From small beginnings as a periphery on the edge of Christendom in the 11th Century, Poland rose to become a major component of European politics by the High Middle Ages. Lithuania took much the same path and was by by the largest centralised state in Europe during the Late Middle Ages and early renaissance. The final unification of the two powers in 1569 brought their nations to new heights, and allowed them to take on powers such as Russia, Sweden and the Ottomans. Although initially successful, these wars eventually became the Commonwealth’s downfall, as it lost large swaths of territory in the north and east to Sweden and Russia, respectively. The Commonwealth came to an end in 1795 after three separate partitions. Both Poland and Lithuania endured the 19th Century without any real state of their own, until after the First World War when they both gained independence. After a short occupation during the Second World War by Germany and the USSR, Poland became part of the Eastern Bloc, whilst Lithuania was a state within the USSR. They remain in this stte until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, after which they’ve both been free, independent nations.
Poland-Lithuania controlled a few minor colonies indirectly via their vassal of Courland during the 17th Century
The Napoleonic State known as the Duchy of Warsaw existed between 1808 and 1813
Minor changes as a result of the many wars fought between Poland-Lithuania and Russia
Some parts of Poland were German protectorates durign the Second World War
Between 1945 and 1991, Lithuania was a Socialist Republic within the USSR