Voivodeships of Poland

Last updated
Voivodeships of Poland
Województwa Polski (Polish)
Also known as:
province, state
Category Unitary local government states
Location Republic of Poland
Number16 Voivodeships
Populations984,345 (Opole) – 5,411,446(Masovian)
Areas9,413 km2 (3,634.2 sq mi) (Opole) - 35,580 km2 (13,737 sq mi) (Masovian)
GovernmentVoivodeship government, National government
Subdivisions Powiat (county)

A voivodeship ( /ˈvɔɪvdʃɪp/ ; Polish : województwo [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ] ; plural: województwa) is the highest-level administrative division of Poland, corresponding to a " province " in many other countries. The term has been in use since the 14th century, and is commonly translated in English as "province" or "state". [1]

Contents

The Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998, which went into effect on 1 January 1999, created 16 new voivodeships. These replaced the 49 former voivodeships that had existed from 1 July 1975, and bear greater resemblance (in territory but not in name) to the voivodeships that existed between 1950 and 1975.

Today's voivodeships are mostly named after historical and geographical regions, while those prior to 1998 generally took their names from the cities on which they were centered. The new units range in area from under 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (Opole Voivodeship) to over 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) (Masovian Voivodeship), and in population from nearly one million (Opole Voivodeship) to over five million (Masovian Voivodeship).

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

Etymology and use of "voivodeship"

Some English-language sources, in historic contexts, speak of "palatinates" rather than "voivodeships". The term "palatinate" traces back to the Latin palatinus ("palatine").

More commonly used now is "province" or "voivodeship". The latter is a loanword-calque hybrid formed on the Polish "województwo".

Some writers argue against rendering "województwo" in English as "province" on historic grounds. Before the Third and last Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which occurred in 1795, each of the main constituent Regions of the Polish–Lithuanian CommonwealthGreater Poland, Lesser Poland, Lithuania, and Royal Prussia—was sometimes idiosyncratically referred to as a "Province" (" prowincja "). According to the argument, a "Province" (such as Greater Poland) cannot consist of a number of subdivisions ("województwa", the plural of "województwo") that are likewise called "provinces". However, this is an antiquarian consideration, since "province" has not been used in this sense in Poland for over two centuries, and in any case the former larger political units—all now obsolete—can be referred to in English as "Regions" (which, in English parlance, is what they were).

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

The English "voivodeship", which is a hybrid of the loanword "voivode" and "-ship" (the latter a suffix that calques the Polish suffix "-ztwo"), has never been much used and is absent from many dictionaries. According to the Oxford English Dictionary , it first appeared in 1792, spelled "woiwodship", in the sense of "the district or province governed by a voivode." The word subsequently appeared in 1886 also in the sense of "the office or dignity of a voivode." [2]

Poland's Commission on Standardization of Geographic Names outside the Republic of Poland, recommends the spelling "voivodship", without the e.

Voivodeships since 1999

Map of Polish voivodeships since 1999 (abbreviations) Poland administrative division 1999 literki.png
Map of Polish voivodeships since 1999 (abbreviations)

Administrative powers

Competences and powers at voivodeship level are shared between the voivode (governor), the sejmik (regional assembly) and the marshal. 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.[ citation needed ]

The sejmik is elected every five years (2018 was the start of the first 5-years term; previous terms lasted four years [3] ), 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. The marshal's offices are collectively known as the urząd marszałkowski.

