3483Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak Borders
- Jun 7, 2003Very interesting, Martin, and thanks! All good points! I'd read
this in a Polish study on linguistics put out by the Jagiellonian
University in Cracow in 1938 ("The Polish Language South of the
Carpathians" by M. Malecki). The study surely had a political
motive behind it, namely to justify Poland's claims at the time
to the northern parts of Spis and Orava. Still, the linguistic
information seemed pretty good, though now it seems some of the
distant historical info might be biased (why, how shocking!).
For what it's worth, the author says, speaking of Spis:
"Spis belongs among our oldest inhabited lands, since signs of
Polish settlement can be found as far back as the 12th century.
The first wave of colonization travelled along the Poprad river
from the region of Sacz, and it was so strong that it not only
spread throughout Spis, but it overflowed into Podhale,
approaching along the Dunajec river, up to Nowy Targ. Spis even
belonged ecclesiastically for a long time to the diocese of
Cracow, and apparently most of the settlers came from the Sacz
region. In the 13th century German settlers appeared, who
founded the chief towns, and in the 14th century, the first Rusyn
settlers arrived in connection with the Wallachian colonization.
From a political perspective the whole of Spis belonged
originally to Poland, as the border between the Polish and
Hungarian crowns ran (in the 11th and 12th centuries) along the
upper Hornad and Vah rivers. Under Boleslaw the Wrymouthed,
Poland lost Spis proper (the upper reaches of the Hornad and
Poprad rivers), and in 1312 also a narrow strip near Stara
Lubowla, which today is included in the territory of Spis, but
formerly was a part of the Sacz lands. Spis remained under
Hungarian rule until 1412, when as a surety for a loan to
Hungary, Jagiello received the aforementioned strip around
Lubowla along with 13 other Spis towns."
> > Spis north of the Hornad and Vah was ruled by Poland from the 11th
> > century until sometime in the 12th century
> The Vah does not flow through Spis. However, it's interesting
> information, Joe, and I wouldn't discount the source just because of that.
> I'd say that early uncertainties about the Spis/Polish border are quite
> likely (as also indicated by Cracow's appeal to the Pope, mentioned
> Spis and Orava include the only areas of Slovakia that are in the Dunajec
> (Vistula-Baltic) basin, i.e., drained into Poland.
> Therefore, any early general agreement about placing the Polish-Hungarian
> border on the ridge of the Carpathians might not have been clear there.
> All the areas drained by the Poprad, i.e. a large part of Spis, are north
> of Europe's major Baltic/Black Sea watershed.
> The rest of Slovakia is drained by rivers that flow into the Danube, and
> the Black Sea.
> Hungarian historians tend to assume that the rule from Esztergom/Gran
> extended all the way to the ridge of the Carpathians almost from the start
> of the Kingdom of Hungary, while Slovak, Czech and Polish historians are
> more likely to mention an early period of Polish control over almost all
> of today's Slovakia; or they assume that all of Slovakia came under
> Esztergom's rule by about 1100-1200, and was partly -- especially in the
> central and northern regions -- without outside control until then.
> For example, some say that Ladislas, the duke of Nitra, was recognized as
> Poland's vassal when King Stephen and King Boleslaw the Brave agreed in
> 1018 that the Hungarian-Polish border would be along the ridge of the
> As to Spis, it would be interesting to know what evidence the source
> points to. From what I've seen, the first document concerning Spis is
> from 1209, the first mention of "Lubovna" from 1242, and of _Stara_
> Lubovna from 1292. That would give little ground for saying anything
> specific about the exact position of the border in the 11th and 12th
> > in 1312 the area around Stara Lubovna was transferred from Poland to
> > Hungary
> Those first documents don't appear to say anything about Stara Lubovna
> belonging to Poland. But there are some records about Podolinec just a
> few miles down the road.
> Apparently, the Bishop of Cracow appealed to the Vatican in 1235, and
> again in 1247 demanding that the Church levies from Podolinec be paid to
> Cracow, and not to Spis-cum-Esztergom. That would mean that at least
> Podolinec was effectively under Esztergom at that time. The boundary
> between the bishoprics and the political border were probably seen as the
> same thing in that region then.
> As to the Hornad being the border in the 11th-12th centuries, Spissky
> Castle is located north of the Hornad. It started with a tower built in
> the 11th-12th centuries. If the border went along the Hornad at that
> time, it would have to have been a key Polish fort, which was later
> defeated by Hungary. That would mean that there had to be a major battle
> for Spis. I'm not aware of any mention of that, so I'd be interested
> whether the source knows of something. The assumption is that Spissky
> Castle began as Hungary's fort and Church center.
> votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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