|War of the Bar Confederation|
The Bar Confederates pray before the Battle of Lanckorona. Painting by Artur Grottger.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Lanckorona: 4,000 troops||Lanckorona: 1,300 troops; 18 cannons |
|Casualties and losses|
The Bar Confederation (Polish : Konfederacja barska; 1768–1772) was an association of Polish nobles (szlachta) formed at the fortress of Bar in Podolia in 1768 to defend the internal and external independence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against Russian influence and against King Stanisław II Augustus with Polish reformers, who were attempting to limit the power of the Commonwealth's wealthy magnates. The founders of the Bar Confederation included the magnates Adam Stanisław Krasiński, Bishop of Kamieniec, Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł, Casimir Pulaski, Moritz Benyowszki and Michał Krasiński. Its creation led to a civil war and contributed to the First Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Some historians consider the Bar Confederation the first Polish uprising.
Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class in the Kingdom of Poland, and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After the Union of Lublin in 1569, the Grand Duchy and its neighbouring Kingdom became a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Around the middle of the 18th century the balance of power in Europe shifted, with Russian victories against the Ottomans in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) strengthening Russia and endangering Habsburg interests in that region (particularly in Moldavia and Wallachia). At that point Habsburg Austria started to consider waging a war against Russia.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774 was an armed conflict that brought Kabardia, the part of the Yedisan between the rivers Bug and Dnieper, and Crimea into the Russian sphere of influence. Though the victories accrued by the Russian Empire were substantial, they gained far less territory than otherwise would be expected. The reason for this was the complex struggle within the European diplomatic system for a balance of power that was acceptable to other European leading states, rather than Russian hegemony. Russia was able to take advantage of the weakened Ottoman Empire, the end of the Seven Years' War, and the withdrawal of France as the continent's primary military power. This left the Russian Empire in a strengthened position to expand its territory but also lose temporary hegemony over the decentralized Poland. The greater Turkish losses were diplomatic in nature seeing its full decline as a threat to Christian Europe, and the beginning of the Eastern Question that would plague the continent until the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.
Moldavia is a historical region and former principality in Central and Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River. An initially independent and later autonomous state, it existed from the 14th century to 1859, when it united with Wallachia as the basis of the modern Romanian state; at various times, Moldavia included the regions of Bessarabia, all of Bukovina and Hertza. The region of Pokuttya was also part of it for a period of time.
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Lower Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians. Wallachia is traditionally divided into two sections, Muntenia and Oltenia. Wallachia as a whole is sometimes referred to as Muntenia through identification with the larger of the two traditional sections.
France, friendly towards both Russia and Austria, suggested a series of territorial adjustments, in which Austria would be compensated by parts of Prussian Silesia, and Prussia in turn would receive Polish Ermland (Warmia) and parts of the Polish fief, Duchy of Courland and Semigallia—already under Baltic German hegemony. King Frederick II of Prussia had no intention of giving up Silesia gained recently in the Silesian Wars; he was, however, also interested in finding a peaceful solution — his alliance with Russia would draw him into a potential war with Austria, and the Seven Years' War had left Prussia's treasury and army weakened. He was also interested in protecting the weakening Ottoman Empire, which could be advantageously utilized in the event of a Prussian war either with Russia or Austria. Frederick's brother, Prince Henry, spent the winter of 1770–71 as a representative of the Prussian court at Saint Petersburg. As Austria had annexed 13 towns in the Hungarian Szepes region in 1769 (violating the Treaty of Lubowla), Catherine II of Russia and her advisor General Ivan Chernyshyov suggested to Henry that Prussia claim some Polish land, such as Ermland. After Henry informed him of the proposal, Frederick suggested a partition of the Polish borderlands by Austria, Prussia, and Russia, with the largest share going to Austria. Thus Frederick attempted to encourage Russia to direct its expansion towards weak and non-functional Poland instead of the Ottomans.
Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.
Warmia is a historical region in northern Poland.
A fief was the central element of feudalism. It consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.
