Small Businesses : Using the Cloud Results in a Flood of Savings

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A Flood of Savings

A Flood of savings

17 Reasons Tel Aviv is the Perfect City for You

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Matkot (beach tennis) players on the beach in ...

Matkot (beach tennis) players on the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tel Aviv Mosque

Tel Aviv Mosque (Photo credit: almasudi)

17 Reasons Tel Aviv is the Perfect City for You

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1. Tel Aviv was recently named one of the best cities for startups.

startup

http://www.edudemic.com/startups-7/

2. National Geographic Traveler named Tel Aviv one of the top 10 beach cities in the world.

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http://www.tlvfaces.com/national-geographic-traveler-names-tel-aviv-one-of-the-top-10-beach-cities-in-the-world/

3. Tel Aviv gets 10 months of sunshine, which means beach time almost all year long.

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http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/friends-gif

4. The world’s top celebrities come to Tel Aviv to perform on their world tours.

http://www.tlvfaces.com/pet-shop-boys-will-play-tel-aviv-despite-pressures/

5. Every summer, Israelis from around the country go to Tel Aviv to celebrate its Annual Water Party.

http://www.tlvfaces.com/tel-aviv-celebrates-its-annual-water-party-video/

6. Tel Aviv’s annual White Night party brings the city to life.

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http://www.tlvfaces.com/tel-avivs-white-night-2013-comes-to-life-photosvideo-3/

7. Even the BBC acknowledged that Tel Aviv is the best place for Matkot, Israel’s ‘Faster, Harder and Noisier’ Version of Paddle Ball.

http://www.tlvfaces.com/the-bbc-discovers-matkot-israels-faster-harder-and-noisier-version-of-paddle-ball-video/

8. Want to go back to school?  Tel Aviv has one of the top universities in the world.

colg

http://weheartit.com/entry/72828327

9. If you’re looking for a job in Tel Aviv, you could be lucky enough to work for Google in one of the most amazing offices in the world.

google

http://www.tlvfaces.com/googles-new-offices-in-tel-aviv-are-absolutely-amazing-video/

10. Israel is home to some of the most incredible exhibits including the “Must-See” LEGO Exhibit.

lego

http://www.tlvfaces.com/israel-to-host-must-see-lego-exhibit/

11. Tel Aviv is one of the biggest parade capitals of the world and hosts a famous annual Pride Parade.

http://www.tlvfaces.com/the-official-video-of-tel-aviv-pride-2013/

12. Need to get online? You’ll soon be in luck wherever you are – Tel Aviv is going wireless.

kip-gif

http://www.kanyetothe.com/forum/index.php?topic=342331.0

13. Tel Aviv is and always will be the city that never sleeps.

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 http://mrwgifs.com/leonardo-dicaprio-toast-fireworks-gif/

14. As an Olim Hadashim, you will be always surrounded by a group of single Israelis.

tl

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-12-08/man-woman/30310026_1_drunk-men-beer-goggles-seduction

15. Tel Aviv is one of the most active cities and there is always something to get involved in.

yg

http://www.yogadestin.com/beach%20index%20pic.htm

16. Parking is tight and you will become an expert at parallel parking your car in a two meter space.

http://retelly.com/lol/how-to-throw-a-bachelor-party

17. Once you become a Telavivian, you will know there is no better city in the world.

tlv

http://hdwallpapersbase.com/tel-aviv-wallpapers/

16 Signs You’ve Become a resident of the White City Tel Aviv.

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16 Signs You’ve Become a Real Telavivian

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1. You’ve started to go out every night.

1

http://theberry.com/2011/08/31/youre-never-too-old-to-be-goofy-19-gifs/

2. You know every single person on your street and their pets’ names.

http://www.pommietravels.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Dog-Walking-Rothschild-Boulevard.jpg

 3. You’ve gotten so used to noise that you don’t even hear the sound of the garbage trucks at 5 a.m. anymore.

Mynet.co.il

4. When you leave the city, the quiet makes you feel like you’re in a museum.

cole-cook.blogspot.com

5. You wear summer clothes almost all year long.

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weheartit.com

6. You go to the Macolet in your pajamas.

http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com

7. Your local bartender has become your best friend and shrink.

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http://www.studiosystemnews.com/lightning-in-a-bottle-chemistry-of-an-ensemble/cheers-csat/

8. Dinner at midnight has become a normal occurrence.

http://theberry.com/2011/06/17/celebrate-friday-with-some-classic-tv-show-gifs/tv-show-6/

9. Any dreams of having savings in your bank are long gone.

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pandawhale.com

10. You know how to spot the Ole Chadash – they are always surrounded by a group of single Israelis of the opposite sex.

www.sodahead.com

11. Your social life centers around your sports activities.

12wfitness.blogspot.com

12. You’ve become an expert parallel parking your car in a two meter space.

http://retelly.com/lol/how-to-throw-a-bachelor-party

13. You meet the same friends at the same time every night at the same coffee shop.

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/friends%20gifs

14. You’ve become an expert in mixing languages – English, Russian and Hebrew – in the same sentence without knowing what you’re saying.

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www.vagablogging.net

15. You’ve started to date your friend’s friend, and his friend, and his friends as well.

http://theurbandater.com/dating-relationships/how-long-should-you-wait-to-date-ex-friend.php/

16. When you leave Tel Aviv, you can’t wait to return!

 http://www.flickriver.com/photos/jorysz/tags/ernestojorysz/

10 Places You Don’t Want to Stay When Visiting Israel

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American Colony Hotel is located in Jerusalem

American Colony Hotel is located in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem - fron...

English: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem – front entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Back view of David Citadel hotel, Jer...

English: Back view of David Citadel hotel, Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(29) Close up of YuYuan Gardens  and old city

(29) Close up of YuYuan Gardens and old city (Photo credit: China Encounters)

10 Places You Don’t Want to Stay When Visiting Israel

inShare
When visiting Israel, it’s very important to know where you shouldn’t be staying. Here are a few examples:
david citadel 3
  1. Any place that includes “running water” in its list of amenities
  2. Any inn with a suspicious acronym, like… Hebron American MotelsAnd Suites
  3. A hotel whose website boasts “Complimentary Daily Exterminator Visits”
  4. A motel where the name of the guy at the reception desk is “Lurch”
  1. The Hotel California, Israeli Branch
  2. Motel Seven-And-Three Quarters.
  3. An inn with the motto “King Saul Slept Here … And We Haven’t Changed the Sheets Since”.
  4. Weight-Loss Lodges boasting “34 floors and no elevator” and “enjoy the great outdoors by chopping your own firewood”
  5. Clever sound-alike facilities like “David’s … Dungeon”
  6. Any hotel offering “Five Prayer Services Daily”

Convinced? Great! Now read on for our “take” on three Jerusalem hotels you actually might want to try:

David Citadel Hotel (5 Star – $$$$)

David CitadelNo hotel in Jerusalem quite compares to the luxurious David Citadel Hotel. Located on King David Street in the heart of Jerusalem, the David Citadel’s unique, clever U-shaped structure means more rooms with a great Old City View. The David Citadel is a short walk to both the Old City and the New. It is right across the street from Mamilla Mall – a pedestrian-only mall with a wide selection of shops, galleries, and restaurants, so you can shop till you drop, and not be too far from home when you do!

According to many of our VIP GoInspire groups, the service at the David Citadel is superb. The polite and quick employees are a big part of the hotel’s five star appeal. The hotel offers delightful little touches, like a welcoming snack in your room and a chocolate laid beside your bed during turndown service (and who could turn that down?) So, if you are a discerning traveler who doesn’t like to slide into bed like a letter into an envelope, the David Citadel might be just the place for you.

King Solomon (4 Star – $$$)

King Solomon 4The King Solomon Hotel, also located on King David Street in Jerusalem, offers a location that provides an authentic Israeli experience that is ideal for families, couples, and tour groups. One of its best features is its location: it is only a ten minute walk from Yaffo Gate (one of the entrances to the Old City) and is close to the city’s main historical and cultural attractions.

The hotel rooms are comfortable and clean, and many of the balconies offer panoramic views of the Old City, which is especially beautiful at night. The King Solomon hotel overlooks the most important historical sites of Jerusalem, including the Old City walls, the Tower of David, and the Montefiore Windmill.

Hint from GoInspire: Try to request rooms on the highest available floor facing the Old City, as these rooms will afford you the most magnificent views. (If none are available, don’t fret. Most of the rooms feature beautiful views, including a great one of the Liberty Park.)

King SolomonKing Solomon is just a short distance from the busy downtown area of New Jerusalem, which offers entertainment, many of the best restaurants, fascinating museums, and shopping to your heart’s content. Also close by is the not-so-well known Chutzot Hayotzer, or “Artists Lane”, where art lovers can purchase jewelry, crafts, and works of art directly from the artists themselves. (A little taste of Tzfat…)

Guests at the King Solomon can walk to the Great Synagogue to enjoy this majestic sight and even join in the uplifting prayers of Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday nights. Many of the GoInspire groups stay at this hotel, including the women of JWRP, because of its 3 great pluses: Location, Location, and Location!

Lev Yerushalayim (3 Star – $$)

Lev YerushalayimThe Lev Yerushalayim, located on King George Street in the center of Jerusalem, is perfect for families traveling with kids, for students, or for anyone who’s on a budget and wants great value for their money. Many of our GoInspire student groups stay at this apartment-hotel for its location and easy accessibility. The rooms are all mini-suite style and function as apartments, making them great for groups. Each includes a living room, a small kitchen, bedrooms and a bathroom, and is simply furnished with useful amenities.

Located near Ben Yehuda Street and Rechov Yafo, the Lev Yerushalayim is in a lively and fun area, full of cafes, restaurants, and shops of all kinds. Sometimes you can even catch street performers doing their thing for an appreciative audience. Lev Yerushalayim is walking distance to the historical sites within the Old City, and the Western Wall, as well as the famous Jerusalem shuk, Machane Yehuda.

This apartment-hotel is also convenient to almost every type of transportation. A cab stand and bus stops are just a few steps away from the entrance, and the New Light Rail is just down the street, to help you find your way to important sites like the City of David, Yad Vashem, and the Israeli Museum. (Thank you, Mrs. Mindy Bloom, for your comment on our previous blog about the newly renovated Israeli Museum!)

