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The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countri ...
for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
, the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
, and the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical that extended across and from 1721, succeeding the following the that ended the . The Empire lasted until the was proclaimed by the that took power after the ...
, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations. The First Partition was decided on August 5, 1772. Two decades later, Russian and Prussian troops entered the Commonwealth again and the Second Partition was signed on January 23, 1793. Austria did not participate in the Second Partition. The Third Partition took place on October 24, 1795, in reaction to the unsuccessful Polish
Kościuszko Uprising The Kościuszko Uprising, also known as the Polish Uprising of 1794 and the Second Polish War, was an uprising against the Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia Eurasia () is the l ...
the previous year. With this partition, the Commonwealth ceased to exist. In English, the term "Partitions of Poland" is sometimes used geographically as
toponymy Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt: ...
, to mean the three parts that the partitioning powers divided the Commonwealth into, namely: the
Austrian Partition The Austrian Partition ( pl, zabór austriacki) comprise the former territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth acquired by the Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonar ...
, the
Prussian Partition The Prussian Partition ( pl, Zabór pruski), 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 ...
and the
Russian Partition The Russian Partition (sometimes called Russian Poland) 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 acqui ...
. In Polish, there are two separate words for the two meanings. The consecutive acts of dividing and
annexation File:Gulf War Saudi Flag.JPEG, upCivilians and coalition military forces wave Kuwaiti flag, Kuwaiti and Saudi flag, Saudi Arabian flags as they celebrate the Liberation of Kuwait, reversal of the Kuwait Governorate, annexation of Kuwait by Ba'at ...
of Poland are referred to as ' (plural: '), while the term ' (pl. ') means each part of the Commonwealth annexed in 1772–95 becoming part of Imperial Russia, Prussia, or Austria. Following the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
in 1815, the borders of the three partitioned sectors were redrawn; the Austrians established
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
in the Austrian partition, whereas the Russians gained
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Warsaw
from Prussia and formed an autonomous
polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resourc ...
of
Congress Poland 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 Poland, Polish State (polity), state and successor to Napoleon's short-lived Duchy of Warsaw. ...
in the Russian partition. In Polish historiography, the term "Fourth Partition of Poland" has also been used, in reference to any subsequent annexation of Polish lands by foreign invaders. Depending on source and historical period, this could mean the events of , or
1832 Events January–March * January 6 Events Pre-1600 *1066 – Following the death of Edward the Confessor on the previous day, the Witan meets to confirm Harold Godwinson as the new King of England; Harold is crowned the same day ...
and
1846 Events January–March * January 5 Events Pre-1600 *1477 – Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is defeated and killed in a conflict with René II, Duke of Lorraine; Duchy of Burgundy, Burgundy subsequently becomes part of France. ...
, or
1939 This year also marks the start of the Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two ...
. The term "Fourth Partition" in a temporal sense can also mean the diaspora communities that played an important political role in re-establishing the Polish sovereign state after 1918.


History

During the reign of (1632–48), the ' was developed, a policy of parliamentary procedure based on the assumption of the political equality of every " gentleman/Polish nobleman," with the corollary that unanimous consent was needed for all measures. A single member of parliament's belief that a measure was injurious to his own constituency (usually simply his own estate), even after the act had been approved, became enough to strike the act. Thus it became increasingly difficult to undertake action. The ' also provided openings for foreign diplomats to get their ways, through bribing nobles to exercise it. Thus, one could characterise Poland–Lithuania in its final period (mid-18th century) before the partitions as already in a state of disorder and not a completely sovereign state, and almost as a
vassal state A vassal state is any state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
, with Russian
tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mi ...

tsar
s effectively choosing Polish kings. This applies particularly to the last Commonwealth King
Stanisław August Poniatowski Stanisław II August (born Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski, 17 January 173212 February 1798), known also by his regal Latin name Stanislaus II Augustus, was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, and the last monarch of the ...

Stanisław August Poniatowski
, who for some time had been a lover of Russian Empress
Catherine the Great russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Романова, translit=Yekaterina Alekseyevna Romanova en, Catherine Alexeievna Romanova, link=yes , house = , father = Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst , mother ...
. In 1730 the neighbors of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth ('), namely Prussia, Austria and Russia, signed a secret agreement to maintain the ': specifically, to ensure that the Commonwealth laws would not change. Their alliance later became known in Poland as the " Alliance of the Three Black Eagles" (or s Treaty''), because all three states used a black eagle as a state symbol (in contrast to the , a symbol of Poland). The Commonwealth had been forced to rely on Russia for protection against the rising
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
, which demanded a slice of the northwest in order to unite its Western and Eastern portions; this would leave the Commonwealth with a
Baltic Baltic may refer to: Geography Northern Europe * Baltic Sea, a sea in Europe * Baltic region, an ambiguous term referring to the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea * Baltic states (also Baltics, Baltic nations, Baltic countries or Baltic rep ...