Although for a few decades (since the times of the Silent Sejm) Russia had seen weak Poland as its own protectorate,Poland had also been devastated by a civil war in which the forces of the Bar Confederation attempted to disrupt Russian control over Poland. The recent Koliyivschyna peasant and Cossack uprising in Ukraine also weakened Polish position. Further, the Russian-supported Polish king, Stanisław II Augustus, was seen as both weak and too independent-minded; eventually the Russian court decided that the usefulness of Poland as a protectorate had diminished. The three powers officially justified their actions as a compensation for dealing with troublesome neighbor and restoring order to Polish anarchy (the Bar Confederation provided a convenient excuse); in fact all three were interested in territorial gains.
Silent Sejm is the name given to the session of the Sejm (parliament) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of 1 February 1717 held in Warsaw. A civil war in the Commonwealth was used by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great as an opportunity to intervene as a mediator. It marked the end of Augustus II of Poland's attempts to create an absolute monarchy in Poland, and the beginning of the Russian Empire's increasing influence and control over the Commonwealth.
After Russia occupied the Danubian Principalities, Henry convinced Frederick and Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria that the balance of power would be maintained by a tripartite division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth instead of Russia taking land from the Ottomans. Under pressure from Prussia, which for a long time wanted to annex the northern Polish province of Royal Prussia, the three powers agreed on the First Partition of Poland. This was in light of the possible Austrian-Ottoman alliancewith only token objections from Austria, which would have instead preferred to receive more Ottoman territories in the Balkans, a region which for a long time had been coveted by the Habsburgs. The Russians also withdrew from Moldavia away from the Austrian border.
Danubian Principalities was a conventional name given to the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the early 14th century. The term was coined in the Habsburg Monarchy after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) in order to designate an area on the lower Danube with a common geopolitical situation. The term was largely used then by foreign political circles and public opinion until the union of the two Principalities (1859). Alongside Transylvania, the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became the basis for the Kingdom of Romania, and by extension the modern Romanian nation-state.
Royal Prussia or Polish Prussia was a region of the Kingdom of Poland from 1466 to 1772.
The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.
In the early 18th century the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had declined from the status of a major European power to that of a Russian protectorate (or vassal or satellite state), with the Russian tsar effectively choosing Polish–Lithuanian monarchs during the "free" elections and deciding the direction of much of Poland's internal politics, for example during the Repnin Sejm (1767-1768), named after the Russian ambassador who unofficially presided over the proceedings.
A protectorate, in its inception adopted by modern international law, is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy and some independence while still retaining the suzerainty of a greater sovereign state. In exchange for this, the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations, which may vary greatly, depending on the real nature of their relationship. Therefore, a protectorate remains an autonomous part of a sovereign state. They are different from colonies as they have local rulers and people ruling over the territory and experience rare cases of immigration of settlers from the country it has suzerainty of. However, a state which remains under the protection of another state but still retains independence is known as a protected state and is different from protectorates.
A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies.
A satellite state is a country that is formally independent in the world, but under heavy political, economic and military influence or control from another country. The term was coined by analogy to planetary objects orbiting a larger object, such as smaller moons revolving around larger planets, and is used mainly to refer to Central and Eastern European countries of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War or to Mongolia or Tannu Tuva between 1924 and 1990, for example. As used for Central and Eastern European countries it implies that the countries in question were "satellites" under the hegemony of the Soviet Union. In some contexts it also refers to other countries in the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War—such as North Korea and Cuba. In Western usage, the term has seldom been applied to states other than those in the Soviet orbit. In Soviet usage, the term applied to the states in the orbit of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.
In 1767-1768, Russian forces forced the Polish parliament (Sejm) to pass resolutions they demanded. Many of the conservative nobility felt anger at that foreign interference, at the perceived weakness of the presiding government under king Stanisław II Augustus (reigned 1764-1795), and at the provisions, particularly the ones that empowered non-Catholics, and at other reforms which they saw as threatening the Golden Freedoms of the Polish nobility.In response to that, and particularly after Russian troops arrested and exiled several vocal opponents (namely bishop of Kiev Józef Andrzej Załuski, bishop of Cracow Kajetan Sołtyk, and Field Crown Hetman Wacław Rzewuski with his son Seweryn), Polish magnates Adam Krasiński, Bishop of Kamieniec, Casimir Pulaski and Michał Krasiński and their allies decided to form a confederatio - a legal military association opposing the government in accordance with Polish constitutional traditions. The articles of the confederation were signed on 29 February 1768 at the fortress of Bar in Podolia. Some of the instigators of the confederation included Adam Stanisław Krasiński, Michał Hieronim Krasiński, Kajetan Sołtyk, Wacław Rzewuski, Michał Jan Pac, Jerzy August Mniszech, Joachim Potocki and Teodor Wessel. Priest Marek Jandołowicz was a notable religious leader, and Michał Wielhorski the Confederation's political ideologue.
