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Palatinate

Palatinate (Polish: wojewodztwo) — territorial and administrative unit of the former Polish Kingdom and the twentieth-century republic of Poland. The palatinate system was introduced at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. At that time the *Lemko Region was divided administratively along a north-south line that ended at the Dukla/Dukl’a pass, with the Cracow palatinate/Wojewodztwo krakowskie to the west and the Rus’ palatinate/Wojewodztwo ruskie to the east. Each palatinate in turn was subdivided into lands (ziemia), with the Lemko Region divided from west to east into the Sacz Land/Ziemia sadecka, the Biecz Land/Ziemia biecka, and the Sanok Land/Ziemia sanocka. In the seventeenth century territory from the Biecz and Sanok lands was detached to form a new Krosno Land/Ziemia krosnienska, which was eventually renamed the Jaslo Land/Ziemia jasielska. The palatinates were headed by a palatinate/wojewoda appointed by the king. The lands were headed by a lord sheriff/starosta (later starosta generalny), who was also appointed by the king. The lord sheriff/starosta remained the king’s representative even after the lands were administered by a government official/urzednik ziemski. The palatinate-land administrative structure came to an end with the partitions and eventual disappearance of Poland-Lithuania between 1772 and 1795.

When Poland was restored as a republic in 1918, the state was also divided into palatinates. The two palatintes that covered the Lemko Region retained the *districts formed during Austrian Habsburg rule. Post-1918 Poland’s Cracow palatinate/Wojewodztwo krakowskie included the Nowy Targ, Nowy Sacz, Grybow (until ca. 1930), Gorlice, Jaslo, and Krosno districts; the L’viv palatinate/Wojewodztwo lwowskie included the Sanok and Lesko districts. In no district did Lemko Rusyns form a majority of the inhabitants; according to the 1931 census, the districts with the largest percentage of Lemko Rusyns were Sanok (ca. 35 percent) and Gorlice (24 percent), to which Grybow was subsumed.

Since World War II, Poland’s palatinate structure has been altered three times. The Lemko Region was initially divided between the Cracow and Rzeszow palatinates; from 1976 to 1999 it was divided between the Nowy Sacz and Krasno palatinates; and since 1999 it is divided between the Malopolskie/Little Poland and Podkarpacie/Subcarpathia palatinates.

Bogdan Horbal

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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