Lesser Poland

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Duchy of Lesser Poland with the three historical voivodeships Krakow , Lublin and Sandomierz against the background of the modern administrative structure of Poland
Lesser Poland province in the aristocratic republic of Poland-Lithuania at the time of its greatest expansion in 1618

Lesser Poland (since the Middle Ages Latin Polonia Minor , Polish Małopolska ) is originally the name for the southern part of the old Polish state with the metropolises Krakow , Lublin , Zamość and Sandomierz .

During their affiliation to Poland-Lithuania from 1569 ( Union of Lublin ) the Ukrainian regions Galicia , Podolia , Volhynia , Kiev etc. a. also in the term. The Greater Province of Lesser Poland existed until 1772 .

Name and meaning

The name Polonia minor was first mentioned in 1493 in the "Statutes of Piotrków". It has nothing to do with the territorial size of the area, but with the accession to the already existing Polonia maior in the year 990. Therefore, the translations New Poland and Old Poland would be more appropriate than Lesser Poland and Greater Poland .


According to the latest administrative division of Poland, Lesser Poland extends to today's voivodeships of Lesser Poland , Świętokrzyskie and the western parts of the Lublin and Subcarpathian Voivodeships as well as smaller parts of the Silesian Voivodeships (north and east), Łódź (east) and Mazovia (south).


Sea eye in the Tatras

The Vistula is characteristic with its numerous tributaries. The region also has a share of the Tatra Mountains with the winter sports area around the city of Zakopane .


Population as of June 30, 2016
Surname Pop. Voivodeship
POL Kraków COA.svg Krakow 762,448 Lesser Poland
POL Lublin COA 1.svg Lublin 340.745 Lublin
POL Częstochowa COA.svg Czestochowa 227.270 Silesia
POL Radom COA.svg Radome 215,653 Mazovia
Sosnowiec Herb.svg Sosnowitz 206,516 Silesia
Herb miasta Kielce.svg Kielce 197.724 Holy Cross
POL Bielsko-Biała COA.svg Bielsko-Biała 172.407 Silesia
POL Dąbrowa Górnicza COA 1.svg Dąbrowa Górnicza 122,451 Silesia
POL Tarnów COA.svg Tarnów 110.381 Lesser Poland
POL Jaworzno COA alt.svg Jaworzno 092,618 Silesia
POL Nowy Sącz COA.svg Nowy Sącz 083,829 Lesser Poland
Herb Siedlce.svg Siedlce 077,072 Mazovia
POL Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski COA.svg Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski 070,396 Holy Cross
POL Tomaszów Mazowiecki COA.svg Tomaszów Mazowiecki 063,601 Łódź
POL Stalowa Wola COA.svg Stalowa Wola 062,636 Subcarpathian
POL Mielec COA.svg Mielec 060,628 Subcarpathian
POL Będzin COA.svg Będzin 057,761 Silesia
POL Zawiercie COA.svg Zawiercie 050.504 Silesia
Starachowice herb.svg Starachowice 050.174 Holy Cross
Pulawy herb nowy.svg Puławy 048,526 Lublin
POL Tarnobrzeg COA.svg Tarnobrzeg 047,658 Subcarpathian
Skarzysko kamienna herb.svg Skarżysko-Kamienna 046,656 Holy Cross
POL Dębica N COA.svg Dębica 046.276 Subcarpathian


Regions in Lesser Poland are:


Wislanen in the Great Moravian Empire (end of the 9th century)
Part of the world map by Martin Waldseemüller ; Settlement areas in Lesser Poland in the 15th century
Poland in the borders before 1660. Lesser Poland province in the borders from 1635.


Since the 9th century, a settlement area has been mentioned for the area of ​​what will later become Malopolska. At least since 884 this area belonged to the Great Moravian Empire . In the description of the work of the Slav apostle Method , a " very strong pagan prince on the Vistula was named. This was to be converted to Christianity. His rulership was probably Krakow.

Around 890 a "Wisle lond" ( Weichselland ) was mentioned in the journey of the Anglo-Saxon Wulfstan of Haithabu .

The Bavarian Geographer mentioned early 10th century in his second part of a region of Vvislani ( Vistulans ) without increasing the number of castles.

953 in the book of Josippon in a list of different peoples of the time, Kr [a] k [a] r , probably Cracow, are also mentioned.

In 965/973 the Islamic-Jewish traveler Ibrahim ibn Jaqub named the place K [a] rākō / K [a] rākū . This was under the rule of the Duchy of Bohemia . In a border description of the diocese of Prague , a region around Krakovv Castle was mentioned for about 973 . This belonged to the diocese of Prague, and thus probably still to Bohemia.

Cracow was mentioned in the so-called Dagome iudex around 990 . At that time it did not belong to the Schinesghe ( Gnesen ) domain .


Around 990 the area around Kraków was conquered by Mieszko I. In the year 1000 the diocese of Krakow was incorporated into the new archdiocese of Gniezno .

In 1038 after the destruction of the main town Gniezno by the Bohemians , Krakow becomes the new capital of Regnum Poloniae and remains this until 1596.

After 1138 and the division of the Kingdom of Poland into individual duchies by the will of Bolesław III. Wrymouth created two independent duchies around the main Lesser Poland festivals of Krakow and Sandomir.

Both duchies were united under Władysław I. Ellenlang in 1306 and formed one of the main provinces of the united Kingdom of Poland.

After King Casimir "the Great" took possession of the lands of the Ruthenian Principality of Halych-Volodymyr and their integration into the Polish feudal and imperial union from the 1340s by King Casimir "the Great" , a province of Lesser Poland was formed, which from 1569 was incorporated into other areas of what would later become Ukraine . This made the province the largest in the Kingdom of Poland at the end of the 17th century.


As a result of the first partition of Poland in 1772, the area of ​​Malopolska came to the Austrian monarchy and from 1867 was called the "Kingdom of Galicia" in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy , with the Ukrainian areas being called East Galicia, the originally Polish areas being called West Galicia. The northern parts of the original Polish territories as well as parts of Podolia and Volhynia gradually came to Russia as a result of the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, 1795) and the division of the Duchy of Warsaw by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 .

After 1918

Since the end of the First World War in 1918, the Lesser Poland region has again belonged to Poland - Second Polish Republic (1918–1939), People's Republic of Poland (1945–1989), Third Polish Republic (since 1989).

See also

Web links

Commons : Lesser Poland  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Lesser Poland  - tourist guide

Individual evidence

  1. ( GUS ), [1] .
  2. 1951 the two places Bielsko and Biała Krakowska were merged. The first belonged to Silesia, the second to Lesser Poland.
  3. ^ "Map of Germania, Lesser Poland, Hungary, Walachai u. Siebenbuergen together with parts of the neighboring countries ”from the“ Claudii Ptolemaei geographicae enarrationis libri octo ”, 1525, Strasbourg
  4. Cosmas of Prague , Chronica Boemorum , cf. Ekkehard Eickhoff: Kaiser Otto III .: The first turn of the millennium and the development of Europe , p. 44
  5. Dieter Schulze: Krakau , 2011, p. 14