Greater Poland Voivodeship (in Polish: ''Województwo Wielkopolskie'' ), also known as Wielkopolska Voivodeship or Wielkopolska Province,〔Arkadiusz Belczyk,(Tłumaczenie polskich nazw geograficznych na język angielski ) (of Polish Geographical Names into English ), 2002-2006.〕 is a voivodeship, or province, in west-central Poland. It was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Poznań, Kalisz, Konin, Piła and Leszno Voivodeships, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. The province is named after the region called Greater Poland or ''Wielkopolska'' . The modern province includes most of this historic region, except for some south-western parts.
Greater Poland Voivodeship is second in area and third in population among Poland's sixteen voivodeships, with an area of and a population of close to 3.4 million. Its capital city is Poznań; other important cities include Kalisz, Konin, Piła, Ostrów Wielkopolski and Gniezno (an early capital of Poland). It is bordered by seven other voivodeships: West Pomeranian to the northwest, Pomeranian to the north, Kuyavian-Pomeranian to the north-east, Łódź to the south-east, Opole to the south, Lower Silesian to the southwest and Lubusz to the west.
The city of Poznań has international twinning arrangements with the English county of Nottinghamshire.〔http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/home/your_council/howweprovideyourservices/partnerships/internationalandtwinning/transnationalpartnerships.htm〕
(詳細はearly Polish state. Poznań and Gniezno were early centers of royal power, but following the region's devastation by pagan rebellion in the 1030s, and an invasion by Bretislaus I of Bohemia in 1038, the capital was moved by Casimir the Restorer from Gniezno to Kraków.
In the testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty, which initiated the period of fragmentation of Poland (1138–1320), the western part of Greater Poland (including Poznań) was granted to Mieszko III the Old. The eastern part, with Gniezno and Kalisz, was part of the Duchy of Kraków, granted to Władysław II. However for most of the period the two parts were under a single ruler, and were known as the Duchy of Greater Poland (although at times there were separately ruled duchies of Poznań, Gniezno, Kalisz and Ujście). The region came under the control of Władysław I the Elbow-High in 1314, and thus became part of the reunited Poland of which Władyslaw was crowned king in 1320.
In the reunited kingdom, and later in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the country came to be divided into administrative units called voivodeships. In the case of the Greater Poland region these were Poznań Voivodeship and Kalisz Voivodeship. The Commonwealth also had larger subdivisions known as ''prowincja'', one of which was named Greater Poland. However, this ''prowincja'' covered a larger area than the Greater Poland region itself, also taking in Masovia and Royal Prussia. (This division of Crown Poland into two entities called Greater and Lesser Poland had its roots in the Statutes of Casimir the Great of 1346–1362, where the laws of "Greater Poland" – the northern part of the country – were codified in the Piotrków statute, with those of "Lesser Poland" in the separate Wiślica statute.)
In 1768 a new Gniezno Voivodeship was formed out of the northern part of Kalisz Voivodeship. However more far-reaching changes would come with the Partitions of Poland. In the first partition (1772), northern parts of Greater Poland along the Noteć (German ''Netze'') were taken over by Prussia, becoming the Netze District. In the second partition (1793) the whole of Greater Poland was absorbed by Prussia, becoming part of the province of South Prussia. It remained so in spite of the first Greater Poland Uprising (1794), part of the unsuccessful Kościuszko Uprising directed chiefly against Russia.
More successful was the Greater Poland Uprising of 1806, which led to the region's becoming part of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw (forming the Poznań Department and parts of the Kalisz and Bydgoszcz Departments). However, following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Greater Poland was again partitioned, with the western part (including Poznań) going to Prussia. The eastern part joined the Russian-controlled Kingdom of Poland, where it formed the Kalisz Voivodeship until 1837, then the Kalisz Governorate (merged into the Warsaw Governorate between 1844 and 1867).
Within the Prussian empire, western Greater Poland became the Grand Duchy of Posen (Poznań), which theoretically held some autonomy. Following an unrealized uprising in 1846, and the more substantial but still unsuccessful uprising of 1848 (during the Spring of Nations), the Grand Duchy was replaced by the Province of Posen. The authorities made efforts to Germanize the region, particularly after the founding of Germany in 1871, and from 1886 onwards the Prussian Settlement Commission was active in increasing German land ownership in formerly Polish areas.
Following the end of World War I, the Greater Poland Uprising (1918–1919) ensured that most of the region became part of the newly independent Polish state, forming most of Poznań Voivodeship (1921–1939). Northern and some western parts of Greater Poland remained in Germany, where they formed much of the province of Posen-West Prussia (1922–1938), whose capital was Schneidemühl (Piła).
Following the German invasion of 1939, Greater Poland was incorporated into Nazi Germany, becoming the province called Reichsgau Posen, later Reichsgau Wartheland (''Warthe'' being the German name for the Warta river). The Polish population was oppressed, with many former officials and others considered potential enemies by the Nazis being imprisoned or executed, including at the notorious Fort VII concentration camp in Poznań. Poznań was declared a stronghold city ''(Festung)'' in the closing stages of the war, being taken by the Red Army in the Battle of Poznań, which ended on 22 February 1945.
After the war, Greater Poland was fully within the Polish People's Republic, as Poznań Voivodeship. With the reforms of 1975 this was divided into smaller provinces (the voivodeships of Kalisz, Konin, Leszno and Piła, and a smaller Poznań Voivodeship). The present-day Greater Poland Voivodeship, again with Poznań as its capital, was created in 1999.
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