Voivodeships of Poland

Voivodeships of Poland

The voivodeship or province ( _pl. województwo) has been a high-level administrative subdivision of Poland since the 14th century. Pursuant to the Local Government Reorganization Act of 1998, effective January 1, 1999, sixteen new voivodeships were created, replacing the former 49 that had existed from July 1, 1975.

Today's voivodeships are largely based on the country's historic regions, while those of 1975–1998 were centred on and named for individual cities. The new units range in area from under convert|10000|km2|sqmi|abbr=on (Opole Voivodeship) to over convert|35000|km2|sqmi|abbr=on (Masovian Voivodeship), and in population from one million (Lubusz Voivodeship) to over five million (Masovian Voivodeship).

Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a government-appointed governor called a voivode (Polish "wojewoda"), an elected assembly called a sejmik, and an executive chosen by that assembly. The leader of that executive is called the "marszałek województwa" (voivodeship marshal). Voivodeships are further divided into powiats (counties) and gminas (communes or municipalities): see Administrative division of Poland.

Voivodeships since 1999

Administrative powers

Competences and powers at voivodeship level are shared between the voivode (governor), the sejmik (regional assembly) and the executive. In most cases these institutions are all based in one city, but in Kuyavian-Pomeranian and Lubusz Voivodeship the voivode's offices are in a different city from those of the executive and the sejmik. Voivodeship capitals are listed in the table below.

The voivode is appointed by the Prime Minister and is the regional representative of the central government. The voivode acts as the head of central government institutions at regional level (such as the police and fire services, passport offices, and various inspectorates), manages central government property in the region, oversees the functioning of local government, coordinates actions in the field of public safety and environment protection, and exercises special powers in emergencies. The voivode's offices collectively are known as the "urząd wojewódzki".

The sejmik is elected every four years, at the same time as the local authorities at powiat and gmina level. It passes bylaws, including the voivodeship's development strategies and budget. It also elects the "marszałek" and other members of the executive, and holds them to account.

The executive ("zarząd województwa"), headed by the "marszałek", drafts the budget and development strategies, implements the resolutions of the sejmik, manages the voivodeship's property, and deals with many aspects of regional policy, including management of European Union funding. Its offices collectively are known as the "urząd marszałkowski".

Map and table of voivodeships

Poland's voivodeships 1921-1939 (15+1 voivodeships +1 Autonomous Silesian)

Voivodeships in Congress Poland 1816-1837

From 1816 to 1837 there were 8 voivodeships in Congress Poland.

* Augustów Voivodeship
* Kalisz Voivodeship
* Kraków Voivodeship
* Lublin Voivodeship
* Mazowsze Voivodeship
* Płock Voivodeship
* Podlasie Voivodeship
* Sandomierz Voivodeship

Voivodeships in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1795

Greater Poland ("Wielkopolska")

* Poznań Voivodeship ("województwo poznańskie", Poznań)
* Kalisz Voivodeship ("województwo kaliskie", Kalisz)
* Gniezno Voivodeship ("województwo gnieźnieńskie", Gniezno) from 1768
* Sieradz Voivodeship ("województwo sieradzkie", Sieradz)
* Łęczyca Voivodeship ("województwo łęczyckie", Łęczyca)
* Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship ("województwo brzesko-kujawskie", Brześć Kujawski)
* Inowrocław Voivodeship ("województwo inowrocławskie", Inowrocław)
* Chełmno Voivodeship ("województwo chełmińskie", Chełmno)
* Malbork Voivodeship ("województwo malborskie", Malbork)
* Pomeranian Voivodeship ("województwo pomorskie", Gdańsk)
* Duchy of Warmia ("Księstwo Warmińskie", Lidzbark Warmiński)
* Duchy of Prussia ("Księstwo Pruskie", Lidzbark Warmiński)
* Płock Voivodeship ("województwo płockie", Płock)
* Rawa Voivodeship ("województwo rawskie", Rawa Mazowiecka)
* Masovian Voivodeship ("województwo mazowieckie", Warszawa)

Lesser Poland ("Małopolska")

