January Uprising

Last updated
January Uprising
Part of Polish-Russian war
Rok 1863 Polonia.JPG
Poland - The Year 1863 , by Jan Matejko, 1864, oil on canvas, 156 × 232 cm, National Museum, Kraków. Pictured is the aftermath of the failed January 1863 Uprising. Captives await transportation to Siberia. Russian officers and soldiers supervise a blacksmith placing shackles on a woman (Polonia). The blonde girl next to her represents Lithuania.
Date22 January 1863 – 18 June 1864
(1 year, 148 days)
Result Russian victory

Flag of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth (January Uprising).svg Polish National Government

Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Garibaldi Legion
Foreign volunteers:

Supported by:
Zemlya i volya.svg Land and Liberty
Flagge Preussen - Provinz Posen (1815).svg Dzyalynsky Committee

Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg Russian Empire

Supported by:
Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Kingdom of Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth (January Uprising).svg Stefan Bobrowski
Flag of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth (January Uprising).svg Romuald Traugutt
Flag of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth (January Uprising).svg Marian Langiewicz
Flag of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth (January Uprising).svg Ludwik Mierosławski
Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858-1917).svg Alexander II
Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg Friedrich Berg
Flag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg Mikhail Muravyov
around 200,000 over the course of the uprising. Around 20 men of the Garibaldi Legion. unknown
Casualties and losses
Polish estimates: 10,000 to 20,000
Russian estimates: 30,000 [1] (22,000 killed and wounded, 7,000 captured [2] )
Russian estimates: 4,500 killed, wounded and missing [3]
Administrative divisions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth within the pre-partition borders of 1772, introduced by the National Government during the January Uprising in 1863 Podzial terytorialny Rzeczypospolitej 1863.png
Administrative divisions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth within the pre-partition borders of 1772, introduced by the National Government during the January Uprising in 1863

The January Uprising (Polish : powstanie styczniowe; Lithuanian : 1863 metų sukilimas; Russian : Польское восстание; Belarusian: Паўстанне 1863—1864 гадоў) was an insurrection principally in Russia's Kingdom of Poland aimed at the restoration of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It began on 22 January 1863 and continued until the last insurgents were captured by the Russian forces in 1864.


It was the longest lasting insurgency in post-partition Poland. The conflict engaged all levels of society, and arguably had profound repercussions on contemporary international relations and ultimately provoked a social and ideological paradigm shift in national events that went on to have a decisive influence on the subsequent development of Polish society. [4]

A confluence of factors rendered the uprising inevitable in early 1863. The Polish nobility and urban bourgeois circles longed for the semi-autonomous status they had enjoyed in Congress Poland before the previous insurgency, a generation earlier in 1830, while youth encouraged by the success of the Italian independence movement urgently desired the same outcome. Russia had been weakened by its Crimean adventure and had introduced a more liberal attitude in its internal politics which encouraged Poland's underground National Government to plan an organised strike against their Russian occupiers no earlier than the Spring of 1863. [4] They had not reckoned with Aleksander Wielopolski, the pro-Russian arch-conservative head of the civil administration in the Russian partition, who got wind of the plans. Wielopolski was aware that his fellow countrymen's fervent desire for independence was coming to a head, something he wanted to avoid at all costs. In an attempt to derail the Polish national movement, he brought forward to January the conscription of young Polish activists into the Imperial Russian Army (for 20-year service). That decision is what triggered the January Uprising of 1863, the very outcome Wielopolski had wanted to avoid. [5]

The rebellion by young Polish conscripts was soon joined by high-ranking Polish-Lithuanian officers and members of the political class. The insurrectionists, as yet ill-organised, were severely outnumbered and lacking sufficient foreign support, and were forced into hazardous guerrilla tactics. Reprisals were swift and ruthless. Public executions and deportations to Siberia eventually persuaded many Poles to abandon armed struggle. In addition, Tsar Alexander II hit the landed gentry hard, and as a result the whole economy, with a sudden decision in 1864 to finally abolish serfdom in Poland. [6] The ensuing break-up of estates and destitution of many peasants convinced educated Poles to turn instead to the idea of "organic work", economic and cultural self-improvement. [7]

Leadup to the uprising

Russian army in Warsaw during martial law 1861 Warsaw1861.JPG
Russian army in Warsaw during martial law 1861
"The Battle" from the cycle of paintings "Polonia" dedicated to January Uprising of 1863 - Artur Grottger. Polonia Bitwa.jpg
"The Battle" from the cycle of paintings "Polonia" dedicated to January Uprising of 1863 - Artur Grottger.

