Duchy of Warsaw

Last updated
Duchy of Warsaw

Księstwo Warszawskie
Duché de Varsovie
Herzogtum Warschau
1807–1815
Duchy of Warsaw (1812).svg
The Duchy of Warsaw in 1812
Status Client state of the French Empire,
Personal union with the Kingdom of Saxony
Capital Warsaw
Common languages Polish, German, French
Religion
Roman Catholic
Government Constitutional monarchy
Duke  
 1807–1815
Frederick Augustus I
Prime Minister  
 1807
Stanisław Małachowski
 1807–1808
Ludwik Szymon Gutakowski
 1808–1809
Józef Poniatowski
 1809–1815
Stanisław Kostka Potocki
Legislature Sejm
Senate
Chamber of Deputies
Historical era Napoleonic Wars
9 June 1807
22 July 1807
19 April 1809
14 October 1809
24 June 1812
9 June 1815
Area
1807103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi)
1809155,000 km2 (60,000 sq mi)
Population
 1807
2,600,000
 1809
4,300,000
ISO 3166 code PL
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg New East Prussia
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg South Prussia
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg New Silesia
Flag galicia to1849.svg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
Blank.png Netze District
Congress Poland Military ensign of Vistula Flotilla of Congress Poland.svg
Grand Duchy of Posen Flagge Preussen - Provinz Posen (1815).svg
Free City of Kraków Flag of Krakow.svg
Today part ofFlag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland

The Duchy of Warsaw (Polish : Księstwo Warszawskie, French : Duché de Varsovie, German : Herzogtum Warschau) was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered the central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania and Belarus.

Contents

History

The area of the duchy had already been liberated by a popular uprising that had escalated from anti-conscription rioting in 1806. One of the first tasks for the new government included providing food to the French army fighting the Russians in East Prussia.

The Duchy of Warsaw was officially created by French Emperor Napoleon I, as part of the Treaty of Tilsit with Prussia. Its creation met the support of both local republicans in partitioned Poland, and the large Polish diaspora in France, who openly supported Napoleon as the only man capable of restoring Polish sovereignty after the Partitions of Poland of late 18th century. However it was created as a satellite state (and was only a duchy, rather than a kingdom).

Prince Jozef Poniatowski, Commander in Chief of the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, by Josef Grassi Prince Joseph Poniatowski by Jozef Grassi.jpg
Prince Józef Poniatowski, Commander in Chief of the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, by Josef Grassi

The newly recreated state was formally an independent duchy, allied to France, and in a personal union with the Kingdom of Saxony. King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony was compelled by Napoleon to make his new realm a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament (the Sejm of the Duchy of Warsaw). However, the duchy was never allowed to develop as a truly independent state; Frederick Augustus' rule was subordinated to the requirements of the French raison d'état , who largely treated the state as a source of resources. The most important person in the duchy was, in fact, the French ambassador,[ citation needed ] based in the duchy's capital, Warsaw. Significantly, the duchy lacked its own diplomatic representation abroad. [1]

In 1809, a short war with Austria started. Although the Duchy of Warsaw won the Battle of Raszyn, Austrian troops entered Warsaw, but Duchy and French forces then outflanked their enemy and captured Kraków, Lwów and some of the areas annexed by Austria in the Partitions of Poland. During the war the German colonists settled by Prussia during Partitions openly rose up against Polish government. [2] After the Battle of Wagram, the ensuing Treaty of Schönbrunn allowed for a significant expansion of the Duchy's territory southwards with the regaining of once-Polish and Lithuanian lands.

Napoleon's campaign against Russia

As a result of Napoleon's campaign in 1812 against Russia, the Poles expected that the Duchy would be upgraded to the status of a Kingdom and that during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, they would be joined by the liberated territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Poland's historic partner in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, Napoleon did not want to make a permanent decision that would tie his hands before his anticipated peace settlement with Russia. Nevertheless, he proclaimed the attack on Russia as a second Polish war.

That peace settlement was not to be, however. Napoleon's Grande Armée , including a substantial contingent of Polish troops, set out with the purpose of bringing the Russian Empire to its knees, but his military ambitions were frustrated by his failure to supply the army in Russia and Russia's refusal to surrender after the capture of Moscow; few returned from the march back. The failed campaign against Russia proved to be a major turning point in Napoleon's fortunes.

Polish uhlans from the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1815. Painting by January Suchodolski Ulani Ksiestwa Warszawskiego.JPG
Polish uhlans from the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1807–1815. Painting by January Suchodolski

After Napoleon's defeat in the east, most of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw was retaken by Russia in January 1813 during their advance on France and its allies. The rest of the Duchy was restored to Prussia. Although several isolated fortresses held out for more than a year, the existence of the state in anything but name came to an end. Alexander I of Russia created a Provisional Highest Council of the Duchy of Warsaw to govern the area through his generals.

