Polish History


John I Albert

When a sejm met to elect the next king of Poland, possible candidates were Casimir IV Jagiellon’s son, Sigismund, and John I Albert, as well as Janusz II of the Piasty dynasty. Zbigniew Oleśnicki opposed John I Albert at first. John I Albert was able to get support from his mother and the majority of Poland’s elite and the representatives of its cities. On August 27, 1492, John I Albert was elected king of Poland in Piotrków. In 1493, a sejm met in Piotrków to confirm the privileges that the nobility previously possessed. On December 5, 1492, John I Albert made an alliance with his brother Władysław to counterbalance the threat of the Ottoman Empire and the Tatars.

In April and May of 1494, four of the brothers of the Jagiellon dynasty —Władysław, Jan Olbracht, Zygmunt, and Fryderyk — met in Levoča in Slovakia. The purpose of the meeting was probably to strengthen the position of Władysław in Hungary, since he was threatened by the Habsburgs. They may have also met to coordinate a plan of defense against the Ottoman Empire. On May 5, 1494, John I Albert renewed a secret treaty with Władysław that guaranteed his brothers help against their subjects if they rebelled. In June 1495, a three-year peace was made between Poland and Hungary. In 1496, a similar treaty was made between Hungary and Poland.

In 1494, the dukedom of Zatorskie was purchased from a duke by the name of Janusz. In 1513, it was incorpated into Poland. In 1495, the lands of Płock and Wizneńsk were incorporated by Poland after duke Janusz II of Mazovia died.

In 1496, the sejm at Piotrków required only nobility to have the ability to become bishops and canons. It also only allowed five spots to be open in chapter houses for doctors of theology, law, and medicine who were not part of the nobility. Maximum prices were set for articles sold in cities that were favorable to the nobility. The nobility was also exempted from paying tariffs and allowed to ship its products on rivers freely. The sejm also renewed the law that allowed one peasant to leave his village each year.

In November 1496, Jan Olbracht and Alexander met in Parczew. An agreement was probably made for Poland to attack ports in the Black Sea. In 1496, the sejm in Piotrków agreed for a general mobilization and for new taxes that John I Albert pleaded for. In 1497, Poland went on a campaign to the Black Sea. Jan von Tiefen, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, went with hundreds of knights. In August 1497, Polish forces entered Moldavia. Legates of Moldavia’s hospodar declared their country was a client of the Ottoman Empire. On May 1, 1498, Yahyapaşazade Malkoçoğlu Balı Bey attacked part of Ruthenia that was part of Poland. In July 1498, the Tartars attacked Volhynia. On July 13, 1498, a preliminary alliance was struck in Kraków between Poland and Hungary against the Ottoman Empire. The hospodar of Moldavia, Stefan, was forced to end his alliance with the Ottoman Empire. On April 15, 1499, a formal alliance was ratified between Poland and Hungary. On July 12, 1499, hospodar Stefan ratified a treaty with Poland that made Moldavia dependent on Poland.

After the Crimean Tartars defeated Lithuanian forces at Vyshnivets on August 23, 1494, plans were made between Poland and Lithuania counterpose the Crimean Tartars. In 1499, the Act of Horodło was confirmed in Lithuania. Lithuania was to ally with Poland against the Ottoman Empire, Moldavia, the Crimean Khanate, and Moscow. On July 14, 1500, Hungary, Poland, and France forged an alliance against the Ottoman Empire and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. In 1502, Władysław II married the cousin of Louis XII, Anne of Foix-Candale, to strengthen the alliance.

On January 11, 1501, an alliance was made between Poland and the khan of the Tatars in the Volga region, Shaik Achmat, in Piotrków. Its aim was to neutralize the khan of the Crimean Tartars. On July 19, 1501, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire made a truce with Poland after Władysław entered the war against the Ottoman Empire.

After Ivan III attacked Mceńsk, Łuczyny, and Rohaczew, Ivan III demanded many things from Lithuania. He wanted to be recognized as the ruler of all of Ruthenia and that an Orthodox church be built in Vilnius. It led Lithuania to draw closer to Poland. On May 6, 1499, in Kraków, and on July 24, 1499, in Vilnius, an alliance was made between Poland and Lithuania. Monarchs in both countries were to be picked with the input of both sides.

In the spring of 1500, the voivode of Moscow, Jakub Zacharycz, attacked Severia and began a war with Lithuania. Another army of Moscow went on a campaign in the direction of Smoleńsk. Konstanty Iwanowicz Ostrogski led Lithuanian forces against it. On August 28, 1501, Wolter von Plettenberg defeated enemy forces at Izborsk. On March 28, 1503, a truce was made for six years with Lithuania that took 1/3 of its Ruthenian lands.

After the Grand Master Jan von Tiefen died, Friedrich the Saxon was elected in 1498. He attempted to disregard the Peace of Toruń that required him to pledge an oath of loyalty to Poland. He received the support of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor. In February 1501 and March 1501, attempts were made to get the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights to pledge loyalty to Poland at the sejm in Piotrków, but they failed. In May 1501, John I Albert went to Toruń to force him to pledge loyalty, but on June 17, 1501, John I Albert died.

Alexander I Jagiellon

On October 3, 1501, Alexander I Jagiellon was elected at Piotrków. A document was declared on the day he was elected to reestablish a union between Poland and Lithuania. On October 23, 1501, Alexander I Jagiellon signed the document in Mielnik. Under the document’s terms, Poland and Lithuania were united under one monarch who was elected by Poles. Lithuania’s sejm was given the privilege to accept the new monarch.

On October 25, 1501, Alexander I Jagiellon promulgated the Privilege of Mielnik. It made members of the king’s council be tried by the senate’s court. It allowed the members of the king’s council to decide the most important matters and not the sejm. It also allowed the king’s subjects to relinquish their loyalty to him if he acted against the resolutions of the king’s council.

In 1505, the sejm in Radom detailed the powers that the king and sejm would have. The statute of nihil novi nisi commune consensu (“nothing new without the common consent”) was made that stipulated that only matters passed by the sejm could be confirmed with the agreement of the king, senate, and nobility’s legates. The statute took away power from the king and balanced it with the nobility.

Alexander Jagiellon brought elements of Western European culture to Lithuania. He urbanized Lithuania by giving Magdeburg law to Bielsk Podlaski, Brest, Lutsk, Drohiczyn, Polotsk, Minsk, Mielnik, and Volodymyr-Volynskyi. He built Vilnius up with fortifications and churches, such as the churches of Saint Bernardine and Saint Anne. New parishes were established with preachers from Poland. On August 19, 1506, Alexander Jagiellon died. He was buried in Vilnius’ cathedral.

Sigismund I the Old (1586-1548)

On September 13, 1506, Sigismund I the Old was elected to be the Grand Duke of Lithuania. On December 8, 1506, Sigismund I the Old was elected in Piotrków by Poland’s magnates. On February 8, 1512, Sigismund I the Old married Barbara Zápolya when she was seventeen-years old. After Barbara Zápolya died in 1515, Sigismund I the Old married Bona Sforza in 1518. She was the niece of Holy Roman emperor Maximilian I. Bona Sforza brought celery, cauliflower, and leeks to Poland from Italy. In the beginning of Sigismund the Old’s reign, the sejm passed laws that increased the power of the king in the monetary system. The sejm also increased tariffs. Kraków’s mint produced more silver half grosze to increase the amount of grosze in circulation to increase trade.

Lithuania came into conflict with the Grand Duchy of Moscow after it claimed all Ruthenian lands as its own homeland. In the spring and autumn of 1507, castle-towns on Lithuania’s borderlands were attacked by Vasili III of Russia and defended successfully by Lithuania. Orsha and Minsk were attacked and defended by Polish forces led by Mikołaj Firlej and Lithuanian forces led by Konstanty Ostrogski. The Ruthenian forces retreated and a peace settlement was agreed upon. In 1509, Mikołaj Kamieniecki defended an attack by Wallachia. He ended up retrieving Pokucie and ended up defeating the assailing forces that ended up retreating. In February 1514, the Habsburgs made an alliance with the Grand Duchy of Moscow. They encouraged it to fight and destabilize Poland. The two actors conspired to partition Poland.

The Tatars threatened Poland. In 1512, Mikołaj Kamieniecki and Konstanty Ostrogski defeated the Tatars in a battle at Vyshnivets. Smoleńsk, Połock, and Witebsk were besieged. In the summer of 1513, Ostrogski was able to stop the sieges of the cities.