List of voivodeships

Polish voivodeships since 1999
Abbr. FlagCoat of
arms
Teryt.
code
Car
plates
VoivodeshipPolish nameCapital citiesArea
(km2)
Population
(2019)
Pop.
per km2
DS POL wojewodztwo dolnoslaskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo dolnoslaskie COA.svg 02D Lower Silesian dolnośląskie Wrocław 19,9472,899,986145
KP POL wojewodztwo kujawsko-pomorskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo kujawsko-pomorskie COA.svg 04C Kuyavian-Pomeranian kujawsko-pomorskie Bydgoszcz 1,
Toruń 2
17,9722,074,517116
LU POL wojewodztwo lubelskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo lubelskie COA.svg 06L Lublin lubelskie Lublin 25,1222,112,21684
LB POL wojewodztwo lubuskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo lubuskie COA.svg 08F Lubusz lubuskie Gorzów Wielkopolski 1,
Zielona Góra 2
13,9881,013,03173
LD POL wojewodztwo lodzkie 1 flag.svg POL wojewodztwo lodzkie COA.svg 10E Łódź łódzkie Łódź 18,2192,460,170136
MA POL wojewodztwo malopolskie 1 flag.svg POL wojewodztwo malopolskie COA.svg 12K Lesser Poland małopolskie Kraków 15,1833,404,863224
MZ POL wojewodztwo mazowieckie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo mazowieckie COA.svg 14W Masovian mazowieckie Warsaw 35,5585,411,446152
OP POL wojewodztwo opolskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo opolskie COA.svg 16O Opole opolskie Opole 9,412984,345105
PK POL wojewodztwo podkarpackie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo podkarpackie COA.svg 18R Subcarpathian podkarpackie Rzeszów 17,8462,127,462119
PD POL wojewodztwo podlaskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo podlaskie COA.svg 20B Podlaskie podlaskie Białystok 20,1871,179,43059
PM POL wojewodztwo pomorskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo pomorskie COA.svg 22G Pomeranian pomorskie Gdańsk 18,3102,337,769127
SL POL wojewodztwo slaskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo slaskie COA.svg 24S Silesian śląskie Katowice 12,3334,524,091368
SK POL wojewodztwo swietokrzyskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo swietokrzyskie COA.svg 26T Holy Cross świętokrzyskie Kielce 11,7111,237,369106
WN POL wojewodztwo warminsko-mazurskie flag.svg Warminsko-mazurskie herb.svg 28N Warmian-Masurian warmińsko-mazurskie Olsztyn 24,1731,425,96759
WP POL wojewodztwo wielkopolskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo wielkopolskie COA.svg 30P Greater Poland wielkopolskie Poznań 29,8263,495,470117
ZP POL wojewodztwo zachodniopomorskie flag.svg POL wojewodztwo zachodniopomorskie COA.svg 32Z West Pomeranian zachodniopomorskie Szczecin 22,8921,698,34474
1 Seat of voivode. 2 Seat of sejmik and marszałek.

Economies of Voivodeships

(See: List of Polish voivodeships by GDP per capita)

According to 2017 Eurostat data, the GDP per capita of Polish voivodeships varies notably and there is a large gap between the richest per capita voivodeship (being the Masovian Voivodeship at 33,500 EUR) and the poorest per capita (being the Lublin Voivodeship at 14,400 EUR). [4]

Historical development

Outline of Poland
Podzial administracyjny I RP.png
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1619, around the time of Commonwealth's greatest extent
Administrative divisions of Congress Poland in 1830 ENG.png
Voivodeships of Congress Poland
Curzon line en.svg
Poland's prewar and postwar borders, 1939–1945
Poland administrative division 1922 literki.png
Map of Polish voivodeships (1921–1939)
Poland administrative division 1957 literki.PNG
Map of Polish voivodeships (1957–1975)
Poland administrative division 1975 literki.png
Map of Polish voivodeships (1975–1998)

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Greater Poland (Wielkopolska)

Lesser Poland (Małopolska)

Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Duchy of Livonia

Congress Poland

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

Second Polish Republic

The administrative division of Poland in the interwar period included 16 voivodeships and Warsaw (with voivodeship rights). The voivodeships that remained in Poland after World War II as a result of Polish–Soviet border agreement of August 1945 were very similar to the current voivodeships.

Collapsed list of car plates since 1937, please use table-sort buttons.

