Administrative Structure of Kashubia
Poland is comprised of sixteen Voivodeships or Provinces. Kashubia is located in the Pomorskie (Pomeranian) Voivodeship.
The Pomorskie Voivodeship borders the Baltic Sea, and is often considered a vacation area with relaxed seaside towns, beaches, historic port cities, Teutonic castles, and a rustic countryside. The province is home to the Tri-city cluster of coastal cities that include Gdańsk (the capital), Sopot, and Gdynia.
In the past, the lands around the present Voivodeship were historically inhabited by Germans, Kashubians, and Poles, marking the border zone between former Polish and Prussian kingdoms. This area witnessed the opening of World War II in September 1939, when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on Polish defenses on Westerplatte outside of Gdańsk. Today, this area is a major economic hub due to its numerous port facilities and its large tourism industry.
The Pomorskie Voivodeship should not be confused with the historic region of Pomerania, which includes much of the modern-day coastal north of Poland and eastern Germany. The current Pomorskie Voivodeship covers the original Pomeranian region’s eastern part.
The Pomorskie Voivodeship is divided into 20 Powiats (counties), including 4 municipal powiats, and 16 rural powiats. These are further divided into 123 Gminas (communes). A Powiat (pronounced povyat) is the second level of Polish administrative division, between Voivodeships and Gminas. Powiats are roughly equivalent to counties in the United States.
There is no official equivalent of the name in English. Some of the towns in a Voivodeship can be centers of more than one powiat. The reason is that in several cases the town itself and its surroundings form separate entities of administrative division. This is usually the case for large Polish cities, but can also apply to several smaller towns.
The 16 Rural Powiats are:
|Bytowski (Bytow)||Malborski (Malbork)|
|Chojnicki (Chojnice)||Nowodworski (Nowa Dwok)|
|Czluchowski (Czluchow)||Pucki (Puck)|
|Gdanski (Gdansk)||Slupski (Slupsk)|
|Kartuski (Kartuzy)||Starogardzki (Starogard Gdanski)|
|Koscierski (Koscierzyna)||Sztumski (Sztum)|
|Kwydinski (Kwidzyn)||Tczewski (Tczew)|
|Leborski (Lebork)||Wejherowski (Wejherowo)|
The four Municipal Powiats are:
Gminas in the Pomorskie Voivodeship
Gmina is the principal unit of administrative division of Poland at its lowest uniform level. It is often translated as “commune” or “municipality.” The word gmina derives from the German word Gemeinde, meaning “community.”
There are three types of gminas:
- Urban gmina (gmina miejska) consisting of just one city or town,
- Mixed urban-rural gmina (gmina miejsko-wiejska) consisting of a town and surrounding villages and countryside; and
- Rural gmina (gmina wiejska) consisting only of villages and countryside.