The Parliament of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a Link in the Process of State Modernisation (1572–1587)
Keywords:Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, interregnum, parliament, state, modernisation
The article aims to show how the Parliament of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania restored independent activities within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth after the union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland established in Lublin in 1569 and mobilised the political community to represent the interests of the Lithuanian state. It is emphasised that the first interregnum, which began after the death of the ruler Sigismund Augustus on 7 July 1572, caught the Sejm unprepared. As the process of choosing a new ruler began, various political interest groups were emerging and local conventions were being summoned in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In Lithuania, magnates, who were well-known within the political community and had defended the independence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the Union of Lublin in 1569, awarded themselves the right and duty to make political decisions. The Grand Duchy of Lithuanian’s Council of Lords, which had no legal standing but remained active in political life, became the central organ of the government in the Commonwealth. By exploiting the lack of a statutory structural procedure for joint parliamentary and political activities of the two constituent states of the Commonwealth, the Council embarked on independent activity which was not coordinated with Polish parliamentarians. Drawing on the analysis of the sources, the author substantiates the assumption that in 1572–1587, the Seimas, which was an independent parliamentary institution, extended the process of the modernisation of the Lithuanian state, which began in the first half of the 16th century, and became its political and ideological “soul”.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.