Spreading the Word: History of the Largest Republic in Europe

It existed for some 400 years, was the biggest republic in Europe, and whose political ideas, some historians believe, might have influenced Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Listen to the fascinating history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in this dedicated BBC In Our Time history podcast episode: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Enjoy!

“…the republic that emerged from the union of the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th Century. At first this was a personal union, similar to that of James I and VI in Britain, but this was formalised in 1569 into a vast republic, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kings and princes from across Europe would compete for parliament to elect them King and Grand Duke, and the greatest power lay with the parliaments.”

From the podcast website

historical picture of the coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1627
Coat of arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with Polish Eagle and Lithuanian Vytis (Waykimas) by Pieter Serwouters, 1627

Keeping up the “Spreading the Word” tradition, I hope to share an insightful and thought-provoking article or video every weekend. Humans have always turned and returned to storytelling to find meaning. My weekends’ “Spreading the Word” posts are an online version of sharing meaningful stories.   

keep exploring and storytelling!

Image credit: By Pieter Serwouters (1586-1657) – Rijksmuseum.nl, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=117978453

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