The Lev Yerushalayim is perhaps most aptly summed up by one reviewer who writes: “This is a 3 star hotel, with a 5 star location and money value.”

What’s your favorite hotel in Jerusalem, or anywhere in Israel? We look forward to your comments! And, remember, hotel reservations are just another travel service that we offer!

The Shakshuka System

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The Shakshuka System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Shakshuka System
שיטת השקשוקה
Directed by Ilan Abudi
Produced by Sharon Carney
Gili Dickerman
Written by Ilan Abudi
Uri Weasberod
Cinematography Ilan Abudi
Editing by Martha Wieseltier
Release date(s) 2008
Running time 93 minutes
Country Israel
Language Hebrew

The Shakshuka System (Hebrew: שיטת השקשוקה‎) is a 2008 Israeli documentary filmcreated by the Israeli investigative journalist Mickey Rosenthal and the Israeli director Ilan Abudi. The film focuses on the connection between private capital and government in Israel and suggests that a system exists whereby the State of Israel sells its limited resources, cheaply, to a handful of wealthy families. The film shows this by specifically focusing on the business relationship between the political leadership in Israel and one of the wealthiest families in the Israeli economy – the Ofer family.

The film won the Ophir Award for Best Documentary film in 2009.

While the film was being produced, the Ofer Brothers Group filed a lawsuit against the creators of the film and no Israeli TV channel would show it. Initially the film was screened in Cinematheques, different events, and in the Knesset. A year after the premiere, it was broadcast on Channel 1, followed by a film produced by the Ofer Brothers in response. In February 2010 the lawsuit was dismissed.

Overview[edit]

The film explores the sale of state assets, such as the Dead Sea WorksZim and the Oil Refineries Ltd, to the Ofer Brothers Group. Government officials who carried out these transactions on behalf of the State of Israel became senior employees of the Ofer group after retiring from the public sector. The film tracks the interaction between seniors in the public sector, the media and the Ofer group, claiming the Ofer Brothers managed to avoid scrutiny due to their ties with key people in the media such as Rafi Ginat.

A central part of the film deals with a donation attempt by Sammy Ofer to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in exchange for the renaming of the museum after him and his wife, and for provisions which would entitle him, according to the film, to ownership rights to the structure of the museum.

The film presents a report of the Ministry of Environment which claims that the factories of the Ofer Brothers Group, such as the Oil Refineries, are polluting the environment and shows the negative effects which their pollution causes. In the film Mickey Rosenthal also confronted a senior in the Israeli Cancer Association after the association gave a certificate to Sammy Ofer for his contribution.

The film’s name is a culinary metaphor which refers to the alleged deal made which resulted in Ofer Brothers Group acquisition of Zim, the national shipping company, for a seemingly very low price. The metaphor made during the film by the Israeli lawyer Ram Caspi, whom represented the Israel Corporation (controlled by the Ofer Brothers Group) in the negotiations over the acquisition of the government shares in Zim. In the film Caspi claims that the Ofer Brothers Group, which were the only company to participate in the auction over Zim’s shares, closed the deal after the sides agreed on a final price which was much lower than the real worth of the shipping company. According to the film, a few months after the sale, Zim was appraised at three or maybe four times the price at which the state sold its interest.[1]

Controversy[edit]

While the film was being made, a libel lawsuit was filed against Rosenthal and his wife by Ariel Shemer, the lawyer of the Ofer family.[2]Rosenthal also received several death threats. Rosenthal was not deterred but the Yes company, which helped finance the film, later withdrew its finance backing and refused to broadcast it. According to Yes, this decision was made because of scenes relating to people suffering from Cancer as a result of pollution, which Rosenthal added to the film contrary to the agreement the company made with him. According to the filmmakers, they agreed to cut out several parts from the film so that Yes would approve the broadcasting of the film, yet it was eventually decided that the film would not be broadcast.[3]

The banning of the film created a public uproar. Among others, a number of filmmakers unions organized and held a press conference about the censorship made due to pressure from the wealthiest people in Israel’s economy. Eventually the film was approved for screening at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv, despite cease and desist letters sent by the lawyers of the Ofer family. Later on the film was screened at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

Channel 10 and Channel 1 expressed interest in the film, but were also pressured not to broadcast it. As a result, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel contacted the management of the Israel Broadcasting Authority claiming concern for the freedom of expression and democracy in Israel. Channel 1 announced that the film would be broadcast with a few corrections but decided to show it in full, followed by a response movie produced by the Ofer family.[4] In July 2009, both films were shown on Channel 1 in a special broadcast hosted by Oded Shachar.

A compromise agreement was reached in September 2009 between Rosenthal and the Ofer family, in which the family agreed to pay Rosenthal NIS 40,000 for court costs.

Reactions[edit]

The attempts to prevent the screening of the film led to a substantial media interest. “This is the film that nobody wants you to see. Now everyone should see it” wrote Yaron Ten-Brink, a television critic of Yediot Aharonot. “Drop everything and go see this movie. You would get a more detailed accurate explanation of how the state steals from us and transfers the gains to the Ofer brothers,” wrote the Israeli journalist Guy Meroz in Maariv. Haredi journalist Koby Arieli urged readers to “Go see The Shakshouka System. Do not miss it.”[5][dead link]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Mind your Social Manners : Facebook Friend Etiquette

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Similar to Facebook commenting, your primary objective when adding new Facebook friends should be to avoid looking creepy.

That’s right; it’s not about making sure you’ve added all your cousins or looking up your long lost college roommate.facebook_friends

Listen to us on this one.

Turning down the creep factor, however, is easier said than done. Certain Facebookers believe that their friend count is a reflection of their real-life popularity. (We all KNOW that no one has 2,452 friends, yet I suppose there’s something to the perception that if a person has 2,452 Facebook friends, they probably have a rockin’ real-world social life.)

Gauging your popularity through your number of acquired Facebook friends, however, can lead to some unwise, impulsive friend-making decisions. Suddenly that guy you met at a party, or your friend’s friend’s boyfriend, becomes fair game. This is further magnified by the fact that you’ve probably already added most, if not all, of your ACTUAL family and friends, leaving mostly, um, “randoms,” as I call ‘em.

((Sidenote: Personally speaking, I tend to gauge Facebook popularity not by number of friends but by engagement. Anyone can start friending randoms and get a good number of them to accept. But these same high-friend-count peeps can have low engagement on their posts. On the other hand, people with the Facebook average of 245 friends can get heavy engagement.  It all comes down to the quality of your friends and the information you post.))

Facebook friending raises some other issues too:

First, Facebook is absolutely a window into your life: your photos, your status updates, your likes, your information. To think that stranger-friends won’t root through your profile is naïve. The “looser” your friending policy, the more strangers have access to these things. Of course, you can finagle your settings so that they see limited personal information, but isn’t that kind of a pain and defeating of the purpose of Facebook?

Keep in mind, too, that anyone you friend has the ability to somewhat affect your image, by either leaving comments, writing on your wall, and friending your friends. (We’ve probably all had that person we wish we hadn’t friended.)

Friending has also made the dating scene more tricky. Say you’ve been on a couple of dates with a person, and you like ‘em but still have lots to discover about each other. Then a friend request appears, and suddenly this person will have access to all 481 of your photos. Your family, your friends, your trip to Cancun are all right there, before you’ve had the chance to tell your story your way. It can result in a weird, unnatural acceleration of the normal “getting to know you” process.

Can TKGenius help you navigate these things perfectly? No, but we can at least save you from looking like a creeper, and maybe provide an idea or two on making good Facebook friending calls:

  • Don’t friend strangers. Whether it’s someone you’ve only met once who probably doesn’t remember you to trolling your friends’ friends for more friends, you don’t want the invitee to go, “Who?! Ew!”
  • Don’t friend the guy/gal you never talked to in high school. If you didn’t speak in high school, you probably won’t find much value in friending them now, and it comes off as bizarre behavior. Even more bizarre than you were in high school.
  • Don’t friend the guy/gal you met at a party for 10 minutes. Creepy! You’re asking someone you know almost nothing about to open up a huge chunk of their lives for you. If it’s someone you’d like to ask out for a date, opt for a Facebook message instead.
  • Don’t friend someone if there’s a chance they’re going to respond, “Huh?” Similar to friending a stranger, ask yourself if you’re confident this person will know who you are before sending a friend request.
  • Don’t friend someone if there’s a chance they’re going to respond, “Why?” The last thing you want is to send a request to someone, only to have that person text a friend, “ZOMG! You won’t believe who just friended me!!!!”
  • Don’t friend someone who reports to you at work. It puts that person in an incredibly awkward position.
  • Don’t friend your superiors unless you’re 100% comfortable with them having that much access to your life. There may be pics of your infamous keg stands from 2009….just sayin’.
  • Don’t friend a coworker unless you’re pretty darn sure it’s cool with them. Even with coworkers of equal standing, tread lightly.
  • Don’t friend someone you just started dating. Your “Facebook life” is huge, and potentially a huge can of worms.Don’t add the extra pressure of a friend request.

Once again, we’re pros at telling you what not to do. :)

So, what SHOULD you do? Our rather simple advice is to approach Facebook friendships with the same etiquette that you do your offline personal and professional friendships. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean certain behaviors can be off-putting. Use common sense, follow our list of don’ts, and you’ll be the least creepy “friend-er” on Facebook.

  1. Mind Your Social Media Manners: Facebook Commenting Etiquette
  2. Mind Your Social Media Manners – An Introduction
  3. Mind Your Social Media Manners: the Facebook Status Update
  4. How To Use Facebook Promoted Posts: Content-Driven Facebook Ads
  5. Facebook EdgeRank: Respect the Reality Social Networking

Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies (and a few new resources)

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Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies (and a few new resources) http://ning.it/1gBWUMm

Crowdfunding is more than just the latest trend — it’s an increasingly effective way to jumpstart a business with much needed cash. For Entrepreneur’s first-ever Top 100 Crowdfunded Companies listing, we partnered with the Crowdfunding Academy, a crowdfunding-support service, and Babson College to compile the companies whose campaigns raised the most money in the last year.

Check out the full listing below.

