RZECZPOSPOLITA (Polish pronunciation: ( listen )) is a traditional
and official name of the Polish State – Polish : Rzeczpospolita
Polska (Latin : Respublica Poloniae, English:
Republic of Poland).
It is a compound of rzecz "thing" and pospolita "common", a calque of
Latin res publica (res "thing", publica "public, common"), i.e.
republic , in English also rendered commonwealth.
Poland the word
Rzeczpospolita is used exclusively in relation to
Republic of Poland, and any other republic is referred to in
Polish as a republika, e.g., Italian
Republic – Polish : Republika
* 1 Origins
* 2 Three Rzeczpospolitas
* 3 Other usage
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
The term "Rzeczpospolita" has been used in
Poland since the beginning
of the 16th century. Originally it was a generic term to denote a
state or a commonness. The famous quote by
Jan Zamoyski , the Lord
Chancellor of the Crown, on the importance of education, is a great
example of its use:
Polish : Takie będą Rzeczypospolite, jakie ich młodzieży
Such will be the Commonwealths as the upbringing of their youth.
Jan Zamoyski , Foundation Act of the Academy of Zamość ; 1600
The meaning of "Rzeczpospolita" is well described by the term
"Commonwealth". As a result, the literal meaning of "Rzeczpospolita
Polska" is "Polish Commonwealth", or "
Republic of Poland". However,
the connotation with the term "republic" may be somewhat misleading in
the context of the Polish State within the period of the 16th to the
18th century, because
Poland in that time was an elective monarchy and
the "Rzeczpospolita" was reflected in the official name, the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth .
"Rzeczpospolita" is also used in a series of symbolic names referring
to three periods in the History of
* I RZECZPOSPOLITA (Polish : Pierwsza Rzeczpospolita), in reference
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795). During this
period, commonwealth was ruled de facto by a privileged class called
the szlachta , which had (amongst numerous others) the right to elect
both the king and parliament (the
Sejm ). It began with the Union of
Lublin in 1569 and ended with the third and final Partition of Poland
* II RZECZPOSPOLITA (Polish : Druga Rzeczpospolita), in reference to
the Second Polish
Republic (1918–39). Used to refer to the interwar
period, lasting from the gaining of independence in 1918 following the
World War I
World War I up to the
World War II
World War II -triggering Invasion of
Poland (1939) by both
Nazi Germany and the
Soviet Union , who had
secretly agreed on the partition in the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact . The
renascent Polish State was initially called the
Republic of Poland
(Polish : Republika Polska). The title
Rzeczpospolita was introduced
by the March Constitution of
Poland , the first article of which
stated that Polish : Państwo Polskie jest Rzecząpospolitą, meaning
"The Polish State is a Commonwealth";
* III RZECZPOSPOLITA (Polish : Trzecia Rzeczpospolita), in reference
to the current Third Polish
Republic (1989–present). This is the
title of the current Polish State, dating from the collapse of the
Communist regime in 1989.
(Please note: The above list is by no means a complete list of the
various official titles for the Polish State throughout its history;
it is simply a list of those which are referred to as a
Expressions that make use the concept of "Rzeczpospolita" include:
Rzeczpospolita szlachecka –
Republic of Nobles (szlachta ),
another name for the "I Rzeczpospolita";
Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów – The Commonwealth of the Two
Nations, another name for the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth ;
Rzeczpospolita Babińska – Babin
Republic , a satirical,
literary society, founded by a group of nobles during the second half
of the 16th century;
Rzeczpospolita Krakowska –
Free City of Kraków or
Rzeczpospolita Zakopiańska –
Republic of Zakopane , a
short-lasting form of an independent state, established for about a
month in October 1918;
Rzeczpospolita Ludowa – People\'s
Poland , a
name used formally from 1952 to 1990. Was often abbreviated to simply
Rzeczpospolita Polska" or "PRL". Sometimes referenced (wrongly) to
the post-war period 1944–1952;
Rzeczpospolita – Fourth Polish
Republic , a slogan used
by the political party
Law and Justice
Law and Justice .
Nowadays, the terms "Rzeczpospolita" and "
Rzeczpospolita Polska" are
used interchangeably, so far as they relate to the Polish State by
Before 1939, "Rzeczpospolita" was sometimes abbreviated to "Rzplita"
in written documents.
"RP" is a common abbreviation for "
While Lithuanian word Žečpospolita is a direct borrowing from
Polish "rzeczpospolita", Belarusian Рэч Паспалітая (Rech
Paspalitaya) and Ukrainian Річ Посполита (Rich Pospolyta)
are like in Polish literal translations from Latin. All of them refer
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth .
* History of
* Name of
* Outline of
Poland - History - Third Rzeczpospolita". PWN online
encyclopedia. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
* Central European Superpower, Henryk Litwin, BUM Magazine, October
Look up RZECZPOSPOLITA in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.