* Kraków Voivodeship ("województwo krakowskie", Kraków)
* Sandomierz Voivodeship ("województwo sandomierskie", Sandomierz)
* Lublin Voivodeship ("województwo lubelskie", Lublin)
* Podlaskie Voivodeship ("województwo podlaskie", Drohiczyn)
* Ruthenian Voivodeship ("województwo ruskie", Lwów)
* Bełz Voivodeship ("województwo belzkie", Bełz)
* Volhynian Voivodeship ("województwo wołyńskie", Łuck)
* Podole Voivodeship ("województwo podolskie", Kamieniec Podolski)
* Bracław Voivodeship ("województwo bracławskie", Bracław)
* Kijów Voivodeship ("województwo kijowskie", Kijów)
* Czernihów Voivodeship ("województwo czernichowskie", Chernihóv)

Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Here the first name given is English, then in bracketsndash Lithuanian, and then Polish.
* Wilno Voivodeship ("Vilniaus vaivadija", "województwo wileńskie", Vilnius)
* Troki Voivodeship ("Trakų vaivadija", "województwo trockie", Trakai)
* Nowogródek Voivodeship ("Naugarduko vaivadija", "województwo nowogrodzkie", Nowogródek)
* Brest-Litovsk Voivodeship ("Lietuvos Brastos vaivadija", "województwo brzesko-litewskie", Brześć Litewski)
* Minsk Voivodeship ("Minsko vaivadija", "województwo mińskie", Mińsk)
* Mścisław Voivodeship ("Mstslavlio vaivadija", "województwo mścisławskie", Mscislaw)
* Smolensk Voivodeship ("Smolensko vaivadija", "województwo smoleńskie", Smoleńsk)
* Vitebsk Voivodeship ("Vitebsko vaivadija", "województwo witebskie", Witebsk)
* Połock Voivodeship ("Polocko vaivadija", "województwo połockie", Połock)
* Duchy of Samogita ("Žemaičių seniūnija", "księstwo żmudzkie", Medininkai-Varniai)

Duchy of Livonia

* Wenden Voivodeship ("województwo wendeńskie", Wenden) since 1598 till the 1620s
* Dorpat Voivodeship ("województwo dorpackie", Dorpat) since 1598 till the 1620s
* Parnawa Voivodeship ("województwo parnawskie", Parnawa) since 1598 till the 1620s
* Inflanty Voivodeship ("województwo inflanckie", Dyneburg) since the 1620s
* Duchy of Courland and Semigalia ("księstwo Kurlandii i Semigalii", Mitawa)

Etymology and use of "voivodeship"

Some English-language sources, especially in historic contexts, speak of "palatinates" rather than "voivodeships"; the former term traces back to the Latin "palatinus". More commonly used now is the term "voivodeship," a calque of the original Polish term "województwo". Other sources refer instead to "provinces," though in pre-1795 contexts this may be misleading since the word "province" (in Polish, "prowincja") was applied, until the third and last of the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, to the three main Regions (Greater Poland, Lesser Poland and Lithuania) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, each of which comprised a number of voivodeships.

The Polish term "województwo", designating a second-tier Polish or Polish–Lithuanian administrative unit, derives from "wojewoda" (etymologically, a "war leader," but now merely the governor of a "województwo") and the suffix "-stwo" (a "state or condition").

The English word "voivodeship," which is a hybrid of "voivode" and "-ship" (a suffix likewise meaning a "state or condition") that calques (replicates) those two elements found in the Polish original, has never been much used and is absent from many dictionaries. According to the "Oxford English Dictionary", its first use dates from 1792, spelled "woiwodship", in the sense of "the district or province governed by a voivode." The word subsequently also appeared, for the first time in 1886, in the sense of "the office or dignity of a voivode."

An official Polish body, the Commission on Standardization of Geographic Names outside the Republic of Poland, recommends use of the spelling "voivodship," without the "e". This is consistently reflected in publications [ [http://www.gugik.gov.pl/komisja/pliki/topon_inte.doc.pdf Toponymic Guidelines of Poland for Map Editors and Other Users Third Revised Edition] ] [ [http://www.gugik.gov.pl/komisja/pliki/podzial_administracyjny_polski_2006-eng.pdf Administrative Division of Poland] ] [ [http://www.gugik.gov.pl/komisja/pliki/polska_2006-podzial_administracyjny.pdf Map of administrative division] ] and in the international arena, e.g., at the United Nations. [ [http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/gegn22wp18.pdf Administrative division of Poland] ]

See also

* Coats of arms of Polish voivodeships
* Flags of Polish voivodeships


External links

* [http://www.world-gazetteer.com/s/s_pl.htm Map]

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