No. Name of Company Category Product Funded Amount Funding Platform Founder
and/or CEO
1 Ouya Video Games Open-source game console $8.6 million Kickstarter Julie Uhrman
2 inXile entertainment Video Games Torment: Tides of Numenera, computer game $4.19 million Kickstarter Brian Fargo
3 Obsidian Entertainment Video Games Project Eternity, computer game $3.99 million Kickstarter Feargus Urquhart
4 Reaper Miniatures Games Bones gaming miniatures $3.43 million Kickstarter Ed Pugh
5 Formlabs Technology Form 1, 3-D printer $2.95 million Kickstarter Maxim Lobovsky, David Cranor, Natan Linder
6 Tile Technology Lost-and-found location device $2.68 million Selfstarter Nick Evans, Mike Farley
7 MS Paint Adventures Video Games Homestuck, online game $2.49 million Kickstarter Andrew Hussie
8 Oculus VR Technology Oculus Rift, virtual-reality headset $2.44 million Kickstarter Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe
9 WobbleWorks Hardware 3Doodler, 3-D printing pen $2.34 million Kickstarter Peter Dilworth, Maxwell Bogue
10 Apigy Technology Lockitron, keyless-entry app $2.28 million Selfstarter Cameron Robertson, Paul Gerhardt
11 Cryptozoic Entertainment Video Games Hex, trading-card and online game $2.28 million Kickstarter John Nee, Cory Jones
12 CoolMiniOrNot Tabletop Games Zombicide: Season 2, board game $2.26 million Kickstarter Chern Ann Ng, David Doust
13 City State Entertainment Video Games Camelot Unchained, online game $2.23 million Kickstarter Mark Jacobs, Andrew Meggs
14 Uber Entertainment Video Games Planetary Annihilation, video game $2.23 million Kickstarter Jon Mavor, Bob Berry
15 Cloud Imperium Games Video Games Star Citizen, video game $2.13 million Kickstarter Chris Roberts
16 Kingdom Death Tabletop Games Kingdom Death: Monster, board game $2.05 million Kickstarter Adam Poots
17 Portalarium Video Games Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, video game $1.92 million Kickstarter Richard Garriott, Dallas Snell
18 Dwarven Forge Tabletop Games Game Tiles miniature terrain $1.91 million Kickstarter Stefan Pokorny
19 Palladium Books Tabletop Games Robotech RPG Tactics, battle game $1.44 million Kickstarter Kevin Siembieda
20 Pirate3D Hardware The Buccaneer, 3-D printer $1.44 million Kickstarter Roger Chang
21 Lifx Labs Technology Lifx, Wi-Fi-enabled LED light bulb $1.31 million Kickstarter Phil Bosua
22 Dekko Internet Technology Augmented-reality startup $1.3 million MicroVentures Matt Miesnieks
23 DecisionDesk Technology Application tracking system $1.25 million Fundable John Knific, Marc Plotkin, Eric Neuman
24 Double Fine and 2 Player Productions Video Games Massive Chalice, computer game $1.23 million Kickstarter Tim Schafer (Double Fine); Paul Owens, Paul Levering, Asif Siddiky (2 Player Productions)
25 Mantic Entertainment Tabletop Games Deadzone, sci-fi tabletop miniatures game $1.22 million Kickstarter Ronnie Renton

Read morehttp://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229477#ixzz2kIDaw7ju

Tags: #Crowdfunded#Crowdfunding

7 Characteristics of Really Great Marketing Content

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iTunes includes visualizers. Shown here is a v...

iTunes includes visualizers. Shown here is a visualizer first delivered with iTunes 8, including black orbs and moving specks of light. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: Entwickler: ICT Solutions AG Aktuelle...

Deutsch: Entwickler: ICT Solutions AG Aktuelle Version: 5.1.3 (September 2010) Betriebssystem: unabhängig Kategorie: Web Content Management System Lizenz: Software as a Service (SaaS) Deutschsprachig: ja http://www.ict.ag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Executive Summary
Content drives business, and at any given moment
buyers are searching for information that will inform them,
educate them, or help them solve a problem. Whether
it’s a data sheet, white paper, demo script, or web page,
marketing content needs to speak to the needs of your
prospects and customers while being geared to targeted
points in your sales process.
It can be a delicate balance, but getting the right message
to the right person at the right time offers tremendous
upside: it establishes credibility and authority, creates
brand affinity, and – maybe most importantly – reduces
sales resistance.
So how do you craft great marketing content that
gets results?
While there’s no cookie-cutter methodology for every
business, there are specific characteristics that most, if not
all, successful marketing content shares.
This guide gives you the top seven characteristics – and
also gives you the seven best practices for developing
content that resonates with your target audience, no
matter where they are in the buying cycle.
1. The targeted audience: Know who
you’re talking to
Imagine pitching specialty cat food to a dog person.
Promoting the benefits of a buffalo steak to a vegan.
Pushing a SaaS solution to a person who isn’t familiar with
cloud hosting.
Great marketing content…
1. Speaks to a targeted audience
2. Fits a specific place in the buying cycle
3. Tells your story with customer-centric
examples
4. Uses meaningful images
5. Can be used in interesting, varied media
6. Employs a clear call-to-action
7. Can be parsed into additional pieces for
optimum use and visibility
It’s amazing how much [content] is published
without ever answering the questions, “Who is this
for?” and “What do I want her to do?”
— Doug Kessler
Co-founder and creative director of Velocity
Instead, pick a target reader – a specific persona – and
direct your content to that person. By focusing on a single
individual, you give yourself the freedom to pursue a
meaningful conversation, which helps you create content
(a single piece or a series) that addresses the person’s
unique issues, challenges and aspirations.
2. Know where content fits in the
buying cycle
Whether they’re prospects or returning customers,
buyers go through several process steps when making
a purchasing decision. By understanding these steps
and aligning your content with them, you can satisfy
their concerns, answer questions, ease objections, and
increase their confidence at each stage, all of which
prompts them to take the next step.
Common buying cycle steps include Discovery, Interest,
Consideration, Purchase and Reconversion. But
regardless of how many steps you identify or what you call
them, the takeaway is to have a well-planned buying cycle
for each persona, which will help you craft content that
appeals to each type of customer at each stage of their
process.
3. Tell your story with customer-centric
examples
Storytelling works, particularly when it’s relevant to your
prospect’s needs and concerns. So instead of describing
your product’s features, tell the story of its benefits,
showcasing real-world examples of how it can be – or
is being – used to solve specific problems or achieve
specific goals.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Customer success stories
• Case studies or use case scenarios
• Solution briefs
• Best practice summaries or reviews from existing
customers
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10 Tips for Saving Money in Israel

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10 Tips for Saving Money in Israel

You are probably familiar with the very old joke 

Q. How do you make a small fortune in Israel? 

A. Take with a big one.

 

Money is probably one of the biggest worries of your aliyah.  Many new immigrants to Israel struggle to adapt financially in this country’s very different economy.  We want to maintain our standard of living but our capital can often be drastically reduced by unforeseen circumstances; perhaps you have just started your own business, haven not been able to find a job or you have been forced to take a much lower paying one.  You do not yet understand the various saving schemes, investment options and banking laws.

Alon Gal is the well known presenter of the very popular Israel Channel 2 television program – Mishpacha Horeget (Families in Progress)  – and coaches families who are financially out of  control.  He is a highly regarded business coach, owner and CEO of  “TUT Tikshoret”.

Alon Gal shares 10 of his top tips with the Anglo-list. 

1.  Mortgage

When most families in Israel buy an apartment they take out a large mortgage.  In many cases this is a wrong economic decision.  We land up with very large monthly repayments resulting in huge debt.  We are forced to deal with the cumulative debt that that this high mortgage may create and issues that may arise as a result.  The quality of our life is affected.  You have to put the emotional aspect of buying your dream home aside.  A mortgage is a loan, a purely economic issue, and you have to think of it in those terms only.   Carry on renting your smaller apartment for a few more years, manage with what you have, save more until you  can purchase a more expensive apartment and afford a higher mortgage.

Solution: The total of all household loans, mortgages and other short- and long-term debts must not exceed 25% of your total net income. 

2. Have a Plan

There are various expenses that we know we will have to face someday; our children’s bnei mitzvot, furthering their education etc., yet most families act really surprised when these expenses come along. There is no surprise.  It is just, simply, a lack of planning on your part. You might suddenly be forced to cash in on your savings plan or take a loan against it under unfavorable conditions.

Solution: Make an assessment of all those big expenses that are likely to come along in the near and distant future, plan for them and start to save for them every single month.

3.  Communicate

Many families I meet are not communicating well. A husband may not know what his wife is spending and she has no idea about the household debt or loans her husband might have.  Very often they are also not sharing the general responsibility of the children. They live in disconnected worlds. They find it  difficult to develop responsibility within the marriage. The result –  they don’t help each other and they do not plan ahead.

Solution:  Hold a monthly family meeting with all family members and at least once or twice a week, the husband and wife  must sit together, catch up and plan their lives.

4.  Short Term Deposits

Since most people never learn or become experts in the field of their investments, this area is often neglected. During my career I have met hundreds of families that have several hundreds of thousands of shekels sitting on short term deposit. The interest rate on these schemes is almost zero. There are many, very solid, investment possibilities and one should be aware of them.  Treasury bills, government bonds and other schemes, offered by banks, pay more interest. Most people do not know that if the bank fails, short term deposits are not guaranteed.  With short term deposits you are, in fact, lending the bank money and for this, the bank pays you a low rate of interest. Treasury bills, government bonds etc., on the other hand, are not guaranteed by the bank – the bank only keeps them on your behalf.  Should the bank collapses, your investment is secured and you don’t lose your money.

Solution: Refrain from short term deposits and take advantage of more secure investments.  More about banking in Israel.

5.  Pension Funds

Similarly, many people who  don’t  understand their investments, don’t understand their retirement and pension funds. Even if you have pension fund in the workplace, due to  salary structures your employee may not be contributing to the pension fund. Suddenly, when you actually retire you only have around 50% or 60%  of what you originally thought you’d have, and sometimes even less than that.  The National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) old age pension is ridiculously low. We all look forward to our retirement and pension, but often it can become  a traumatic financial event. If you have not provided for it over the years, and certainly if you don’t  have a work pension, it becomes a serious problem. We need to assess and manage our retirement on a yearly basis.

Solution: Determine your pension requirements start setting aside aside more money so that when you actually go on pension, you will have a reasonable income.