In 1514, when Smoleńsk was besieged for the second time by the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it was captured after about ten weeks of fighting. On September 8, 1514, Konstanty and Janusz Świerczowski defeated an army twice as large as theirs in a battle at Orsha. Maximilian I, Vladislaus II of Hungary, and Zygmunt met at Pressburg and Vienna in July 1515. Maximiliam I offered to help in peace negotiations with the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Vladislaus II of Hungary and Zygmunt the Old offered to mediate in peace talks with Maximilian I’s enemies. They hoped to form an alliance of several countries against the Ottoman Empire. Maximilian I also resigned from supporting the Teutonic Knights and Sigismund the Old resigned from being the patron of the Teutonic Knights. The meeting in Vienna also produced marriage agreements. Sigismund the Old’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was to marry Friedrich II. Maximilian I’s grandchildren, Ferdinand and Maria, were to marry with Vladislaus II of Hungary’s children, Ludwig and Anna.

In 1514, a general uprising of peasants occurred in protest of the crusade against the Ottoman Empire. It was defeated. In 1517, Sigismund the Old built a chapel next to Wawel’s cathedral. It is named after him. In 1520, Sigismund the Old had a bell poured that was added to Wawel in 1521. It is known as the Sigismund Bell. It was used to greet kings and for religious holidays.

Lutheranism had an influence within Poland and in Prussia during Sigismund I the Old’s reign. Intellectuals and Germans were usually the ones to whom Lutheranism appealed. In January 1524, the bishop of Warmia, Maurycy Ferber, published a letter that accused Martin Luther of several things: promoting a rebellion in society; espousing a false doctrine; giving lectures in bars and saloons; undermining the basis of Roman Catholicism. Bishop Ferber said Roman Catholics threatened to punish anyone who followed Luther. He also told Roman Catholics to fight against Lutheranism. Bishop Polentz, the substitute regent for Prussia, retorted by saying the Protestant Reformation should spread. He also attacked the Vatican. Martin Luther came to Prussia and wrote against Bishop Ferber. Bishop Polentz’s followers in Warmia ended up robbing expensive items in churches and monasteries after he told them to enact Lutheranism. Lutheranism ended up being defeated in Warmia. Lutheran preachers were expelled. Ferber continued to fight Lutheranism by going to the Senate and proposing the annexation of the western part of Prussia. He also said that if Albert, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and duke of Prussia, would protest, all of Prussia should be taken. During the winter of 1524 and 1525, the sejm in Piotrków stated that no peace or truce should be made with the Teutonic Knights in Prussia. Instead, the Teutonic Knights should be removed from Prussia.

Gdańsk was influenced by Lutheranism from 1518. Lutheran preachers came to Gdańsk and tried to amplify discontent that was in Gdańsk already. In January 1525, a revolt occurred. The ones who rebelled were influenced by Lutheranism. They robbed churches of silver, gold, crosses, and cups. Another revolt in Sambia followed. Albert ended up converting to Lutheranism, dissolving the Teutonic Knights, and sending envoys to Poland who said that he would pay homage to Poland as its vassal as a secular duke of Prussia.

Lutheranism also influenced Elbląg, Mazovia, Toruń, and Warsaw. In Warsaw, social disturbances occurred. In Mazovia, duke Janusz III gave into the demands of craftsmen and freed the leaders of the tumult in prison. In 1530, Walter von Cronberg, the new Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, gave Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, all of Prussia as a fief. Duke Albert, the previous Grand Master, was called to the court of the Holy Roman Empire. When he did not appear, he was banished. On April 10, 1525, Albert of Prussia committed the Prussian Homage by kneeling in front of Sigismund I the Old in Kraków and recognizing Poland’s dominion over Prussia. After the Prussian Homage, the council in Gdańsk was imprisoned in Kraków. In 1526, Sigismund the Old lead an army of 3,000 to Gdańsk. Gdańsk opened its gate to them without any resistance. Lutheran preachers were expelled and the leaders of the rebellion were killed. The king was given more power over Gdańsk and more taxes were called from Gdańsk. Roman Catholicism was restored, but Lutheranism reappeared afterwards. Sigismund the Old ended up making an inquisition in Poland after Lutheranism spread more.

In 1537, a rokosz occurred in Lwów. Sigismund I the Old called for it to fight against Moldavia. It was also to tell the nobility what its laws and obligations were in relation to the king. Mikołaj Taszycki was the leader of the rebellion. It turned into a demonstration by opponents against Sigismund I the Old’s politics. It is called the Chicken War, since all chickens were eaten around Lwów. Sigismund I the Old ended up dissolving the general mobilization.

Sigismund I the Old intervened in Hungary between two men who claimed to be the king of Hungary. They were Jan Zápolya and Ferdinand of Austria. In 1538, Sigismund I the Old helped to make an agreement in Nagyvárad that recognized the two as kings in Hungary. Jan Zápolya was to rule Hungary and Transylvania until his death. Afterward, Ferdinand of Austria would rule after Jan Zápolya would die. After the agreement was made, Jan Zápolya married Sigismund I the Old’s daughter, Isabella Jagiellon, on February 23, 1539. In 1540, Isabella Jagiellon gave birth to Jan Zygmunt. Jan Zápolya died a few days later. Hungary and all of its other territories were to be under Ferdinand of Austria’s power. Isabella Jagiellon refused to let the Habsburgs take over Hungary. Hungary’s nobility elected Jan Sigismund as their king. Ferdinand of Austria sent an army to lay siege to Buda. Isabella Jagiellon asked for help from the Suleiman the Magnificent in the Ottoman Empire. Suleiman the Magnificent sent troops to remove Germans from Buda and were successful. Ferdinand of Austria ended up retaining western Hungary. Jan Sigismund received the territories east from the Cisa River along with Transylvania. On April 1, 1548, Sigismund I the Old died at Wawel.

Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1569)

In 1522, Lithuania’s sejm in Vilnius recognized Sigismund II Augustus as the inheritor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Sigismund II Augustus promised to confirm Lithuania’s codified law in return for being recognized. He was also guaranteed to succeed his father, Sigismund I the Old. In 1529, Lithuania’s codified law was recognized with the passage of the First Lithuanian Statute. It was written in Ruthenian. It had 244 articles that guaranteed public, private, procedural, and penal law. After it was confirmed, Sigismund II Augustus was recognized as the Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was against the terms of 1522, since Sigismund I the Old was still living. In December 1529, Sigismund August was unanimously picked at the sejm in Piotrków. He was ten-years old. In February 1530, Sigismund August was coronated by Jan Łaski at Wawel’s cathedral. Both Sigismund the Old and Sigismund II August were kings simultaneously.

Sigismund II Augustus attempted to protect his southeastern borders. It led to a war with Moldavia after diplomacy failed. In 1531, hetman Jan Tarnowski defeated the hospodar of Moldavia, Peter IV Rareș, at Obertyn. The victory was one of Poland’s greatest military triumphs.

On May 6, 1543, Sigismund II August married Elizabeth Habsburg in Wawel’s cathedral. Elizabeth Habsburg was later coronated as the new queen. On October 6, 1544, Sigismund I the Old made Sigismund II August the Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sigismund I the Old allowed himself to be the highest duke in Lithuania. On October 22, 1544, Sigismund II August went with his wife to Vilnius to officially become the Grand Duke of Lithuania. On June 15, 1545, Elizabeth Habsburg died from epilepsy. In the Holy Roman Empire’s parliament, it was suspected Bona Sforza poisoned her, since she disliked the Habsburgs. In July 1547, Sigismund II August married Barbara Radziwiłł in a cathedral in a castle in Vilnius. On December 7, 1550, Barbara Radziwiłł was coronated at Wawel’s cathedral.

Ivan IV the Terrible threatened the Duchy of Livonia. The duchy’s emissaries were sent to Poland to get help. They were rebuked the first time, but the second time they were successful. On August 31, 1559, a treaty was signed in Vilnius that gave Sigismund II August part of the Duchy of Livonia in return for military help. Ivan V the Terrible attacked and had success. On November 28, 1561, Gothard Kettler, the Master of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword that ruled the Duchy of Livonia, and archbishop Wilhelm surrendered control of their kingdom to Poland and Lithuania. It was a great success for Sigismund II August.

During the Great Northern War from 1563 to 1570, Poland allied with Denmark against Sweden. Denmark and Poland won the war. The terms of the peace deal stated that Estonia had to be given to the Holy Roman Emperor by Sweden. The Holy Roman Emperor was to give Estonia to Denmark as a fief. Sweden never obliged itself to this term. Free trade was implemented in the Baltic Sea. Poland did not sign the treaty. It protested it.

