Lesser Poland Explained

Lesser Poland (also "Little Poland", Polish: Małopolska, Latin: Polonia Minor) is one of the historical regions of Poland. It forms the southeastern corner of the country. It should not be confused with the modern Lesser Poland Voivodeship, which covers just a part of the historical region of Lesser Poland[1]


Lesser Poland lies in the upper confluence of the Vistula river and covers a large upland, including the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Lesser Polish Upland, Sandomierz Basin, and Lublin Upland. It stretches from the Carpathians in the south to Pilica and Wieprz rivers to the north. It borders Mazovia to the north, Podlachia to the northeast, Silesia to the west, Slovakia to the south and the border with Ukraine (Red Ruthenia) to the east. Historically, until World War II the region also included large parts of modern Ukraine (see Galicia). In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Lesser Poland Province (prowincja małopolska) consisted of Lesser Poland proper, Podlachia, Red Ruthenia, Volhynia, Podolia, Ukraine, and the Czernihów Voivodeship; capital: Kraków

Administratively, the historical area is divided into the voivodeships of Lesser Poland, Subcarpathia, Świętokrzyskie, Lublin, the eastern half of the neighbouring Upper Silesia, and southern parts of Masovia and Lodz.

Major cities and towns

The most notable cities of the region include:

as well as:


See main article: History of Poland.

state of Vistulans, Lendians and other smaller Slavic tribes,

Krakow becomes the capital of Poland.

Poland feudal fragmentation period begins – Duchy of Krakow and Sandomierz ("senioral part") becomes a seat of a senior prince.

First Mongol raid, led by Baidar and Kadan.

Second Mongol raid, led by Nogai Khan.

Third Mongol raid, led by Talabuga.

coronation of Władysław I the Elbow-high in Krakow ends the fragmentation period - united Poland restored

Sejmik general in Nowy Korczyn.

annexation of Red Ruthenia, with the city of Lwow to Poland.

annexation of Ruthenia (up to Kiev), which goes under administration of Lesser Poland[2] .

Lesser Poland the main centre of Polish culture.

Sejmik general of Ruthenian Voivodship is established in Sądowa Wisznia.

Poland partition period

Galicia, Free City of Krakow. Northern part of Lesser Poland, with Radom, Kielce and Lublin, belongs to the Russian Empire, southern part, with Krakow, Przemysl and Lwow - to Austria-Hungary,

returning to Poland after regaining the independence.

German-occupied General Government.


The historical capital of Lesser Poland  - Krakow  - is regarded by many to be the cultural capital of Poland. In 1978, UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites. The wooden architecture (most notably, churches) of Lesser Poland are also on that list as well as the Wieliczka Salt Mine located on the outskirsts of Krakow. The following National Parks are located in Lesser Poland:


Notes and References

  1. Web site: Heme Oxygenases 2007 Conference, Jagiellonian University]: "About Krakow"]. 2007-08-14.
  2. [Bełz Voivodeship]