Despite the Russian Empire's loss of the Crimean war and being weakened economically and politically, Alexander II warned in 1856 against further concessions with the words, "forget any dreams". There were two prevailing streams of thought among the population of the Kingdom of Poland at the time. One consisting of patriotic stirrings within liberal-conservative usually landed and intellectual circles centred around Andrzej Zamoyski. They were hoping for an orderly return to the constitutional status pre-1830. They became characterised as the Whites . The alternative tendency, characterised as the Reds represented a democratic movement uniting peasants, workers, and some clergy. For both streams central to their dilemma was the peasant question. However, estate owners tended to favour the abolition of serfdom in exchange for compensation, whereas the democratic movement saw the overthrow of the Russian yoke as entirely dependent on an unconditional liberation of the peasantry. [4]

Just as the democrats organised the first religious and patriotic demonstrations in 1860, covert resistance groups began to form among educated youth. Blood was first shed in Warsaw in February 1861, when the Russian Army attacked a demonstration in Castle Square on the anniversary of the Battle of Grochów. There were five fatalities. Fearing the spread of spontaneous unrest, Alexander II reluctantly agreed to accept a petition for a change in the system of governance. Ultimately he agreed to the appointment of Aleksander Wielopolski to head a commission to look into Religious Observance and Public Education and announced the formation of a State Council and Self-governance for towns and Powiats. These concessions did not prevent further demonstrations. On 8 April there were 200 killed and 500 wounded by Russian fire. Martial law was imposed in Warsaw and brutally repressive measures taken against the organisers in Warsaw and Vilna by deporting them into deepest Russia.

In Vilna alone 116 demonstrations were held during 1861. In the autumn of 1861 Russians had introduced a state of emergency in Vilna Governorate, Kovno Governorate and Grodno Governorate. [8]

These events led to a speedier consolidation of the resistance: Future leaders of the uprising gathered secretly in St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Vilna, Paris and London. Two bodies emerged from these consultations. By October 1861 the urban "Movement Committee" (Komitet Ruchu Miejski) was formed and in June 1862 the "Central National Committee", CNC came into being. Its leadership included, Stefan Bobrowski, Jarosław Dąbrowski, Zygmunt Padlewski, Agaton Giller, and Bronisław Szwarce. This body directed the creation of national structures intended to become a new secret Polish state. The CNC had not planned an uprising before the Spring of 1863 at the earliest. However, Wielopolski's move to start conscription to the Russian Army in mid-January forced its hand to call the uprising prematurely on the night of 22–23 January 1863.

Call to arms in the Kingdom of Poland

Battles of January Uprising in Congress Poland 1863-1864 Battles of January Uprising in Congress Poland 1863-1864.JPG
Battles of January Uprising in Congress Poland 1863-1864
Marian Langiewicz, military commander Marian Langiewicz.PNG
Marian Langiewicz, military commander

The uprising broke out at a moment when general peace prevailed in Europe, and although there was vociferous support for the Poles, powers such as France, Britain and Austria were unwilling to disturb the international calm. The revolutionary leaders did not have sufficient means to arm and equip the groups of young men who were hiding in forests to escape Alexander Wielopolski's order of conscription into the Russian army. Initially, about 10,000 men rallied around the revolutionary banner. The volunteers came chiefly from city working classes and minor clerks, although there was also a significant number of the younger sons of the poorer szlachta (nobility) and a number of priests of lower rank. Initially, the Russian government had at its disposal an army of 90,000 men under Russian General Anders Edvard Ramsay in Poland.