Plans were made in 1551 in the sejm to standardize law in Poland and Lithuania. In 1564, Sigismund II August issued a privilege at the sejm in Bielsk that would list the terms of the union between Poland and Lithuania. The privilege also stated how Poland and Lithuania would be tied closer to one another. In 1566, the Second Lithuanian Statute was promulgated in the old Ruthenian language. In 1568, it was translated into Polish. In 1576, it was translated into Latin. The new statute made Polish and Roman law more important in the union. The Grand Duke of Lithuania had his power decreased. He was not allowed to make laws, taxes, and declare war without the sejm in Lithuania. Property laws were also strengthened. Voivodeships were also made in Lithuania that were based on Poland voivodeships.

On January 10, 1569, a sejm met in Lublin that was composed of Polish and Lithuanian deputies and senators. Lithuanians protested against joint debates on the union with Poles. Several weeks of arguing ensued. They did not want to surrender power to Poland. Sigismund II August called for a joint session between Poles and Lithuanians, but the Lithuanians left Lublin on March 1, 1569. Only a few deputies and senators stayed. On March 5, 1569, Sigismund II August incorporated the Podlaskie Voivodeship and part of Wołyń after they expressed interested in incorporation. The majority of Lithuanian senators and deputies returned to Lublin. On July 1, 1569, the Union of Lublin was confirmed after debate. The new name for the union was the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to the union’s terms, a monarch was to be chosen by Poles and Lithuanians in Poland. The monarch would then be crowned in Kraków. The position and title of the Grand Duke of Lithuania was allowed. He was not allowed to be coronated in Vilnius. The right of the Lithuanians to succeed in Lithuania was ended. Poles and Lithuanians were obligated to debate in the sejm and decide foreign policy. One monetary system and one tariff system were made. Poles were allowed to buy land in Lithuania. Poland and Lithuania were allowed to keep separate armies, ministries, and central offices. Lithuania was obligated to have the same system of ministries and central offices that Poland had.

Other lands were incorporated after Lithuania was incorporated into Poland. In 1564, the duchy of Oświęcim-Zatorski was incorporated into the Voivodeship of Kraków. It was called the district of Silesia. It had its own sejm in Zator. Prussia was incorporated next by bringing its deputies into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s sejm. After Gdańsk resisted incorporation, its mayors were imprisoned. A new commission was made to deal with Gdańsk’s incorporation. It made new statutes that limited Gdańsk’s privileges and made the king more power in matters related to the Baltic Sea. In 1570, the sejm passed these reforms. Gdańsk asked to be pardoned for its offense. It passed the statutes but never enacted them.

Jakub Uchański, a primate, called a congress of Catholic senators from Greater Poland to Łowicz before Sigismund II August died. They agreed that Poland’s primate should have the highest rank among senators once Sigismund II August died and that there should be an interregnum. Uchański proposed to Mikołaj Radziwiłł Sierotka that if Sigismund II August should die that a congress of senators should be held. Piotr Zborowski of Rytwian, the voivode of Sandomierz proposed that all members of the nobility would elect a new king. The castellan of Lublin, Stanisław Słupecki, the castellan of Wojnicz, and a district head by the name of Jan Tęczyński wanted to limit the power of poor nobility to vote for a new king. They wanted the poor nobility to only send representatives to vote. On July 15, 1565, a confederation was called in Krasnymstaw to make public order. Kraków’s nobility made its own confederation.

In October 1566, Sigismund II August’s wife, Queen Catherine, left Poland after falling out of favor with her husband. Sigismund II August had affairs with multiple mistresses whom he called his falcons. On July 2, 1572, Sigismund II August died of tuberculosis. He was the last king of the Jagiellonian dynasty.

Great Interregnum

In October 1572, a congress was called to Kaska. The congress declared Jakub Uchański as the interrex. The congress also made a convocational sejm meet in Warsaw for every future interregnum and decide the location, time, and manner of the election of the next king. In 1573, a confederation met in Warsaw. The confederation decided that Poland’s primate would always be the interrex when there was an interregnum. Jan Zamoyski proposed an election by all nobles in which a majority vote would decide the next king, but it was discarded in favor of a unanimous vote. On April 5, 1573, the election was to take place. When the confederation was passed, the majority of Catholic bishops and some Catholic senators refused to sign it.

Maximilian II, the Holy Roman Emperor of the House of Habsburg, had a son, Ernest, who was a candidate to be the next Polish king. The problem with the Habsburgs was that they tried to spread their dynasty in Europe and not keep the lands they ruled in favor of their subjects. They ruled in Germany and Hungary. Poland was the next target for expansion.

On April 3, 1573, over 40,000 members of the nobility and about 60,000 others met in the fields of a village named Kamień to elect a new king. The gathering formulated the Henrician Articles. The Henrician Articles listed the obligations of the king that he or she had to swear upon when coronated. They stated that only free elections could elect kings. The Henrician Articles also obligated the king to declare war and peace with the agreement of the Senate, and required the king to get the sejm to agree to making new taxes and mass mobilizations. If the king would disregard laws and privileges, his subjects could stop declaring loyalty to him.

Henry III of France (1573-1575)

On May 11, 1573, primate Jakub Uchański nominated the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Henry III of France, to be king. On May 16, 1573, he was formally nominated. On February 21, 1474, Henry III of France was coronated at Wawel’s cathedral. The Great Interregnum ended. Poland did not have a king for 566 days during the Great Interregnum.

Pacta conventa (“Articles of Agreement”) were written that made an eternal alliance between Poland and France. The two countries were to help each other diplomatically if a war occurred. If it did not happen, military forces or money was to be sent to the other. It also made Poland guard free trade in France’s interest in the Baltic Sea. Poland was to be allowed to have free trade with France, the New World, and Alexandria. Henry was to give Poland 450,000 golden florens each year from his income in France. Henry III of France was to pay off Sigismund II August’s and Poland’s debts. He promised to bring academics from outside Poland to the University of Kraków. Henry III of France had to pay for 100 Poles to study at Sorbonne. The money was to come from his own income. Henry III of France was banned from bringing foreigners into positions of power in Poland. Henry III of France had to confirm all laws and privileges.

When Henry III of France found that his brother died and that he was to inherit the kingdom of France, he secretly left Kraków during the night on June 18, 1574, to June 19, 1574. He left a letter that disparaged Poland and Poles. He was king for 146 days. When he left, chaotic events occurred. In August 1574, Olbracht Łaski conquered Lanckorona. It was given to him by Henry III of France. In October 1574, students and others attacked a Calvinist tabernacle in Kraków on St. John’s Street. They burned its precious goods. Polish Nobility chased the crowd away and saved an Arian tabernacle.


Primate Uchański became interrex again when Henry III of France left. On August 1574, Uchański called a sejm to Warsaw. It decided to send emissaries to Henry III of France. They told him to return to Poland by May 12, 1575. If he refused, a new election would commence. On October 3, 1575, a sejm met in Warsaw that set the final date for the election on November 7, 1575. The majority voted for a Habsburg. Many voted for someone from the Piast dynasty, even though there was none. Many voted for Alfonso of Ferrara. When knights voted, they voted for someone from Poland. On Deember 12, 1575, Uchański nominated the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II, to be king. On December 14, 1575, a revolution occurred by the nobility. Nobles claimed power over the country without respecting senators, the senate, and the law. Mikołaj Sienicki became interrex. Jan Zamoyski became chancellor. Leaders of the nobility called for a congress to meet on January 18, 1576, at Jędrzejów. Andrzej Zborowski led the congress. A decree for the election was written. Stefan Batory was favored to be the next king. On February 8, 1576, Stefan Batory in Megges in Transylvania swore to the Articles of Agreement. The interregnum lasted 618 days. It was the longest interregnum in Polish history.

Stephen Báthory (1575-1576)

Stephen Báthory was Hungarian. After he was coronated, Protestant Gdańsk rebelled against his rule. He demanded half of Gdańsk’s profits from tariffs and its artillery. In addition, he wanted 300,000 guldens. He had Gdańsk’s deputies arrested. He had Gdańsk’s goods confiscated from all parts of Poland. An army was sent with Jan Winkelbruch von Köln at ist head. Gdańsk’s suburbs were burned. Sopot and Gdynia were also burned. Protestants burned a Catholic abbey in Oliwia. On June 29, 1577, Stefan Batory lost in a battle at the walls of Gdańsk. The war ended when both sides expended too much money and Stephen Báthory pardoned Gdańsk. Gdańsk ended up giving the money Stephen Báthory demanded.

In 1577, Stephen Báthory sent Paweł Uchański to the Pope to declare his loyalty to him. France’s ambassador in Rome protested. On April 11, 1579, Uchański was able to finally pay homage to the Pope for Stefan Batory.

