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Masovia or Mazovia (Polish: Mazowsze) is a geographic and historic region of east-central Poland. Its historic capitals include Płock,[1] the residence of the medieval Dukes of Masovia, later Warsaw.



The Masovia region is spread over the Polish Masovian Plain on both sides of the Vistula river and its confluence with the Narew. Administrative borders of the contemporary Masovian Voivodeship do not follow historical boundaries of the region. For example, a Masovian city of Łomża belongs instead to the Podlaskie Voivodeship; Skierniewice belongs to Łódź Voivodeship; while Radom, historically part of Lesser Poland, is now part of the Masovian Voivodeship.

In the north Masovia borders on the Masurian region of former Old Prussia, in the east on Podlachia, on Lesser Poland in the south and Greater Poland in the west. In the northwest, the Duchy of Kuyavia split off Masovia in 1233.

Early history

Masovia became part of Poland by the reign of Mieszko I, the first historically known Piast duke of the Polans in the late 10th century. After the death of Mieszko II in 1034, the local governor Miecław supported an anti-Christian rebellion, which was subsequently subdued by Casimir I, Duke of Poland, in 1047 with help from Ruthenian units.

Following the death of Bolesław III Wrymouth, Poland was divided into duchies, according to his testament (see fragmentation of Poland). After the death of the last Masovian Piast, Janusz III, in 1526, the province became a voivodeship of the Kingdom of Poland. In the late 16th century, the importance of Masovia within the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth significantly grew, due to the decision of King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 moved the capital of the country from Kraków to Warsaw.

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