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Partitions of Poland

Partitions of Poland (which should be called more correctly partitions of Poland-Lithuania[?]) happened in the 18th century and ended the existence of a Polish sovereign state. Polish lands were partitioned between Prussia, Russia and Austria. There were three partitions: in February 17, 1772 January 21, 1793 and 1795.

Usually other divisions of Polish lands are called fourth partition. After the end of the Napoleonic Era, the division of Grand Duchy of Warsaw[?] was called the fourth partition of Poland. Then incorporation of so called Congress Kingdom[?] into Russia in 1832 and following Republic of Krakow[?] into Austria (1846) was also called the fourth partition; then division of Poland between Germany and Russia in Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939.

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In traditional history one can find claim, that Poland-Lithuania was partitioned because of the degeneration of state and unability of Poles to rule themselves. Apart from the semi-racist implications of that view, one must say that this can't be true, since the darkest period of Polish history and peak of degeneration of state was in first half of the 18th century, and partitions happened when Poland started slowly to recover - in fact the last two partitions can be seen as a direct answer to reforms in Poland-Lithuania.

In other words, the partitions did not happen because Poland was degenerated, weak and backward country; rather, Poland was partitioned because it was weak, backward, and tried to reform itself.

Before the partitions, Poland-Lithuania was already not a completely sovereign state, by modern standards it could be called Russia's satellite state, with the kings in reality being elected by the Russian Tsars.

The neighbours of Poland; Prussia, Austria and Russia signed a secret agreement in order to keep status quo, that was to ensure that Polish laws would not be changed. Their alliance later was known as the "Alliance of the Three Black Eagles", because a black eagle was the symbol of all three states.

The Poles tried to expell foreign forces in an uprising (Bar confederation[?], 1768-1772), but the irregular and poorly commanded forces had no chance in face of the regular Russian army and were crushed.

First Partition Why it happened, reforms in Sejm

Second Partition

Constitution of third may, war of constitution,, targowica

Third Partition

Kosciuszko uprising


trauma for Poles, neverending source of troubles for Europe (alliance with Napoleon, uprisings: 1830-1,1846,1848,1863,1905...)

see also: History of Poland

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