The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów, Lithuanian: Abiejų Tautų Respublika) was a dual state consisting of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was established by the Union of Lublin in 1569, although the Crowns of Poland and Lithuania had already been united since 1386. It was one of the strongest, most populous states of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but fell in decline during the eighteenth century. Ultimately, the three rising powers of Austria, Prussia and Russia orchestrated the Partitions of Poland-Lithuania between 1772 and 1795, effectively erasing the state from the map.
The royal banner of Poland-Lithuania consisted of a triple-tailed red-white-red horizontal tricolour with the coat of arms offset slightly towards the hoist and surrounded by the Order of the Gold Fleece. The coat of arms showed the quartered arms of Poland (eagle) and Lithuania (knight) and often had the emblem of the House of Vasa in its centre. The Order of the Gold Fleece was awarded to Sigismund III, who ruled Poland-Lithuania from 1587 to 1632. The banner was used as early as 1605, during the wedding procession of Sigismund III.