Baltic
coast only in
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countri ...
. Catherine had to use diplomacy to win Austria to her side. The Commonwealth had remained neutral in the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest c ...
(1756–1763), yet it sympathized with the alliance of France,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, and Russia, and allowed Russian troops access to its western lands as bases against Prussia.
Frederick IIFrederick II, Frederik II or Friedrich II may refer to: * Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1194–1250), King of Sicily from 1198; Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 * Frederick II of Denmark (1534–1588), king of Denmark and Norway 1559–1588 * Freder ...

Frederick II
retaliated by ordering enough Polish currency counterfeited to severely affect the Polish economy. Through the
Polish nobles The ''szlachta'' (Polish: , exonym: ''Nobility'') was a szlachta's privileges, legally privileged nobility, noble social class, class in the Kingdom of Poland (1025–1385), Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Polish–Lit ...
whom Russia controlled and the Russian Minister to Warsaw, ambassador and Prince
Nicholas Repnin Prince Nikolai Vasilyevich Repnin (russian: Никола́й Васи́льевич Репни́н; – ) was an Imperial Russia The Russian Empire, . was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest contin ...
, Empress Catherine the Great forced a constitution on the Commonwealth at the so-called
Repnin Sejm The Repnin Sejm ( pl, Sejm Repninowski) was a Sejm (session of the parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representa ...
of 1767, named after ambassador Repnin, who effectively dictated the terms of that Sejm (and ordered the capture and exile to
Kaluga Kaluga ( rus, Калу́га, p=kɐˈɫuɡə), a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. ...

Kaluga
of some vocal opponents of his policies,H. Wickham Steed
A Short History of Austria-Hungary and Poland
, 1914, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved on 3 August 2007.
including
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chur ...

bishop
Józef Andrzej ZałuskiVarious, ''The Story of My Life'', Penguin Classics, 2001,
Google Print, p. 528
/ref> and others). This new constitution undid the reforms made in 1764 under . The ' and all the old abuses of the last one and a half centuries were guaranteed as unalterable parts of this new constitution (in the so-called '' Cardinal Laws''). Repnin also demanded the Russian protection of the rights of peasants in private estates of Polish and Lithuanian noblemen, religious freedom for the Protestant and Orthodox Christians and the political freedoms for Protestants, Orthodox Christians and
Eastern Catholics The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches and in some historical cases referred to as ''Uniates'', are twenty-three East ...
(Uniates), including their right to occupy all state positions, including a royal one. The next king could be a member of the Russian ruling dynasty now. The Sejm approved this. Resulting reaction among some of Poland's Roman Catholics, as well as the deep resentment of Russian intervention in the Commonwealth's domestic affairs including the exile to Russia of the top Roman Catholic bishops, the members of the Polish Senate, led to the War of the Confederation of Bar of 1768–1772, formed in
Bar Bar or BAR may refer to: Food *Bar (establishment) A bar is a long raised narrow table or bench designed for dispensing beer or other alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drinks. They were originally chest high, and a bar, often brass, ran the lengt ...
, where the Poles tried to expel Russian forces from Commonwealth territory. The irregular and poorly commanded Polish forces had little chance in the face of the regular Russian army and suffered a major defeat. Adding to the chaos was a
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...

Ukrainian
Cossack The Cossacks * russian: казаки́ or * be, казакi * pl, Kozacy * cs, kozáci * sk, kozáci * hu, kozákok, cazacii * fi, Kasakat, cazacii * et, Kasakad, cazacii are a group of predominantly East Slavic East Slavic may refer ...

