386. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth covered more lands than the present lands of Poland and Lithuania. The lands of the Commonwealth also covered all the lands of present-day Belarus; a large part of Ukraine and Latvia; and western part of present-day Russia.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had high levels of ethnic diversity and by religious tolerance. The amount of religious freedom varied over time.
After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of political, military and economic decline. It ended with the final Partitions of Poland in 1795. Its growing weakness led to it being divided by its more powerful neighbors, Austria, Prussia and the Russian Empire.
- In Poland, the official languages were Polish language and Latin language. In Lithuania, the official languages were Old Belarusian, Latin Language, and Lithuanian language.
- Commonwealth was one of largest countries of its time. It had a large population. At one time, Commonwealth covered about 400,000 square miles. Population was around 11 million. People of different ethnicity lived in Commonwealth.
- For about 200 years, Commonwealth withstood wars with other powers of Europe of that time: these powers were Muscovy Russians, Ottoman Empire, and the Swedes.
- The Commonwealth developed a system of laws and legislature. This reduced the power of the monarch. Some concepts of democracy also developed in the Commonwealth and concept like the constitutional monarchy.
- In theory, the two countries of the Commonwealth were equal. But, Poland had a leading role.
- The Commonwealth had a leading influence of the Catholic Church. But, the government allowed peoples of different religions to follow their religions. Thus, peoples of many religions lived in the Commonwealth.
- The Commonwealth also produced a national constitution, the first in Europe.
- Agriculture was the main economic activity of the persons living in the Commonwealth.
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Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.