It looked as if the rebellion might be crushed quickly. Undeterred the CNC's provisional government issued a manifesto in which it declared "all sons of Poland are free and equal citizens without distinction of creed, condition or rank." It decreed that land cultivated by the peasants, whether on the basis of rent or service, henceforth should become their unconditional property, and compensation for it would be given to the landlords out of State general funds. The provisional government did its best to send supplies to the unarmed and scattered volunteers who, during the month of February, had fought in eighty bloody skirmishes with the Russians. Meanwhile, the CNC issued an appeal for assistance to the nations of western Europe, which was received everywhere with supportive sentiments, from Norway to Portugal. Italian, French and Hungarian officers answered the call. Pope Pius IX ordered special prayers for the success of Catholic Poles in their defence against the Orthodox Russians, and was generally active in raising support for the Polish rebellion. By late spring, early summer of 1863, historian Jerzy Zdrada records there were 35,000 Poles under arms facing a Russian Army of 145,000 in the Polish Kingdom alone.

Uprising spreads to former Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Battles of January Uprising in eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine Battles of January Uprising in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.JPG
Battles of January Uprising in eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine
January Uprising's coat of arms, of a proposed Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth: White Eagle (Poland), Vytis (Lithuania) and Archangel Michael (Ruthenia) Coat of arms of the January Uprising.svg
January Uprising's coat of arms, of a proposed Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth: White Eagle (Poland), Vytis (Lithuania) and Archangel Michael (Ruthenia)
Flag of the uprising Powstanie Styczniowe flag.svg
Flag of the uprising

On 1 February 1863, the Uprising erupted in Lithuania. During April and May it had spread to Dinaburg, Latvia, and Witebsk, Belarus, to the Kiev Governorate, northern Ukraine and to the Wolynian Voivodship. Volunteers, weapons and supplies began to flow in over the borders from Galicia in the Austrian Partition and from the Prussian Partition. Volunteers also arrived from Italy, Hungary, France and from Russia itself. The greatest setback was that in spite of the liberation manifesto from the KCN, without prior ideological agitation, the peasantry could not be mobilised to participate in the struggle, except in those regions that were dominated by Polish units, which saw a gradual enrolment into the Uprising of agricultural workers.

The Secret State

The secret Polish state was directed by the Rada Narodowa, RN, (National Council) to which the civil and military structures on the ground were accountable. It was a "virtual coalition government" formed of the Reds and the Whites. It was led by Zygmunt Sierakowski  [ pl; uk ], Antanas Mackevičius and Konstanty Kalinowski. The latter two supported their counterparts in Poland and adhered to common policies. Its diplomatic corps was centred on Paris under the direction of Wladyslaw Czartoryski. The eruption of armed conflict in the former Commonwealth of Two Nations had surprised western European capitals, even if public opinion responded with sympathy for the rebel cause. It had dawned on Paris, London, Vienna as well as on Saint Petersburg that the crisis could plausibly turn into a new war with Russia. For their part, Russian diplomats considered the uprising an internal matter, while European stability was generally predicated on the fate of Poland's aspiration.

International repercussions

Napoleon III, 1865 Napoleon III, 1865.jpg
Napoleón III, 1865
Wladyslaw Czartoryski Wladyslaw Czartoryski.JPG
Władysław Czartoryski

The uncovering of the existence of the Alvensleben Convention signed on 8 February 1863 by Prussia and Russia in St. Petersburg to jointly suppress the Poles, internationalised the Uprising. It enabled Western powers to take the diplomatic initiative for their own ends. Napoleon III of France, already a sympathiser with Poland, was concerned to protect his border on the Rhine and turned his political guns on Prussia with a view to provoking a war with it. He was simultaneously seeking an alliance with Austria. The United Kingdom on the other hand, sought to prevent a Franco-Prussian war and to block an Austrian alliance with France and looked to scupper any rapprochement between France and Russia. Austria was competing with Prussia for the leadership of the German territories, but rejected French approaches for an alliance, spurning any support of Napoleon III as acting against German interests. There was no discussion of military intervention on behalf of the Poles, despite Napoleon's support for the continuation of the insurgency.