Stephen Báthory was a strong and militaristic king. In 1578, Stephen Báthory enacted into law a new principle that would allow conscription. When Elizabeth I of England sent John Dee and Edward Kelley to Poland, Stephen Báthory made them leave Poland. They were suspected to be spies with nefarious intentions.

Stephen Báthory planned to go to war with Moscow from the beginning of his reign. After his coronation, he sent the castellan of Sanock, Jan Herburt, to Sweden to make an alliance against Moscow. Poland was to get Livonia with Estonia that Sweden possessed. Sweden would get Karelia up to the White Sea with Archangel, Ingria, and Veliky Novgorod. This plan would end contact between Moscow and the West. Stephen Báthory was also able to get khan Mohammed-Girej from Crimea on his side. He would attack from the south, while Sweden would attack from the north.

Ivan IV the Terrible sent letters to Stephen Báthory filled with requests and threats. In the spring of 1579, Stephen Báthory went to Vilnius and sent an instigator, Bazyly Lopaciński, a prosecutor, to Moscow to declare war. He was imprisoned after handing him a letter with the declaration of war. He was released after Stephen Báthory won a few battles in the beginning of the war. Stephen Báthory had 56,000 men in his army. Fliers were written in German about the cruel methods Ivan IV the Terrible used. One of the pictures in a flier was of soldiers hanging people and then shooting them with arrows. Ivan IV the Terrible used methods that Genghis Khan used.

On January 15, 1582, a ten-year truce was signed in Kiwerowa Hórka with Moscow. Lithuania received Połock, Ozerzyszcza, Uświat, and Wieliż. Moscow received Zawołocze and Wielki Łuki. Ivan IV the Terrible was forced to give up his claim to Livonia, but Estonian castles were not included in his renunciation. Ivan IV the Terrible was called the czar of Moscow in the truce, not czar of All of Ruthenia. Poland’s prestige increased after the defeat of Ivan IV the Terrible.

Pope Sixtus V told the ambassador of Henry III of France that he wanted a league with Stephen Báthory as its leader to remove heresy in France, Switzerland, Graubünden, and England. The Pope also offered Stephen Báthory financial help for a war against Moscow and the Ottoman Empire. Stephen Báthory would have to remove Protestantism in Poland to get it. The Pope also promised to give Stephen Báthory 25,000 scudos.

Stephen Báthory accomplished many notable things. He founded Collegium Romanum that was modeled on the Jesuits’ school in Rome. Its aim was to teach soldiers. The school taught theology and humanities. Mostly foreigners from Spain, Portugal, and other countries taught there. James Bosgrave was a Jesuit who taught at the school. In 1582, Stephen Báthory had Poland’s Julian calendar be replaced with the Gregorian calendar. It was done with the cooperation of the Pope. Other countries that adopted the Gregorian calendar were Portugal, Spain, and several kingdoms in Italy. On July 8, 1585, Stephen Báthory contracted Santa Gucci to make a new palace in Łobzów on the spot of a castle that Stephen Báthory built. It became the second most important palace of the king in Kraków.

Samuel Zborowski’s brother, Krzysztof, an agent of the Habsburgs, had a plan to kill Stephen Báthory. Krzysztof took Samuel away from Stefan Batory’s court to France to meet with Henry III of France, who still claimed to be the king of Poland. In December 1582, Stephen Báthory called Andrzej Zborowski to tell him that he knew that his brother went to France. On December 5, 1583, Stephen Báthory issued an order in the sejm to capture Samuel Zborowski. On May 11, 1584, he was captured and killed on May 26, 1584. Legends were made thereafter that Samuel was innocent. On February 22, 1854, his brother, Krzysztof Zborowski, was condemned for confiscating goods. He was removed from the nobility and exiled. Many protested the decision.

On December 12, 1586 Stephen Báthory died in Vilnius. It was suspected that he may have been poisoned. Professors of medicine thought he died from drinking and hunting too much.


The populations of cities increased after Polish villagers and foreigners began to migrate to them. The foreigners who came were Armenians, Germans, Italians, and Jews. Most of the people who moved to cities were Polish villagers. At the beginning of the 15th century, Poland’s population was about 2,000,000. By the end of the 15th century, its population was about 3,800,000. About 645,800 or 16% of Poland’s population lived in 689 towns. 593 of the 689 towns had about 1,000 or less inhabitants. The largest town was Gdańsk with about 30,000 inhabitants. Kraków was second with 15,000 to 18,000 inhabitants. Łwów had about 10,000 inhabitants. Lublin and Poznań both had about 4,000 to 5,000 inhabitants each.

In the 16th century, Poland was about 800,000 km2 with about seven million people. Six languages were spoken in Poland: German, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Polish, Ruthenian, and Tatar. Poland had Catholic churches, Orthodox churches, synagogues, and mosques.


During the 15th century, the number of Jews in Poland increased. By the end of the 15th century, there were about 30,000 Jews in Poland. They usually lived in larger cities, such as Kalisz, Kraków, Lwów, Lublin, and Poznań. They also lived in smaller towns and villages. Most Jews were involved in such economic activities as weaving, tanning, tailoring, and rope making. Some were involved in banking, renting taverns, and renting mills. They were also involved in trade with Turkey, Hungary, and Wallachia.

Many Jews were caught profaning the Eucharist or Body of Jesus Christ in Poland. They bribed or extorted Catholics to give it to them. They also stole it themselves. They stuck needles into it to make it bleed and did other sacrilegious things to it.


Several territorial and administrative changes occurred in the 15th century. In 1471, the county of Kijów was created in Lithuania that had the counties of Vilnius and Trakai. In 1466, Royal Prussia was annexed by Poland. Royal Prussia was divided into the counties of Chełmno, Malbork, and Pomerania. In 1474, the county of Lubelskie was created out of the county of Sandomierz.

Poland’s nobility met at a sejm (“gathering”), sejmik (“gathering”), or regional congress to discuss politics and their interests in the kingdom. From the beginning of the 15th century, a sejm walny or general sejm met each year at Piotrków or Kraków. Members of the king’s council, manorial deputies, members of chapter houses of the Catholic Church, and plenipotentiaries of the king’s cities met at these gatherings.

The representatives of cities tried to get more power in these gatherings. At the end of the 14th century, Kraków’s representatives attempted to link up with other cities’ representatives to become more influential, but they failed. Cities in Greater Poland and Lesser Poland gathered in a confederation to gain more power, but it was ineffectual. Some cities were eventually contacted to consult on fiscal matters. During the second half of the 15th century, cities were eliminated from fiscal matters in the sejm. It led to cities having very little power in the sejm.

Somewhere at the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th century, a sejm appeared in Greater Poland and then later on in Lesser Poland. The nobility of each province met at these meetings. They decided matters in relation to law and administration. In 1404 and 1441, they approved of extraordinary taxes. These meetings were at Niepołomice or Nowy Korczyn in Lesser Poland. In Greater Poland, they were at Środa Wielkopolska. In Ruthenia, they were at Sudova Vyshnia or Mościska. In 1454, the Cerekwicki Privilege stated that no new laws or general mobilization could be made without the consent of a sejm.

There was a movement in the 16th century to reform courts, law, and the treasury. The reforms would strengthen the kingdom and limit the power of magnates and clergy. In 1562, the sejm in Piotrków was able to make a landmark decision in the Executive Movement that confiscated the fiefs of magnates who wrongfully had been renting them from the king. The sejm also reformed the way that land would be rented by the king. Only one-fifth of the profits from royal land could be held by those who rented land. The rest of the profits were to go to the kingdom’s treasury. One-fourth of the profits of the royal land would be used to keep a standing army of several thousands. A new treasury was made in Rawa Mazowiecka that was only to be used for the military. The sejm was also to inspect royal land to prevent abuse by its renters. Magnates were also banned from holding more than one post.

On March 3, 1578, the sejm in Warsaw established the Tribunal of the Crown to judge matters relating to people of higher status. It was said that, “Law is such a spider web: a bumblebee can transfix it, but a fly gets caught.” The bumble bee was a member of the higher elevation. The tribunal was also to hear cases on the king’s property, the king’s income, the treasury of the kingdom, cases against officials, criminal matters, and matters related to cities. It was a victory for the reform movement. The judges in the court were to be picked from the nobility in sejms. Eleven were picked from Lesser Poland and sixteen were picked from Greater Poland.


