Rzeczpospolita Polska ([ʐɛt͡ʂpɔˈspɔlita] ( listen))
is a traditional and official name of the Polish State – Polish:
Rzeczpospolita Polska (Latin: Res Publica Poloniae, English: Republic
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 Polska is used exclusively in
relation to the
Republic of Poland, and any other republic is referred
to in Polish as a republika, e.g., Italian
Republic – Polish:
2 Three Rzeczpospolitas
3 Other usage
4 See also
6 External links
The term "Rzeczpospolita" [more precise: common matter] has been used
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 chowanie.
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
"Rzeczpospolita" is also used in a series of symbolic names referring
to three periods in the History of Poland:
Rzeczpospolita (Polish: Pierwsza Rzeczpospolita), in reference to
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
Rzeczpospolita (Polish: Druga Rzeczpospolita), in reference to the
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-triggering Invasion of
Poland (1939) by both Nazi Germany. The renascent Polish State was
initially called the
Poland (Polish: Republika Polska).
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
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 overthrow of the
Communist government 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
Rzeczpospolita Krakowska –
Free City of Kraków
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
Rzeczpospolita Ludowa – People's
Republic of 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.
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
to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
History of Poland
Name of Poland
Outline of Poland
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.
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