Cossack
and peasant rebellion in the east (
Koliyivshchyna Koliivshchyna ( uk, Коліївщина, pl, koliszczyzna) was a major haidamaka rebellion that broke out in the Right-bank Ukraine in June 1768, caused by the money (Dutch ducat , c. 1910 The ducat () was a gold or silver coin used as a tra ...
), which erupted in 1768 and resulted in massacres of Polish noblemen ('), Jews, Uniates, ethnic minorities and Catholic priests, before it was put down by Russian and governmental Polish troops. This uprising led to the intervention of the Ottoman Empire, supported by Roman Catholic France and Austria. Bar confederation and France promised
Podolia Podolia or Podilia ( uk, Поді́лля, Podíllia, ; russian: Подо́лье, Podolʹje; tr, Podolya; pl, Podole; german: Podolien; lt, Podolė) is a historic region in Eastern Europe, located in the west-central and south-western parts o ...
and
Volhynia Volhynia (; uk, Волинь, Volyn'; be, Валынь (); pl, Wołyń ), is a historic region in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central r ...
and the protectorate over the Commonwealth to the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
for armed support. In 1769 the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
annexed a small territory of and in 1770 it annexed
Nowy Sącz Nowy Sącz (; hu, Újszandec; yi, Tzanz, צאנז; uk, Новий Сонч; german: Neu-Sandez) is a city in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship of southern Poland. It is the district capital of Nowy Sącz County as a separate administrative unit. It ...
and
Nowy Targ Nowy Targ ( la, Novum Forum, sk, Nový Targ, german: Neumarkt, yi, ניימארקט ''Naymarkt,'' Goral: ''Miasto/Nowý Targ'') is a town in southern Poland with 34,000 inhabitants (2006). It is the capital of Goralscyzna and the Podhale region ...

Nowy Targ
. These territories had been a bone of contention between Poland and
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, which was a part of the Monarchy. Nevertheless, the Ottoman Empire, the Bar confederation and its French and European volunteers were defeated by Russian forces and Polish governmental ones with the aid of Great Britain. As Russia moved into the Crimea and the Daubian Principalities (which the Habsburg Monarchy long coveted), King Frederick II of Prussia and Maria Theresa were worried that the defeat of the Ottoman Empire would severely upset the balance of power in Eastern Europe. Frederick II began to construct the partition to rebalance the power in Eastern Europe.


First Partition

In February 1772, the agreement of partition was signed in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label= ) is the , largest city, and one of of . Vienna is Austria's , with about 2 million inhabitants (2.6 million within the , nearly one third of the country's population), and its , , and centre. It ...

Vienna
. Early in August, Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops occupied the provinces agreed upon among themselves. Nevertheless, several battles and sieges took place, as Bar confederation troops and French volunteers refused to lay down their arms (most notably, in
Tyniec Tyniec is a historic village in Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrativ ...

Tyniec
,
Częstochowa Częstochowa ( , ) is a city in southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, admi ...

Częstochowa
and
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the in , the city dates back to the seventh century. Kraków was the official capital o ...

Kraków
). On August 5, 1772, the occupation manifesto was issued, much to the consternation of a country too exhausted by the endeavors of the Confederation of Bar to offer successful resistance; The partition treaty was ratified by its signatories on September 22, 1772.
Frederick II of Prussia Frederick II (german: Friedrich II.; 24 January 171217 August 1786) was King in Prussia from 1740 until 1772, and King of Prussia from 1772 until his death. His most significant accomplishments include his military successes in the Silesian war ...

Frederick II of Prussia
was elated with his success; Prussia took most of
Royal Prussia Royal Prussia ( pl, Prusy Królewskie; german: Königlich-Preußen or , csb, Królewsczé Prësë) or Polish PrussiaAnton Friedrich Büsching, Patrick Murdoch. ''A New System of Geography'', London 1762p. 588/ref> (Polish: ; German: ) was a ter ...
(without ) that stood between its possessions in the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
and the
Margraviate of Brandenburg The Margraviate of Brandenburg (german: link=no, Markgrafschaft Brandenburg) was a major principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical A monarchy is a form of government A government ...
, as well as Ermland (
Warmia Warmia (pronounced: , pl, Warmia, Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through ...
), northern areas of
Greater Poland in Kalisz File:Ratusz w Lesznie (2).jpg"> Polonia Maior), is a historical region of west-central Poland">town hall Greater Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska (; german: Großpolen, la">Polonia Maior), is a historical r ...
along the River (the Netze District), and parts of
Kuyavia Kuyavia ( pl, Kujawy; german: Kujawien; la, Cuiavia), also referred to as Cuyavia, is a historical region in north-central Poland, situated on the left bank of Vistula, as well as east from Noteć River and Lake Gopło. It is divided into three t ...