Poland had its own Renaissance. Several writers wrote under the influence of the European Renaissance. Stanisław Orzechowski, a priest, wrote a brochure entitled, Fidelis subditus (“Loyal Subject”) that detailed the mistakes of Bona Sforza. He also wrote, Turcyk (“Turk”) that promoted the idea of all Christians uniting against the Ottoman Empire. Mikołaj Rej wrote Krótka rozprawa (“A Short Treatise”). It was a book of poetry that stated ordinary people should be equal to the nobility. Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski declared in his writing that all people should be equal according to law. In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus wrote, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (“On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres”). It stated the revolutionary idea that the sun is at the center of the universe.

The Bible was translated into Polish by Catholics and Protestants. In 1561, Jan Leopolita translated the Catholic Bible into Polish. It was published in Kraków. In 1563, a Bible was translated that is named after the Radziwiłłs, since a member of the Radziwiłłs, Mikołaj the Black, patronized it. It was also referred to as the Bible of Brzeska. Brzeska was the town it was published at. In 1570, the Bible was translated and given an introduction by Szymon Budny. He was a radical Arian who denied that Jesus Christ was divine. In 1599, a Jesuit, Jakub Wujek, translated the Bible in 1599. His version of the Bible was beautifully written. It is a treasure of Polish literature.

Marcin Kromer wrote many books. In 1551, Marcin Kromer published O wierze I nauce luterskiej: rozmowa dworzanina z mnichem (“About the Lutheran Faith and Its Teachings: A Courtier’s Conversation with a Monk”). He ended up writing three more volumes. The books were translated into Latin. His writing was intolerant and tough. In 1555, Marcin Kromer wrote a new history of Poland upon the request of Sigismund I the Old. It was called, siue de origine et rebus gestis Polonorum (“On the Origin and Achievements of the Poles”). It was published in Basel and very popular in Western Europe.

Piotr Skarga, the rector of the Jesuits’ school in Vilnius, 1577, wrote O jedności Kościoła Bożego pod jednym pasterzem i o greckim od tejże jedności odstąpieniu (“About the Unity of the Church of God Under One Pastor and Why the Greek Church Left from Christianity’s Unity”) in 1577. In 1579, he wrote Żywotów świętych (“Holy Lives”). Holy Lives was some of the best Polish prose in Polish literature. In 1580, Mikołaj Gomółka published Melodie na Psałterz polski (“Melody on the Polish Psalter”). It was one of the greatest works in Polish and Catholic culture during the Renaissance. In 1601, Rytmy abo wiersza polski (“Rhythms or Polish Verses”) was published by Mikołaj Sępa Szarzyński. In 1590, Sebastian Grabowski published Setnik rymów duchownych (“Centurion of Spiritual Rhymes”). In 1588, Anzelm Gostomski published Gospodarstwo on landowners’ economics. In 1568, Wawrzyniec Goślicki published O najlepszym senatorze (“On the Best Senator”) that influenced Shakespeare, the English Revolution, and the American Revolution. Jakub Kazimierz Haur wrote several books on manors. The most famous were Oekonomika ziemiańska generalna “(General Manorial Economics”) in 1675 and Skład abo skarbiec znakomitych sekretów oekonomiej ziemiańskiej (“Storehouse or Treasure of Excellent Economic Secrets”) in 1689.


The Roman Catholic Church in Poland renewed itself when Protestantism was spreading. In 1565, the Jesuits made their first college or council in the diocese of Hozjusz in Braniew. In 1567, they made another in Protestant Elbląg. More were established in Kalisz, Poznań, Pułtusk, and Vilnius. They were successful in converting Protestants and Calvinists in Poland. Some of the noteworthy magnates and nobles who converted were the children of Mikołaj Radziwiłł the Black, the sons of Jan Łaski the Younger, and Jan Zamoyski.

After the Roman Catholic Counterreformation ended, a papal nuncio by the name of Giovanni Francesco Commendone came back to Poland to reinforce the principles of the Counter Reformation. In 1564, he was able to get Sigismund II August to confirm its principles at a sejm in Parczew. It was aimed at eliminating foreigners from professing Lutheranism in Poland.

In January 1565, the movement for reform was active in a sejm in Piotrków. A group of deputies in the sejm under the direction of Mikołaj Sienicki made a plan to put instigators every year in positions of power. They would be controlled by the nobility and all of them would have the same politics. Senators threatened to remove all of the instigators from power. Protestants were able to get sentences that the Roman Catholic Church’s courts would not enforce in the sejm. It was a great success for the Protestants in Poland.

In 1570, Calvinists, Lutherans, and the Czech Brothers met in Sandomierz at a synod. They tried to unify into one church. Calvanists prepared a statement of belief for the new church, but the Lutherans rejected it. On April 4, 1570, the Agreement of Sandomierz was made. In 1570, Protestants attempted to pass religious toleration in the sejm, but they failed.

After the Jesuits were formed in 1540, they established their first school in Braiew in 1565. By the end of the 16th century, they made eleven schools in Poland. By the middle of the 17th century, there were about forty schools in Warmia and Mazovia. The Jesuits taught German, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Ruthenian, classical literature, dialectics, geography, grammar, history, mathematics, philosophy, physics, rhetoric, and singing. In 1571, the Jesuits made their first seminarium in Poland in the town of Pułtusk. Others were established in Jarosław, Poznań, and Dorpat. In 1579, Stefan Batory made the Jesuits’ school in Vilnius become an academy that taught theology, philosophy, and liberal arts.

The Jesuits’ school in Vilnius added philosophy and mathematics. In 1574, it began teaching theology. On July 7, 1578, Stefan Batory transformed the school into Vilnius University. It was equal to the University of Kraków. On April 1, 1579, he passed an act that would fund the Vilnius University.

Jan Zamoyski

Chancellor Jan Zamoyski planned to build a city and name it after himself. The city was called Zamość. In 1578, he made an agreement with Bernard Morando, an architect and Italian by heritage, to build a palace in Zamość. On April 10, 1580, a privilege was made to make Zamość. In 1583, Zamość had city officials functioning in it. Markets and fairs were also present in it. In 1589, the palace in Zamość was finished. In 1591, a town hall was built. In 1595, the Zamojski Academy was built. It was the third best college in the kingdom.

Sigismund III Vasa (1587-1632)

On February 2, 1587, a convocational sejm met. In May 1587, a plan was made in Wadstena to make a union between Poland and Sweden. Sweden was a poor country in comparison to Poland. Its biggest town had a population that was less than 6,000. On August 19, 1587, the interrex nominated a Swede, Sigismund III Vasa, to be king of Poland and Lithuania. When negotiations were taking place on the terms of the coronation, a problem materialized over Estonia. Jan Zamoyski wanted Estonia under Poland’s rule. Other terms of the deal were that Sweden would be in alliance with Poland. Sigismund III Vasa’s daughters were to be taken care of in Poland. Sigismund III Vasa’s sons were to be taken care of in Sweden. Sigismund III Vasa was not allowed to leave Poland without the agreement of Poland’s estates. Sigismund III Vasa was to have a fleet stationed in the Baltic Sea. Sigismund III Vasa had to build five castles.

Maximilian III, the duke of Austria, was a pretender to Poland’s throne. On September 27, 1587, Maximilian III, the duke of Austria, swore to the pacta conventa. Maximilian III was to ally his kingdom with Poland. He was to make several castles by the borders of Poland and the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs were to pay 800,000 florens. 200,000 florens were to be paid right after his election.

Maximilian III went on a campaign to Poland and laid siege to Kraków in order to become king. In November 1587, a congress met in Mogia that had about sixty members of Poland’s nobility. They signed a document for Maximilian III to become king. A battle occurred at Garbar. Maximilian III hoped to get help from the Germans who lived in it. After Polish forces conquered Garbar, Jan Zamoyski began a campaign against German soldiers and German artisans. Twenty-eight Germans were executed. So much blood was let that the Rudawa River was red.

On September 15, 1587, the Treaty of Kalmar was signed that made a union between Poland and Sweden. It was to be in effect until Sigismund III Vasa would die. The treaty stated that Sigismund III Vasa’s oldest son was to be the king in Sweden, while his younger son was to be the king of Poland. If Sigismund III Vasa was to become king of Sweden, he was to visit Sweden at least once every three years. A council was to rule in Sweden for him. It was to have six members nominated by the king. One member was to be picked by his uncle, Karol the duke of Suderman. Sigismund III Vasa guaranteed that Poland’s borders would be preserved. He said that its laws and tax system were to remain intact. On September 27, 1587, Sigismund III Vasa came on a flotilla to Poland.