The confederation, encouraged and aided by France, declared a war on Russia.Its irregular forces, formed from volunteers, magnate militias and deserters from the royal army, soon clashed with the Russian troops and units loyal to the Polish crown. Confederation forces under Michał Jan Pac and Prince Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł roamed the land in every direction, won several engagements with the Russians, and at last, utterly ignoring the King, sent envoys on their own account to the principal European powers.
King Stanisław Augustus was at first inclined to mediate between the Confederates and Russia, the latter represented by the Russian envoy to Warsaw, Prince Nikolai Repnin; but finding this impossible, he sent a force against them under Grand Hetman Franciszek Ksawery Branicki and two generals against the confederates. This marked the Ukrainian campaign, which lasted from April till June 1768, and was ended with the capture of Bar on 20 June.Confederation forces retreated to Moldavia. There was also a pro-Confederation force in Lesser Poland, that operated from June till August, that ended with the royal forces securing Kraków on 22 August, followed by a period of conflict in Belarus (August–October), that ended with the surrender of Nesvizh on 26 October. However, the simultaneous outbreak of the Koliyivschyna in Ukraine (May 1768–June 1769) kept the Confederation alive. The Confederates appealed for help from abroad and contributed to bringing about war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) that began in September). The retreat of some Russian forces needed on the Ottoman front bolstered the confederates, who reappeared in force in Lesser Poland and Great Poland by 1769. In 1770 the Council of Bar Confederation transferred from its original seat in Silesia to Hungary, whence it conducted diplomatic negotiations with France, Austria and Turkey with a view to forming a league against Russia. The council proclaimed the king dethroned on 22 October 1770. The court of Versailles sent Charles François Dumouriez to act as an aid to the Confederates, and he helped them to organize their forces. The Confederates also began to operate in Lithuania, although after early successes that direction too met with failures, with defeats at Białystok on 16 July and Orzechowo on 13 September 1769. Early 1770 saw the defeats of confederates in Greater Poland, after the battle of Dobra (20 January) and Błonie (12 February), which forced them into a mostly defensive, passive stance.
In the meantime, taking advantage of the confusion in Poland, already by 1769—71, both Austria and Prussia had taken over some border territories of the Commonwealth, with Austria taking Szepes County in 1769-1770 and Prussia incorporating Lauenburg and Bütow.On 19 February 1772, the agreement of partition was signed in Vienna. A previous agreement between Prussia and Russia had been made in Saint Petersburg on 6 February 1772. Early in August Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops simultaneously entered the Commonwealth and occupied the provinces agreed upon among themselves. On 5 August, the three parties signed the treaty on their respective territorial gains on the Commonwealth's expense.
An attempt of Bar Confederates (including Casimir Pulaski) to kidnap king Stanisław II Augustus on 3 November 1771 led the Habsburgs to withdraw their support from the confederates, expelling them from their territories. It also gave the three courts another pretext to showcase the "Polish anarchy" and the need for its neighbors to step in and "save" the country and its citizens.
The king thereupon reverted to the Russian faction, and for this act targeting their king, the Confederation lost much of the support it had in Europe.Nevertheless, its army, thoroughly reorganized by Dumouriez, maintained the fight. 1771 brought further defeats, with the defeat at Lanckorona on 21 May and Stałowicze at 23 October. The final battle of this war was the siege of Jasna Góra, which fell on 13 August 1772. The regiments of the Bar Confederation, whose executive board had been forced to leave Austria (which previously supported them) after that country joined the Prusso-Russian alliance, did not lay down their arms. Many fortresses in their command held out as long as possible; Wawel Castle in Kraków fell only on 28 April; Tyniec fortress held until 13 July 1772; Częstochowa, commanded by Casimir Pulaski, held until 18 August. Overall, around 100,000 nobles fought 500 engagements between 1768 and 1772. Perhaps the last stronghold of the confederates was in the monastery in Zagórz, which fell only on 28 November 1772. In the end, the Bar Confederation was defeated, with its members either fleeing abroad or being deported to Siberia by the Russians.
