Poland in the Middle Ages

The Poles formed their state in the late 10th century. The first reliable Polish prince Mieszko I married a Czech princess Dubravka. He himself became a Catholic and turned all the Poles into Catholicism. His son Boleslaw I the Brave defeated the Germans who encroached on the Polish lands, and tried to capture the Old Russian state. But after his death, Poland weakened and became dependent on Germany. German colonists rushed to Poland.

In the XI-XII centuries. Poland split into independent principalities. West Pomerania recognized itself as a vassal of the German crown – Poland lost its access to the Baltic Sea. The Poles and the Teutonic Order were crammed. And in the middle of the 13th century. a significant part of Poland was devastated by the Mongol – Tatars. Yet Poland survived and gradually gathered with the forces. In the middle of the XIV century. she captured Galicia Rus and part of Volhynia.

In 1320, the royal power revived in Poland. King Casimir

III the Great divided the country into districts – voivodship and kashtanstva, created a state apparatus. In Poland, there was money. Casimir III – there are miracles in the world! – defended the peasants from the willfulness of the feudal lords.

Strong royal power in Poland still did not. This did not want the Polish cities, which were in the hands of Germans and Jews. Restricted power of the monarch of the Polish Sejm and local sejmiki, in which the Magnates, Shlyakhta and the clergy participated. The king became a hostage to the Seimas. He did not have a permanent army – the Poles, when they had to fight, they called a “common rushenie”.

XV century. From the work of the Polish historian Jan Dlugos on the rule of Casimir III

So that the peasants and rural colonists would not be harassed by the nobility and chivalry… The peasants and the colonists, when the popes and landlords insulted them, turned to the king, and he spoke with strict justice to their defense… In this he seemed to the gentry very annoying and unpleasant, so the nobility and chivalry called him “the peasant king”.

The gentry are Polish middle and small noblemen.

Magnates are big feudal lords.

“Common rushenie” – gentry militia.

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Poland in the Middle Ages