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The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (Polish: Korona Królestwa Polskiego, Latin: Corona Regni Poloniae), or simply the Crown, is the common name for the historic (but unconsolidated) Late Middle Ages territorial possessions of the King of Poland, including Poland () proper. As an historians' ' term of art', it is frequently used formally as if it were the name of a single separate country which existed years between 1386-1569—a pre-Nationalist time when nobilities owned everything and lands with feudal obligations were exchanged as parts of marriages or alliances and consequently later passed with inherited estate or dynastic war settlements.
The kingdom was dated back to c. 966, when Mieszko I created and ruled unified Poland, and his son Boleslaw Chrobry was the first crowned King of Poland.
It marked a milestone in the evolution of Polish statehood, and represented the concept of the Polish kingdom (nation) as distinctly separate from the person of the monarch. The introduction of that concept marked the transformation of the Polish government from the patrimonial monarchy to the class monarchy (monarchia stanowa).
A related concept that evolved soon afterward was that of Rzeczpospolita, both of which served as the alternate names for the Polish state. The Crown of Poland was also related to other symbols of Poland, such as the capital (Kraków), Polish coat of arms and the flag of Poland.
The concept of Crown also had a geographical aspect, in particularly related to the indivisibility of the Polish (Crown) territory. It can be also seen as a unit of administrative division, the territories under direct administration of Polish state from middle-ages to late 18th century (currently lands of Ukraine, Poland, some border lands of inter alia: Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania). Some of them belonged to the early Kingdom of Poland, then to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until its final collapse in 1795.
At the same time, the Crown also referred to all lands that the Polish state (not the monarch) could claim to have the right to rule over, including those that were not within Polish borders.
The term distinguishes those territories from federated with the Crown Grand Duchy of Lithuania () and from fiefdom territories (which enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy or semi-independence from the King) inter alia the Duchy of Prussia (), the Duchy of Courland ().
Prior to the 1569 Union of Lublin, Crown territories may be understood as those of Poland proper, inhabited by Poles or other areas under the sovereignty of Polish nobility. With the Union of Lublin, however, most of present-day Ukraine (which had a negligible Polish population and had until then been governed by Lithuania) passed under Polish administration, becoming likewise Crown territory.
In that period, a term for a Pole was koroniarz (plural: koroniarze), derived from Korona.
Crown was divided into two provinces: Lesser Poland (Polish: Małopolska) and Greater Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska) which were further divided into administrative units known as voivodeships (Polish names of voivodships and towns below in brackets).
Royal Prussia Polish: Prusy Królewskie) was a province of the Kingdom of Poland from 1466 and then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1772. Royal Prussia included Pomerelia, Chełmno Land (Kulmerland), Malbork Voivodeship (Marienburg), Gdańsk (Danzig), Toruń (Thorn), and Elbląg (Elbing). Polish historian Henryk Wisner writes that Royal Prussia belonged to the Province of Greater Poland.
As one of the terms of the Treaty of Lubowla, the Hungarian crown exchanged, for a loan of sixty times the amount of 37,000 Prague groschen – approximately seven tonnes of pure silver, 16 rich salt-producing towns in the area of Spisz (Zips), as well as a right to incorporate them into Poland until the debt is repaid. The towns affected were: Biała, Lubica, Wierzbów, Spiska Sobota, Poprad, Straże, Spiskie Włochy, Nowa Wieś, Spiska Nowa Wieś, Ruszkinowce, Wielka, Spiskie Podgrodzie, Maciejowce, Twarożne.
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