Kuyavia
(but not the city of
Toruń Toruń (, , ; german: Thorn) ** Latin: ''Thorunium'', ''Thorunia'' is a historical city on the Vistula River in north-central Poland and a World Heritage Sites of Poland, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its population was 198,613 as of December 2020. ...

Toruń
). Despite token criticism of the partition from Empress
Maria Theresa Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (german: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy, Habsburg dominions from 1740 until her death in 1780, and the only woman to hold the position. She was the ...
, Austrian statesman
Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg (german: Wenzel Anton Reichsfürst von Kaunitz-Rietberg, cz, Václav Antonín z Kounic a Rietbergu; 2 February 1711 – 27 June 1794) was an Austrian and Czech diplomat and statesman in the Habsburg Monarch ...
, was proud of wresting as large a share as he did, with the rich
salt mine A salt mine is a mine from which salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its natural form as a crystallinity, crystalline mi ...
s of
Bochnia Bochnia (german: Salzberg) is a town of 29,992 inhabitants on the river Raba in southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Bochnia
and
Wieliczka Wieliczka (German: ''Groß Salze'', Latin: ''Magnum Sal'') is a historic town in southern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. ...

Wieliczka
. To Austria fell
Zator Zator may refer to: People * Dominick Zator (born 1994), Canadian football player Places * Gmina Zator, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland * Zator, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland * Zator, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland * Zátor, Czech Republic O ...
and Auschwitz (), part of
Lesser Poland Lesser Poland, often known by its Polish language, Polish name Małopolska ( la, Polonia Minor), is a historical region situated in southern and south-eastern Poland. Its capital and largest city is Kraków. Throughout centuries, Lesser Pol ...
embracing parts of the counties of
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the in , the city dates back to the seventh century. Kraków was the official capital o ...

Kraków
and and the whole of
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, less the city of
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the in , the city dates back to the seventh century. Kraków was the official capital o ...

Kraków
. Empress
Catherine II of Russia russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Романова, translit=Yekaterina Alekseyevna Romanova en, Catherine Alexeievna Romanova, link=yes , house = , father = Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst , mother ...

Catherine II of Russia
was also satisfied in spite of the loss of
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
to the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
. By this "diplomatic document" Russia came into possession of that section of
Livonia Livonia ( liv, Līvõmō, et, Liivimaa, fi, Liivinmaa, German and North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages: ', archaic German: ''Liefland'', nl, Lijfland, Latvian language, Latvian and lt, Livonija, pl, Inflanty, archaic English ...

Livonia
that had remained in Commonwealth control, and of eastern
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
embracing the counties of
Vitebsk Vitebsk (russian: Витебск, ) or Viciebsk ( be, Ві́цебск, ), is a city in Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск/Менск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the ...

Vitebsk
,
Polotsk Polotsk (russian: По́лоцк; be, По́лацк, translit=Polatsk (BGN/PCGN), Polack (official transliteration); lt, Polockas; pl, Połock) is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Western Dvina, Dvina River. It is the center of the ...

Polotsk
and
Mstislavl Mstislaw or Mstislavl ( be, Мсці́слаў, [], russian: Мстиславль [, msʲtʲɪˈslavlʲ], pl, Mścisław, lt, Mstislavlis) is a town in the Mogilev Region, Eastern Belarus. It serves as the administrative center of Mstsislaw Distr ...
. By this partition, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth lost about 30% of its territory and half of its population (four million people), of which a large portion had not been ethnically Polish. By seizing northwestern Poland, Prussia instantly gained control over 80% of the Commonwealth's total foreign trade. Through levying enormous customs duties, Prussia accelerated the collapse of the Commonwealth. After having occupied their respective territories, the three partitioning powers demanded that King and the
Sejm The Sejm (English: , Polish: ), officially known as the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Pol ...
approve their action. When no help was forthcoming and the armies of the combined nations occupied Warsaw to compel by force of arms the calling of the assembly, no alternative could be chosen to save passive submission to their will. The so-called Partition Sejm, with Russian military forces threatening the opposition, on September 18, 1773, signed the treaty of cession, renouncing all claims of the Commonwealth to the occupied territories.


