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Suwałki county (Poland)

Powiat suwalski, Podlaskie voivodship

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
Keywords: suwalki |
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[Suwałki county flag] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 17 Dec 2008
adopted 26 Feb 2003 Gminy (districts) in Suwałki county:
  • Bakałarzewo
  • Filipów
  • Jeleniewo
  • Przerośl
  • Raczki
  • Rutka-Tartak
  • Suwałki
  • Szypliszki
  • Wiżajny
See also:

Suwałki county flag

Suwałki County, Podlaskie Voivodship - Lithuanian name: Suvalkai.

Suwałki County (Polish: powiat suwalski) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Podlaskie Voivodeship, north-eastern Poland, on the Lithuanian border. It was created on January 1, 1999 as a result of the Local Government Reorganization Act of 1998. Its administrative seat is the city of Suwałki, although the city is not part of the county (it constitutes a separate city county). In fact there are no towns within the county.
Area: 1,307.31 sq.km (504.8 sq.mi); Population: 35,136 (2006).

Originally the territory named Suwałki Region was inhabited Yotvingian (Sudovian) Prusian tribes. After 1815 the Suwałki Region was part of Congress Poland, in turn a part of the Russian Empire. The Suwałki Governorate was, according to a Russian census conducted during the 1880s, about 58% Lithuanian.
In the wake of World War I, both countries were established as independent states, but their borders were contested. In 1918 the Suwałki Region was claimed by re-established independent Lithuania based on cultural heritage and later 1920 peace treaty with Soviet Russia, but Poland officially insisted on dividing the area along the ethnic lines.
In the aftermath the Suwałki Region was left on the Polish side of the border, with a Lithuanian majority in the countryside around the Polish-dominated cities of Sejny and Puńsk in the northeastern part of the region.

Most of the area was briefly controlled by the Lithuanian forces in 1919, and again in 1920 during the Polish-Bolshevik War. In 1920, however, Marshal Ferdinand Foch proposed that the Suvalkai Region be granted to Poland. The proposal was accepted by the Paris Peace Conference and after the Polish-Lithuanian War, the Lithuanian forces withdrew from the Suwałki Region and it became a part of Poland.

Despite the fact that a part of the disputed area was never under Lithuanian control, the Lithuanian authorities claimed that it consisted of three counties, that were illegally occupied by Poland. These included the Augustavo Apskritis based in the town of Augustów, Suvalky Apskritis formed around the city of Suwałki and Seiny Apskritis centered around the town of Sejny. The aforementioned units were roughly correspondent to the actual administrative division of the area into powiats of Augustów, Suwałki and Sejny of the Białystok Voivodship of Poland, respectively.
The region was the least economically developed part of Poland in the interwar period.

The Suwałki Region was invaded by the Soviets in September 1939 but transferred to Germans according to Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and annexed to East Prussia. (Südostpreussen - Sudauen)
After World War II the Suwałki Region was returned to Poland.
Currently there are no territorial disputes over the region.

According to the Polish census of 2002 there were 5,846 Lithuanians living in Poland, with a large part of them inhabiting Suwałki Region.There are Lithuanian schools and cultural societies present in the area and the Lithuanian language is spoken in the offices in the commune of Puńsk.
There is also the Lithuanian Consulate open in Sejny.

Arms and flag adopted on February 26, 2003 (resolution # V/31/03).
"Arms: on a golden, Spanish-style shield three green hilltops with a spruce tree on the middle one.
In the background there are three wavy blue ribbons symbolizing the rivers of the commune: Raspuda, Czarna Hańcza and Marycha.
The Arms are modeled on those of the Suwałki Governorate from the times of the Congress Kingdom of Poland.

Flag: red piece of cloth in the ratio 1:2 ending in a triangle equal to half of the length of the red piece and rounded at the bottom at 1/8 of the circle which diameter equals the height of the red piece.
The red field bears the Arms, of which height is 6/10 of the height of the red piece.
Three sides of the red piece have a white border band which has a width of 1/10 of the height of the piece.
This vexillium corresponds in shape and form to the 17th century standards of the Polish Lands."
Jens Pattke, 3 Dec 2005


Suwałki county Coat of Arms

[Suwałki county Coat of Arms] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 17 Dec 2008
adopted 26 Feb 2003