Mazovia (Polish: Mazowsze) is a historical region (dzielnica) in mid-north-eastern Poland. The borders of the Mazovian Voivodeship, which was created in 1999, do not reflect exactly its original shape (they do not include the historically Mazovian Łomża and Łowicz, meanwhile include the Lesser Polish Radom and Siedlce), but are roughly similar. Historical Mazovia existed from the Middle Ages until the partitions of Poland and consisted of three voivodeships with the capitals in Warszawa, Płock and Rawa Mazowiecka. In a narrower sense, the Mazovian Voivodeship was only the first of them (which however encompassed most of the region, only without the western lands). Between 1816 and 1844, another Mazovian Voivodeship (from 1837, Governorate) existed, encompassing the south of the region (along with Łęczyca Land and south-eastern Kujawy). In the Middle Ages, the main city of the region was Płock, but in the Early Modern Times it lost importance in favour of Warsaw. From 1138, Mazovia was governed by a separate branch of the Piast dynasty and when the last ruler of the independent Duchy of Mazovia died out, it was incorporated to the Polish Crown as late as in the 15th and 16th centuries. As much as over 20% of Mazovian population was the yeomanry (drobna szlachta). The inhabitants of Mazovia are the Mazurzy (in the singular: Mazur) – who as Protestants took refuge in neighboring Prussia in the later so-called region of Masuria.
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