Car plates
(since 1937)
Voivodeship [5] Polish nameCapital city
modern name in parentheses
Area in km2 (1930)Population (1931)
20–24 Białystok białostockie Białystok 26,0001,263,300
25–29 Kielce kieleckie Kielce 22,2002,671,000
30–34 Kraków krakowskie Kraków 17,6002,300,100
35–39 Lublin lubelskie Lublin 26,6002,116,200
40–44 Lwów lwowskieLwów (Lviv)28,4003,126,300
45–49 Łódź łódzkie Łódź 20,4002,650,100
50–54 Nowogródek nowogródzkieNowogródek (Navahrudak)23,0001,057,200
55–59 Polesie poleskieBrześć nad Bugiem (Brest)36,7001,132,200
60–64 Pomeranian pomorskie Toruń 25,7001,884,400
65–69 Poznań poznańskie Poznań 28,1002,339,600
70–74 Stanisławów stanisławowskieStanisławów (Ivano-Frankivsk)16,9001,480,300
75–79? Silesian śląskie Katowice 5,1001,533,500
80–84 Tarnopol tarnopolskieTarnopol (Ternopil)16,5001,600,400
85–89 Warsaw (voivodeship)warszawskie Warsaw 31,7002,460,900
00–19 Warsaw (city)Warszawa Warsaw 1401,179,500
90–94 Wilno wileńskieWilno (Vilnius)29,0001,276,000
95–99 Wołyń wołyńskieŁuck (Lutsk)35,7002,085,600

Polish People's Republic

After World War II, the new administrative division of the country within the new national borders was based on the prewar one and included 14 (+2) voivodeships, then 17 (+5). The voivodeships in the east that had not been annexed by the Soviet Union had their borders left almost unchanged. The newly acquired territories in the west and north were organized into the new voivodeships of Szczecin, Wrocław and Olsztyn, and partly joined to Gdańsk, Katowice and Poznań voivodeships. Two cities were granted voivodeship status: Warsaw and Łódź.

In 1950, new voivodeships were created: Koszalin (previously part of Szczecin), Opole (previously part of Katowice), and Zielona Góra (previously part of Poznań, Wrocław and Szczecin voivodeships). In 1957, three more cities were granted voivodeship status: Wrocław, Kraków and Poznań.

Collapsed list of car plates since 1956, please use table-sort buttons.

Car plates
(since 1956)
Voivodeship(Polish name)CapitalArea in km2 (1965)Population (1965)
A białostockie Białystok 23,1361,160,400
B bydgoskie Bydgoszcz 20,7941,837,100
G gdańskie Gdańsk 10,9841,352,800
S katowickie Katowice 9,5183,524,300
C kieleckie Kielce 19,4981,899,100
E koszalińskie 1 Koszalin 17,974755,100
K krakowskie Kraków 15,3502,127,600
? Kraków (city)2 Kraków 230520,100
F łódzkie Łódź 17,0641,665,200
I Łódź (city) Łódź 214744,100
L lubelskie Lublin 24,8291,900,500
O olsztyńskie Olsztyn 20,994956,600
H opolskie ¹ Opole 9,5061,009,200
P poznańskie Poznań 26,7232,126,300
? Poznań (city)2 Poznań 220438,200
R rzeszowskie Rzeszów 18,6581,692,800
M szczecińskie Szczecin 12,677847,600
T warszawskie Warsaw 29,3692,453,000
W Warszawa (city) Warsaw 4461,252,600
X wrocławskie Wrocław 18,8271,967,000
? Wrocław (city)2 Wrocław 225474,200
Z zielonogórskie 1 Zielona Góra 14,514847,200
1 New voivodeships created in 1950. 2 Cities separated in 1957.

Poland's voivodeships 1975–1998

Administrative division of Poland between 1979 and 1998 included 49 voivodeships upheld after the establishment of the Third Polish Republic in 1989 for another decade. This reorganization of administrative division of Poland was mainly a result of local government reform acts of 1973–1975. In place of the three-level administrative division (voivodeship, county, commune), a new two-level administrative division was introduced (49 small voivodeships, and communes). The three smallest voivodeships – Warsaw, Kraków and Łódź – had the special status of municipal voivodeship; the city president (mayor) was also provincial governor.

Collapsed list of Voivodeships: 1975–1998, please use table-sort buttons.

