Origin and geopolitical determinants of Protestantism in Poland in relation to its modern spatial range
At its outset, although Polish Protestantism gained big popularity, it did not manage to cover a broad social scope. It gained members mainly among the nobility and wealthy bourgeoisie. Cieszyn Silesia region was an exception – Lutheranism was adopted by many Polish peasants from this area. The spatial analysis of Protestantism’s development proves that it gained the most influence within areas dominated by Latin Christian confession. This resulted from the postulates of the new religious movement, especially in: the fiefdoms of Poland (Ducal Prussia, Courland), lands independent from Poland (Silesia, Western Pomerania), areas of wide autonomy (Royal Prussia) and lands belonging to noble and magnate do-mains, whose owners became protectors of different Protestant confessions. The Counter-Reformation and further persecutions of Protestants in post- -partition Poland, and also in the People’s Republic of Poland, resulted in decrease in their ranks and decline of many of their existing clusters. The modern offspring of the initial Polish Protestant movement includes two of the most numerous factions – Lutheran and Calvinist, represented by Evangelical-Augsburg Church and Evangelical Reformed Church. As opposed to the initial influence of both these confessions, since the late 18th century the Lutherans have dominated in numbers over the members of Evangelical Reformed Church. It was caused mainly by the partitions of Poland, especially under Prussian occupation, where Lutheranism was supported by the local authorities. Many Protestants from Saxony, Silesia and Bohemia immigrated to Poland to settle in the developing, industrial cities of the Kingdom of Poland. The changes in numbers of followers of both confessions led to substantial shifts in their spatial influences. The changes were less significant in case of Evangelical-Augsburg Church, as under Prussian occupation it strengthened its influence within the areas of its original domain. In case of Evangelical Reformed Church, which suffered continuous losses in its ranks, the changes were more significant. They resulted mainly from the 18th and 19th century immigration of Bohemian Brethren, who later became members of the Evangelical Reformed Church, as well as from later migrations within this area, especially during the second half of the 20th century.
The following license files are associated with this item: