Vistula Land

Last updated
Vistula Land
Привислинский край  (Russian)
Kraj Nadwiślański  (Polish)
Krai of Russian Empire
1867–1915
Privisl.jpg
Russian map of Привислинский край (Vistula Land) from 1896
Capital Warsaw
History
History 
 Established
1867
 Disestablished
1915
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Military ensign of Vistula Flotilla of Congress Poland.svg Congress Poland
Government General of Warsaw Flag of the German Empire.svg
Today part of Flag of Poland.svg Poland
Flag of Lithuania.svg Lithuania
Flag of Belarus.svg Belarus
Russian Poland was officially yielded on terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (marked in red). Map Treaty Brest-Litovsk.jpg
Russian Poland was officially yielded on terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (marked in red).

Vistula Land [1] [2] or Vistula Country [3] (Russian : Привислинский край, Privislinsky krai ; Polish : Kraj Nadwiślański) was the name applied to the lands of Congress Poland from 1867, following the defeats of the November Uprising (1830–31) and January Uprising (1863–1864) as it was increasingly stripped of autonomy and incorporated into Imperial Russia. It also continued to be formally known as Congress Poland and Russian Poland during the Russian partition. [a]

Contents

Russia lost control of the region in 1915, during the course of the First World War. Following the 1917 October Revolution, it was officially ceded it to the Central Powers by signing the 1918 treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

History

In 1831, in the aftermath of the November Uprising, the Polish Army, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland, its parliament (Sejm) and local self-administration were disbanded. The constitution was replaced by the much less liberal and never fully implemented Organic Statute of the Kingdom of Poland. Also all universities were closed, and replaced several years later by purely Russian-language high schools.

For a short time the territory maintained certain degree of autonomy. The former Kingdom of Poland continued to use the Polish currency (złoty) and the Administrative Council retained some of its privileges (although it was directly controlled by the Russian governor Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich). However, by 1832 the currency and the customs border were abolished, as was the metric system and the Polish penal code (which was replaced by the Russian penal code, de facto in use since the Uprising began). Also the Catholic Church was persecuted and most monasteries were closed and nationalized. In 1839, following the Synod of Polotsk, the Greek Catholic Church disbanded itself and united with the Russian Orthodox Church.

After 1837 all voivodeships that constituted the Kingdom of Poland were turned into gubernias and became an integral part of Russian administrative division, ruled directly by the Russian tsars.

After the January Uprising in 1863, the coat of arms of the Congress Kingdom was abandoned, the Polish language was banned from office and education and the process of incorporation of the Polish gubernias and Russification of its administration was completed.

The 1867 reform, initiated after the failure of the January Uprising, was designed to tie the Kingdom of Poland more tightly to the administration structure of the Russian Empire. It divided larger governorates into smaller ones and introduced a new lower-level entity, gminas. There were 10 Governorates : five on the right bank of the Vistula River—Сувалкская (Suvalkskaya), Ломжинская (Lomzhinskaya), Плоцкая (Plotskaya), Седлецкая (Sedletskaya) and Люблинская (Lublinskaya)—and the remaining five on the left bank: Калишская (Kalishskaya), Варшавская (Varshavskaya), Петроковская (Petrokovskaya), Радомская (Radomskaya) and Келецкая (Keletskaya).

The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland was abolished at this time.

Despite the abolition of the Kingdom of Poland, the tsars of Russia retained the title "Tsar of Poland".

The territory was a namestnichestvo until 1875 and later Governorate General, ruled by the Namestniks and Governor Generals of Poland.

In the 1880s, the official language was changed to Russian, and Polish was banned both from official use and education.

The name Vistula Land first appeared in official documents in 1888 [4] although more recent scholarship traced it back to 1883. [5]

A minor reform of 1893 transferred some territory from the Płock and Łomża Governorates to Warsaw Governorate. A more extensive 1912 reform created a new governorate—Chełm Governorate (Kholmskaya Guberniya in Russian)—from parts of the Siedlce and Lublin Governorates. However this was split off from the Privislinsky Krai and made part of the Southwestern Krai of the Russian Empire, in order to facilitate its russification.