France, the United Kingdom and Austria agreed to a diplomatic intervention in defence of Polish rights and in April issued diplomatic notes that were intended to be no more than persuasive in tone. [9] The Polish RN was hoping that the evolution of the insurgency would ultimately push western powers to adopt an armed intervention, which was the flavour of Polish diplomatic talks with those powers. The Polish line was that the establishment of continued peace in Europe was conditional on the return of an independent Polish state. [4]

With the threat of war averted, St.Petersburg left the door open for negotiations, but was adamant in its rejection of any western rights to armed conflict. In June 1863 western powers iterated the conditions: an amnesty for the insurgents, the creation of a national representative structure and the development of autonomous concessions across the kingdom, a recall of a conference of Congress of Vienna (1815) signatories and a cease-fire for its duration. This fell well below the expectations of the leadership of the Uprising. While concerned by the threat of war, Alexander II felt secure enough with the support of his people to reject the proposals. Although France and the UK were insulted, they did not proceed with further interventions which enabled Russia to extend and finally break off negotiations in September 1863.

Outcome on the ground

Andriolli: The death of Ludwik Narbutt Andriolli.Ludwik Narbutt.jpg
Andriolli: The death of Ludwik Narbutt

Apart from the efforts of Sweden, diplomatic intervention by foreign powers on behalf of Poland was on balance unhelpful in drawing attention away from the aim of Polish national unity towards its social divisions. It alienated Austria, which hitherto had maintained friendly neutrality towards Poland and had not interfered with Polish activities in Galicia. It prejudiced public opinion among radical groups in Russia who, until then, had been friendly because they regarded the uprising as a social rather than a national insurgency and it stirred the Russian government to ever more brutal suppression of hostilities and repression against its Polish participants that had grown in strength.

In addition to the thousands who fell in battle, 128 men were hanged under the personal supervision of Mikhail Muravyov 'Muravyov the Hangman', and 9,423 men and women were exiled to Siberia - 2,500 men according to Russia's own estimates. The historian Norman Davies gives the number as 80,000, noting it was the single largest deportation in Russian history. [10] Whole villages and towns were burned down[ verification needed ]. All economic and social activities were suspended and the szlachta was ruined through the confiscation of property and exorbitant taxes. Such was the brutality of Russian troops that their actions were condemned throughout Europe. [11] Count Fyodor Berg, the newly appointed governor, Namiestnik of Poland, and successor to Muravyov, employed harsh measures against the population and intensified systematic Russification in an effort to eradicate Polish traditions and culture.

Social divisions laid bare

Insurgents of landed background constituted 60% of the uprising's participants (in Lithuania and Belarus around 50%, in Ukraine some 75%). [12]

During the first 24 hours of the uprising armouries across the country were looted, and many Russian officials were executed on sight. 2 February 1863 saw the start of the first major military engagement of the uprising between Lithuanian peasants, mostly armed with scythes and a squadron of Russian hussars outside Čysta Būda, near Marijampolė. It ended with the massacre of the unprepared peasants. While there was still hope of a short war, insurgent groups merged into bigger formations and recruited new volunteers.

Evolution of events

Zouaves of Death (zuawi smierci), an 1863 Uprising unit organized by Francois Rochebrune. Drawing (published 1909) by K. Sariusz-Wolski, from a photograph. From left: Count Wojciech Komorowski, Col. Rochebrune, Lt. Tenente Bella Zuawi smierci.jpg
Zouaves of Death (żuawi śmierci), an 1863 Uprising unit organized by François Rochebrune. Drawing (published 1909) by K. Sariusz-Wolski, from a photograph. From left: Count Wojciech Komorowski, Col. Rochebrune, Lt. Tenente Bella

The provisional government had counted on an insurgency erupting in Russia, where wide discontent with the autocratic regime seemed to be brewing at the time. It also counted on the active support of Napoleon III, particularly after Prussia, expecting the inevitable armed conflict with France, had made overtures to Russia sealed in the Alvensleben Convention and offered assistance in suppressing the Polish uprising. Arrangements had already been completed on the 14 February and the British Ambassador to Berlin, Sir Alexander Malet, was able to inform his government that a Prussian military envoy

has concluded a military convention with the Russian Government, according to which the two governments will reciprocally afford facilities to each other for the suppression of the insurrectionary movements which have lately taken place in Poland and Lithuania. The Prussian railways are also to be placed at the disposal of the Russian military authorities for the transportation of troops through Prussian territory from one part of the former Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth to another.

