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Polish / Prussian Administrative Divisions

Cross Reference of Descriptions
Polish Prussian US equivalent
Wojewodztwo Provinz Province (State)
Voivodship ...same as Wojewodztwo
Powiat Kreis District (County)
Miasto Stadt(gemeinde) City/Town(ship)
Gmina, Gminny Gemeinschaft/Stadtgemeinde Community/Borough
Wies Dorf Village

Measurments/Scale:
European countries use the Metric system- 1 kilometer = 0.6 miles. 1 square kilometer = 0.4 square miles

Sentence structure/phrasing:
One of the differences between the English and Polish Languages is that in English the word order is important,
while in Polish it is generally not so important. In English, with adjectives (a describing word, such as 'blue',
'tall' etc) and nouns (names of things, such as 'book', 'John' etc) together in a group (such as 'big white
computer screen'), the last word is the most important in that it tells you what it is you are talking about
(a 'screen' for a computer, that is big and white). In Polish this is not alway so ('duzy bialy komputera
ekran' or 'duzy bialy ekran komputera'). So, Ostrowek Kolonia is the same place as Kolonia Ostrowek.

Also remember that Polish words change their endings according to the meaning of a sentence, the verbs used,
and the gender.

Village (Wies) Descriptions:
It must be pointed out that the Polish definition of village and that of English speaking countries is different.
In English we tend to think of a village as a group of buildings with maybe some outlying buildings. The farmland
attached to the village is thought of as being part of the township. Wies, on the other hand, can only loosely be
used to describe the group of buildings, it is actually the area of land belonging to the village.

In fact, Wies could equally easily be translated as 'the countryside'. If you use a road atlas or some kind of online
map then Polish villages are represented as dots on the map, but it would be dangerous as thinking that this marks
the location of a centralised village. On the contrary, if you use a map of, say, 1:100,000 then you will see that many
of these villages are quite decentralised and spread over a large area of land. In fact, if you buy 2 or maps of such a
scale of the same area from different map makers, they often disagree over the location of a village and make it appear
there are 2 'villages' of the same name a mile or so apart. Both maps are (probably) right, as they both locate the
name in the area of land that is the village. In fact, when travelling through the Polish countryside it is very often
difficult to know when you are in one village or another. 

Note About Political & Religous Districts:
The way the land in Poland is divided up Politically and Religously is widely different.

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08/2002 M.A.Leonard, Last Update-09/03/2007