The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Rzeczpospolita, Poland, Poland-Lithuania, Poland-Lithuania-Ruthenia, is a huge constitutional monarchy in Eastern Europe. It stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. To the West lies the Holy Roman Empire, notably the states of Austria-Bohemia, Brandenburg and Liechtenstein. To the South lies Hungary. To the East lies Tver which cuts deep into Polish territory with the Kiev salient. To the North lie Danish Pomerania, Gothenlandic Pomerelia, Prussia and Livonia.
It has three capitals corresponding to the three administrative regions of the nation; Warsaw for the Polish region, Vilnius for the Lithuanian region and Zaporizhia for the Ruthenian region. The population of the Commonwealth is around 56 million.
The current Head of State is King Stephan IV.
Its currency is the Polish Zloty (PLZ)
Poland had successfully created a unified kingdom after the devastation of the Mongol raids. It also had the good fortune to be virtually untouched by the Black Death that ravaged Europe in the mid-1300s. However the long-lived Casimir III would leave no heir and Poland was dragged into dynastical politics between the Bohemian Premyslids, the Luxembourgs and the upstart Bezier family. Having grudgingly accepted union with Hungary under John I the Polish nobles refused a union with Bohemia as well under his son-in-law Wenceslaus I and elected his daughter Jadwiga instead.
Jadwiga's new husband, Wladyslaw II Jagiello was Grand-Duke of Lithuania and a union of the crowns, though not its legislatures, would result. The last pagan state in Europe, Lithuania had been engaged in a long struggle with Livonia and Prussia, as well as taking a large potion of the old Kievan Rus' and now conversion of the population to Christianity removed much of the crusading zeal from its northern borders. Furthermore, the Battle of Grunwald in 1485 decisively split Prussia from Livonia and ensured the rapid decline of both as regional powers. The Jagiellonian dynasty would continue to be a driving force for the kingdom but the nobility would not give up their right of election easily and the crown often passed to other related families, or even to foreign princes.
The Commonwealth, which gave Lithuanian nobles equality with those of Poland, was created in 1551 in response to the rise of the Schmalkaldic League and its willingness to throw its weight around in northern Europe. This was coupled with a reduction of monarchical power, which had the side-effect of making the country hard to rule and prone to rebellion. However, at much the same time its enshrinement of religious tolerance made it a powerful draw for those minorities driven out of other parts of Europe; Jews from Hungary and Tver, Protestants from Italia.
During the chaos of the Fifty Years War, and the heavy defeats at the hands of Tver and the eastern Cossacks, the Sejm finally agreed to massive reform of the political system. The power of the nobles was considerably reduced, the crown made hereditary and a modicum of democracy introduced. The newly centralised, and more importantly united Commonwealth was then able to defeat internal rebellion and put pressure on its neighbours once more. In 1642 it burnt the city of Tver but was not able to turn this into a complete victory. However it managed to secure a vast swathe of eastern Ruthenia or Ukraina, briefly stretching from the Dnieper all the way to the Caspian Sea, though continued fighting with Tver, Vladimir and Cossacks soon reduced this.
A series of three Hungarian Wars (1740-1781), (1784-1790) & (1837-1839) defined the southern border but left Poland in control of an increasingly rebellious Moldova. In 1785 Poland gave Gothenland full rights to Prussia in return for not supporting Hungary. Much of the 19th century was taken up with political infighting in the Sejm as the effects of the Industrial Revolution threatened to leave parts of the country (such as South-West Poland) rich while the remainder was mired in unreformed feudalism. The eventual result would be the tripartite division of the Commonwealth into Poland, Lithuania and Ruthenia. Poland also became more involved in Transcaucasia supplying arms and funds to breakaway states all in an attempt to undermine Tver and Vladimir's activities there.
The current head of state is King Stephan IV. His Chancellor is Jaroslaw Kollataj.
The three regions have their own Sejms while a unified Diet sits in Warsaw. Elections are held every five years.
Tver was able to capture the Kiev salient during the 2nd Hungarian War and defend it during the 3rd. It is an open secret that Tver's future plans involve domination of the Dnieper and reintegration of all Kievan Rus' lands, whereas Poland sees it as a natural extension of its Ruthenian region. Relations between the two nations are becoming increasingly fraught.
Separately Poland has good relations with both Gothenland and Svealand but is wary of The Kalmar Union as a whole. This is mainly due to past disagreements over the Baltic as well as the web of alliances that Poland feels surrounds it. Although it has no wish to see the Kalmar Union actually disintegrate, Poland has long followed a policy of dealing with Kalmar's individual nations separately to improve its own position.
Relations with Hungary are currently better than they have been for centuries but continued unrest in Polish Moldova occasionally draws Hungarian criticism. It is assumed that Hungary would most likely intervene in their behalf if ever a full-blown rebellion/independence war was to occur.
In 2006, Poland signed the Mississippi Defence-Nowych Katowice Treaty with Tunica, leasing 20 sq km of land for 125 years. The small Tunican village of Aquixo was renamed Nowych Katowice and is slowly transforming into a major city-fortress that will become the basis for a vast defensive network protecting the Mississippi from any potential Mexica invasion.
This has had serious repercussions with the Caddoan to the West (as the defensive line pretty much assumes they would be overrun in any first wave of attack), as well as the increasingly militaristic Mexica which sees it as a gross act of aggression.
It is only the second European owned land on the Liefian mainland after Icelandic Rolegurfolkland. (The Portuguese fortress of Ocracoke is slightly offshore and only connected by a low-tide causeway).
Offers for settlers, construction workers and administrators from Poland have been well received, particularly from the relatively poor and rural Ruthenian region. Each family (minimum 6 people, including 2 able bodied adults) who emigrates is given a modest plot of land in the planned city and enough material to build a homestead. In return the families males are contracted to the state for a projected ten year period to build essential amenities for the city as well as the growing defensive line. Women are not as yet employed by the state and as such are free to run private business. The extension of the Mississippi Railway from the Gulf ports is nearing completion and will allow a rapid growth in the city.