Bar Confederates taken as prisoners by the Russians, together with their families, formed the first major group of Poles exiled to Siberia.It is estimated that about 5,000 former confederates were sent there. Russians organized 3 concentration camps in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth for Polish captives, where these concentrated persons have been waiting for their deportation there.
Until the times of the Bar Confederation, confederates – especially operating with the aid of outside forces – were seen as unpatriotic antagonists.But in 1770, during the times that the Russian Army marched through the theoretically independent Commonwealth, and foreign powers forced the Sejm to agree to the First Partition of Poland, the confederates started to create an image of Polish exiled soldiers, the last of those who remained true to their Motherland, an image that would in the next two centuries lead to the creation of Polish Legions and other forces in exile.
The Confederation has generated varying assessments from the historians. While none deny its patriotic desire to rid the Commonwealth from the outside (primarily Russian) influence, some such as Jacek Jędruch, criticize it for its regressive stand on the civil rights issues, primarily with regards to the religious tolerance (Jędruch writes of "religious bigotry", "narrowly Catholic" stand) and assert it contributed to the First Partitionwhile others such as Bohdan Urbankowski applaud it as the first serious national military effort trying to restore Polish independence.
The Bar Confederation has been described as the first Polish uprising, KONFEDERACJA BARSKA 29 II 1768 – 18 VII 1772”.and the last mass movement of szlachta. It also is commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription "
The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by Habsburg Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.
Michael I was the ruler of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from September 29, 1669 until his death in 1673. Michael's reign was marked by struggles between the pro-Habsburg and pro-French political factions.
Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron was a Polish nobleman, soldier and military commander who has been called, together with his counterpart Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, "the father of the American cavalry".
Stanisław II Augustus, who reigned as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, was the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He remains a controversial figure in Polish history. Recognized as a great patron of the arts and sciences and an initiator and firm supporter of progressive reforms, he is also remembered as the King of the Commonwealth whose election was marred by Russian intervention. He is criticized primarily for his failure to stand against the partitions, and thus to prevent the destruction of the Polish state.
The Polish–Russian War of 1792 was fought between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth on one side, and the Targowica Confederation and the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great on the other.
The Constitution of 3 May 1791 was adopted by the Great Sejm (parliament) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a dual monarchy comprising the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Drafted over 32 months beginning on 6 October 1788, and formally adopted as the Government Act, the legislation was designed to redress the Commonwealth's political defects. The system of Golden Freedoms, also known as the "Nobles' Democracy," had conferred disproportionate rights on the nobility (szlachta) and over time had corrupted politics. The adoption of the Constitution was preceded by a period of agitation for—and gradual introduction of—reforms beginning with the Convocation Sejm of 1764 and the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski as the Commonwealth's last king.
Tadeusz Reytan was a nobleman from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He was a member of the Polish Sejm from the constituency of Nowogródek. Rejtan is remembered for a dramatic gesture he made in September 1773, as a deputy of the Partition Sejm. There, Rejtan tried to prevent the legalization of the first partition of Poland, a scene that has been immortalized in the painting Rejtan by Jan Matejko. He has been the subject of many other art works, and is a symbol of patriotism in Belarus and Poland. Despite his efforts, the partition of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was legalized soon afterwards.
A konfederacja was an ad hoc association formed by Polish-Lithuanian szlachta (nobility), clergy, cities, or military forces in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for the attainment of stated aims. A konfederacja often took the form of an armed rebellion aimed at redressing perceived abuses or trespasses of some authority. Such "confederations" acted in lieu of state authority or to force their demands upon that authority. They could be seen as a primary expression of direct democracy and right of revolution in the Commonwealth, and as a way for the nobles to act on their grievances and against the state's central authority.
