The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats (counties or districts), and these in turn are divided into gminas (communes or municipalities). Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats (including 66 cities with powiat status), and 2,478 gminas.
divisions of Poland
The current system was introduced pursuant to a series of acts passed by the Polish parliament in 1998, and came into effect on 1 January 1999. Between 1975 and 1998 there had been 49 smaller voivodeships and no powiats (see subdivisions of the Polish People's Republic). The reform created 16 larger voivodeships (largely based on and named after historical regions) and reintroduced powiats.
The boundaries of the voivodeships do not always reflect the historical borders of Polish regions. Around half of the Silesian Voivodeship belongs to the historical province of Lesser Poland. Similarly, the area around Radom, which historically is part of Lesser Poland, is located in the Masovian Voivodeship. Also, the Pomeranian Voivodeship includes only the eastern extreme of historical Pomerania, as the western part is in Germany and the eastern border has shifted again and again.