Second Partition

By 1790 the First Polish Republic had been weakened to such a degree that it was forced into an unnatural and terminal alliance with its enemy, Prussia. The Polish–Prussian Pact of 1790 was signed. The conditions of the Pact contributed to the subsequent final two partitions of Poland–Lithuania. The May Constitution of 1791 enfranchised the bourgeoisie, established the separation of the three branches of government, and eliminated the abuses of the
Repnin Sejm The Repnin Sejm ( pl, Sejm Repninowski) was a Sejm (session of the parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representa ...
. Those reforms prompted aggressive actions on the part of its neighbours, wary of the potential renaissance of the Commonwealth. Arguing that Poland had fallen prey to the radical Jacobin (politics), Jacobinism then at high tide in France, Russian forces invaded the Commonwealth in 1792. In the Polish–Russian War of 1792, War in Defense of the Constitution, pro-Russian conservative Polish magnates, the Targowica Confederation, Confederation of Targowica, fought against Polish forces supporting the constitution, believing that Russians would help them restore the Golden Liberty. Abandoned by their Prussian allies, Polish pro-constitution forces, faced with Targowica units and the regular Russian army, were defeated. Prussia signed a treaty with Russia, agreeing that Polish reforms would be revoked, and both countries would receive chunks of Commonwealth territory. In 1793, deputies to the Grodno Sejm, last Sejm of the Commonwealth, in the presence of the Russian forces, agreed to Russian territorial demands. In the Second Partition, Russia and Prussia helped themselves to enough land so that only one-third of the 1772 population remained in Poland. Prussia named its newly gained province South Prussia, with Poznań, Posen (and later Warsaw) as the capital of the new province. Targowica confederates, who did not expect another partition, and the king,
Stanisław August Poniatowski Stanisław II August (born Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski, 17 January 173212 February 1798), known also by his regal Latin name Stanislaus II Augustus, was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, and the last monarch of the ...

Stanisław August Poniatowski
, who joined them near the end, both lost much prestige and support. The reformers, on the other hand, were attracting increasing support, and in 1794 the
Kościuszko Uprising The Kościuszko Uprising, also known as the Polish Uprising of 1794 and the Second Polish War, was an uprising against the Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia Eurasia () is the l ...
began.


Third Partition

Kosciuszko's ragtag insurgent armies won some initial successes, but they eventually fell before the superior forces of the Russian Empire. The partitioning powers, seeing the increasing unrest in the remaining Commonwealth, decided to solve the problem by erasing any independent Polish state from the map. On 24 October 1795, their representatives signed a treaty, dividing the remaining territories of the Commonwealth between their three countries. One of Russia's chief foreign policy authors, Alexander Bezborodko, advised Catherine the Great, Catherine II on the Second and Third Partitions of Poland. The Russian part included and 1.2 million people with Vilnius, the Prussian part (new provinces of New East Prussia and New Silesia) and 1 million people with Warsaw, and the Austrian with 1.2 million and Lublin and Kraków.


Summary

With regard to population, in the First Partition, Poland lost over four to five million citizens (about a third of its population of 14 million before the partitions). Only about 4 million people remained in Poland after the Second Partition which makes for a loss of another third of its original population, about a half of the remaining population. By the Third Partition, Prussia ended up with about 23% of the Commonwealth's population, Austria with 32%, and Russia with 45%. (Wandycz also offers slightly different total annexed territory estimates, with 18% for Austria, 20% for Prussia and 62% for Russia.) During the Napoleonic Wars and in their immediate aftermath the borders between partitioning powers shifted several times, changing the numbers seen in the preceding table. Ultimately, Russia ended up with most of the Polish core at the expense of Prussia and Austria. Following the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
, Russia controlled 82% of the pre-1772 Commonwealth's territory (this includes its puppet state of
Congress Poland 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 Poland, Polish State (polity), state and successor to Napoleon's short-lived Duchy of Warsaw. ...
), Austria 11%, and Prussia 7%.


Aftermath

The King of Poland,
Stanisław August Poniatowski Stanisław II August (born Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski, 17 January 173212 February 1798), known also by his regal Latin name Stanislaus II Augustus, was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, and the last monarch of the ...

