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Citizenship in the periphery: Royal Prussia and the union of Lublin 1569

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Chapter Summary

It was one of the Polish szlachta's greatest successes that by 1569, in the Union of Lublin, the king accepted demands to extend Polish liberties to the nobilities of other provinces and parts of the Jagiellonian inheritance: Royal Prussia, Livonia and the Lithuanian lands. Functional links between a centre and its peripheries are usually built on complex and tension-ridden relations, particularly in a commonwealth defined in terms of decentralisation and local decision-making processes. Resistance against the process of preparing for closer union, however, had focused on the defence of privileges guaranteed to Prussia under very different historical circumstances over a century earlier. The union of 1569 was a royal victory, but Royal Prussia remained distinctive. A reform process to strengthen the crown had been initiated and conducted mainly by the estates, which exercised a surprising degree of self-discipline.

Keywords: decision-making processes; Polish szlachta; Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth; Royal Prussia; Union of Lublin



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