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This agreement was one of the signal achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty.
Sigismund believed he could preserve his dynasty by adopting elective monarchy.
The First Partition of Poland in 1772 and the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 greatly reduced the state's size and the Commonwealth collapsed as an independent state following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
The Union possessed many features unique among contemporary states.
Poland and Lithuania were not re-established as independent countries until 1918.
The political doctrine of the Commonwealth was our state is a republic under the presidency of the King.
The country was partitioned in three stages by the neighboring Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Habsburg Monarchy.
These checks were enacted by a legislature (sejm) controlled by the nobility (szlachta).
Poland and Lithuania underwent an alternating series of wars and alliances during the 14th century and early 15th century.
Several agreements between the two (the Union of Kraków and Vilna, the Union of Krewo, the Union of Wilno and Radom, the Union of Grodno, and the Union of Horodło) were struck before the permanent 1569 Union of Lublin.
The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against Sweden, the Tsardom of Russia, and vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and even launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors.
In several invasions during the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops entered Russia and managed to take Moscow and hold it from 27 September 1610 to 4 November 1612, when they were driven out after a siege.