This step by Bismarck led to protests from several governments and incensed the several constituent nations of the former Commonwealth. The result was the transformation of a relatively insignificant uprising into another "national war" against Russia. Encouraged by promises made by Napoleon III, all the provinces of the erstwhile Commonwealth, acting on the advice of Władysław Czartoryski, had taken to arms. Moreover, to Indicate their solidarity, all Commonwealth citizens holding office under the Russian government, including the Archbishop of Warsaw, Zymunt Feliński, resigned their positions and signed their allegiance to the newly constituted Government, which was composed of the five most prominent representatives of the Whites. The Reds meanwhile criticised the Polish National Government for being reactionary with its policy to incentivise Polish peasants to fight in the uprising. The Government justified its inaction on the back of hopes of foreign military intervention promised by Napoleon III. It never materialised.

Romuald Traugutt

It was only after Polish general Romuald Traugutt took matters into his own hands on 17 October 1863 to unite all classes under a single national banner that the struggle could be upheld. His restructuring in preparation for an offensive in spring 1864 was banking on a European wide war. [13] On 27 December 1863 he enacted a decree of the former provisional government by granting peasants the land they worked. This land was to be provided by compensating the owners through state funds after the successful conclusion of the uprising. Traugutt called upon all Polish classes to rise against Russian oppression for the creation of a new Polish state. The response was moderate since the policy came too late. The Russian government had already begun working among peasants granting them generous parcels of land for the asking. Those peasants who had been bought off did not engage with Polish revolutionaries to any extent nor did they provide them with support.

Fighting continued intermittently during the winter of 1863–4 on the southern edge of the Kingdom near the Galician border from where assistance was still forthcoming. In late December in the Lublin Voivodeship General Michał Heydenreich's unit was overwhelmed. The most determined resistance continued in the Swietokrzyskie hills where general Józef Hauke-Bosak distinguished himself by taking several cities from the vastly superior Russian forces. Yet he too succumbed to a crushing defeat on 21 February 1864 which presaged the end of the armed struggle. On 29 February Austria imposed martial law and on 2 March the tsarist authorities brought in the abolition of serfdom in the Polish Kingdom. These two events neutralised Traugutt's concept of developing the uprising with a general mobilisation of the population in the Russian partition and reliance on assistance from Galicia. In April 1864 Napoleon III abandoned the Polish cause. Władysław Czartoryski wrote to Traugutt: "We are alone, and alone we shall remain".

Arrests eliminated key positions in the secret Polish state, while those who felt threatened sought refuge abroad. Traugutt was taken on the night of 10 April. After he and the last four members of the National Council, Antoni Jezioranski, Rafał Krajewski, Józef Toczyski and Roman Żuliński had been apprehended by Russian troops, they were imprisoned and executed by hanging on 5 August at the Warsaw Citadel. [14] [15] It marked the symbolic closure of the Uprising. Only Aleksander Waszkowski, head of the Warsaw insurgency eluded the police till December 1864, but then he too joined the list of "the lost" in February 1865. The war consisting of 650 battles and skirmishes with twenty-five thousand Polish and other insurgents killed, had lasted eighteen months. The insurgency persisted in Samogitia and Podlasie, where the Greek-Catholic population, outraged and persecuted for their religious observance, "Kryaki" (those baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church), and others like commander and priest Fr. Stanisław Brzóska, clung longest to the revolutionary banner until the spring of 1865.

The decades of reprisals

Malczewski: Christmas Eve in Siberia Malczewski wigilia na syberii.jpg
Malczewski: Christmas Eve in Siberia

After the collapse of the uprising, harsh reprisals followed. According to official Russian information, 396 persons were executed and 18,672 were exiled to Siberia. Large numbers of men and women were sent to the interior of Russia and to the Caucasus, Urals and other remote areas. Altogether about 70,000 persons were imprisoned and subsequently exiled from Poland and consigned to distant regions of Russia. [16]

The abolition of serfdom early in 1864 was deliberately enacted in a move designed specifically to ruin the szlachta. The Russian government confiscated 1,660 estates in Poland and 1,794 in Lithuania. A 10% income tax was imposed on all estates as a war indemnity. Only in 1869 was the tax reduced to 5% on all incomes. It was the only time when peasants paid the market price for the redemption of the land (the average for the Russian Empire was 34% above the market price). All land taken from Polish peasants since 1864 was to be returned without compensation rights. Former serfs could sell land only to other peasants, not to szlachta. Ninety percent of the ex-serfs in the empire who actually gained land after 1861 were confined to the eight western provinces. Along with Romania, Polish landless or domestic serfs were the only people eligible for land grants after serfdom was abolished.

