Cover of 1791 printed edition of the Constitution of 3 May
The Polish Constitution of 1791, the world's second oldest written constitution after that of the United States, was adopted by the Great Sejm on 3 May 1791. The document was designed to redress political defects of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, such as the system of "Golden Liberty", which had corrupted the country's politics. It sought to supplant the prevailing anarchy, fostered by some of the country's magnates, with a more democratic constitutional monarchy. It introduced elements of political equality between townspeople and nobility, and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. It also banned pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which allowed any single deputy to undo all the legislation that had been passed during a given session of the Sejm. The constitution remained in force for less than 15 months and was abolished following the Constitution War against Russia and the Russian-supported Targowica Confederation, a coalition of Polish magnates and landless nobility who opposed reforms that might have weakened their influence. In the words of two of the document's co-authors, Ignacy Potocki and Hugo Kołłątaj, it was "the last will and testament of the expiring Country." (Fullarticle...)
Przemysław Ficek, the leading member of the folk band Fickowo Pokusa, plays the bagpipes during the 43rd Beskidy Mountain Folk Week of Culture, a festival promoting the culture and lifestyle of the Gorals, or mountain folk, of the Beskid Mountains along Poland's southern border. Ficek represents an ethnic group known as górale żywieccy, living in the Żywiec Beskids around the town of Żywiec.
Małgorzata Babiarz (born 1984), also known by her stage name Megitza, is a Polish singer, double bass player, and composer. She combines Polish and Eastern European folk music, Romani music and gypsy jazz with world music, worldbeat, Latin American music, pop, and Americana. Born in Zakopane at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, she was introduced to the traditional music of Polish Highlanders (górale) by her father, and began performing in a children folk dance ensemble. She moved to Chicago in 2003 and started her professional career in 2008, when she formed the Megitza Quartet and released her debut album, Boleritza. The Sound Culture Center for Global Arts described Megitza as "a true concert revelation – an unusual voice, charisma and beauty", describing her music as "dynamic, vibrant, full of energy, uniting listeners of all ages." She performs mostly in the United States and in her native Poland. (Fullarticle...)
Gdańsk is Poland's principal seaport located in the Kashubian region on the Baltic Sea. Together with the spa town of Sopot and the industrial city of Gdynia, it forms a conurbation known as Trójmiasto ("Tricity"). It has a complex political history with long spells of Polish rule interspersed with periods of German control and two spells as a free city. As an important port and shipbuilding center, the picturesque city was a member of the Hanseatic League. For much of its history the majority of its inhabitants were German speakers who referred to their city as Danzig, but after World War II it became firmly Polish. Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, led by Lech Wałęsa, played a role in bringing down the communist rule across Central Europe. (Fullarticle...)