6.  Unprotected Income & Disability

Most people do not understand the significance of this.  G-d forbid, tomorrow you  lose your ability or capacity to work. We  think that we are completely covered by the National Insurance (Bituach Leumi). This is not completely accurate. First of all, the amounts paid by Bituach Leumi are very small and in order to get them, you have to go through a long and tedious process of proving your disability to the various authorities. It can be very difficult to accept that if you don’t have suitable  coverage from your pension plan you could struggle to put food on the table.

Solution: Verify the exact coverage you have from your workplace and pension fund. Compensate by  investing  in a policy or other pension scheme so that you will still have a reasonable income.

7.  Emotional shopping

Most of us make emotionally based shopping decisions. For example we go abroad, overspend at the duty-free,  buy a 50-inch plasma and indulge in impulsive sidewalk shopping. Often, if we have had a bad day we compensate by making  purchases that are  irrelevant, unimportant or not significant.  These types of purchases cost us dearly. Suddenly we are in debt and overdrawn. We are forced  to take short-term loans with very high interest rates in order to pay it all back.   For the sake of a quick thrill and unnecessary spending, our financial resources can be destroyed.

Solution: Plan your purchases, determine your needs and budget for them at the beginning of year. You can then allocate part of your budget for items that are not a necessity. More about shopping in Israel.

8.  Pocket Money

Surprisingly, studies show that, few families give their children regular pocket money. Instead children come to their parents for money all the time. This is a mistake. Children  do not learn to budget their expenses and cannot prioritize them. From a parents point of view, it can get out of control. The 50 shekels here and 30 shekels there can accumulate to several hundred shekels a month. Most of the time we never intended to spend this amount of money.

Solution:  Organize their pocket money. Together with them, help them to determine their needs and pocket money requirements.

9.  Special Offers

Financial organizations market their items, especially consumer goods, with attractive special offers: buy 4 get one free, two for the price of one and other similar incentives. The bottom line; families are stuck with goods that have no need for and may have to throw away. These are unnecessary purchases which eat into our budget. Every business owner knows that he should not buy excessive stock and risk getting stuck with unnecessary goods that deplete his budget.  The same is true for the “family business” – manage your inventory and stock wisely.

Solution: Only buy what you need.  Do not be tempted for the sake of a small discount, to spend more than you need or you should.

10.  The Classic Mistake

We  have already talked about  retirement, work capacity, medium and long-term debts,  shopping and other issues. Still, most people do not know how much money they spend a month and cannot account for their spending.  Once this happens you  lose control of your life. You must first understand your budget. Your budget is your combined  total net income . Plan your purchases.

Solution: Just as a business has to account for all its  purchases, a family must do the same. Only when we take an actual stock of our spending will we know how to manage and control our budget.

 

Need some help in navigating your finances and investments?  Check out the “Investments & Financial Management” section in our Business Directory for English speaking professionals that can help you get control.

 

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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

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Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów (Polish)
Abiejų Tautų Respublika (Lithuanian)
   1569–1795   

 

Royal Banner (c. 1605) Royal Coat of arms
Motto
LatinSi Deus nobiscum quis contra nos (If God is with us, then who is against us)
Pro Fide, Lege et Rege
(Latin: For Faith, Law and King, since 18th century)
The location of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at its maximum extent
Capital Kraków[1] & Vilnius[b]
(1569–1596)
Warsaw
(1596–1795)
Languages
Religion
Government Hereditary Monarchy
(1569–1573)
Elective Monarchy
(1573–1791 / 1792–1795)
Constitutional Monarchy
(1791–1792)
King / Grand Duke
 – 1569–1572 Sigismund II Augustus
 – 1764–1795 Stanisław II Augustus
Legislature General Sejm
 – Privy Council Senate
Historical era Early modern period
 – Union established July 1, 1569
 – fief of the Ottoman Empire[2] 1672-1676
 – Protectorate of theRussian Empire 1768
 – May 3rd Constitution May 3, 1791
 – 2nd Partition January 23, 1793
 – 3rd Partition October 24, 1795
Area
 – 1582 815,000 km²(314,673 sq mi)
 – 1618 1,153,465 km²(445,355 sq mi)
Population
 – 1582 est. 6,500,000
     Density 8 /km²  (20.7 /sq mi)
 – 1618 est. 10,500,000
     Density 9.1 /km²  (23.6 /sq mi)
Today part of  Belarus
 Estonia
 Latvia
 Lithuania
 Moldova
 Poland
 Russia
 Slovakia
 Ukraine

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (or Union; after 1791 theCommonwealth of Poland) was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was one of the largest[3][4] and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe, with some 390,000 square miles (1,000,000 km2)[5] and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century.[6] It was established at the Union of Lublin in July 1569, but the actual personal union between the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began when Lithuania’s Grand Duke Jogaila became the king of Poland (1386). The Commonwealth was reduced in the First Partition of Poland in 1772 and disappeared as an independent state after the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.[7][8][9]

The Union possessed features unique among contemporary states. Its political system was characterized by strict checks upon monarchical power. These checks were enacted by a legislature (Sejm) controlled by the nobility (szlachta). This idiosyncratic system was a precursor to modern concepts of democracy,[10]constitutional monarchy,[11][12][13] and federation.[14] The two component states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, yet Poland was the dominant partner in the union.[15]

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was marked by high levels of ethnic diversity and by relative religious tolerance, guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation Act 1573;[16][17][18] however, the degree of religious freedom varied over time.[19]

After several decades of prosperity,[20][21][22] it entered a period of protracted political,[13][23] military and economic[24] decline. Its growing weakness led to itspartitioning among its more powerful neighbors, AustriaPrussia and the Russian Empire, during the late 18th century. Shortly before its demise, the Commonwealth adopted a massive reform effort and enacted the Constitution of May 3, 1791 – the first codified constitution in modern European history and the second in modern world history (after the United States Constitution).[25][26][27][28][29]

Name[edit]

The official[citation needed] name of the Commonwealth was The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (PolishKrólestwo Polskie i Wielkie Księstwo LitewskieLithuanianLenkijos Karalystė ir Lietuvos Didžioji KunigaikštystėUkrainian: Королівство Польське та Вели́ке князі́вство Лито́вське Korolivstvo Polśke ta Vełyke Kniazivstvo ŁytovśkeBelarusian:Каралеўства Польскае і Вялікае Княства Літоўскае Karalieŭstva Polskaje i Vialikaje Kniastva Litoŭskaje). Prior to the 17th century, international treaties and diplomatic texts referred to it by its Latin name Regnum Poloniae Magnusque Ducatus Lithuaniae. In the 17th century and later it was usually known as the Most Serene Republic of Poland (Polish Najjaśniejsza Rzeczpospolita Polska, LatinSerenissima Res Publica Poloniae).[30] Its inhabitants referred to it in everyday speech as the “Rzeczpospolita” (Ruthenian: Рѣч Посполита Rič Pospolyta,LithuanianŽečpospolita). Western Europeans often simply called it Poland, applying the pars pro toto synecdoche. The widespread term ‘Commonwealth of Both Nations’ (Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów) was coined in the 20th century.[31]In historiography commonly referred to as Rzeczpospolita szlachecka (the Republic of nobles), or as I Rzeczpospolita (the First Commonwealth).

History[edit]

Grand Standard Bearer of the Crown (Chorąży Wielki Koronny), Sebastian Sobieski, at the wedding procession of King Sigismund III, as painted anonymously on the Stockholm Roll (c. 1605)

Poland and Lithuania underwent an alternating series of wars and alliances during the 14th century and early 15th century. Several relatively weak agreements between the two (the Union of Kraków and Vilna, the Union of Krewo, the Union of Vilnius and Radom, the Union of Grodno, and the Union of Horodło) were struck before the permanent 1569 Union of Lublin. This agreement was one of the signal achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sigismund believed he could preserve his dynasty by adopting elective monarchy. His death in 1572 was followed by a three-year interregnum during which adjustments were made to the constitutional system; these adjustments significantly increased the power of the Polish nobility and established a truly elective monarchy.[32]

The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the early 17th century. Its powerful parliament was dominated by nobles (Pic. 2) who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years’ War; this neutrality spared the country from the ravages of a political-religious conflict which devastated most of contemporary Europe. The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against SwedenTsardom of Russia, and vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and even launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. In several invasions during the Time of Troubles Commonwealth troops entered Russia and managed to take Moscow and hold it from September 27, 1610 to November 4, 1612, until driven out after a siege.

Part of a series on the
History of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Coat of arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Portal icon Poland portal

Commonwealth power began waning after a series of blows during the following decades. A major rebellion ofCossacks in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth (the Khmelnytskyi Uprising in modern-day Ukraine) began in 1648. It resulted in a Ukrainian request, under the terms of theTreaty of Pereyaslav, for protection by the Muscovian Tsar.[33] Muscovian annexation of part of Ukraine gradually supplanted Polish influence. The other blow to the Commonwealth was a Swedish invasion in 1655, known as the The Deluge, which was supported by troops of Transylvanian duke George II Rákóczi and Elector of BrandenburgFrederick William.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the reign of Władysław IV (ca. 1635)

In the late 17th century, the weakened Commonwealth’s King John III Sobieski allied himself with Leopold I to deal crushing defeats to the Ottoman Empire. In 1683, the Battle of Vienna marked the final turning point in a 250-year struggle between the forces of ChristianEurope and the Islamic Ottoman Empire. For its centuries-long stance against the Muslim advances, the Commonwealth would gain the name of Antemurale Christianitatis (bulwark of Christianity).[14][34] During the next 16 years the Great Turkish War would drive the Turks permanently south of the Danube River, never to threaten central Europe again.[35]

By the 18th century, destabilization of its political system brought Poland to the brink of civil war. The Commonwealth was facing many internal problems and was vulnerable to foreign influences. An outright war between the King and the nobility broke out in 1715 and Tsar Peter the Great‘s mediation put him in a position to further weaken the state.[36] The Russian army was present at the Silent Sejm of 1717, which limited the armed forces to 24,000 and specified its funding, reaffirmed the liberum veto, and banished the King’s Saxon army; the Tsar was to serve as guarantor of the agreement.[36] Western Europe’s increasing exploitation of resources in the Americas rendered the Commonwealth’s supplies less crucial.[37] In 1768 the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth became a protectorate of the Russian Empire.[38] Control of Poland was central to Catherine the Great’s diplomatic and military strategies.[39] Attempts at reform, such as the Four-Year Sejm‘s May Constitution came too late. The country was partitioned in three stages by the neighboring Russian EmpireKingdom of Prussia, and the Habsburg Monarchy. By 1795, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had been completely erased from the map of Europe. Polandand Lithuania would not be re-established as independent countries until 1918.

