in the history of Poland, indeed Central Europe.
King Casimir was favorably disposed toward Jews. On 9 October 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jewish Poles in 1264 by Bolesław V the Chaste. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism. He inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. Although Jews had lived in Poland since before the reign of King Casimir, he allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.
b. October 7, 1866
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (or Union, after 1791 the Commonwealth of Poland) was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was one of the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe, with some 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi) and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century. It was established at the Union of Lublin in July 1569 and disappeared as an independent state after the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
The Union possessed features unique among contemporary states. Its political system was characterized by strict checks upon monarchical power. These checks were enacted by a legislature (Sejm) controlled by the nobility (szlachta). This idiosyncratic system was a precursor to modern concepts of democracy, constitutional monarchy, and federation. The two component states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, yet Poland was the dominant partner in the union.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was marked by high levels of ethnic diversity and by relative religious tolerance, guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation Act 1573; however, the degree of religious freedom varied over time.
After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of protracted political, military and economic decline. Its growing weakness led to its partitioning among its more powerful neighbors, Austria, Prussia and the Russian Empire, during the late 18th century. Shortly before its demise, the Commonwealth adopted a massive reform effort and enacted the Constitution of May 3, 1791 - the first written constitution in modern European history and the second in modern world history.
The perception of 'Poland' as more 'Central' then 'East' Europe, shifts with the popular definition of the boundary between Europe and Asia.
Conventions used for the boundary between Europe and Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries. The red line shows the most common modern convention, in use since ca. 1850. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borders_of_the_continents
EuropeAsiahistorically placed in either continent
The reoccurring 'theme' of the hidden in plain sight wars of religion
How Poland got defined not as of Central Europe, but rather of East Europe.
Why Poland got so crafted & defined is the obvious question one would ask when viewing the globe from afar.
And indeed, everyone else, such as Central Europe's Jewish peoples.
The Pale of Settlement (Russian: Черта́ осе́длости, chertá osédlosti, Yiddish: דער תּחום-המושבֿ der tkhum-ha-moyshəv, Hebrew: תְּחוּם הַמּוֹשָב, tḥùm ha-mosháv) was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary.
The Pale comprised about 20% of the territory of European Russia, and largely corresponded to historical borders of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; it included much of present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of western Russia. Jews were also excluded from residency at a number of cities within the Pale. A limited number of categories of Jews were allowed to live outside the pale.
The word pale derives ultimately from the Latin word palus, meaning stake (palisade is derived from the same root). From this derivation came the figurative meaning of "boundary", and the concept of a pale as an area within which local laws were valid.
The Pale, with its largely Catholic and Jewish populations, was acquired by the Russian Empire (which was majority Russian Orthodox) in a series of military conquests and diplomatic manoeuvres between 1791 and 1835, and lasted until the fall of the aforementioned Empire in 1917. For more information about life in the Pale, see: History of the Jews in Poland and History of the Jews in Russia
The Pale was first created by Catherine the Great in 1791, after several failed attempts by her predecessors, notably the Empress Elizabeth, to remove Jews from Russia entirely, unless they converted to Russian Orthodoxy, the state religion. The reasons for its creation were primarily economic and nationalist.
The institution of the Pale became more significant following the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, since until then, Russia's Jewish population had been rather limited; the dramatic westward expansion of the Czarist Empire through the annexation of Polish-Lithuanian territory increased the Jewish population substantially. At its height, the Pale, including the new Polish and Lithuanian territories, had a Jewish population of over 5 million, and represented the largest component (40 percent) of world Jewish population at that time.
Note the relative size of 'Europe' to the vast land mass of 'Eurasian' extending to Vladivostok, and beyond.
Note the area the maps define as Europe's eastern edge- the mountain range of the Urals, with its cities of note, where Russia's last self-defined 'Czar' and his family were murdered. And where Russia.
Contemplate the size of the European and Asian Eurasian land mass extending to Vlalisstick and beyond, plus that which the maps define as Europe's eastern edge- the mountain range of the Urals. And such places as Yekaterinburg, where Russia's 'Czar' and his family were recorded as executed in 1918; and the site of the February 2013 meteor strike and the "DA-14" near collision. A land mass extending eastward of the Urals to the Bearing Straights, Siberia, with its dangling land masses of Saklin, the Kamchatsky peninsula, and the Kurils.
At least three species of humans lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago: H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, and the Denisova hominin (originally nicknamed "Woman X").
Siberia was occupied by different groups of nomads such as the Yenets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Iranian Scythians and the Turkic Uyghurs. The Khan of Sibir in the vicinity of modern Tobolsk was known as a prominent figure who endorsed Kubrat as Khagan in Avaria in 630. The Mongols conquered a large part of this area early in the 13th century. With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Siberia Khanate was established in late 14th century. The Yakuts migrated north from their original area of settlement in the vicinity of Lake Baikal under the pressure of the Mongol expansion during the 13th to 15th century.
The growing power of Russia in the West began to undermine the Siberian Khanate in the 16th century. [emphasis added- DAW] First, groups of traders and Cossacks began to enter the area, and then the Russian army began to set up forts further and further East. Towns like Mangazeya, Tara, Yeniseysk and Tobolsk sprang up, the last being declared the capital of Siberia. At this time, Sibir was the name of a fortress at Qashlik, near Tobolsk. Gerardus Mercator in a map published in 1595 marks Sibier both as the name of a settlement and of the surrounding territory along a left tributary of the Ob.
By the mid-17th century, areas controlled by Russia had been extended to the Pacific. The total Russian population of Siberia in 1709 was 230,000.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian settlement of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the incorporation of Left-bank Ukraine and the pacification of the Siberian tribes.
So, as both Germany and Poland moved eastward, so did Russia.
And with a land mass situation of Euro-Siberia extending towards Alaska, and with its population concentrated almost entirely within the outer Chinese, Mongolian border, owing to the coldness protecting the prevalent perma-frost, matched by a China with its population squeezed, owing to its Gobi desert.