All this was to punish the szlachta's role in the uprisings of 1830 and 1863. In addition to the land granted to the peasants, the Russian government gave them a forest, pasture and other privileges (known under the name of servitutes) which proved to be a source of incessant irritation between the landowners and peasants over ensuing decades and an impediment to economic development.[ citation needed ] The government took over all church estates, funds, abolished monasteries and convents. With the exception of religious instruction, all teaching in schools was ordered to be in Russian. Russian also became the official language of the country, used exclusively in all offices of central and local government. All traces of former Polish autonomy were removed and the Kingdom was divided into ten provinces, each with an appointed Russian military governor and all under the control of the Governor-General in Warsaw. All former Polish government functionaries were deprived of their positions and replaced by Russian officials. According to George Kennan, "thousands of Polish insurgents" were transported to the "Nerchinsk silver-mining district...after the unsuccessful insurrection of 1863." [17]

Farewell to Europe, by Aleksander Sochaczewski. The artist himself is among the exiled here, near the obelisk, on the right Farewell Europe!.PNG
Farewell to Europe , by Aleksander Sochaczewski. The artist himself is among the exiled here, near the obelisk, on the right


These measures of cultural eradication proved to be only partially effective. In 1905, 41 years after Russia crushed the uprising, the next generation of Poles rose once again in the next insurrection. It too failed. The January Uprising was one in a centuries-long series of Polish uprisings. In its aftermath, two new movements began to evolve that set the political agenda for the next century. One, led by the descendant of Lithuanians, Jozef Pilsudski emerged as the Polish Socialist Party. The other, led by Roman Dmowski became the National Democracy movement sometimes referred to as Endecja whose roots lay in Catholic conservatism that sought national sovereignty along with the reversal of forced Russification and Germanisation through Polonisation of the partitioned territories in the former Commonwealth. [18]

Notable insurgents

Anna Pustowojtowna, alias "Michal Smok" Anna Pustowojtowna.png
Anna Pustowojtówna, alias "Michał Smok"
Last veterans of the January Uprising, photographed in the Second Polish Republic, c. 1930 Weterani powstania styczniowego przed frontem warty w Belwederze.jpg
Last veterans of the January Uprising, photographed in the Second Polish Republic, c. 1930

Influence on art and literature

Falling into the late romantic period the events and figures of the Uprising inspired many Polish painters, including Artur Grottger, Juliusz Kossak and Michał Elwiro Andriolli and marked the delineation with the positivism that followed.

See also

Related Research Articles

History of Poland Aspect of history

The history of Poland spans over a thousand years, from medieval tribes, Christianization and monarchy; through Poland's Golden Age, expansionism and becoming one of the largest European powers; to its collapse and partitions, two world wars, communism, and the restoration of democracy.

History of Poland (1795–1918) Aspect of history

From 1795 to 1918, Poland was split between Prussia, the Habsburg Monarchy, and Russia and had no independent existence. In 1795 the third and the last of the three 18th-century partitions of Poland ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Nevertheless, events both within and outside the Polish lands kept hopes for restoration of Polish independence alive throughout the 19th century. Poland's geopolitical location on the Northern European Lowlands became especially important in a period when its expansionist neighbors, the Kingdom of Prussia and Imperial Russia, involved themselves intensely in European rivalries and alliances as modern nation-states took form over the entire continent.

Duchy of Warsaw Client Napoleonic state from 1807 to 1815

The Duchy of Warsaw, also known as Napoleonic Poland, was a Polish client state of the French Empire established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars. It comprised the ethnically Polish lands ceded to France by Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. It was the first attempt to re-establish Poland as a sovereign state after the 18th-century partitions and covered the central and southeastern parts of present-day Poland.

Kościuszko Uprising 1794 failed rebellion against the second partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Kościuszko Uprising, also known as the Polish Uprising of 1794 and the Second Polish War, was an uprising against the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia led by Tadeusz Kościuszko in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Prussian partition in 1794. It was a failed attempt to liberate the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from Russian influence after the Second Partition of Poland (1793) and the creation of the Targowica Confederation.