Abbr. VoivodeshipPolish nameCapitalArea km2 (1998)Population (1980)No. of citiesNo. of communes
bp Biała Podlaska Voivodeship bialskopodlaskie Biała Podlaska 5,348286,400635
bk Białystok Voivodeship białostockie Białystok 10,055641,1001749
bb Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship bielskie Bielsko-Biała 3,704829,9001847
by Bydgoszcz Voivodeship bydgoskie Bydgoszcz 10,3491,036,0002755
ch Chełm Voivodeship chełmskie Chełm 3,865230,900425
ci Ciechanów Voivodeship ciechanowskie Ciechanów 6,362405,400945
cz Częstochowa Voivodeship częstochowskie Częstochowa 6,182747,9001749
el Elbląg Voivodeship elbląskie Elbląg 6,103441,5001537
gd Gdańsk Voivodeship gdańskie Gdańsk 7,3941,333,8001943
go Gorzów Voivodeship gorzowskie Gorzów Wielkopolski 8,484455,4002138
jg Jelenia Góra Voivodeship jeleniogórskie Jelenia Góra 4,378492,6002428
kl Kalisz Voivodeship kaliskie Kalisz 6,512668,0002053
ka Katowice Voivodeship katowickie Katowice 6,6503,733,9004346
ki Kielce Voivodeship kieleckie Kielce 9,2111,068,7001769
kn Konin Voivodeship konińskie Konin 5,139441,2001843
ko Koszalin Voivodeship koszalińskie Koszalin 8,470462,2001735
kr Kraków Voivodeship krakowskie Kraków 3,2541,167,5001038
ks Krosno Voivodeship krośnieńskie Krosno 5,702448,2001237
lg Legnica Voivodeship legnickie Legnica 4,037458,9001131
le Leszno Voivodeship leszczyńskie Leszno 4,254357,6001928
lu Lublin Voivodeship lubelskie Lublin 6,793935,2001662
lo Łomża Voivodeship łomżyńskie Łomża 6,684325,8001239
ld Łódź Voivodeship łódzkie Łódź 15231,127,800811
ns Nowy Sącz Voivodeship nowosądeckie Nowy Sącz 5,576628,8001441
ol Olsztyn Voivodeship olsztyńskie Olsztyn 12,327681,4002148
op Opole Voivodeship opolskie Opole 8,535975,0002961
os Ostrołęka Voivodeship ostrołęckie Ostrołęka 6,498371,400938
pi Piła Voivodeship pilskie Piła 8,205437,1002435
pt Piotrków Voivodeship piotrkowskie Piotrków Trybunalski 6,266604,2001051
pl Płock Voivodeship płockie Płock 5,117496,100944
po Poznań Voivodeship poznańskie Poznań 8,1511,237,8003357
pr Przemyśl Voivodeship przemyskie Przemyśl 4,437380,000935
ra Radom Voivodeship radomskie Radom 7,295702,3001561
rz Rzeszów Voivodeship rzeszowskie Rzeszów 4,397648,9001341
se Siedlce Voivodeship siedleckie Siedlce 8,499616,3001266
si Sieradz Voivodeship sieradzkie Sieradz 4,869392,300940
sk Skierniewice Voivodeship skierniewickie Skierniewice 3,959396,900836
sl Słupsk Voivodeship słupskie Słupsk 7,453369,8001131
su Suwałki Voivodeship suwalskie Suwałki 10,490422,6001442
sz Szczecin Voivodeship szczecińskie Szczecin 9,981897,9002950
tg Tarnobrzeg Voivodeship tarnobrzeskie Tarnobrzeg 6,283556,3001446
ta Tarnów Voivodeship tarnowskie Tarnów 4,151607,000941
to Toruń Voivodeship toruńskie Toruń 5,348610,8001341
wb Wałbrzych Voivodeship wałbrzyskie Wałbrzych 4,168716,1003130
wa Warsaw Voivodeship warszawskie Warsaw
(Warszawa)
3,7882,319,1002732
wl Włocławek Voivodeship włocławskie Włocławek 4,402413,4001430
wr Wrocław Voivodeship wrocławskie Wrocław 6,2871,076,2001633
za Zamość Voivodeship zamojskie Zamość 6,980472,100547
zg Zielona Góra Voivodeship zielonogórskie Zielona Góra 8,868609,2002650