State organization and politics[edit]

Golden Liberty[edit]

Main article: Golden Liberty

Union of Lublin of 1569 by Jan Matejko.

The political doctrine of the Commonwealth was: our state is a republic under the presidency of the KingChancellor Jan Zamoyski summed up this doctrine when he said that Rex regnat et non gubernat (“The King reigns but [lit. ‘and’] does not govern”).[40] The Commonwealth had a parliament, the Sejm, as well as a Senat and an elected king (Pic. 1). The king was obliged to respect citizens’ rights specified in King Henry’s Articles as well as in Pacta conventa, negotiated at the time of his election.

The monarch’s power was limited, in favor of a sizable noble class. Each new king had to pledge to uphold the Henrician Articles, which were the basis of Poland’s political system (and included near-unprecedented guarantees of religious tolerance). Over time, the Henrician Articles were merged with the Pacta Conventa, specific pledges agreed to by the king-elect. From that point onwards, the king was effectively a partner with the noble class and was constantly supervised by a group ofsenators. The Sejm could veto the king on important matters, including legislation (the adoption of new laws), foreign affairs, declaration of war, and taxation (changes of existing taxes or the levying of new ones).

The foundation of the Commonwealth’s political system, the “Golden Liberty” (PolishZłota Wolność, a term used from 1573 on), included:

  • election of the king by all nobles wishing to participate, known as wolna elekcja (free election);
  • Sejm, the Commonwealth parliament which the king was required to hold every two years;
  • Pacta conventa (Latin), “agreed-to agreements” negotiated with the king-elect, including a bill of rights, binding on the king, derived from the earlier Henrician Articles.
  • religious freedom guaranted by Warsaw Confederation Act 1573,[16]
  • rokosz (insurrection), the right of szlachta to form a legal rebellion against a king who violated their guaranteed freedoms;
  • liberum veto (Latin), the right of an individual Sejm deputy to oppose a decision by the majority in a Sejm session; the voicing of such a “free veto” nullified all the legislation that had been passed at that session; during the crisis of the second half of the 17th century, Polish nobles could also use the liberum veto in provincial sejmiks;
  • konfederacja (from the Latin confederatio), the right to form an organization to force through a common political aim.

The Republic at the Zenith of Its Power.Golden Liberty. The Royal Election of 1573by Matejko.

The three regions (see below) of the Commonwealth enjoyed a degree of autonomy.[41] Eachvoivodship had its own parliament (sejmik), which exercised serious political power, including choice of poseł (deputy) to the national Sejm and charging of the deputy with specific voting instructions. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania had its own separate army, treasury and most other official institutions.[42]

Golden Liberty created a state that was unusual for its time, although somewhat similarpolitical systems existed in the contemporary city-states like the Republic of Venice.[43]Interestingly, both states were styled “Serenissima Respublica” or the “Most Serene Republic“.[44] At a time when most European countries were headed toward centralization,absolute monarchy and religious and dynastic warfare, the Commonwealth experimented with decentralization,[14] confederation and federation, democracy, religious tolerance, and even pacifism. The Sejm’s usual veto of wars has been described as an example ofdemocratic peace theory.[45]

This political system unusual for its time stemmed from the ascendance of the szlachta noble class over other social classes and over the political system of monarchy. In time, the szlachta accumulated enough privileges (such as those established by the Nihil novi Act of 1505) that no monarch could hope to break the szlachta’s grip on power. The Commonwealth’s political system is difficult to fit into a simple category, but it can be tentatively described as a mixture of:

  • confederation and federation, with regard to the broad autonomy of its regions. It is, however, difficult to decisively call the Commonwealth either confederation or federation, as it had some qualities of both;
  • oligarchy,[14] as only the szlachta—around 15% of the population—had political rights;
  • democracy, since all the szlachta were equal in rights and privileges, and the Sejm could veto the king on important matters, including legislation (the adoption of new laws), foreign affairs, declaration of war, and taxation (changes of existing taxes or the levying of new ones). Also, the 15% of Commonwealth population who enjoyed those political rights (the szlachta)[46] was a substantially larger percentage than in majority European countries;[47] note that in 1789 in France only about 1% of the population had the right to vote, and in 1867 in the United Kingdom, only about 3%.[46][47]
  • elective monarchy, since the monarch, elected by the szlachta, was Head of State;
  • constitutional monarchy, since the monarch was bound by pacta conventa and other laws, and the szlachta could disobey any king’s decrees they deemed illegal.

Shortcomings[edit]

The Troelfth Cake, an allegory of the First Partition of Poland. Contemporary drawing by Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune.

The end of the Jagiellon dynasty in 1572—after nearly two centuries—disrupted the fragile equilibrium of the Commonwealth’s government. Power increasingly slipped away from the central government to the nobility.

When presented with periodic opportunities to fill the throne, the szlachta exhibited a preference for foreign candidates who would not found another strong dynasty. This policy often produced monarchs who were either totally ineffective or in constant debilitating conflict with the nobility. Furthermore, aside from notable exceptions such as the able Transylvanian Stefan Batory (1576–86), the kings of foreign origin were inclined to subordinate the interests of the Commonwealth to those of their own country and ruling house. This was especially visible in the policies and actions of the first two elected kings from the Swedish House of Vasa, whose politics brought the Commonwealth into conflict with Sweden, culminating in the war known as The Deluge (1655), one of the events that mark the end of the Commonwealth’s Golden Age and the beginning of the Commonwealth’s decline.

Zebrzydowski’s rokosz (1606–07) marked a substantial increase in the power of the Polsih magnates, and the transformation of szlachta democracy into magnate oligarchy. The Commonwealth’s political system was vulnerable to outside interference, as Sejm deputiesbribed[48][49] by foreign powers might use their liberum veto to block attempted reforms. This sapped the Commonwealth and plunged it into political paralysis and anarchy for over a century, from the mid-17th century to the end of the 18th, while its neighbors stabilized their internal affairs and increased their military might.

Late reforms[edit]

Adoption of the Constitution of May 3, 1791 by the Four-Year Sejm and Senate.

The Commonwealth did eventually make a serious effort to reform its political system, adopting in 1791 the Constitution of May 3, 1791, which historian Norman Davies calls the first of its kind in Europe.[29] The revolutionary Constitution recast the erstwhile Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as a Polish–Lithuanian federal state with a hereditary monarchyand abolished many of the deleterious features of the old system. The new constitution:

These reforms came too late, however, as the Commonwealth was immediately invaded from all sides by its neighbors which were content to leave the Commonwealth alone as a weak buffer state, but reacted strongly to king Stanisław August Poniatowski‘s and other reformers’ attempts to strengthen the country.[41] Russia feared the revolutionary implications of the May 3rd Constitution‘s political reforms and the prospect of the Commonwealth regaining its position as a European empire. Catherine the Great regarded the May constitution as fatal to her influence[50] and declared the Polish constitution Jacobinical.[51] Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkindrafted the act for the Targowica Confederation, referring to the constitution as the “contagion of democratic ideas”.[52] Meanwhile,Prussia and Austria, also afraid of a strengthened Poland, used it as a pretext for further territorial expansion.[51] Prussian ministerEwald Friedrich von Hertzberg called the constitution “a blow to the Prussian monarchy”,[53] fearing that strengthened Poland would once again dominate Prussia.[50][54] In the end, the May 3rd Constitution was never fully implemented, and the Commonwealth entirely ceased to exist only four years after the Constitution’s adoption.

Economy[edit]

Cereals export through Gdańsk 1619-1799

“Grain pays”…

…and “Grain doesn’t pay”. The two pictures illustrate that agriculture, once extremely profitable to the nobility (szlachta) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, became much less so beginning in the second half of the 17th century.

The economy of the Commonwealth was dominated by feudal agriculture based on the plantation system (serfs).[24] Slavery in Poland was forbidden in the 15th century; in Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588.[55] They were replaced by the second enserfment. Typically a nobleman’s landholding comprised afolwark, a large farm worked by serfs to produce surpluses for internal and external trade. This economic arrangement worked well for the ruling classes in the early era of the Commonwealth, which was one of the most prosperous eras of the grain trade.[56] The economic strength of Commonwealth grain trade waned from the late 17th century on. Trade relationships were disrupted by the wars and the Commonwealth proved unable to improve its transport infrastructure or its agricultural practices.[57] Serfs in the region were increasingly tempted to flee.[58] The Commonwealth’s major attempts at countering this problem and improving productivity consisted of increasing serfs’ workload and further restricting their freedoms in a process known as export-led serfdom.[57][58]

Though the urban population of the Commonwealth was about 20% of the total in the 17th century, which was much lower than in some West European countries (approximately 50% in the Netherlands and Italy) the urbanization of the country was of a specific character (Pic. 7).[59] The Commonwealth’s preoccupation with agriculture, coupled with the szlachta’s privileged position when compared to the bourgeoisie, resulted in a fairly slow process of urbanization and thus a rather slow development of industries.[59] While similar conflicts among social classes may be found all over Europe, nowhere were the nobility as dominant at the time as in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. There is, however, much debate among historians as to which processes most affected those developments, since until the wars and crises of the mid-17th century the cities of the Commonwealth had not markedly lagged in size and wealth behind their western counterparts. The Commonwealth did have numerous towns and cities, commonly founded on Magdeburg rights. Some of the largest trade fairs in the Commonwealth were held at Lublin. See the geography section, below, for a list of major cities in the Commonwealth (commonly capitals of voivodships).

Poland-Lithuania played a significant role in the supply of 16th century Western Europe by the export of three sorts of goods, notablygrain (rye), cattle (oxen) and fur.[60] These three articles amounted to nearly 90% of the country’s exports to western markets by overland- and maritime trade.[60]

Coat of arms of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth on 15 ducats of Sigismund III from 1617.

