Country Survey: Galicia (southern Poland)


Q. Name of area

Galicia, now the southern part of Poland

Q. Current status:

No current legal status for the whole unit, although the West Galicia belongs to Poland, the East Galicia is a part of Ukraine.

Q. If the area has no current legal identity, when was it defined and by whom?

After the first partition of Poland in 1772 this region was captured by Austrian Empire. All borders were definitely established in 1846 when Kraków was added.

Q. Outline history: describe the historical development of the unit, as it affected its external borders and internal boundaries:

After the first partition of Poland in 1772 the vast part of Małopolska was added to Austria and, named as Galicia, started to function as the part of the Austrian Empire. Temporarily after the third partition of Poland the area of Lublin was added and Galicia was stretched to Warsaw. As a result of Napoleon wars Austria lost the part of the mentioned territory which was taken by Warsaw Dukedom. After Vienna Congress in 1815 Małopolska was taken again by Austria, however Krakow district being excluded as the territory which was established as a free city being watched by the nearby powers. As a result of failed Krakow Uprising Krakow was added to Austria in 1846. Since then the external borders of Galicia did not changed and internal borders were extended, including the new Krakow district, which was not as big as the remained ones.

In the second part of the 19th century as a result of creating new cities a small correction of county borders were made. In this way several new counties were established and up to 1918 there were no changes in the internal borders.


Q. Describe the MODERN hierarchy of geographical areas used for civil administration:

Bottom layer: civil parishes. 5,000 units.

Next layer: counties. about 80 counties.

Next layer: districts. from 20 to 25 districts.

Next layer: provinces. 13 units.

Q. How long has this system existed?

With various changes it was valid between 1772-1918

Q. Describe earlier administrative geographies:

The earlier administrative division was established in the 16th century.

Q. Can we identify a hierarchy of broadly similar units that exist for all countries?

Galicia’s territorial hierarchy was the same as in all Austria.


Q. When was the first national census of population carried out?

The first census to be successfully completed took place in 1857.

Q. Outline the later history of the census. Have censuses been carried out at regular intervals, and if so with what frequency?

Censuses in Galicia were organised regularly, every 10 years, except the two first ones. They were carried out in 1857, 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910. The first census was not very detailed and the questionnaire contained only a few questions. Next ones, however, were much more expanded and covered various areas such as religion, language, household structure as well as jobs and occupations of all the inhabitants. Unfortunately the original census cards are missing in some of the counties, but the statistic data still can be used.

Q. What are the main geographical units used in published reports? Have these changed over time

The basic administrative units were counties and districts. The data containing information of the civil parishes were hardly ever published. This rule was valid between 1772-1918. The data coming from the cities being the civil parishes at the same time can be regarded as exceptions.

Q. Is there access to more detailed unpublished information? If so, what geographical units do these refer to? Here again, have these units changed over time?

Unpublished pieces of information are accessible to all bigger cities including Lvov and Krakow. They are as accurate as the borders of civil parishes and are accessible for scientific purposes.

Q. What publications describe the history of the census, and of census geographies? Are any available in English?

All Austrian censuses from 1857 to 1910, contain a comprehensive report by the Central Statistical Committee including.

See also:

Zamorski Krzysztof, ‘Informator do dziejów społeczno-gospodarczych Galicji. Ludność Galicji w latach 1857-1910’, Warszawa-Kraków 1989.

Durdik Ch., ‘Bevoelkerungs- und Sozialstatistik in Oesterreich im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert’, in: Beitrage zur Bevoelkerungs- und Sozialgeschichte Oesterrechs, Muenchen 1973.


Q. When was the recording of vital events (births, marriages and deaths) first required by law?

In Poland the duty to conduct a vital registration was introduced by so-called Piotrków ritual from 1621. However, putting it into practice was connected with quite big resistance from the lower clergy, who were not able to understand the need of collecting such detailed data. Finally, the church was deprived of the right to conduct the vital events in 1946.

Q. What organisation was responsible for recording vital events? How has this changed over time?

Very good records of vital events were available in parishes in 18th and 19th century. Most of the records have been saved to the present times in church and state archives. However, using the parishes books of the eastern Galicia is a big problem nowadays , because, after second world war they were spread all over Poland and Ukraine. Apart from the years the recording vital events were carried by the state(censuses) it was clergy who were responsible to keep the data.

Q. What geographical units were used in recording vital events?

Initially parishes under ecclesiastical registration and, from 1857 counties.


Q. What historical taxation records exist for your area?

Catastral Tax Records are available for 1796, 1819, 1855 and later.

Q. What geographical units do these use?



Q. What other major sources exist, and what geographical units do they use?

There are earlier censuses for 18th and 19th centuries available but they were the records aimed at army purposes and hardly ever they cover all population, usually excluding women and children. Also the diocesan records can be used.


Q. When was the first computerised map of administrative units created?

It depends on region, but the several civil parishes change to electronically mapping after reform of the administration in 1990. The GIS maps had all major cities like Kraków or Rzeszów.

Q. What does it show?

Civil parishes, counties and districts.

Q. How easily is it to obtain a copy?



Q. Who was responsible for changing boundaries? How has this changed over time?

The church was responsible for changes in ecclesiastical boundaries. The Ministry of Internal Affairs was responsible for civil boundaries.