On October 7, 1587, Sigismund III Vasa swore to the pacta conventa in a Cistercian monastery in Oliwa. On December 9, 1587, Sigismund III Vasa reached Kraków. On January 13, 1588, Jan Zamoyski went on a campaign with 6,000 men to defeat the forces that were loyal to Maximilian III. Maximilian III’s forces retreated from Silesia. On January 18, 1588, Sigismund III Vasa gave Jan Zamoyski dictatorial powers over the military and citizens. On January 24, 1588, the Battle of Byczyna occurred. Both sides had about the same amount of men. Poland won the battle in about one-half hour. Maximilian III was taken captive. On March 9, 1589, a treaty was made that made Maximilian III give up his claim to Poland’s crown. After he would be freed from captivity, he was to take an oath to give it up. After he was freed, he never took the oath and continued to title himself as king of Poland. On March 6, 1591, a sejm met in Warsaw that gave amnesty to Maximilian III’s supporters, after they took an oath of loyalty. If they did not honor their oath, they would pay a fine up to 200,000 złoty.

In May 1591, Sigismund III Vasa married Anna Habsburg. A political camp formed against the marriage of Sigismund III Vasa to Anna Habsburg. In June 1592, Maximilian III’s deputy came to a congress in Jędrzejów. He told it about the deliberations between Sigismund III Vasa and Ernest Habsburg, the father of Anna Habsburg. The congress wanted the matter to be investigated and the royal advisers who were in favor of the marriage to be punished. From September 7, 1592, to October 19, 1592, a sejm met that investigated the negotiations between Sigismund III Vasa and Ernest Habsburg. Sigismund III Vasa confessed that he wanted to return to Sweden and that he did have negotiations with Ernest Habsburg. In the beginning of 1593, it was known in Kraków that Jan III Vasa died in Stockholm in November 1592. The result of his death was that Sigismund III Vasa became king of Sweden, the Goths, and Vandals. On June 4, 1600, Sigismund III Vasa issued a decree that incorporated Estonia.

A war with Turkey was looming. On March 21, 1590, Mikoaj Czyowski came back from Istanbul with a message that the Ottoman Porte wanted 300,000 talars a year in tribute or the conversion of Poland to Islam. In October 1591, Murad III and Sigismund III Vasa signed a treaty. Austria planned to go to war with Turkey. It wanted Poland to be its ally. When the war would be over, Austria was to take all of the spoils of war. Austria made another ally in the prince of Transylvania, Sigismund Báthory. Sigismund Báthory then allied with the hospodar of Wallachia, Michał Waleczny. In 1595, Sigismund Báthory put Ștefan Răzvan in power in Moldavia as his ally.

War was coming. Jan Zamoyski went on the offensive by getting special powers to fight in the war. He mobilized an army of 7,000 that went to Moldavia to make it independent and to put in Ieremia Movilă in power. Muhammed III sent his troops to Wallachia. On October 22, 1595, Turkey recognized Ieremia Movilă as the ruler of Wallachia and Poland’s sovereignty over it. Movilă called for Răzvan to be impaled. Movilă made a treaty with Poland that allowed Poland to colonize Moldavia. The treaty also recognized Poland’s authority over Moldavia.

In 1595, Part of Wawel was burned. Sigismund III Vasa transferred his residence to cardinal Radziwiłł’s palace and then to his own palace in obzów. In 1611, Sigismund III Vasa moved to Warsaw. Warsaw was not well developed at the time. Kraków remained Poland’s capital and still hosted many important royal events.

Jan Zamoyski, Krzysztof Radziwiłł Pioru, and Lew Sapieha had a plan to unite Poland with Moscow. In 1598, the last member of the dynasty of Ruryks, Fiodor, died. Borys Godunow followed him. In 1600, the sejm agreed to send Lew Sapieha to Moscow to make a union based on an alliance against common enemies. There were to be a joint diplomacy, a common currency, a joint fleet, and a joint war treasury in Kiev. Equal rights would also be given to Catholics and Orthodox Christians in both countries. Lew Sapieha was only able to negotiate to prolong peace until 1622. War was being waged in Livonia at the time of the peace settlement. When Swedish troops moved south, a Protestant uprising occurred in Livonia against Sigismund III Vasa. Hetman Jan Zamoyski was able to recover almost all of Livonia in the war. Pärnu and Tartu were the only towns he could not recover. In the autumn of 1602, Jan Zamoyski gave Jan Karol Chodkiewicz control over the army. In 1603, Chodkiewicz conquered Dorpat. On September 27, 1605, Chodkiewicz won the Battle of Kircholm. It is one of Poland’s greatest military victories.

On May 15, 1591, there was a rumor that False Dmitriy I, the youngest son of Ivan IV the Terrible and brother of Fiodor who ruled Moscow, was murdered. An investigation was made into his death. It found that the eight-year old False Dmitriy I had an attack of epilepsy and was fatally wounded when he fell on a knife he was holding while playing with friends. There was a rumor that his mother hid him and used a dead child for his funeral. Boris Gudonow began to search for False Dmitriy I. In mid-1603, False Dmitriy I was in the kingdom of Poland in Ukraine.

One German source said that False Dmitriy I was the son of Stephen Báthory. Godunow’s investigation found that he was Griszka Otriepiew, a monk who fled to Poland. False Dmitriy I proved his identity by showing a real golden cross that his godfather, Iwan Mściesałwski, gave him that had his name on it.

In the beginning of 1604, False Dmitriy I appeared in Sambor at the residence of Jerzy Mniszch, who was the voivode of Sandomierz. The two made an agreement that Mniszch would help him to get into power in Moscow in return for False Dmitriy I marrying Mniszch’s daughter, Maryna. In March 1604, sons of boyars and an embassy sent by Cossacks recognized False Dmitriy I as czar of Moscow. Jesuits recognized him in return for converting to Roman Catholicism. At the end of August 1604, Jerzy Mniszch was at the head of an army of 2,500 men at Gliniany and preparing to leave to Moscow. After Borys Gudonow died on April 13, 1605, Gudonow’s troops supported False Dmitriy I. On June 20, 1605, False Dmitriy I entered Moscow. He put on the hat of Monomach and titled himself as the czar of all Ruthenia. In May 1606, False Dmitriy I married Maryna Mniszchówna. False Dmitriy I used the Latin title of imperator Russiae (“Emperor of Russia”). On May 17, 1606, conspirators raided the Kremlin. They killed False Dmitriy I and burned his body. His ashes were placed into a canon and shot westward to Poland.

From 1606 to 1609, the Zebrzydowski Rebellion occurred after Jan Zamoyski died. It was the result of complaints of the nobility. The nobility accused Sigismund III Vasa of trying to instate absolutism and hereditary monarchy. They believed that Sigismund III Vasa was trying to take away their privileges. It was also against Sigismund III Vasa’s policy of favoring the Jesuits and foreigners.

Another imposter appeared who claimed to be the czar of Russia. His name was False Dmitry II. He was the creation of a Pole by the name of Mikołaj Miechowiecki. False Dmitry II asked for help from Poland. Help was given in the form of a Polish army that had a few successes until the summer of 1608 when it reached the village of Tushino. Wasil Szujski sent an embassy to Kraków that arrived in December 1606 that said that Poland had not honored the truce that was to be in place until 1622. The embassy also wanted to renew peace. Sigismund III Vasa went to Moscow and first asked for Maryna Mniszchówna and Jerzy Mniszch to be freed. Wasil Szujski wanted a truce for three years and eleven months until June 30, 1612. Sigismund III Vasa never agreed to it. Wasil Szujski held negotiations with Charles IV Vasa of Sweden. On March 10, 1609, a treaty was settled in Wyborg that expanded Sweden’s borders and made a joint policy in relation to Poland. The Swedes were able to take Livonia up to the River Daugava when Polish troops were in Tushino.

Sigismund III Vasa had a plan to conquer Moscow in order to subsequently conquer Sweden and make himself its king. On May 28, 1609, Sigismund III Vasa left to Lithuania. In September 1609, his troops besieged Smoleńsk. After Sigismund III Vasa’s troops defeated Moscow’s forces in Smoleńsk after twenty-one months, its troops recognized Sigismund III Vasa as king. On November 6, 1612, Polish troops that defended the Kremlin capitulated. On February 21, 1613, a council picked Michael Romanow as its new czar. Sigismund III Vasa continued to try to get control over Russia. Jan Karol Chodkiewicz was sent to conquer it. On October 10, 1618, and October 11, 1618, Polish troops stormed Moscow. They were unable to conquer it. On December 11, 1619, a fourteen-year truce was signed in Dywilin that gave Poland Smoleńsk, Siewierz, and Czernihów. The result of the annexation of new lands made Poland the biggest it would ever be.It had 950,000 km2 of land with around 10,000,000 people.