The Congress of Vienna, and the Fourth Partition

Although many European states and ex-rulers were represented at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the decision-making was largely in the hands of the major powers. It was perhaps inevitable, therefore, that both Prussia and Russia would effectively partition Poland between them; Austria was to more-or-less retain its gains of the First Partition of 1772.

Russia demanded to gain all territories of Duchy of Warsaw. It kept all its gains from the three previous partitions, together with Białystok and the surrounding territory that it had obtained in 1807. Its demands for the whole Duchy of Warsaw were denied by other European powers.

Prussia regained territory it had first gained in the First Partition but had had to give up to the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807. It also regained as the "Grand Duchy of Posen" (i.e., Poznań) some of the territory it had conquered in the Second Partition and had again had to give up in 1807. This territory formed an area approximately 29,000 km² in size.

The city of Kraków and some surrounding territory, previously part of the Duchy of Warsaw, were established as a semi-independent Free City of Kraków, under the "protection" of its three powerful neighbors. The city's territory measured some 1164 km², and had a population of about 88,000 people. The city was eventually annexed by Austria in 1846.

Finally, the bulk of the former Duchy of Warsaw, measuring some 128,000 km in area, was re-established as what is commonly referred to as the "Congress Kingdom" of Poland, in personal union with the Russian Empire. De facto a Russian puppet state it maintained its separate status only until 1831 when it was effectively annexed to the Russian Empire.

Government and politics

Constitution

The Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw could be considered liberal for its time. It provided for a bicameral Sejm consisting of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. A Council of Ministers functioned as the executive body of the Duchy. Serfdom was abolished and all classes were to be equal before the law. While Roman Catholicism was the state religion, religious tolerance was also guaranteed by the constitution.

Administrative divisions

The administrative divisions of Duchy of Warsaw were based on departments, each headed by a prefect. This organization was based on the French model, as the entire Duchy was in fact created by Napoleon and based on French ideas, although departments were divided into Polish powiats (counties).

There were 6 initial departments, after 1809 (after Napoleon's defeat of the Austrians and the Treaty of Schönbrunn) increased to 10 (as the Duchy territory increased). Each department was named after its capital city.

Map of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1809 Duchy of Warsaw 1807-1809.PNG
Map of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1807–1809

In January 1807:

The above 6 departments were divided into 60 powiats.

Map of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1809-1815 Duchy of Warsaw 1809-1815.PNG
Map of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1809–1815

Added in 1809:

Napoleon conferring the Constitution in 1807 Nap1807.JPG
Napoleon conferring the Constitution in 1807

Military

The duchy's armed forces were completely under French control via its war minister, Prince Józef Poniatowski, who was also a Marshal of France. In fact, the duchy was heavily militarized, bordered as it was by Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and Russia, and it was to be a significant source for troops in various campaigns of Napoleon.

The duchy's army was of a considerable size when compared to the duchy's number of inhabitants. Initially consisting of 30,000 of regular soldiers (made up of both cavalry and infantry), [3] its numbers were to rise to over 60,000 in 1810, and by the time of Napoleon's campaign in Russia in 1812, its army totaled almost 120,000 troops (out of a total population of some 4.3 million people).

Economy

The heavy drain on its resources by forced military recruitment, combined with a drop in exports of grain, caused significant problems for the duchy's economy. To make matters worse, in 1808 the French Empire imposed on the duchy an agreement at Bayonne to buy from France the debts owed to it by Prussia. [4] The debt, amounting to more than 43 million francs in gold, was bought at a discounted rate of 21 million francs. [4] However, although the duchy made its payments in installments to France over a four-year period, Prussia was unable to pay it (due to a very large indemnity it owed to France), causing the Polish economy to suffer heavily. Indeed, to this day the phrase "sum of Bayonne" is a synonym in Polish for a huge amount of money. [4] All these problems resulted in both inflation and over-taxation.

To counter the threat of bankruptcy, the authorities intensified the development and modernization of agriculture. Also, a protectionist policy was introduced to protect industry.

Geography and demographics

According to the Treaties of Tilsit, the area of the duchy covered roughly the areas of the 2nd and 3rd Prussian partitions, with the exception of Danzig (Gdańsk), which became the Free City of Danzig under joint French and Saxon "protection", and of the district around Białystok, which became part of Russia. The Prussian territory was made up of territory from the former Prussian provinces of New East Prussia, Southern Prussia, New Silesia, and West Prussia. In addition, the new state was given the area along the Noteć river and the Land of Chełmno.