Although the Commonwealth was Europe’s largest grain producer, the bulk of her grain was consumed domestically. Estimated grain consumption in the Polish Crown (Poland proper) and Prussia in 1560–70 was some 113,000 tons of wheat (or 226,000 łaszt – a łaszt, or “last”, being a large bulk measure; in the case of grain, about half a ton). Average yearly production of grain in the Commonwealth in the 16th Century was 120,000 tons, 6% of which was exported, while cities consumed some 19% and the remainder was consumed by the villages. Commonwealth grain achieved far more importance in poor crop years, as in the early 1590s and the 1620s, when governments throughout southern Europe arranged for large grain imports to cover shortfalls in their jurisdictions.

Portrait of an Italianmerchant and banker, Guglielmo Orsetti. His wealth enabled him to make large loans to the Commonwealth.[61]
Portrait of a Greekmerchant, Constantine Corniaktos who dealt with international trade, especially from theOttoman Empire.

Still, grain was the largest export commodity of the Commonwealth. The owner of a folwark usually signed a contract with merchants of Gdańsk, who controlled 80% of this inland trade, to ship the grain north to thatseaport on the Baltic Sea.[62] Many rivers in the Commonwealth were used for shipping purposes: the VistulaPilicaBugSanNida,WieprzNeman. The rivers had relatively developed infrastructure, with river ports andgranaries. Most of the river shipping moved north, southward transport being less profitable, and barges and rafts were often sold off in Gdańsk for lumber. Hrodnabecome an important site after formation of a customs post at Augustów in 1569, which became a checkpoint for merchants travelling to the Crown lands from the Grand Duchy.[63]

From Gdańsk, ships, mostly from the Netherlands and Flanders, carried the grain to ports such as Antwerp and Amsterdam.[64][65] Besides grain, other seaborne exports included carminic acid from Polish cochineallumber and wood-related products such as ash, and tar.[59] The land routes, mostly to the German lands of the Holy Roman Empire such as the cities of Leipzig andNuremberg, were used for export of live cattle (herds of around 50,000 head) hidesfurssalttobaccohempcotton (mostly fromGreater Poland) and linen.[66][67]

The Commonwealth imported winefruitspicesluxury goods (e.g. tapestriesPic. 5), clothingfishbeer and industrial products likesteel and tools. A few riverboats carried south imports from Gdańsk like wine, fruit, spices and herring. Somewhere between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Commonwealth’s trade balance shifted from positive to negative.

With the advent of the Age of Discovery, many old trading routes such as the Amber Road (Pic. 4) lost importance as new ones were created. Poland’s importance as a caravan route between Asia and Europe diminished, while new local trading routes were created between the Commonwealth and Russia. Many goods and cultural artifacts continued to pass from one region to another via the Commonwealth. For example, Isfahan rugs imported from Persia to the Commonwealth were actually known in the West as “Polish rugs” (FrenchPolonaise).[68]

Commonwealth currency included the złoty and the grosz. The City of Gdańsk had the privilege of minting its own coinage.

Culture[edit]

Science and literature[edit]

Multi-stage rocket, fromKazimierz Siemienowicz‘sArtis Magnæ Artilleriæ pars prima

Commonwealth referred to as ‘Polonian Empyre’ in the title page of Goślicki’s The Counsellorpublished in England in 1598

The Commonwealth was an important European center for the development of modern social and political ideas. It was famous for its rare quasi-democratic political system, praised by philosophers such as Erasmus; and, during theCounter-Reformation, was known for near-unparalleled religious tolerance, with peacefully coexisting Catholic, JewishEastern OrthodoxProtestant andMuslim communities. In the 18th century, the French Catholic Rulhiere wrote of 16th century Poland: “This country, which in our day we have seen divided on the pretext of religion, is the first state in Europe that exemplified tolerance. In this state, mosques arose between churches and synagogues.”[25] The Commonwealth gave rise to the famous Christian sect of the Polish Brethren, antecedents of British and American Unitarianism.[69]

With its political system, the Commonwealth gave birth to political philosophers such as Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski (1503–1572) (Pic. 9),Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki (1530–1607) and Piotr Skarga (1536–1612). Later, works by Stanisław Staszic (1755–1826) and Hugo Kołłątaj (1750–1812) helped pave the way for the Constitution of May 3, 1791, which Norman Daviescalls the first of its kind in Europe.[29]

Kraków‘s Jagiellonian University is one of the oldest universities in the world (established in 1364),[70] together with the Vilnius University (established in 1579) they were the major scholarly and scientific centers in the Commonwealth. The Komisja Edukacji Narodowej, Polish for Commission for National Education, formed in 1773, was the world’s first national Ministry of Education.[71] Commonwealth scientists included: Martin Kromer (1512–1589), historian and cartographer;Michał Sędziwój (1566–1636), alchemist and chemist; Jan Brożek (Ioannes Broscius in Latin) (1585–1652),polymath: a mathematicianphysician and astronomerKrzysztof Arciszewski (Crestofle d’Artischau Arciszewskiin Portuguese) (1592–1656), engineerethnographer, general and admiral of the Dutch West Indies Companyarmy in the war with the Spanish Empire for control of Brazil;[72] Kazimierz Siemienowicz (1600–1651), military engineer, artillery specialist and a founder of rocketryJohannes Hevelius (1611–1687), astronomer, founder oflunar topographyMichał Boym (1612–1659), orientalist, cartographer, naturalist and diplomat in Ming Dynasty‘s service (Pic. 11); Adam Adamandy Kochański (1631–1700), mathematician and engineer; Baal Shem Tov (הבעל שם טוב in Hebrew) (1698–1760), considered to be the founder of Hasidic JudaismMarcin Odlanicki Poczobutt(1728–1810), astronomer and mathematician (Pic. 12); Jan Krzysztof Kluk (1739–1796), naturalistagronomistand entomologistJohn Jonston (1603–1675) scholar and physician, descended from Scottish nobility. In 1628 the Czech teacherscientisteducator, and writer John Amos Comenius took refuge in the Commonwealth, when the Protestants were persecuted under the Counter Reformation.[69][73]

The works of many Commonwealth authors are considered classics, including those of Jan Kochanowski (Pic. 10), Wacław PotockiIgnacy Krasicki, and Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz. Many szlachta members wrote memoirsand diaries. Perhaps the most famous are the Memoirs of Polish History by Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł (1595–1656) and the Memoirs of Jan Chryzostom Pasek (ca. 1636–ca. 1701). Jakub Sobieski (1590–1646) (father ofJohn III Sobieski) wrote notable diaries. During the Khotyn expedition in 1621 he wrote a diary called Commentariorum chotinensis belli libri tres (Diary of the Chocim War), which was published in 1646 in Gdańsk. It was used by Wacław Potocki as a basis for his epic poem, Transakcja wojny chocimskiej (The Progress of the War of Chocim). He also authored instructions for the journey of his sons to Kraków (1640) and France (1645), a good example of liberal education of the era.

Art and music[edit]

Coffin portrait of Barbara Domicela Lubomirska née Szczawińska, 1676.

The two great religious cultures of the Commonwealth, Latin and Eastern Orthodox, coexisted and penetrated each other, which is reflected in the great popularity of icons (Pic. 13) and the icons resembling effigies of Mary, as well as the metal dresses typical of the Orthodox Church in the predominantly Latin territories of today’s Poland (Black Madonna) and Lithuania (Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn).[74] The implementation of post-Renaissancenaturalism and the sentimentality of the Polish baroque in Orthodox painting as well as the creation of the Cossack Baroque style in architecture, also inspired by Polish patterns, were the major factors of Latin infiltration into Eastern Orthodox art (Pic. 3).[75]

A common art form of the Sarmatian period were coffin portraits, particular to the culture of the Commonwealth, used in funerals and other important ceremonies.[76] As a rule, such portraits were nailed to sheet metal, six – or eight – sided in shape, fixed to the front of a coffin placed on a high, ornate catafalque.[77]

Another characteristic is common usage of black marble. Altars, fonts, portals, balustrades, columns, monuments, tombstones, headstones and whole rooms (e.g. Marble Room at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, St. Casimir Chapel of the Vilnius Cathedral and Vasa Chapel of theWawel Cathedral) were decorated with black marble.

Baroque Leżajsk organ by Stanisław Studziński and Jan Głowiński were accomplished in 1693.

Music was a common feature of religious and secular events. To that end many noblemen founded church and school choirs, and employed their own ensembles of musicians. Some, like Stanisław Lubomirski build their own opera houses (in Nowy Wiśnicz). Yet others, likeJanusz Skumin Tyszkiewicz and Krzysztof Radziwiłł were known for their sponsorship of arts which manifested itself in their permanently retained orchestras, at their courts inVilnius.[78] Musical life further flourished during the reign of the Vasas. Both foreign and domestic composers were active in the Commonwealth. King Sigismund III brought in Italian composers and conductors, such as Luca MarenzioAnnibale StabileAsprilio Pacelli,Marco Scacchi and Diomedes Cato for the royal orchestra. Notable home grown musicians, who also composed and played for the King’s court, included Bartłomiej PękielJacek RóżyckiAdam JarzębskiMarcin MielczewskiStanisław Sylwester Szarzyński, Damian Stachowicz, Mikołaj Zieleński and Grzegorz Gorczycki.[78]

Magnates often undertook construction projects as monuments to themselves: churches,cathedralsmonasteries (Pic. 14), and palaces like the present-day Presidential Palace in Warsaw and Pidhirtsi Castle built by Grand Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski herbu Pobóg. The largest projects involved entire towns, although in time many of them would lapse into obscurity or be totally abandoned. Usually they were named after the sponsoring magnate. Among the most famous is the town ofZamość, founded by Jan Zamoyski and designed by the Italian architect Bernardo Morando. The magnates throughout Poland competed with the kings. The monumental castle Krzyżtopór, built in the style palazzo in fortezza between 1627 and 1644, had several courtyards surrounded by fortifications. Due to efforts of powerful Radziwiłł family, the town of Nesvizh in today’s Belarus came to exercise significant influence in many domains – the Nesvizh manufactures of firearmcarpetskontusz sashes and tapestries as well as school of painting produced renowned and luxury items.[79] Late baroque fascination with the culture and art of the “central nation” is reflected in Queen Masysieńka‘s Chinese Palace in Zolochiv.[80] 18th century magnate palaces represents the characteristic type ofbaroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture – a merger of European art with old Commonwealth building traditions are visible in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw (Pic. 15), Branicki Palace in Białystokand in Warsaw, Potocki Palace in Radzyń Podlaski and in Krystynopol, Raczyński Palace in Rogalin and Sapieha Palace in Ruzhany.