After Turkey finished a war with Persia, it helped Cossacks to attack Poland. From September 17, 1620, to October 7, 1620, the Battle of Cecora occurred in Moldavia. Polish forces led by Stanisław ókiewski lost to Iskander Pasza. On October 9, 1620, peace was settled between Poland and Turkey. The alliance the two had was renewed. It was agreed that both would decide together who should be the hospodar in Moldavia. Poland was also obligated to send an embassy to Istanbul. In 1617, Gustav Adolph of Sweden occupied the ports of Pärnu, Ventspils, and Daugavgrva in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Riga was blocked as a result. Krzysztof Radziwiłł, the hetman of Lithuania, tried to get back the ports, but he was not successful. Radziwiłł ended up making a three-year true with Gustav Adolph and recognizing Pärnu as Swedish. When the truce ended in 1621, the war renewed. In July 1621, Radziwiłł made a truce with Sweden until June 1625. Livonia and Riga were recognized as Swedish possessions. When the truce ended, Gustav Adolph attacked again. Swedish troops took Jelgava, Biržai, and northern Tartu. Gustav Adolph’s aim was to control the Baltic Sea in order to enrich itself from maritime trade. His other aim was to cut off Moscow from the Baltic Sea.

France and England tried to help make peace in the Polish-Swedish war. On September 26, 1629, a six-year truce was made in Altmark. Sweden’s possessions of Elblg, Piawa, Braniew, and Kajpeda were recognized. Before Sigismund III Vasa died, he passed on his right to rule Sweden to his son, Wadsyaw. On April 30, 1632, Sigismund III Vasa died. Primate Jan Wyk became interrex when Sigismund III Vasa died.

Władsyaw IV Vasa (1632-1648)

On September 27, 1632, a sejm met in Warsaw to elect a new king. Only Sigismund III Vasa’s son, Władysław IV Vasa, was a candidate. The Pope and Holy Roman Emperor both supported him. The election took about one-half hour. In February 1633 and March 1633, a sejm met to coronate Wadsyaw IV Vasa. The sejm also agreed to make taxes to fund a war with Moscow, since it repudiated its truce with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

On September 30, 1632, Michael Romanov’s army crossed Lithuania’s border. His aim was to conquer Smoleńsk. Polish and Lithuanian forces won. On June 14, 1634, peace was signed between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. An emissary was sent from the Grand Duchy of Moscow to Turkey who encouraged Turkey to attack Poland. Tatars ended up attacking Poland. Abaza Pasza then attacked with an army of 25,000 Turks, Tatars, Romanians, and Moldavians. Władysław IV Vasa sent an emissary, Alexander Trzebiski, to Istanbul. He was told that the terms of the peace included conversion to Islam, a yearly tribute, and destruction of Polish and Lithuanian castles on its borders. The terms were outrageous and unacceptable. A victory in a war could only settle the conflict. A sejm met and approved new taxes for the war.

On September 5, 1634, and September 6, 1634, the armies of Ferdynand, the king of Hungary and the Czechs, and Ferdinand Habsburg, the representative of the Spanish Netherlands, defeated Sweden in the Battle of Nördlingen. The French then fought the Germans and Spanish. French diplomats came to Warsaw and Stockholm to negotiate peace between Poland and Sweden. On May 24, 1635, peace negotiations began at Sztumdorf or today’s Sztumska Wie. Poland wanted Sweden to give up Prussia and Livonia. Negotiations were interrupted with battles. Poland conquered several Swedish castles in Livonia. Sweden attacked Poland’s fleet at Puck. Peace negotiations were able to continue through the help of a French diplomat named Claudius de Mesmes d’Avaux. Sweden agreed to surrender Prussia and the lucrative tariff it imposed there. Emigrants were allowed to return to Sweden. On May 25, 1635, peace was agreed upon. The terms were favorable for Poland. Poland received Prussia from Sweden. After the peace, Poland had to pay Sweden the tariff it lost in the peace settlement. It was a problem. Poland exported less grain after the peace.

At the end of 1635, the sejm let Władysław IV Vasa collect the tariff in Gdask, Kappeda, Libaw, Windaw, and Piaw for two years. The reason was that he paid for the war. In 1637, Władysław IV tried to collect another tariff from Gdask by sending a fleet, since he needed the money to protect Poland’s borders. It was against Gdask’s privileges. Denmark felt it was unjust and wanted to support Gdask. On December 1, 1637, Denmark’s fleet defeated two Polish vessels that were collecting a tariff from Gdask’s port. In the winter of 1637 and 1638, Arian students of the Academy of Raków desecrated a cross of a neighboring parish. In 1638, the sejm closed the Academy of Raków. In October 1639, Calvinist students shot arrows at a Franciscan monastery and the church of Saint Michael in Vilnius. Students from Vilnius’ Academy attacked buildings of non-Catholics. The affairs between Catholics and Protestants led Władysław IV Vasa and primate Maciej ubieski to organize a conference in Toru on August 28, 1645, to allow Catholics and non-Catholics to freely discuss their faiths. The tense conference lasted for three months. No agreements could be made between its participants.

In 1637, a rebellion led by Pawe Michnowicz or Pawluk in Zaporoe arose. He called himself a hetman. The rebellion spread to Zadnieprze. On December 16, 1637, Polish forces defeated the rebellion. Adam Kisiel, a Ruthenian and Orthodox magnate, was able to negotiate to get Pawluk to be turned over. Pawluk ended up being executed in Warsaw. Bohdan Khmelnytsky signed the capitulation for the rebelling party.

In March 1638, the sejm passed laws for the Cossacks in Zaporoski that took away their laws, privileges, and income. Their separate jurisdiction was taken away. In the spring of 1638, another uprising occurred in Ukraine that was put down. Peace was made for ten years that was created by preventing Cossacks from hunting on the steppes and fishing in rivers. Thousands of Cossacks left Ukraine. Some went to the Don River. Some went to Siberia. In 1644, hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski defeated Ochmatow Tuhaj Beja when he attacked Poland. It led to a cessation of attacks by Tatars for a period of time.

Khmelnytsky made an alliance with the chan of Crimea, Islam Girej, against Poland. In 1648, Khmelnytsky attacked. From April 29, 1648, to May 16, 1648, Khmelnytsky defeated Polish forces at the Battle of Zhovti Vody. On May 26, Khmelnytsky’s troops defeated the rest of Poland’s forces at Korsun. Hetmans Mikoaj Potocki and Marcin Kalinowski were taken prisoner. It was Poland’s worst defeat since the Battle of Cecora in 1620. A peasant uprising ensued that killed Polish noble families and Jews. From July 16 to August 1, 1648, a general confederation was formed to negotiate peace with Khmelnytsky. The hope was to break the alliance the Cossacks had with the Tatars. The peace negotiations were used to prepare by both sides to continue the war.

Jan II Casimir Vasa (1648-1668)

On October 6, 1648, the electoral sejm began to discuss elections. The two main candidates in the election were the sons of Sigismund III Vasa. They were the ex-cardinal Jan II Casimir Vasa and the bishop of Wrocław, Karol Ferdinand. There was a third, Sigismund Rakoczy, but his campaign was abandoned after his father died. On November 11, 1648, Karol Ferdinand resigned from the election after Khmelnytsky wrote a letter that said that Karol Ferdinand would end the war against the Cossacks and recognize their own state. On November 20, 1648, primate Maciej ubieski nominated Jan II Casimir Vasa for king. Plans for continuing the war were postponed. Khmelnytsky stopped besieging Zamo and began peace negotiations. Cossack forces pulled back. Khmelnytsky went to Kiev and was treated as the liberator of Ukraine. On December 12, 1648, Jan II Casimir Vasa issued a document that stated the war with the Cossacks was over.

On January 17, 1649, Jan II Casimir Vasa was coronated king by primate ubieski. On January 18, 1649, senators and the townspeople of Kraków swore an oath to him. The sejm met and decided to make a commission to make peace with Khmelnytsky. On February 19, 1649, Adam Kisiel and other commissioners met in Perejasawa to negotiate peace with the Cossacks. Negotiations led to lengthening the peace to May 22, 1649. Jan II Casimir Vasa went to Biały Kamień with an army of 15,000 men and declared Khmelnytsky a traitor and enemy of Poland. He took his forces to Zbara where a battle ensued.

Contact was made with the chan of the Tatars, Islam III Girej and negotiations were made that led to peace. The terms were favorable to the Tatars. Poland had to pay a haracz of 200,000 Polish złoty and allow Tatars to return to their country with the booty they collected. On August 18, 1649, Khmelnytsky signed the Peace of Zboriv with Poland after Islam III Girej persuaded him to do it. The peace recognized Khmelnytsky as the hetman of Ukraine above the Dnieper River and in the voivodeships of Kiev, Bracław, and Czernihow. Greek Orthodoxy was recognized in the three voivodeships of Kiev, Bracaw, and Czernihow. Only those of Orthodox faith were allowed to hold office. Jesuits and Jews were forced to leave.