Q. Who was responsible for creating a legal record of boundary changes?

Ministry of Internal Affairs was responsible of creation a legal record of boundary changes.

Q. What records have been preserved of boundary changes? Are they published or unpublished? How do they describe the old and new boundaries? How accurately do they give the dates of changes?

On this region changes were very little. There were small modifications of counties boundary in the second half of the 19th century but it is difficult to find the sources which explains and describes old and new boundaries. The most of them give us information on area and how long the border was but without detailed description of the border.

Q. Who was responsible for mapping your area? When was this organisation created?

The Austrian Internal Affairs Ministry was responsible for mapping but its structure was modified several times in 1772-1918.

Q. When did systematic mapping of boundaries begin?

In 1790 at a scale 1:288 000

Q. What maps are available showing boundaries?

There are many maps of Galicia but not all are useful for boundaries reconstruction. I know about 50 maps and atlases (that may contain from 9 to 86 maps) that were the background.

The most interesting are:

  1. Mapa Statystyczna Galicji i Bukowiny, year 1878, 51x49, 10 sheets, scale 1:288000 Carte nouvelle des Royannes de Galizie et Lodomerie avec le District de Bukowina, year 1780, 60x48,5
  2. Charte von Galizien, year 1817, 61x48.
  3. Karte eines Theils von Neu oder West-Gallicien, year 1797, 50x38, 12 sheets, scale 1:185000.
  4. Carte nouvelle des Royaumes de Galizie et Lodomerie avec le District de Bukowine, year 1780-1786, scale 1:950000.
  5. Charte vom Konigreiche Galizien, year 1806, 42x32, Wien
  6. Mapa Galicji, year 1907, scale 1:600 000, Lwów.
  7. Koenigreich Galizien und Lodomierien, year 1790 i 1824, scale 1:288 000, Wien.
  8. Administrativ Karte von den Konigreichen Galizien u. Lodomerien, year 1855, 60 map, scale 1:115 000, Wien
  9. Regna Galiciae et Lodomeriae, year 1790, scale 1:288 000, Vindobone
  10. Atlas des Koennes[?] de Galicie et de Lodomerie, year 1786, scale 1: 700 000 and 10 sheets 1:320 000; Wien.
  11. Mapa Galicyi, Bukowiny i północno-wschodnich Węgier, year 1906, scale 1:750 000, Lwów.
  12. Mapa ziem polskich, year 1915, scale 1:600 000, Cieszyn.
  13. Topographische Karte von Ostgalizien u. Lodomierien, year 1820, 14 sheets, scale 1:144 000, Wien.
  14. Galicja, year 1908-18, scale 1:600 000, Kraków.
  15. Mapa wyznaniowa Galicyi według gmin administracyjnych, year 1901, scale 1:432 000, Lwów.
  16. Mapa Galicyi, year 1918, scale 1:600 000, Lwów.
  17. Atłas statystyczny Królestwa Galicyi i Lodomeryi z wielkiem księstwem krakowskiem, Lwów 1875.
  18. Mapa Galicyi i Bukowiny z Wielkiem Księstwem Krakowskiem, year 1915, scale 1:700 000, Lwów.
  19. Inżyniera Kornmana mapa dróg bitych..., year 1898, scale 1:750 000, Lwów.
  20. Neueste uebersichts-Karte, year 1867, Lemberg.
  21. Mapa językowa i wyznaniowa Galicji, year 1911, Lwów.
  22. Mapa rozsiedlenia ludności polskiej w Galicji, year 1910, scale 1:600 000, Lwów.
  23. Koenigreich Galizien und Lodomerien, year 1824, scale 1:288 000, 33 sheets, Wien.
  24. Ost Galizien, year 1803, scale 1:530 000, 4 sheets, Wien.
  25. Ost Galizien, year 1803, scale 1:550 000, Wien.
  26. Carte von West-Galizien, year 1808, Wien.
  27. General Carte von West-Galizien, year 1809, scale 1:288 000, Wien.
  28. West Galizien, year 1803, 57x45, Wien.
  29. Galicja zachodnia drogi, year 1822, scale 1:450 000.
  30. Karte der Katastral Gemeinden im Westlichen Galizien, year 1855, 68x51, scale 1:149 760
  31. Galicya i Bukowina, year 1876-1884, scale 1:3 850 000

Q. For periods before maps are available, are there descriptions of boundaries in words? Where are they preserved? How easy are they to interpret?



Q. What research projects have gathered information on HISTORICAL boundaries for your area?

History of Galicia in Figures

(J) ASSOCIATED METADATA (Gazetters, etc)

Q. What historical gazetteers are available for your area, in published or unpublished form? How do they indicate the location of the places listed? Do they cover variant forms of names?

There is really big printed dictionary of the geographical names Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i krajów sąsiednich which contains information about geographical position, basical information on language and religion structure. Sometimes we have additional information about agriculture, industry. It contains of course different names of the place especially in Polish and German languages.

Q. Are more specialised geographical thesaurii available?

There are some lists and indexes of the towns and villages for the second half of the 19th century. Those lists were updated several times up to 1918 year.

© Konrad Wnęk (Kraków, May 2000)

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