Stanisław August Poniatowski
, under Russian military escort left for Grodno where he abdication, abdicated on November 25, 1795; next he left for Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he would spend his remaining days. This act ensured that Russia would be seen as the most important of the partitioning powers. As a result of the Partitions, Poles were forced to seek a change of status quo in Europe. Polish poets, politicians, noblemen, writers, artists, many of whom were forced to emigrate (thus the term Great Emigration), became the revolutionaries of the 19th century, as desire for freedom became one of the defining parts of Romanticism in Poland, Polish romanticism. Polish revolutionaries participated in uprisings in Prussia, the Austrian Empire and Russian Empire, Imperial Russia. Polish Legions (Napoleonic period), Polish legions fought alongside Napoleon and, under the slogan of ''For our freedom and yours'', participated widely in the Revolutions of 1848, Spring of Nations (particularly the Hungarian Revolution of 1848).Gods, Heroes, & Legends
/ref> Poland would be briefly resurrected—if in a smaller frame—in 1807, when Napoleon set up the Duchy of Warsaw. After his defeat and the implementation of the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
treaty in 1815, the Russian-dominated Congress Poland, Congress Kingdom of Poland was created in its place. After the Congress, Russia gained a larger share of Poland (with
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Warsaw
) and, after crushing November Uprising, an insurrection in 1831, the Congress Kingdom's autonomy was abolished and Poles faced confiscation of property, deportation, forced military service, and the closure of their own universities. After the January Uprising, uprising of 1863, Russification of Polish secondary schools was imposed and the literacy rate dropped dramatically. In the Austrian sector which now was called
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, Poles fared better and were allowed to have representation in Parliament and to form their own universities, and Kraków with Lwów, Lemberg (Lwów/Lviv) became centers of Polish culture and education. Meanwhile, Prussia Germanisation of Poles during the Partitions, Germanized the entire school system of its Polish subjects, and had no more respect for Polish culture and institutions than the Russian Empire. In 1915 a client state of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary was proposed and accepted by the Central Powers of World War I: the Kingdom of Poland (1916–18), Regency Kingdom of Poland. After the end of World War I, the Central Powers' surrender to the Allies of World War I, Western Allies, the chaos of the Russian Revolution and the Treaty of Versailles finally allowed and helped the restoration of Poland's full independence after 123 years.


Fourth Partition

The term "Fourth Partition of Poland" may refer to any subsequent division of Polish lands, including: * after the Napoleonic era, the 1815 division of the Duchy of Warsaw at the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
; * the 1832 incorporation of the "Congress Poland, Congress Kingdom" into Russia, the 1846 incorporation of the Free City of Cracow, Republic of Kraków into Austria, and the 1848 incorporation of the Grand Duchy of Posen into Prussia; and * the Occupation of Poland (1939–1945), 1939 division of Poland between Nazi Germany, Germany and the Soviet Union pursuant to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. If one accepts more than one of those events as partitions, fifth, sixth, and even seventh partitions can be counted, but these terms are very rare. (For example, Norman Davies in ''God's Playground'' refers to the 1807 creation of the Duchy of Warsaw as the fourth partition, the 1815 Treaty of Vienna as the fifth, the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk as the sixth, and the 1939 division of Poland between Nazi Germany and the USSR as the seventh.) The term "Fourth Partition" was also used in the 19th and 20th centuries to refer to diaspora communities who maintained a close interest in the project of regaining Polish independence. Sometimes termed Polish diaspora, Polonia, these expatriate communities often contributed funding and military support to the project of regaining the Polish nation-state. Diaspora politics were deeply affected by developments in and around the homeland, and vice versa, for many decades.


Historiography

More recent studies claim that partitions happened when the Commonwealth had been showing the beginning signs of a slow recovery and see the last two partitions as an answer to strengthening reforms in the Commonwealth and the potential threat they represented to its power-hungry neighbours.The Army of Grand Duchy of Warsaw
Hon. Carl L. Bucki, University of Buffalo's History of Poland series