Notes

  1. The word "voivodeship", as an equivalent for "województwo", appears in some large English dictionaries such as the OED and Webster's Third New International Dictionary but is not in common English usage. Hence the word "province" is a recommended translation: "Jednostki podziału administracyjnego Polski tłumaczymy tak: województwo—province..." ("Polish administrative units are translated as follows: województwoprovince..."). Arkadiusz Belczyk, "Tłumaczenie polskich nazw geograficznych na język angielski" Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine ("Translation of Polish Geographical Names into English"), 2002-2006. Examples: New Provinces of Poland (1998) Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine , Map of Poland, English names of Polish provinces. More examples:
    • "Following the reform of the administrative structure in 1973-1975, the number of provinces (województwa) was increased from 22 to 49... [I]ncreasing the number of provinces meant the reduction of each in size. In this way Warsaw was able to dilute the political importance of the provincial party chiefs." "Poland", The Encyclopedia Americana , 1986, volume 22, p. 312.
    • "Poland is divided into 49 provinces." "Poland", The Columbia Encyclopedia , sixth edition, edited by Paul Lagassé, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 2256.
    • "Local government in Poland is organized on three levels. The largest units, at the regional level, are the województwa (provinces)..." "Poland", Encyclopædia Britannica , 15th edition, 2010, Macropaedia , volume 25, p. 937.
    • "GOVERNMENT... Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular–wojewodztwo)..." "Poland," in Central Intelligence Agency, The CIA World Factbook 2010, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2009, ISBN   9781602397279, p. 546. The same information appears in the current online CIA World Factbook --> "Poland --> Administrative divisions". Note that in this source, where "English translations" of province names are given, they are in the noun ("Silesia"), not the adjective ("Silesian"), form.
    • Professor Paul Best, of Southern Connecticut State University, writes: "[I]n standard dictionaries the Polish word [województwo] is translated as 'province.'" Paul Best, review of Bogdan Horbal, Lemko Studies: A Handbook (2010), in The Polish Review , vol. 58, no. 4 (2013), pp. 125–26.
  2. "Voivodeship," The Oxford English Dictionary , second edition, volume XIX, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, p. 739.
  3. "Samorządowcy dostali dodatkowy rok. Jak wykorzystają 5-letnią kadencję? - Prawo i finanse".
  4. "Eurostat - Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) map". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  5. data as per April 1, 1937

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Subdivisions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Subdivisions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth evolved over many centuries from the fragmentation of the Piast dynasty to the union of Poland and Lithuania.

Voivodes of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth were one of the highest ranking officials who could sit in the Senate of Poland. They were the officials in charge of the voivodeships (provinces/palatinates) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The office first appears as Palatine (Palatinus) who held the foremost position after the King. As Poland broke up into separate principalities, each Prince had his court and his own Palatine. When the Kingdom was consolidated, the Palatines became heads of those former Principalities, which then became Palatinates. As such, the Palatines were members of the King's Council. The title merged with the Polish Voivode or Wojewoda. The difference between Voivode and Duke is that whereas the Duke began as a rank by appointment of the Monarch and later became a hereditary title of honour, the Voivode was appointed for life and maintained real authority as an official—before the Voivodes, too, lost significance to the Starostas. Polish historians, however, use Palatine (Palatyn) and Voivode (Wojewoda) synonymously.

Administrative divisions of Poland

The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats, and these in turn are divided into gminas. Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats, and 2,478 gminas.

Podlaskie Voivodeship (1513–1795)

The Podlaskie Voivodeship was formed in 1513 by Sigismund I the Old as a voivodeship in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, from a split off part of the Trakai Voivodeship. After Lithuania's union with the Kingdom of Poland in 1569 and formation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the voivodeship was transferred to the Polish Crown, where it belonged to the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown.

Lublin Voivodeship (1474–1795)

Lublin Voivodeship was an administrative region of the Kingdom of Poland created in 1474 out of three eastern counties of Sandomierz Voivodeship and lasting until the Partitions of Poland in 1795. Together with Sandomierz Voivodeship and Kraków Voivodeship, it was part of historic Lesser Poland. Lublin Voivodeship had two senators in the Senate of the Kingdom of Poland: the Voivode and the Castellan of Lublin. Local sejmiks took place in Lublin.

Poznań Voivodeship (14th century to 1793)

Poznań Voivodeship 14th century to 1793 was a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland from the 14th century to the Second Partition of Poland in 1793. It was part of the Greater Polish prowincja.

Castellans of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth were the lowest rank of territorial official who could sit in the Senate of Poland. Their numbers varied over time and with the shifting borders of the Commonwealth.

Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown

Lesser Poland Province was an administrative division of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland from 1569 until 1795 and the biggest province of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The name of the province comes from historic land of Lesser Poland. The name of the province did not imply its size, but rather seniority.

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