Aleksander Wielopolski

Margrave Aleksander Ignacy Jan-Kanty Wielopolski was a Polish aristocrat, owner of large estates, and the 13th lord of the manor of Pinczów. In 1862 he was appointed head of Poland's Civil Administration within the Russian Empire under Tsar Alexander II.

Great Emigration

The Great Emigration was the emigration of thousands of Poles and Lithuanians, particularly from the political and cultural élites, from 1831 to 1870, after the failure of the November Uprising of 1830-1831 and of other uprisings such as the Kraków uprising of 1846 and the January Uprising of 1863-1864. The number of political exiles did not exceed more than 6,000 during that time. The emigration affected almost the entirety of political elite in Congress Poland. The exiles included artists, soldiers and officers of the uprising, members of the Sejm of Congress Poland of 1830–31 and several prisoners-of-war who escaped from captivity.

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).

Romuald Traugutt

Romuald Traugutt was a Polish general and war hero best known for commanding the January Uprising of 1863. From October 1863 to August 1864 he was the leader of the insurrection. He headed the Polish national government from 17 October 1863 to 20 April 1864, and was president of its Foreign Affairs Office.

Polish National Government (January Uprising)

The Polish National Government of 1863–64 was an underground Polish supreme authority during the January Uprising, a large scale insurrection during the Russian partition of the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It had a collegial form, resided in Warsaw and was headed by Karol Majewski. This was a normal administrative institution with many ministries and departments.

Resistance movements in partitioned Poland (1795–1918)

There were many resistance movements in partitioned Poland between 1795 and 1918. Although some of the szlachta was reconciled to the end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, the possibility of Polish independence was kept alive by events within and without Poland throughout the 19th century. Poland's location on the North European Plain became especially significant in a period when its neighbours, the Kingdom of Prussia and Russia were intensely involved in European rivalries and alliances and modern nation states took form over the entire continent.

Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland (1905–1907)

A major part of the Russian Revolution of 1905 took place in Russian-partitioned Poland, lasting until 1907. One of the major events of that period was the insurrection in Łódź in June 1905. Throughout that period, many smaller demonstrations and armed struggles between the peasants and workers on one side, and the government on the other, took place. The demands of the demonstrators included both the improvement of the workers' living conditions, as well as political freedoms, particularly related to increased autonomy for Poland. Particularly in 1905, Poland was at the verge of a new uprising, revolution, or a civil war. Some Polish historians even consider the events of that period a fourth Polish uprising against the Russian Empire.

Galician slaughter uprising and masscare

The Galician Slaughter, also known as the Peasant Uprising of 1846 or the Szela uprising, was a two-month uprising of Galician Eastern European peasants that led to the suppression of the szlachta uprising and the massacre of szlachta in Galicia in the Austrian partition zone in early 1846. The uprising, which lasted from February to March, primarily affected the lands around the town of Tarnów.

Lithuanian Provisional Governing Commission

The Provisional Government Commission of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; also, the Lithuanian Provisional Governing Commission was a provisional administrative body for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been overtaken by Napoleon's Grand Army during the 1812 French invasion of Russia.

Stefan Bobrowski Polish politician and activist

Stefan Bobrowski was a Polish politician and activist for Polish independence. He participated in the January 1863 Uprising as one of the leaders of its "Red" faction and as a member of that faction's Central National Committee, and of the Provisional National Government.

History of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1764–1795)

The History of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1764–1795) is concerned with the final decades of existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The period, during which the declining state pursued wide-ranging reforms and was subjected to three partitions by the neighboring powers, coincides with the election and reign of the federation's last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski.

Abolition of serfdom in Poland occurred over a period of time. At the end of 18th century a reform movement in Poland resulted in the Constitution of May 3, 1791 which took the peasantry under protection of state. Full abolishment of serfdom was enacted by the Proclamation of Połaniec on 7 May 1794, but it was also short-lived as Poland got partitioned by her neighbours in 1795, beginning first 12 years of Polish inexistence as an independent state and later another 103 years. In the 19th century various reforms on Polish territories were taking place. Namely in all three of the Austrian partition, Prussian partition and the Russian partition. Serfdom was abolished in Prussia in 1807, in Austria in 1848, in Russia in 1861. Despite these facts 7th May 1794 remains the date serfdom was abolished in Poland.