Altogether, the duchy had an initial area of around 104,000 km², with a population of approximately 2,600,000. The bulk of its inhabitants were Poles.

Following the annexation in 1809 of parts of Austrian Galicia and the areas of Zamość and Kraków, the duchy's area increased significantly, to around 155,000 km², and the population also substantially increased, to roughly 4,300,000.

According to the 1810 census, the duchy had a population of 4,334,000, of whom a clear majority were ethnic Poles, Jews constituted 7% of the inhabitants (perhaps an underestimation), Germans - 6%, Lithuanians and Ruthenians - 4%. [5]

Legacy

Superficially, the Duchy of Warsaw was just one of various states set up during Napoleon's dominance over the European continent, lasting only a few years and passing with his fall. However, its establishment a little over a decade after the Second and Third Partitions had appeared to wipe Poland off the map meant that Poles had their hopes rekindled of a resurrected Polish state. Even with Napoleon's defeat a Polish state continued in some form until the increasingly autocratic Russian state eliminated Poland once again as a separate entity. Altogether, this meant that an identifiable Polish state was in existence for at least a quarter of a century.

At the 200th anniversary of the creation of this iteration of the Polish state, numerous commemorative events dedicated to that event were held in the Polish capital of Warsaw. In addition the Polish Ministry of Defense asked the honor of holding a joint parade of Polish and French soldiers to which President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed. [6]

The lyrics of modern Poland's national anthem refers to Napoleon's client state:

We'll cross the Vistula, we'll cross the Warta,
We shall be Polish.
Bonaparte has given us the example
Of how we should prevail.
 

See also

Related Research Articles

Partitions of Poland Forced partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

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.

Frederick Augustus I of Saxony King of Saxony

Frederick Augustus I was a member of the House of Wettin who reigned as Elector of Saxony from 1763 to 1806 and as King of Saxony from 1806 to 1827. He also served as Duke of Warsaw from 1807 to 1813.

New East Prussia

New East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1795 to 1807. It was created out of territory annexed in the Third Partition of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and included parts of Masovia, Podlaskie, Trakai voivodeship and Žemaitija. In 1806 it had 914,610 inhabitants with a territory of less than 55,000 km², mainly Poles, Lithuanians, Jews and Belarusians.

South Prussia

South Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807.

Treaties of Tilsit peace treaties between Napoleonic France and (a) Russia and (b) Prussia

The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.

New Silesia

New Silesia was a small province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1795 to 1807, created after the Third Partition of Poland. It was located northwest of Kraków and southeast of Częstochowa, in the lands that had been part of the Duchy of Siewierz and the adjacent Polish historical province of Lesser Poland, including the towns of Żarki, Pilica, Będzin, and Sławków.

Greater Poland uprising (1806)

Greater Poland uprising of 1806 was a military insurrection by Poles in Wielkopolska against the occupying Prussian forces after the Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772–1795).

Polish Legions (Napoleonic period)

The Polish Legions in the Napoleonic period, were several Polish military units that served with the French Army, mainly from 1797 to 1803, although some units continued to serve until 1815.

Dobrzyń Land

Dobrzyń Land is a historic region, with the capital in the town of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą, in central-northern Poland, within the Greater Poland, between Mazovia and Prussia. It lies northeast of the Vistula River, south of the Drwęca, and west of the Skrwa. The territory approximately corresponds with the present-day powiats of Lipno, Rypin, and half of Golub-Dobrzyń within the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, although it encompasses parts of other counties as well. Totally, it has about 3,000 km2 and 200,000 inhabitants.

Netze District

The Netze District or District of the Netze was a territory in the Kingdom of Prussia from 1772 until 1807. It included the urban centers of Bydgoszcz (Bromberg), Inowrocław (Inowraclaw), Piła (Schneidemühl) and Wałcz and was given its name for the Noteć River that traversed it.

Łazy Place in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Łazy(listen) is a town in Zawiercie County, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. Until 1947 the town was the seat of the Rokitno Szlacheckie municipality. In the years 1975–1998 the town administratively belonged to the Katowice province. According to data from December 31, 2004 the town has 7,242 inhabitants. During World War II, German occupiers changed the name to Lazy then to Lasern without a legislative decree. Łazy belongs to the province of Lesser Poland, and since its foundation until the Partitions of Poland, it was part of Krakow Voivodeship.

