This article is about a voivodeship in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. For the 20th-century voivodeship, see Wilno Voivodeship (1923–1939)
The Vilnius Voivodeship (Latin: Palatinatus Vilnensis, Lithuanian: Vilniaus vaivadija, Polish: województwo wileńskie) was one of voivodeships in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, created in 1413, from the Duchy of Lithuania and neighbouring lands.
Geography and administrative division 
Geographically the area was centered around the city of Vilnius, which has always been the capital of the entity and the seat of a voivode. However, the actual territory of the voivodeship varied over time. Together with the Trakai Voivodeship it was known as Lithuania propria. Until the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth the voivodeship was composed of five smaller units of administrative division named powiat (in Lithuanian: plural - pavietai, singular - pavietas), similar to British counties:
In 1413 the Union of Horodło introduced the title of voivode to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Before the reform, the area, centered around Vilnius, was known as the Duchy of Lithuania or sometimes as the Duchy of Vilnius. Vilnius Voivodeship became the capital voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
After the Union of Lublin in 1569 which formed the Commonwealth, Grand Duchy retained much of its autonomy, and Vilnius Voivodeship remained its capital voivodeship, just as Vilnius remained its capital city, although the capital of the Commonwealth was first in Kraków (Kraków Voivodeship) and later in Warsaw (Masovian Voivodeship). In 1793, voivodeships of Brasław and Merecz (Merecz was really part of Vinius, but considered nominally part of Smolensk) were created from northern part of it. Brasław Voivodeship consisted from Brasław, Vilkmergė and Onikszty counties and Merecz one conisisted from Merecz, Preny and Ejszyszki ones.
After the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the territory of Vilnius Voivodeship was incorporated into the Russian Empire, most of the territory becoming a part of Vilna Governorate. Northern part of it was passed to Kovno Governorate in 1843. After World War I former Vilnius Voivodeship was divided between Lithuania and Poland. After World War II, Soviet Union transferred most of Polish portion of the former voivodeship to Belarus SSR.
Vilnius Voivodeship (red) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
See also