Serfdom in Poland

Serfdom in Poland became the dominant form of relationship between peasants and nobility in the 17th century, and was a major feature of the economy of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, although its origins can be traced back to the 12th century.

The Battle of Horki was a series of three clashes between Polish-Lithuanian insurgent forces and units of the Imperial Russian Army during the January Uprising. It took place between May 17–25, 1863 in the village of Horki near Kobryn, Russian Empire. Insurgent forces were commanded by Romuald Traugutt.

The Battle of Miropol took place on May 16–17, 1863, near the town of Miropol, Volhynia, Russian Empire, during the January Uprising. A unit of 850 Polish rebels under General Edmund Rozycki clashed with a cavalry regiment of the Imperial Russian Army, commanded by Captain Kaznakow. The battle ended in Russian victory.

<i>The Prisoners</i> (painting)

The Prisoners is an 1883 oil painting by Polish painter Jacek Malczewski. It depicts a group of Polish political prisoners exiled to Siberia for their participation in the national January Uprising of 1863–1864 against Tsarist Russia. It is now displayed at the National Museum in Warsaw.


  1. Польское восстание 1863 // Большая российская энциклопедия : [в 35 т.] / гл. ред. Ю. С. Осипов. — М. : Большая российская энциклопедия, 2004—2017.
  2. Айрапетов О. Р. Польское восстание 1863 года. Русский сборник, Том XV, стр. 132
  3. Польское восстание 1863 // Большая российская энциклопедия : [в 35 т.] / гл. ред. Ю. С. Осипов. — М. : Большая российская энциклопедия, 2004—2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Zdrada, Jerzy. "Powstanie styczniowe". Muzeum Historii Polskiej. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wielopolski, Aleksander". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 622.
  6. Bardach, Juliusz; Lesnodorski, Bogusław; Pietrzak, Michał (1987). Historia państwa i prawa polskiego. Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. pp. 389–394. ISBN   83-01-07919-3.
  7. Maciej Janowski (2004). The Rise of Positivism. Polish Liberal Thought Before 1918. Central European University Press. p. 166. ISBN   9639241180 . Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  8. Wandycz, Piotr S. (1974). The lands of partitioned Poland, 1795–1918. University of Washington Press. p. 166. ISBN   0-295-95351-9.
  9. Jasiakiewicz, Wojciech (1983). "The British Political Standpoint concerning the January Uprising until April 1863" (PDF). Zeszyty Naukowe Wyższej Szkoły Pedagogicznej w Bydgoszczy: Studia Filologiczne; Filologia Angielska. z 21/6/. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. Norman Davies (1996). Europe: a history . Oxford University Press. pp.  828–. ISBN   978-0-19-820171-7 . Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  11. Adam Bruno Ulam (1977). Prophets and conspirators in prerevolutionary Russia. Transaction Publishers. pp. 8–. ISBN   978-0-7658-0443-3 . Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  12. Sikorska-Kulesza, Jolanta (1995). Deklasacja drobnej szlachty na Litwie i Białorusi w XIX wieku. Pruszków, PL: Ajaks. p. 29. ISBN   9788385621379.
  13. Józef Jarzębowski. Węgierska polityka Traugutta: na podstawie znanych i nieznanych dokumentów. Warszawa 1939. ("Traugutt's Hungarian policies").
  14. Jarzębowski, Józef. Traugutt, nakładem Archidiecezjalnego Instytutu Akcji Katolickiej, Warszawa, 1938.
  15. Jarzębowski, Józef. Traugutt: dokumenty, listy, wspomnienia, wypisy. Londyn: Veritas, 1970.
  16. Database of Polish exiles after the January Uprising through Genealogia Okiem: http://www.genealogia.okiem.pl/powstanies/index.php?sybir=on Retrieved 21 June 2018
  17. Kennan, George (1891). Siberia and the Exile System. London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. p. 280.
  18. Biskupski, M. B. B. Pula, James S.Wróbel, Piotr J. Eds. The Origins of Modern Polish Democracy "Polish and Polish-American Studies", Ohio University Press, 2010. ISBN   978 0821443095

Further reading