World War I

In 1915 during World War I the retreating Russian army looted and abandoned the Kingdom of Poland, trying to emulate the scorched-earth policy adopted during the 1812 invasion. [6] [7] The Russians also evicted and deported hundreds of thousands of the area's inhabitants whom they suspected of collaborating with the enemy. [6] [8] [9]

As the Russians retreated, the Central Powers occupied the area (1915); subsequently they proposed the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland (1916–1918). In the March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russia (by then embroiled in a civil war), effectively ceded all Polish territories it had formerly possessed to the German Empire and Austria-Hungary.

Administrative divisions

See also

Notes

a ^ Sources agree that after the fall of the January Uprising in 1864, the autonomy of Congress Poland was drastically reduced. However, they disagree on whether the state of the Kingdom of Poland (colloquially known as Congress Poland) was officially replaced by the Vistula land as a province of the Russian Empire, as many sources still use the term Congress Poland for the post-1864 period. The sources are also unclear as to when the Kingdom of Poland (or Vistula land) officially ceased to exist; some argue it ended with the assumption of control by the German and Austro-Hungarian occupying authorities; others, that it ended with the proclamation of the Regency Kingdom of Poland in 1916; finally, some argue that it occurred only with the creation of the independent Second Polish Republic in 1918. Examples:

Related Research Articles

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.

Congress Poland 1815–1915 semi-autonomous state in Eastern Europe

Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a semi-autonomous Polish state and successor to Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw. It was established in the ethnically Polish lands ceded by the French to the Russian Empire following Napoleon's defeat. In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the German-controlled nominal Regency Kingdom until Poland regained independence in 1918.

November Uprising Polish-Lithuanian uprising against occupying Russian Empire in 1830–1831

The November Uprising (1830–31), also known as the Polish–Russian War 1830–31 or the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the military academy of the Army of Congress Poland, revolted, led by lieutenant Piotr Wysocki. Large segments of the peoples of Lithuania, Belarus, and the Right-bank Ukraine soon joined the uprising. Although the insurgents achieved local successes, a numerically superior Imperial Russian Army under Ivan Paskevich eventually crushed the uprising. The Russian Emperor Nicholas I decreed that henceforth Russian-occupied Poland would lose its autonomy and become an integral part of the Russian Empire. Warsaw became little more than a military garrison, and its university was closed.

Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918) Short-lived polity and client state

The Kingdom of Poland, also known informally as the Regency Kingdom of Poland, was a short-lived polity and client state of the German Empire during World War I. It was situated within the Government General of Warsaw.

Greater Poland uprising (1848)

The Greater Poland uprising of 1848 or Poznań Uprising was an unsuccessful military insurrection of Poles against Prussian forces, during the Spring of Nations period. While the main fighting was concentrated in the Greater Poland region, fights also occurred in other part of the Prussian Partition of Poland, and protests were held in Polish inhabited regions of Silesia.

Western Krai

Western Krai was an unofficial name of the westernmost parts of the Russian Empire, excluding the territory of Congress Poland. The term embodies lands annexed by the Russian Empire during subsequent partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the 18th century, in 1772, 1793 and 1795. This area is known in Poland as Ziemie Zabrane but most often they are referred to in Polish historiography and in common talk as part of Zabór Rosyjski.

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.

Subdivisions of Congress Poland

Congress Poland was subdivided several times from its creation in 1815 until its dissolution in 1918. Congress Poland was divided into departments, a relic from the times of the French-dominated Duchy of Warsaw. In 1816 the administrative divisions were changed to forms that were more traditionally Polish: voivodeships, obwóds and powiats. Following the November Uprising, the subdivisions were again changed in 1837 to bring the subdivisions closer to the structure of the Russian Empire when guberniyas (governorates) were introduced. In this way, Congress Poland was gradually transformed into the "Vistulan Country". Over the next several decades, various smaller reforms were carried out, either changing the smaller administrative units or merging/splitting various guberniyas.

Kholm Governorate (Russian Empire)

Kholm Governorate or Chełm Governorate was an administrative unit (governorate) of the Russian Empire. Its capital was in Chełm.

