Voivodeships of Poland

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The voivodeship or province (Polish: województwo) has been a high-level administrative subdivision of Poland since the 12th century. Pursuant to the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998, which came into effect on January 1, 1999, sixteen new voivodeships were created. These replaced the 49 former voivodeships that had existed from July 1, 1975.

Today's voivodeships are largely based on the country's historic regions, while those of 1975–1998 were centred on and named for individual cities. The new units range in area from under 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (Opole Voivodeship) to over 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) (Masovian Voivodeship), and in population from one million (Lubusz Voivodeship) to over five million (Masovian Voivodeship).

Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a government-appointed governor called a voivode (Polish wojewoda), an elected assembly called a sejmik, and an executive chosen by that assembly. The leader of that executive is called the marszałek województwa (voivodeship marshal). Voivodeships are further divided into powiats (counties) and gminas (communes or municipalities): see Administrative division of Poland.


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