Duchy of Warsaw

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Duchy of Warsaw

Duché de Varsovie
Herzogtum Warschau
Księstwo Warszawskie
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
CapitalWarsaw
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
2600000
 1809
4300000
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.

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

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.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

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.

East Prussia province of Prussia

East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.

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).

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.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

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.

Prince Jozef Poniatowski Commander in Chief of forces of Duchy of Warsaw, by Juliusz Kossak Ksiaze Jozef.jpg
Prince Józef Poniatowski Commander in Chief of forces of Duchy of Warsaw, by Juliusz Kossak

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]

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

Kingdom of Saxony former German state

The Kingdom of Saxony, lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. The kingdom was formed from the Electorate of Saxony. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War I and the abdication of King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. Its capital was the city of Dresden, and its modern successor state is the Free State of Saxony.

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.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867

The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.

Battle of Raszyn (1809) battle

The first Battle of Raszyn was fought on 19 April 1809 between armies of the Austrian Empire under Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este and the Duchy of Warsaw under Józef Antoni Poniatowski, as part of the War of the Fifth Coalition in the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was not decisive, but it did result in the Austrians obtaining their goal by capturing the Polish capital Warsaw.

Kraków Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Kraków is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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.

Grand Duchy of Lithuania European state from the 12th century until 1795

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state that lasted from the 13th century to 1795, when the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Former European state

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth – formally, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland – was a dual state, a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, who was both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th– to 17th-century Europe. At its largest territorial extent, in the early 17th century, the Commonwealth covered almost 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km2) and sustained a multi-ethnic population of 11 million.

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 January Suchodolski painting Ulani Ksiestwa Warszawskiego.JPG
Polish uhlans from the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw 1807–1815 January Suchodolski painting

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.

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. [3]

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), [4] 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. [5] The debt, amounting to more than 43 million francs in gold, was bought at a discounted rate of 21 million francs. [5] 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. [5] 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%. [6]

Legacy

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

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Napoleon Bonaparte Monument (Warsaw)

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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. "Druga Strona".
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Czubaty, Jarosław (2016). The Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1815: A Napoleonic Outpost in Central Europe. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 109.

Further reading

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