HISB93H3 Professor Dowler Fall 2009 Lecture Note
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x 1385, there was a personal union of the thrones of Poland and Lithuania (Grand Duke of
Lithuania was the King of Poland.
x By 15th century, this relation was in place
x Lithuania remained a separate administrative unit from Poland
x Most of the Russia OrWKRGR[SRSXODWLRQLQ/LWKXDQLDQSRSXODWLRQUHPDLQHGXQGHU'XNH¶V
x Polonization and catholization affected the upper classes of Lithuania (was more attracted to
x 1539, a major step towards Polonization was taken when a social structure was introduced.
This structure included the Pans (great noble families) who had power and influence. Next
were the szlachta (gentry, lesser nobles). The Pans were represented by the Rada (a kind of
House of Lords or Senate) and it had veto powers over the decision of the King.
x In 1566, Lithuania became closer to Poland when the Szlachta also got delegate rights
through the Seym.
x Lithuania and Poland now have identical political structures
x Poland annexes Lithuania because of this.
x This political system is aristocratic (the nobles have the power) and the princes are weak. It
was not democratic. The peasants had no say whatsoever.
x In Russia, this is the exact opposite, princes are very powerful, more than the boyars.
x Frequently, the interests of the great lords and the lesser lords did not coincide.
x As a result, there was a lot of conflict in Poland and Lithunia
x This led the Szlachta to press for union with Poland because they believed if they could unite
their forces with the Polish Szlachta, they would be able to have greater influence
x The problem with this was that the Rada was able to block this union.
x This act weakened Lithuania and the Pans in Lithuania had no choice but to accept the union
x A large part of West Russia comes under Polish rule.
x The region that the Poles annexed had been seriously underpopulated (devastated from
x When the Golden Horde broke up, the Crimean Khanate raided the area often
x In the 15th and 16th century, a new force, the Cossacks (comes from the work Kazak which
means an adventurer) introduces security into the area
x The first Cossacks were Tatars and joined by fugitive. They are not an ethnic group, they are
x Lithuanians had encouraged the Cossacks because they became as border guards from raids
x The relative security that the Cossacks brought to the region soon made it desirable for
people to settle in this area
x 1540, Kiev was once again thriving
x Most of the earlier settlers were engaged in fishing and fur trade rather than agriculture
x However, it began to attract peasant settlers because Polish rule was weak there
x The settlers received protection from the Tatars from the Cossacks
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