Free City of Danzig (Napoleonic) Napoleonic semi-independent city state

The Free City of Danzig, sometimes referred to as the Republic of Danzig, was a semi-independent city-state established by Napoleon on 9 September 1807, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars following the capture of the city in the Siege of Danzig in May. After the Congress of Vienna of 1814/5, Danzig was re-incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia.

Subdivisions of the Duchy of Warsaw

Subdivisions of the Duchy of Warsaw were based on departments that were headed by prefects. The subsidivions were based on the French model following the erection of the Duchy of Warsaw by Napoleon. The departments were in turn subdivided into traditional Polish powiats (counties). Initially six departments were created out of the province of South Prussia in the Kingdom of Prussia. After the 1809 Polish–Austrian War, and the Treaty of Schönbrunn, their number increased to ten. Each department was named after its capital city.

West Galicia geographic region

New Galicia or West Galicia was an administrative region of the Habsburg Monarchy, constituted from the territory annexed in the course of the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.

Subdivisions of the Polish–Lithuanian territories following the partitions

Following three consecutive partitions of Poland carried out between 1772 and 1795, the sovereign state known as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth disappeared from the map of Europe. In 1918 following the end of World War One, the territories of the former state re-emerged as the states of Poland and Lithuania among others. In the intervening period, the territory of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was split between the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Russian Empire. These powers subdivided the territories that they gained and created new toponyms for the territories conquered. The subdivisions created were complicated by changes within those empires as well as by the periodic establishment of other forms of the quasi-Polish provinces led by a foreign head of state.

Austrian Partition former country

The Austrian Partition comprise the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth acquired by the Habsburg Monarchy during the Partitions of Poland in the late 18th century. The three partitions were conducted jointly by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria, resulting in the complete elimination of the Polish Crown. Austria acquired Polish lands during the First Partition of 1772, and Third Partition of Poland in 1795. In the end, the Austrian sector encompassed the second-largest share of the Commonwealth's population after Russia; over 2.65 million people living on 128,900 km2 of land constituting formerly south-central part of the Republic.

Prussian Partition

The Prussian Partition, or Prussian Poland, refers to the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth acquired during the Partitions of Poland, in the late 18th century by the Kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian acquisition amounted to 141,400 km2 of land constituting formerly western territory of the Commonwealth. The first partitioning led by imperial Russia with Prussian participation took place in 1772; the second in 1793, and the third in 1795, resulting in Poland's elimination as a state for the next 123 years.

Austro-Polish War

The Austro-Polish War or Polish-Austrian War was a part of the War of the Fifth Coalition in 1809. In this war, Polish forces of the Napoleon-allied Duchy of Warsaw and assisted by forces of the Kingdom of Saxony, fought against the Austrian Empire. By May, the Russian Empire joined against Austria. Polish troops withstood the Austrian attack on Warsaw defeating them at Raszyn, then abandoned Warsaw in order to reconquer parts of pre-partition Poland including Kraków and Lwów, forcing the Austrians to abandon Warsaw in futile pursuit.

Three Emperors Corner

Three Emperors' Corner is a former tripoint at the confluence of the Black and White Przemsza rivers, near the towns of Mysłowice, Sosnowiec and Jaworzno in the present-day Silesian Voivodeship of Poland. During the Partitions of Poland, from 1871 to 1918, it marked the place at which the borders of three empires that had divided Poland – the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary and the German Empire – met.

Napoleon Bonaparte Monument (Warsaw)

The Napoleon Bonaparte Monument was erected to honor the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte on the 190th anniversary of his death. Napoleon established the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania and Belarus.

References

  1. Roberts, Andrew (2014). Napoleon: A Life . New York: Viking. ISBN   9780698176287. chap. 19 (no pg. no. in e-book).
  2. Kolonizacja niemiecka w południowo-wschodniej cześci Królestwa Polskiego w latach 1815-1915 Wiesław Śladkowski Wydawn. Lubelskie, 1969, page 234
  3. Paul Robert Magocsi; Jean W. Sedlar; Robert A. Kann; Charles Jelavich; Joseph Rothschild (1974). A History of East Central Europe. University of Washington Press. p. 48. ISBN   978-0-295-95358-8 . Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 Paul Robert Magocsi; Jean W. Sedlar; Robert A. Kann; Charles Jelavich; Joseph Rothschild (1974). A History of East Central Europe. University of Washington Press. p. 49. ISBN   978-0-295-95358-8 . Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  5. Czubaty, Jarosław (2016). The Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1815: A Napoleonic Outpost in Central Europe. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 109.
  6. "Druga Strona".

Further reading

Coordinates: 52°14′00″N21°01′00″E / 52.2333°N 21.0167°E / 52.2333; 21.0167