Paul W. Schroeder, ''The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848'', Oxford University Press, 1996,
Google print p.84
/ref>Geoffrey Russell, ''The Making of Modern Europe, 1648–1780'', Routledge, 2003,
Google Print, p.548
/ref> As historian Norman Davies stated, because the balance of power (international relations), balance of power equilibrium was observed, many contemporary observers accepted explanations of the "enlightened apologists" of the partitioning state.Norman Davies, ''God's Playground: A History of Poland in Two Volumes'', Oxford University Press, 2005,
Google Print, p.283
/ref> 19th-century historians from countries that carried out the partitions, such as 19th-century Russian scholar Sergey Solovyov (historian), Sergey Solovyov, and their 20th century followers, argued that partitions were justified, as the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
had degenerated to the point of being partitioned because the counterproductive principle of ' made decision-making on divisive issues, such as a wide-scale social reform, virtually impossible. Solovyov specified the cultural, language and religious break between the supreme and lowest layers of the society in the east regions of the Commonwealth, where the Belarusians, Belarusian and Ukrainians, Ukrainian serfdom, serf peasantry was Orthodox. Russian authors emphasized the historical connections between Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, as former parts of the medieval old Russian state where dynasty of Rurik dynasty, Rurikids reigned (Kievan Rus'). Thus, Nikolay Karamzin wrote: "Let the foreigners denounce the partition of Poland: we took what was ours." Russian historians often stressed that Russia annexed primarily Ukrainian and Belorussian provinces with Eastern Slavic inhabitants, although many Ruthenians were no more enthusiastic about Russia than about Poland, and ignoring ethnically Polish and Lithuanian territories also being annexed later. A new justification for partitions arose with the Russian Enlightenment, as Russian writers such as Gavrila Derzhavin, Denis Fonvizin, and Alexander Pushkin stressed degeneration of Catholic Poland and the need to "civilize" it by its neighbors. Nonetheless, other 19th century contemporaries were much more skeptical; for example, British jurist Sir Robert Phillimore discussed the partition as a violation of international law; German jurist Heinrich Bernhard Oppenheim presented similar views.Sharon Korman, ''The Right of Conquest: The Acquisition of Territory by Force in International Law and Practice'', Oxford University Press, 1996,
Google Print, p.101
/ref> Other older historians who challenged such justifications for the Partitions included French historian Jules Michelet, British historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Edmund Burke, who criticized the immorality of the partitions.Norman Davies, ''Europe: A History'', Oxford University Press, 1996,
Google Print, p.661"> Google Print, p.661
/ref> Several scholars focused on the economic motivations of the partitioning powers. Jerzy Czajewski wrote that the Russian peasants were escaping from Russia to the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
in significant enough numbers to become a major concern for the Russian Government sufficient to play a role in its decision to partition the Commonwealth.Jerzy Czajewski, ''"Zbiegostwo ludności Rosji w granice Rzeczypospolitej"'' (Russian population exodus into the Rzeczpospolita), Promemoria journal, October 2004 nr. (5/15), ISSN 1509-9091
Table of Content online
Polish language
Increasingly in the 18th century until the partitions solved this problem, Russian armies raided territories of the Commonwealth, officially to recover the escapees, but in fact kidnapping many locals. Hajo Holborn noted that Prussia aimed to take control of the lucrative Baltic grain trade through Danzig (Gdańsk). Some scholars use the term 'sector' in reference to Commonwealth territories consisting of Polish (not Polish-Lithuanian) cultural heritage as well as historical monuments dating as far back as the first days of Poland's statehood.


Other countries

The
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
was one of only two countries in the world that refused to accept the partitions, (the other being the Afsharid dynasty, Persian Empire), and reserved a place in its diplomatic corps for an Ambassador of Lehistan (Poland). "", the Italian National Anthem, contains a reference to the partition. The ongoing partitions of Poland were a major topic of discourse in ''The Federalist Papers'', where the structure of the government of Poland, and of foreign influence over it, is used in several papers (Federalist No. 14, Federalist No. 19, Federalist No. 22, Federalist No. 39 for examples) as a cautionary tale for the writers of the U.S. Constitution.


See also

* Administrative division of Polish–Lithuanian territories after partitions * Administrative division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the course of partitions * Ambassadors and envoys from Russia to Poland (1763–1794) * Three Emperors' Corner at the border of the Russian, Austrian and the German Empires


Notes


References


Further reading

* Lewitter, L. R. "The Partitions of Poland" ''History Today'' (Dec 1958) 8#12 pp 813–820. * Lewitter, Lucjan R. "The Partitions of Poland" in A. Goodwyn, ed. ''The New Cambridge Modern History: vol 8 1763–93'' (1965) pp. 333–59. * Lord, Robert. ''The second partition of Poland; a study in diplomatic history'' (1915
online
* Lukowski, Jerzy. ''The Partitions of Poland 1772, 1793, 1795'' (1998)
online review
* McLean, Thomas. ''The Other East and Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Imagining Poland and the Russian Empire'' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) pp. 14–40.


External links

* Krzysztof Wroński


Where Is Poland?
a multimedia guide created by Culture.pl to the 123-year period during which Poland was partitioned {{Authority control Partitions of Poland, Military occupations of Poland Dissolutions of countries 1770s in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1790s in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth be:Рэч Паспалітая#Падзелы Рэчы Паспалітай