Szlachta and Sarmatism[edit]

The First Lady of the Republic,[81] Elżbieta Sieniawska, portrayed in Sarmata pose and in male coat delia.

Main article: Szlachta

The prevalent ideology of the szlachta became “Sarmatism“, named after the Sarmatians, alleged ancestors of the Poles.[54] This belief system was an important part of the szlachta’s culture, penetrating all aspects of its life. Sarmatism enshrined equality among szlachta, horseback riding, tradition, provincial rural life, peace and pacifism; championed oriental-inspired attire (żupankontusz, sukmana, pas kontuszowydeliaszabla); and served to integrate the multi-ethnic nobility by creating an almost nationalistic sense of unity and of pride in the szlachta’s Golden Freedoms.[54]

In its early, idealistic form, Sarmatism represented a positive cultural movement: it supported religious belief, honesty, national pride, courage, equality and freedom. In time, however, it became distorted. Late extreme Sarmatism turned belief into bigotry, honesty into political naïveté, pride into arrogance, courage into stubbornness and freedom into anarchy.[82] The faults of Sarmatism were blamed for the demise of the country from the late 18th century onwards. Criticism, often one-sided and exaggerated, was used by the Polish reformists to push for radical changes. This self-deprecation was accompanied by works of PrussianRussian and Austrian historians, who tried to prove that it was Poland itself that was to blame for its fall.[83]

Demographics and religion[edit]

Number of inhabitants of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth per voivodeship in 1790

Some social strata in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth’s society – 1655. From left: JewBarber surgeonPainterButcherMusicianTailorBarmaid,PharmacistShoemakerGoldsmithMerchantArmenian

The population of the Commonwealth was never overwhelmingly eitherRoman Catholic or Polish. This circumstance resulted from Poland’s possession of Ukraine and confederation with Lithuania, in both of which countries ethnic Poles were a distinct minority. The Commonwealth comprised primarily four nations:LithuaniansPolesBelarusians andUkrainians; the latter two usually referred to as the Ruthenians. Sometimes inhabitants of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were called Litvins, a Slavic term for people from Lithuania, regardless their ethnicity (with the exception of Jews, which were called Litvaks). Shortly after the Union of Lublin ( 1569 ), the Commonwealth population was around 7 million, with a rough breakdown of 4.5 m Poles, 0.75 m Lithuanians, 0.7 m/10% Jews and 2 m Ruthenians.[84] In 1618, after the Truce of Deulino, the Commonwealth population increased together with its territory, reaching 11.5 million people, which was composed roughly of 4.5 m Poles, 3.5 m Ukrainians, 1.5 m Belarusians, 0.75 m Lithuanians, 0.75 m Old Prussians, 0.5 m Jews, and 0.5 m Livonians.[6] At that time nobility was 10% of the population, and burghers were 15%.[6] The average population density per square kilometer was: 24 in Mazovia, 23 in Lesser Poland, 19 in Great Poland, 12 in Lublin palatinate, 10 in the Lvov area, 7 in Podolia and Volhynia, 3 in the Ukraine. There was a tendency for the people from the more densely inhabited western territories to migrate eastwards.[85] In the period from 1648–57, populations losses are estimated at 4 m.[6] Coupled with further population and territorial losses, in 1717 the Commonwealth population had fallen to 9 m, with roughly 4.5 m/50% Poles, 1.5 m/17% Ukrainians, 1.2 m Belarusians, 0.8 m Lithuanians, 0.5 m Jews, and 0.5 m others.[6] Just before the first partition of Poland, the Commonwealth’s population stood at some 14 milion, including around 1 milion nobles,[86] 4,7 milion Uniates and 400,000 Orthodox Christians.[87] In 1792, the population was around 11 milion and included 750,000 nobles.[86]

Main article: Warsaw Confederation

Original act of the Warsaw Confederation 1573. First act of religious freedom in Europe

“Certainly, the wording and substance of the declaration of the Confederation of Warsaw of 28 January 1573 were extraordinary with regards to prevailing conditions elsewhere in Europe; and they governed the principles of religious life in the Republic for over two hundred years.” – Norman Davies[88]

Poland has a long tradition of religious freedom. The right to worship freely was a basic right given to all inhabitants of the Commonwealth throughout the 15th and early 16th century, however, complete freedom of religion was officially recognized in Poland in 1573 during theWarsaw Confederation. Poland kept religious freedom laws during an era when religious persecution was an everyday occurrence in the rest of Europe.[89] Commonwealth was a place were the most radical religious sects, trying to escape persecution in other countries of the Christian world, sought refuge.[90] In 1561 Bonifacio d’Oria, a religious exile living in Poland, wrote of his adopted country’s virtues to a colleague back in Italy: “You could live here in accordance with your ideas and preferences, in great, even the greatest freedoms, including writing and publishing. No one is a censor here.”[25]

“This country became a place of shelter for heretics” – Cardinal Hozjusz papal legate to Poland.[90]

To be Polish, in the non-Polish lands of the Commonwealth, was then much less an index of ethnicity than of religion and rank; it was a designation largely reserved for the landed noble class (szlachta), which included Poles but also many members of non-Polish origin who converted to Catholicism in increasing numbers with each following generation. For the non-Polish noble such conversion meant a final step of Polonization that followed the adoption of the Polish language and culture.[91] Poland, as the culturally most advanced part of the Commonwealth, with the royal court, the capital, the largest cities, the second-oldest university in Central Europe (after Prague), and the more liberal and democratic social institutions had proven an irresistible magnet for the non-Polish nobility in the Commonwealth.[14] Many referred to themselves as “gente Ruthenus, natione Polonus” (Ruthenian by blood, Polish by nationality) since 16th century onwards.[92]

Greek-Catholic St. George’s Cathedral inLviv was constructed between 1746–1762 following the Act of Unification of the Lvivarcheparchy with theHoly See.[93]
Church in Kamianets-Podilskyi was converted into amosque during the Turkish occupation between 1672-1699, the 33m minaret was added at that time.[94]

As a result, in the eastern territories a Polish (or Polonized) aristocracy dominated a peasantry whose great majority was neither Polish nor Roman Catholic. Moreover, the decades of peace brought huge colonization efforts to Ukraine, heightening the tensions among noblesJewsCossacks (traditionally Orthodox), Polish and Ruthenian peasants. The latter, deprived of their native protectors among the Ruthenian nobility, turned for protection to cossacks that facilitated violence that in the end broke the Commonwealth. The tensions were aggravated by conflicts between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Greek Catholic Church following the Union of Brest, overall discrimination of Orthodox religions by dominant Catholicism,[95] and several Cossack uprisings. In the west and north, many cities had sizable German minorities, often belonging to Reformed churches. The Commonwealth had also one of the largest Jewish diasporas in the world – by the mid-16th century 80% of the world’s Jews lived in Poland (Pic. 16).[96]

Until the Reformation, the szlachta were mostly Catholic or Eastern Orthodox (Pic. 3, 13). However, many families quickly adopted the Reformed religion. After the Counter-Reformation, when the Roman Catholic Church regained power in Poland, the szlachta became almost exclusively Roman Catholic, despite the fact that Roman Catholicismwas not a majority religion (the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches counted approximately 40% of the population each, while the remaining 20% were Jews and members of various Protestant churches).[97]

The Crown had about double the population of Lithuania and five times the income of the latter’s treasury. As with other countries, the borders, area and population of the Commonwealth varied over time. After the Peace of Jam Zapolski (1582), the Commonwealth had approximately 815,000 km² area and a population of 7.5 million.[98] After the Truce of Deulino (1618), the Commonwealth had an area of some 990,000 km² and a population of 10–11 million (including some 4 million Poles and close to a million Lithuanians).[99]

Languages[edit]

First Anniversary anthem of theConstitution of May 3, 1791 (1792) in Hebrew, Polish, German and French.

  • Polish – officially recognized;[100] dominant language, used by most of the Commonwealth’s nobility[100][101][102][103] and by the peasantry in the Crown province;[104] official language in the Crown chancellery and since 1697 in the Grand Duchy chancellery.[105] Dominant language in the towns.[104]
  • Latin – off. recog.;[100][106] commonly used in foreign relations[105] and popular as a second language among some of the nobility.[107]
  • French – not officially recognized; replaced Latin at the royal court in Warsaw in the beginning of the 18th century as a language used in foreign relations and as genuine spoken language.[108][109] It was commonly used as a language of science and literature and as a second language among some of the nobility.[110]
  • Chancellery Ruthenian – also known as Chancellery Slavonic;[105] off. recog.;[100] official language in the Grand Duchy chancellery until 1697 (when replaced by Polish); used in some foreign relations[105][106][111] its dialects were widely used in the Grand Duchy and eastern parts of the Crown as spoken language.
  • Lithuanian – not officially recognised;[100][112] but used in some official documents in the Grand Duchy[113][114][115] and, mostly, used as a spoken language in the northwest part of the Grand Duchy (in Lithuania Proper)[116] and the northern part of Ducal Prussia (Polish fief).
  • German – off. recog.;[100] used in some foreign relations,[105] in Ducal Prussia and by minorities in the cities especially in Polish Prussia.[104][117]
  • Hebrew – off. recog.;[100] used by the Jews in their religious matters;
  • Yiddish, used by the Jews in their daily life[104] but not recognized as an official language.[118][119]
  • Italian – not officially recognised; used in some foreign relations and by Italian minorities in cities.[120]
  • Armenian – off. recog.[100] used by the Armenian minority.[119][121]
  • Arabic – not officially recognised; used in some foreign relations[122] and by Tatars in their religious matters, they also wrote Ruthenian in the Arabic script.[123]

Legacy[edit]

Main article: Międzymorze

The Duchy of Warsaw, established in 1807, traced its origins to the Commonwealth. Other revival movements appeared during theNovember Uprising (1830–31), the January Uprising (1863–64) and in the 1920s, with Józef Piłsudski‘s failed attempt to create a Polish-led Międzymorze (“Between-Seas”) federation that would have included Lithuania and Ukraine. Today’s Republic of Poland considers itself a successor to the Commonwealth,[124] whereas the Republic of Lithuania, re-established at the end of World War I, saw the participation of the Lithuanian state in the old Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth mostly in a negative light at the early stages of regaining its independence,[125] although this attitude has been changing recently.[126]

Administrative division[edit]

Outline of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with its major subdivisions after the 1618 Truce of Deulino, superimposed on present-day national borders.