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 I, 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.

Russian Partition Former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth invaded by the Russian Empire

The Russian Partition constituted the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that were annexed 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.

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. It was at the time the largest wave of strikes and widest emancipatory movement Poland had ever seen, and it would remain so until the 1970s and 1980s. 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.

Volhynian Governorate 1797–1925 governorate of the Russian Empire

Volhynian Governorate was an administrative-territorial unit initially of the Russian Empire, created at the end of 1796 after the Third Partition of Poland from the territory of the short-lived Volhynian Vice-royalty and Wołyń Voivodeship.

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.

History of Poland during World War I Aspect of history

While Poland did not exist as an independent state during World War I, its geographical position between the fighting powers meant that much fighting and terrific human and material losses occurred on the Polish lands between 1914 and 1918.

Vistula River Railroad was a railroad system, opened on August 17, 1877. It ran from northwest to southeast, through the territory of the former Congress Poland, known after the November Uprising as Privislinsky Krai.

Coat of arms of Congress Poland

Coat of arms of Congress Poland was the symbol of the Congress Poland, representing the domination of the Russian Empire over the Crown of the Polish Kingdom. It combined their previously separate coats of arms:

Postage stamps and postal history of Poland

Poczta Polska, the Polish postal service, was founded in 1558 and postal markings were first introduced in 1764. The three partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795 saw the independent nation of Poland disappear. The postal services in the areas occupied by Germany and Austria were absorbed into those countries' postal services. In 1772 the area occupied by Austria was created into the Kingdom of Galicia, a part of the Austrian Empire. This lasted till 1918. The Duchy of Warsaw was created briefly, between 1807 and 1813, by Napoleon I of France, from Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. In 1815, following Napoleons' defeat in 1813, the Congress of Vienna, created Congress Poland out of the Duchy of Warsaw and also established the Free City of Kraków. Congress Poland was placed under the control of Russia and the postal service was given autonomy in 1815. In 1851 the postal service was put under the control of the Russian post office department regional office in St Petersburg. In 1855 control was restored for a while to the Congress Kingdom but following the uprising in 1863 again came under Russian control from 1866 and continued until World War I. In November 1918 the Second Polish Republic was created.

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.

The Russification of Poland was an intense process, especially under Partitioned Poland, when the Russian state aimed to denationalise Poles via incremental enforcement of language, culture, the arts, the Orthodox religion and Russian practices. The most forceful Russification was enforced onto children, due to their poor knowledge of Polish culture and language.

References

  1. The name of the kingdom was changed to Vistula Land, which was reduced to a tsarist province; it lost all autonomy and separate administrative institutions. Richard C. Frucht, Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 2005
  2. The name of the territory, which had been Congress Poland, was changed to the more innocuous Vistula Land. Vistula Land was administered by Russians; Alison Fleig Frank, Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia , 2005
  3. The name of Poland ceased to be used by the Russian authorities, who designated the region once occupied by the kingdom as the "Vistula Country", John Clark Ridpath: Ridpath's History of the World: Being an Account of the Principal Events in ... 1910
  4. Wojciech Bartel et al. Historia państwa i prawa Polski. Juliusz Bardach i Monika Senkowska-Gluck (ed.). T. III: od rozbiorów do uwłaszczenia. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1981, p. 67. ISBN   83-01-02658-8
  5. Andrzej Szwarc. Od Wielopolskiego do Stronnictwa Polityki Realnej zwolennicy ugody z Rosją, ich poglądy i próby działalności politycznej (1864-1905). Warszawa: Wydział Historyczny UW, 1990, pp. 208-209.
  6. 1 2 John N. Horne, Alan Kramer, German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial, Yale University Press, 2001, ISBN   0-300-10791-9, Google Print, p. 83
  7. Roger Chickering, Stig Förster, Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914-1918, Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN   0-521-77352-0, Google Print, p.160
  8. Barnett R. Rubin, Jack L. Snyder, Post-Soviet Political Order: Conflict and State Building, Routledge, 1998, ISBN   0-415-17069-9, Google Print, p.43
  9. Alan Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War, Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN   0-19-280342-5, Google Print, p.151

Further reading