The 1793 Second Partition of Poland was the second of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by 1795. The second partition occurred in the aftermath of the Polish–Russian War of 1792 and the Targowica Confederation of 1792, and was approved by its territorial beneficiaries, the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. The division was ratified by the coerced Polish parliament (Sejm) in 1793 in a short-lived attempt to prevent the inevitable complete annexation of Poland, the Third Partition.
Prince Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł was a Polish nobleman, politician, diplomat, prince of the Crown Kingdom of Poland and the Commonwealth, statesman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Voivode of Vilnius, governor of Lwów and Sejm Marshal between 1767 and 1768. He is frequently referred to by his well-known idiolect "Panie Kochanku" to distinguish him from his earlier namesake.
The Targowica Confederation was a confederation established by Polish and Lithuanian magnates on 27 April 1792, in Saint Petersburg, with the backing of the Russian Empress Catherine II. The confederation opposed the Constitution of 3 May 1791, which had been adopted by the Great Sejm, especially the provisions limiting the privileges of the nobility. The text of the founding act of the confederation was drafted by the Russian general Vasili Stepanovich Popov, Chief of Staff of Prince Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin. Its purpose was proclaimed in the small town of Targowica and the Potocki's estate on May 14, 1792. Four days later two Russian armies invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth without a formal declaration of war.
Radom Confederation was a konfederacja of nobility (szlachta) in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed in Radom on 23 June 1767 to prevent reforms and defend the Golden Liberties. It was formed by Russian envoy to Poland Nicholas Repnin and backed by the Russian Imperial Army as a response of Catholic nobility to the earlier Protestant confederations of Slutzk and Toruń, approximately 74,000 nobles declared their support for Radom Confederation.
The Partition Sejm was a Sejm lasting from 1773 to 1775 in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, convened by its three neighbours in order to legalize their First Partition of Poland. During its first days in session, that Sejm was the site of Tadeusz Rejtan's famous gesture of protest against Partition. The Sejm also passed other legislation, notably establishing the Permanent Council and the Commission of National Education. Cardinal Laws were confirmed.
Lanckorona is a village located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-west of Kraków in Lesser Poland. It lies on the Skawinka river, among the hills of the Beskids, 545 m (1,788 ft) above sea level. It is known for the Lanckorona Castle, today in ruins. Lanckorona is also known for the Battle of the Bar Confederation that took place at the Lanckorona Castle and within a 4 km (2 mi) range south of the town borders on 22 February 1771. In recent years, Lanckorona has become a tourist attraction for the well preserved 19th century wooden houses in its centre. The township of Lanckorona was established by Casimir III the Great in 1336, to protect the road to Kraków, following the creation of new regional borders following the homage given by Mieszko I, Duke of Cieszyn to Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1291. Lanckorona lost its town rights on 13 July 1933 as its population declined.
Adam Stanisław Krasiński (1714–1800) was a Polish noble of Ślepowron coat of arms, bishop of Kamieniec (1757–1798), Great Crown Secretary, president of the Crown Tribunal in 1759 and one of the leaders of Bar Confederation (1768–1772).
The Cardinal Laws were a quasi-constitution enacted in Warsaw, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, by the Repnin Sejm of 1767–68. Enshrining most of the conservative laws responsible for the inefficient functioning of the Commonwealth, and passed under foreign duress, they have been seen rather negatively by the historians.
Józef Pułaski of the house of Ślepowron was a Polish noble, starost of Warka, deputy to Sejm, one of the creators and members of the Konfederacja barska.
The First Partition of Poland took place in 1772 as the first of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by 1795. Growth in the Russian Empire's power, threatening the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Monarchy, was the primary motive behind this first partition. Frederick the Great engineered the partition to prevent Austria, jealous of Russian successes against the Ottoman Empire, from going to war. The weakened Commonwealth's land, including what was already controlled by Russia, was apportioned among its more powerful neighbors—Austria, Russia and Prussia—so as to restore the regional balance of power in Central Europe among those three countries. With Poland unable to effectively defend itself, and with foreign troops already inside the country, the Polish parliament (Sejm) ratified the partition in 1773 during the Partition Sejm convened by the three powers.
The early modern era of Polish history follows the late Middle Ages. Historians use the term early modern to refer to the period beginning in approximately 1500 AD and lasting until around 1800.
Its activities precipitated a civil war, foreign intervention, and the First Partition of Poland.