The First Constitution in Europe ‒ Video Explainer
In 1791, Poland adopted a governmental act known as the Constitution of 3rd May. Called by Irish statesman Edmund Burke ‘the noblest benefit received by any nation at any time’, the act included some radical reforms, and was designed to address the Commonwealth’s political ailings, but came as too little and too late.
Still, the document became the world's second-oldest codified national constitution (after the US Constitution of 1789) and the first constitution in Europe. The Polish document remained in force for less than 19 months though. Only a couple years later the country was dissolved altogether, making it a historical event without precedent.
Discover 15 Historical Quirks That Make Poland So Different from the Rest of Europe
history of Poland
Constitution of 3rd May