Third Partition of Poland

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Third Partition of the Poland
Partitions of Poland.png
Aftermath of the Third Partition of the Commonwealth, the disappearance of sovereign Poland and Lithuania.
Population losses in the 3rd Partition
To Austria1.2 million
To Prussia1 million
To Russia1.2 million
Final territorial losses
To PrussiaNorthern and Western Poland (Podlachia)
To AustriaSouthern Poland (Western Galicia and Southern Masovia)
To Russia Lithuania

The Third Partition of Poland (1795) was the last in a series of the Partitions of Poland and the land of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth among Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and the Russian Empire which effectively ended Polish–Lithuanian national sovereignty until 1918. The partition was followed by a number Polish uprisings during the period. [1]

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.

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.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

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.

Contents

The third partition, and the partitions of Poland in general, remains a controversial topic in modern Poland.[ citation needed ]

Background

Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772, in an attempt to strengthen the greatly weakened Commonwealth, King Stanislaus Augustus put into effect a series of reforms to strengthen Poland's military, political system, economy, and society. These reforms reached their climax with the enactment of the May Constitution in 1791, which established a constitutional monarchy with separation into three branches of government, strengthened the bourgeoisie and abolished many of the privileges of the nobility as well as many of the old laws of serfdom. In addition, to strengthen Poland's international standings, King Stanislaus signed the Polish-Prussian Pact of 1790, ceding further territories to Prussia in exchange for a military alliance. Angered by what was seen as dangerous, Jacobin-style reforms, Russia invaded Poland in 1792, beginning the War in Defense of the Constitution. Abandoned by her Prussian allies and betrayed by Polish nobles who desired to restore the privileges they had lost under the May Constitution, Poland was forced to sign the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, which ceded Dobrzyn, Kujavia, and a large portion of Greater Poland to Prussia and all of Poland’s eastern provinces from Moldavia to Livonia to Russia, reducing Poland to one third of her original size prior to the First Partition.[ citation needed ]

First Partition of Poland 1772 event

The First Partition of Poland–Lithuania 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.

Jacobin The most radical group in the French Revolution

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789 and following. The period of their political ascendency is known as the Reign of Terror, during which time tens of thousands were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

Second Partition of Poland 1793 division of Poland

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.

Outraged with the further humiliation of Poland by her neighbors and the betrayal by the Polish nobility, and emboldened by the French Revolution unfolding in France, the Polish masses quickly turned against the occupying forces of Prussia and Russia. Following a series of nationwide riots, on March 24, 1794, Polish patriot Tadeusz Kościuszko took command of the Polish armed forces and declared a nationwide uprising against Poland’s foreign occupiers, marking the beginning of the Kościuszko Uprising. Catherine II and Frederick William II were quick to respond and, despite initial successes by Kosciuszko’s forces, the uprising was crushed by November 1794. According to legend, when Kosciuszko fell off of his horse at the Battle of Maciejowice, shortly before he was captured, he said "Finis Poloniae", meaning in Latin "[This is] the end of Poland."[ citation needed ]

Tadeusz Kościuszko Polish and American military leader

Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian military engineer, statesman, and military leader who became a national hero in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States. He fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth's struggles against Russia and Prussia, and on the U.S. side in the American Revolutionary War. As Supreme Commander of the Polish National Armed Forces, he led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising.

Kościuszko Uprising uprising against the second partition of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Kościuszko Uprising was an uprising against the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia led by Tadeusz Kościuszko in the Commonwealth of Poland 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.

Catherine the Great Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796

Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état which she organized—resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. Under her reign, Russia was revitalized; it grew larger and stronger and was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. That said, however, she was a usurper of the Russian throne because her son, Paul I, should have naturally been the Tsar following Peter III’s death.

Terms

Austrian, Prussian, and Russian representatives met on October 24, 1795 to dissolve the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, with the three conquering powers signing a treaty to divide the region on January 26, 1797. This gave Austria control of the Western Galicia and Southern Masovia territories, with approximately 1.2 million people; Prussia received Podlachia, the remainder of Masovia, and Warsaw, with 1 million people; and Russia received the remaining land, including Vilnius and 1.2 million people. Unlike previous partitions, no Polish representative was party to the treaty. Austria, Russia, and Prussia forced King Stanislaus to abdicate and retire to St. Petersburg, where he died as Catherine II's trophy prisoner in 1798. The victors also agreed to erase the country's name:[ citation needed ]

"In view of the necessity to abolish everything which could revive the memory of the existence of the Kingdom of Poland, now that the annulment of this body politic has been effected ... the high contracting parties are agreed and undertake never to include in their titles ... the name or designation of the Kingdom of Poland, which shall remain suppressed as from the present and forever ..." [2] [ page needed ]

Aftermath

Part of the permanent exhibition dedicated to the partitions of Poland at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw Main exhibition Encounters with modernity 02.jpg
Part of the permanent exhibition dedicated to the partitions of Poland at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

The Third Partition of Poland ended the existence of an independent Polish state for the next 123 years. [3] Immediately following the Third Partition, the occupying powers forced many Polish politicians, intellectuals, and revolutionaries to emigrate across Europe, in what was later known as the Great Emigration. These Polish nationalists participated in uprisings against Austria, Prussia, and Russia in former Polish lands, and many would serve France as part of Napoleon's armies. In addition, Polish poets and artists would make the desire for national freedom a defining characteristic of the Polish Romanticist movement. Poland briefly regained semi-autonomy in 1807 when Napoleon created the Duchy of Warsaw, but this effectively ended with the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Congress created a Kingdom of Poland, sometimes called Congress Poland, as a Russian puppet state. Even this, however, came to an end after a Polish insurrection in 1831, at which point Russia dissolved the Congress Kingdom and exacted multiple punitive measures on the Polish populace. In 1867, Russia made Poland an official part of the Russian Empire, as opposed to a puppet state. Poland would not regain full independence until the end of World War I, when the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the collapse of the Russian Empire allowed for the resurrection of Polish national sovereignty.[ citation needed ]

See also

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West Galicia geographic region

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Subdivisions of the Polish–Lithuanian territories following the partitions

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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 next one in 1793, and the final one in 1795, resulting in Poland's elimination as a state for the next 123 years.

Russian Partition former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth invaded by the Russian Empire in the course of Partitions of Poland

The Russian Partition constituted the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that were invaded by the Russian Empire in the course of late-18th-century Partitions of Poland. The Russian acquisition encompassed the largest share of Poland's population, living on 463,200 km2 of land constituting the eastern and central territory of the previous commonwealth. The first partitioning led by imperial Russia took place in 1772; the next one in 1793, and the final one in 1795, resulting in Poland's elimination for the next 123 years.

History of Poland in the Early Modern era (1569–1795) aspect of history (1569–1795)

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.

Siege of Warsaw (1794) battle

The Siege of Warsaw of 1794 was a joint Russian and Prussian siege of the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, during the Kościuszko Uprising in the summer of 1794. It ended with the Polish victory when, after a two-month siege, the Prussian and Russian army ended the siege and withdrew from Warsaw.

Greater Poland Place in Poland

Greater Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska, is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.

References

Footnotes

  1. Susan Parman, California State University; Larry Wolff (1994). "Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment". Book review. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN   0-804-72314-1. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. Davies, Norman. God's Playground: A History of Poland. Revised Edition ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.
  3. "The History Of Poland". www.kasprzyk.demon.co.uk.

Bibliography