Commonwealth: the formation, flowering and decline of the great state
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - the stage of the Polish statehood in the Middle Ages and modern times. For modern historians, it is one of the most interesting social organisms, since it has managed to give the world a number of concepts that were unusual for its time.The date of birth of this state is precisely known to us. The formation of the Commonwealth occurred on July 4, 1569, with the final adoption of the Union of Lublin, which decided to merge the two medieval states - the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania - under one crown. Thus, in the Renaissance, a new powerful country appeared on the map of Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea at its best.
Features of government
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had a completely amazing form of government for medieval Europe.While absolutism flourished around, the shoots of a democratic system were already breaking through. It is no coincidence that the very concept of “Rzeczpospolita” in Polish means literally the same as res publica. The king in this country was elected, though not by the people, but by the oligarchic elite, the so-called gentry. Also, the nobility had in their hands the legislative power, which was implemented by the assembly of the Seimas. An interesting custom of the Seym was the veto, which could impose any deputy who disagrees with the published law. Such broad liberties of the nobility are explained by modern historians, first of all, by their common might. It so happened that in the broadest expanses of the country they had huge land plots that were profitable, and in fact became themselves kings in their own patrimonies.
The first century of its existence Rzeczpospolita had great victories and survived the highest point of prosperity in all of Polish history. In addition to the internal well-being and fabulous wealth of the nobility, in the external arena the country acted as an ambitious aggressor, undertaking campaigns in both German and Russian lands.
Partly the turning point was the uprising of Bogdan Khmelnitsky in 1648. This war of the Ukrainian people, firstly, severed most of the land from the Polish state, and secondly, destroyed the precious troops of the best cavalry of their time - the famous winged hussars. All this knocked out the first stones from under the foundation of a powerful state. The next hundred years were not so successful for him. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth began to suffer permanent defeats in wars with the Russian state - in 1667, as a result of the Northern War.
During the eighteenth century, the Commonwealth continued to weaken. And already with
mid-century began its slow stagnation. The first section of the Commonwealth in 1772 as a result of military defeat became the first stage of her death. The following two sections in 1793 and 1795 led to the division of its entire territory between Prussia, Russia and Austria. The Polish state ceased to exist in order to be reborn only after the First World War. The destruction of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had such an important weight in European geopolitics that later historians introduced the symbolic notion of the “long nineteenth century”, which did not begin in 1801, but with the partition of Poland. And it ended only in 1918 with famous events.