  Duchy of Prussia, Polish fief
  Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, Commonwealth fief

While the term “Poland” was also commonly used to denote this whole polity, Poland was in fact only part of a greater whole—the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which comprised primarily two parts:

The Commonwealth was further divided into smaller administrative units known asvoivodships (województwa). Each voivodship was governed by a voivod (wojewoda, governor). Voivodships were further divided into starostwa, each starostwo being governed by astarosta. Cities were governed by castellans. There were frequent exceptions to these rules, often involving the ziemia subunit of administration.

The lands that once belonged to the Commonwealth are now largely distributed among several Central and East European countries: Poland, Ukraine, Moldova (Transnistria), Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.[127][128] Also some small towns in Slovakia, then within the Kingdom of Hungary, became a part of Poland in the Treaty of Lubowla.

Other notable parts of the Commonwealth, without respect to region or voivodship divisions, include:

Commonwealth borders shifted with wars and treaties, sometimes several times in a decade, especially in the eastern and southern parts. After the Peace of Jam Zapolski (1582), the Commonwealth had approximately 815,000 km² area and a population of 7.5 million.[98] After the Truce of Deulino (1618), the Commonwealth had an area of some 1 million km² (990,000 km²) and a population of about 11 million.[99]

Geography[edit]

16th century map of Europe by Gerardus Mercator.
Topographical map of the Commonwealth in 1764.

In the 16th century, the Polish bishop and cartographer Martin Kromerpublished a Latin atlas, entitled Poland: about Its Location, People, Culture, Offices and the Polish Commonwealth, which was regarded as the most comprehensive guide to the country.

Kromer’s works and other contemporary maps, such as those of Gerardus Mercator, show the Commonwealth as mostly plains. The Commonwealth’s southeastern part, the Kresy, was famous for its steppes. The Carpathian Mountains formed part of the southern border, with the Tatra Mountain chain the highest, and the Baltic Sea formed the Commonwealth’s northern border. As with most European countries at the time, the Commonwealth had extensive forest cover, especially in the east. Today, what remains of the Białowieża Forest constitutes the last largely intactprimeval forest in Europe.[130]

Gallery[edit]

[show]

Pictures

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ Name in native and official languages:

  • LatinRegnum Poloniae Magnusque Ducatus Lithuaniae / Serenissima Res Publica Poloniae[30]
  • FrenchRoyaume de Pologne et Grand-duché de Lituanie / Sérénissime République de Pologne et Grand-duché de Lituanie[135]
  • PolishKrólestwo Polskie i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie
  • LithuanianLenkijos Karalystė ir Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė
  • Belarusian: Каралеўства Польскае і Вялікае Княства Літоўскае (Karaleўstva Pol’skae і Vjalіkae Knjastva Lіtoўskae)
  • Ukrainian: Королівство Польське і Велике князівство Литовське
  • GermanKönigreich Polen und Großfürstentum Litauen

b. ^ Historians date the change of the Polish capital from Kraków to Warsaw between 1595 and 1611, although Warsaw was not officially designated capital until 1793.[136] The Commonwealth Sejm began meeting in Warsaw soon after the Union of Lublin and its rulers generally maintained their courts there, although coronations continued to take place in Krakow.[136] The modern concept of a single capital city was to some extent inapplicable in the feudal and decentralized Commonwealth.[136] Warsaw is described by some historians as the capital of the entire Commonwealth.[137][138] Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy,[36][139][140] is sometimes called the second capital of the entity.[141][142]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History, Pimlico 1997, p. 554:Poland-Lithuania was another country which experienced its ‘Golden Age’ during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The realm of the last Jagiellons was absolutely the largest state in Europe
  4. ^ Piotr Stefan Wandycz (2001). The price of freedom: a history of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the present. Psychology Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-415-25491-5. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
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  6. a b c d e Based on 1618 population map (p115), 1618 languages map (p119), 1657–67 losses map (p128) and 1717 map (p141) from Iwo Cyprian PogonowskiPoland a Historical Atlas, Hippocrene Books, 1987, ISBN 0-88029-394-2
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  30. a b Ex quo serenissima respublica Poloniae in corpore ad exempluin omnium aliarnm potentiarum, lilulum regiuin Borussiae recognoscere decrevit (…)
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  31. ^ Although the terms Rzeczpospolita(Commonwealth/Republic) and Oba Narody (Two/Both Nations) were widespread in the period, and were used in the combined form for the first time only in 1967 in Paweł Jasienica‘s book thus entitled.
  32. ^ The death of Sigismund II Augustus in 1572 was followed by a three-year Interregnum during which adjustments were made in the constitutional system. The lower nobility was now included in the selection process, and the power of the monarch was further circumscribed in favor of the expanded noble class. From that point, the king was effectively a partner with the noble class and constantly supervised by a group of senators.
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  33. ^ . In 1651, in the face of a growing threat from Poland, and forsaken by his Tatar allies, Khmelnytsky asked the Tsar to incorporate Ukraine as an autonomous duchy under Russian protection.“Pereyaslav Agreement”Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.[5]
  34. ^ Poland, the knight among nations, Louis Edwin Van Norman, New York: 1907, p. 18
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  39. ^ Russia’s Rise as a European Power, 1650–1750, Jeremy Black, History Today, Vol. 36 Issue: 8, August 1986
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  118. ^ Jan K. Ostrowski, Land of the Winged Horsemen: Art in Poland, 1572–1764, Yale University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-300-07918-4Google Print, p.27
  119. a b (English) Joanna B. Michlic (2006). Poland’s threatening other: the image of the Jew from 1880 to the present. U of Nebraska Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-8032-3240-3.
  120. ^ (Polish) Karol Zierhoffer, Zofia Zierhoffer (2000). Nazwy zachodnioeuropejskie w języku polskim a związki Polski z kulturą Europy. Wydawnictwo Poznańskiego Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Nauk. p. 79. ISBN 83-7063-286-6Podobną opinię przekazał nieco późnej, w 1577 r. Marcin Kromer “Za naszej pamięci weszli […] do głównych miast Polski kupcy i rzemieślnicy włoscy, a język ich jest także częściowo w użyciu, mianowicie wśród wytworniejszych Polaków, którzy chętnie podróżują do Włoch”.
  121. ^ (English) Rosemary A. Chorzempa (1993). Polish roots. Genealogical Pub. ISBN 0-8063-1378-1.
  122. ^ (English) Jan K. Ostrowski, ed. (1999). Art in Poland, 1572-1764: land of the winged horsemen. Art Services International. p. 32. ISBN 0-88397-131-3In 1600 the son of the chancellor of Poland was learning four languages: Latin, Greek, Turkish, and Polish. By the time he had completed his studies, he was fluent not only in Turkish but also in Tatar and Arabic.
  123. ^ (English) Lola Romanucci-Ross, George A. De Vos, Takeyuki Tsuda (2006). Ethnic identity: problems and prospects for the twenty-first century. Rowman Altamira. p. 84. ISBN 0-7591-0973-7.
  124. ^ A. stated, for instance by the preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 1997.
  125. ^ Alfonsas Eidintas, Vytautas Zalys, Lithuania in European Politics: The Years of the First Republic, 1918–1940, Palgrave, 1999, ISBN 0-312-22458-3Print, p78
  126. ^ “”Zobaczyć Kresy”. Grzegorz Górny. Rzeczpospolita 23-08-2008 (in Polish)” (in (Polish)). Rp.pl. 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  127. ^ (English) Sarah Johnstone (2008). Ukraine. Lonely Planet. p. 27. ISBN 1-74104-481-2.
  128. ^ (English) Stephen K. Batalden, Sandra L. Batalden (1997).The newly independent states of Eurasia: handbook of former Soviet republics. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 45. ISBN 0-89774-940-5.
  129. ^ (English) Richard M. Golden (2006). “Volume 4”. Encyclopedia of witchcraft: the Western tradition. ABC-CLIO. p. 1039. ISBN 1-57607-243-6.
  130. ^ (English) Daniel H. Cole (2002). Pollution and property: comparing ownership institutions for environmental protection. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-521-00109-9.
  131. ^ (English) Gordon Campbell (2006). The Grove encyclopedia of decorative arts. Oxford University Press US. p. 13. ISBN 01-95189-48-5.
  132. ^ Gwei-Djen Lu, Joseph Needham, Vivienne Lo (2002).Celestial lancets: a history and rationale of acupuncture and moxa. Routledge. p. 284. ISBN 07-00714-58-8.
  133. ^ (English) Ian Ridpath. “Taurus Poniatovii – Poniatowski’s bull”http://www.ianridpath.com. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  134. ^ After a fire had destroyed a wooden synagogue in 1733 Stanislaw Lubomirski decided to found a new bricked synagogue building. (English) Polin Travel. “Lancut”.http://www.jewish-guide.pl. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  135. ^ (French) Guillaume de Lamberty (1735). “Volume 3”.Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du XVIIIe siècle, contenant les négociations, traitez, résolutions et autres documents authentiques concernant les affaires d’état: avec le supplément aux années MDCXCVI-MDCCIII. p. 343. “Généreux et Magnifiques Seigneurs les Sénateurs et autres Ordres de la Sérénissime République de Pologne et du grand Duché de Lithuanie”
  136. a b c Francis W. Carter (1994). Trade and urban development in Poland: an economic geography of Cracow, from its origins to 1795 – Volume 20 of Cambridge studies in historical geographyCambridge University Press. pp. 186, 187.ISBN 978-0-521-41239-1.
  137. ^ Daniel Stone (2001). The Polish–Lithuanian state, 1386–1795University of Washington Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-295-98093-5.
  138. ^ Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries (1998). A history of eastern Europe: crisis and changeRoutledge. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-415-16111-4.
  139. ^ Politics and reformations: communities, polities, nations, and empires.2007 p.206
  140. ^ Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung. 2006, Vol.55; p.2
  141. ^ Thomas A. Brady, Christopher Ocker; entry by David Frick (2007). Politics and reformations: communities, polities, nations, and empires : essays in honor of Thomas A. Brady, JrBrill Publishers. p. 206. ISBN 978-90-04-16173-3.
  142. ^ Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer; essay by Tomas Venclova (2004). History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe: junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries (Volume 2)John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-90-272-3453-7.

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Coordinates50°03′N 19°56′E