In summer of 1650, an emissary of Turkey told Khmelnytsky that Turkey would recognize its dominion over his state. Khmelnytsky accepted this offer and began to prepare to continue to wage war against Poland. Khmelnytsky sent emissaries to Greater Poland, Kraków, and other Polish lands to try to get them to join his state. In June 1651, a peasant rebellion was led by Alexander Kostka-Napierski in Podhale. A castle in Czorszty was captured by the rebellion. Kostka-Napierski called all peasants to free themselves from their lords. Jan II Casimir Vasa led an army to put down this rebellion. From June 28, 1651, to July 10, 1651, the Battle of Berestechko occurred in today’s Ukraine. Poland won. On September 28, 1651, an agreement was reached with Khmelnytsky that was favorable for Poland in relation to previous agreements.

In 1647, Moscow made an alliance with Poland to balance the threat of the Tatars. In 1653, a council met in Moscow that decided to annex Ukraine to Russia and fight Poland. Oaths of loyalty to the czar were made. Ukraine was called Little Ruthenia in Moscow. It was subject to the power of Moscow, but it still had autonomy. Ukraine could pick its own hetman and have an army of 60,000.

In 1654, Poland sent Mariusz Jaskólski to Islam Girej to get him to end his alliance with the Cossacks and become an ally of Poland. An emissary named Sulejman Aga went to Warsaw to decide the details of the alliance. Poland had to pay a tribute to the Tatars’ chan for the alliance. The alliance was to balance power with Russia and Ukraine. On July 20, 1654, Jan II Casimir Vasa swore to the terms of the alliance. In the autumn of 1654, the terms of the treaty went into effect.

In May 1654, Russia attacked Poland after the liberum veto was used for the second time in Polish history after a disagreement in the sejm. 80,000 men attacked Poland. Czar Aleksy Michajlowicz declared a crusade to spread the Orthodox faith. On June 9, 1654, Jan II Casimir Vasa called a sejm. The sejm passed a decree to have 35,000 Polish soldiers and 18,000 Lithuanian soldiers to fight in the war. The war started out poorly. In October 1654, Smoleńsk was captured by Russia. In the beginning of 1655, Russia took Połock, Witebsk, and Mohylev. In the summer of 1655, Russia’s next offensive captured Mińsk. On August 8, 1655, Vilnius was captured. Russia forcefully converted the people of the newly conquered lands to Orthodox Christianity. Some were burned and drowned. In Smoleńsk, Jews who would not convert were burned alive in wooden homes.

Sweden took advantage of Poland’s war with Russia by attacking it. Poland suspected it would happen. On May 19, 1655, Jan II Casimir Vasa called a sejm to Warsaw to prepare for war with Sweden. At the end of July 1655, Karol X Gustaw’s fleet went to Szczecin. On July 21, 1655, a Swedish army led by Arwid Wittenberg crossed Poland’s border and headed to Czaplinek. He placed Swedish forces in Pozna, Kalisz, and other important cities in Greater Poland. On October 20, 1655, Lithuania signed the Treaty of Kiejdany that incorporated Lithuania into Sweden. It was done to protect it from Russia.

On September 8, 1655, Sweden occupied and robbed Warsaw. Jan Casimir and his court fled Warsaw for Kraków. On October 3, 1655, Poland lost at the Battle of Wojnicz. Kraków was taken over and Polish troops were put under Swedish command. On November 13, 1655, two Polish hetmans and their men pledged an oath of loyalty to Karol X Gustaw at Nowy Korczyn. On November 30, 1655, a sejm met and recognized Karol X Gustaw as the king of Poland.

At the end of September 1655, Lviv was besieged by Russia and the Cossacks. It lasted for seven weeks. It was not conquered. The chan of Crimea, Mehmed IV Girej, sent forces to help Jan II Casimir Vasa. They combined with the forces of the voivod Piotr Potocki. From November 10, 1655, to November 12, 1655, they defeated the Cossacks at the Battle of Jezierna. Khmelnytsky was defeated and had to accept the terms that the chan made. They were that Ukraine had to end its relationship with Russia, recognize Jan II Casimir Vasa as his superior, keep peace with Poland and Crimea, and help them in the future. The Cossacks’ army was limited to 6,000. Khmelnytsky did not honor these terms. He conspired with Karol X Gustaw.

From November 18, 1655, to December 27, 1655, Sweden laid siege to Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa for forty days, but it was unable to conquer it. On December 29, 1655, a confederation was formed in Tyszowce to fight Sweden. Jan II Casimir Vasa negotiated with its leaders to form a new confederation with himself at the head to fight Sweden. On January 20, 1656, it was formed in acut. In November 1655, Swedish forces attached Prussia. Toru and other towns surrendered to Sweden. In March 1656, Malbork surrendered after being besieged. On January 17, 1656, the duke of Prussia signed an agreement with Karol X Gustav that gave Karol X Gustav Warmia in exchange for being his ally. Czarniecki and Lubomirski went on a campaign to Greater Poland to remove Swedish forces from it. Leszno was conquered and burned. Jews and dissidents were forced to emigrate from it. Many Jews were killed, since they were accused of conspiring with Sweden. On April 1, 1656, Jan II Casimir Vasa got married at the cathedral in Lviv and thanked God for his military successes. He declared the Virgin Mary as the patron of Poland and the Queen of the Polish Crown. On May 30, 1656, Polish forces besieged Warsaw. Karol X Gustaw continued to fight. From July 28, 1656, to July 30, 1656, Polish forces were defeated at the Battle of Warsaw by the combined forces of Sweden and Brandenburg. Jan Casimir pulled his forces out of Warsaw and allowed Sweden to take it. On August 26, 1656, Sweden gave up Warsaw, since Polish forces threatened it. In September 1656, Jan II Casimir Vasa began a campaign to Pomerania to remove the armies of Sweden and Brandenburg from Polish lands. In February 1657, Jan II Casimir Vasa returned to Warsaw. Kraków had to be starved into submission in order to win it over.

On July 7, 1656, Jan II Casimir Vasa sent delegates to Russia to mediate peace. On November 3, 1656, an agreement was made to elect the czar as king of Poland, but he was to be coronated only after Jan II Casimir Vasa died. On May 27, 1657, Austria made an alliance with Poland. Austria was to send 12,000 men to Poland. It was agreed that several important Poles, including the primate, would support a Habsburg to be elected king of Poland after Jan II Casimir Vasa died. Karol X Gustav planned to partition Poland. On November 20, 1656, Karol X Gustav made an alliance with Friedrich Wilhelm in Labiau. According to the planned partition, Karol X Gustav would get Royal Prussia, Warmia, and Greater Poland. On December 6, 1656, a treaty was made by Karol X Gustav in Radnot in Siedmiogród to partition Poland. Karol X Gustav was to get Royal Prussia, Kujawy, northern Mazovia, mud, Inflanty, with Kurlandia. Friedrich Wilhelm was to get Greater Poland, Khmelnytsky was to get Ukraine, and Jerzy II Rakoczy was to get the leftover land.

In the beginning of 1657, Jerzy Rakoczy’s army composed of soldiers from Siedmiogród, Romania, and Moldova attacked Poland. They joined the forces of Karol X Gustav. After Karol X Gustav’s ally in Denmark declared war on him, he returned back to Sweden. On July 24, 1657, Jerzy Rakoczy surrendered after his Cossack troops left him. His troops left Kraków and Brześć. He had to pay 1,200,000 złoty to Poland.

On August 22, 1657, Swedish troops in Kraków surrendered after Polish troops arrived with Jan II Casimir Vasa at their head. Toruń had to be besieged for about six months. On December 23, 1658, Swedish troops in Toruń surrendered. In 1658, Poland, Brandenburg, and Austria began a campaign against Sweden In Pomeranian Szczecin. On November 24, 1659, Poland defeated Sweden at the Battle of Nyborg.

In the beginning of 1659, peace negotiations with Sweden began in Toruń. France helped to mediate for Sweden. In January 1660, the representatives of ten counties met in the Cystercian abbey in Oliwa. Karol X Gustav died during the time of the negotiations. On May 3, 1660, peace was signed in Oliwa. Sweden had to allow freedom of trade on the Baltic Sea and return Poland’s library and archive. It was not completely realized. Freedom of religion was given to Protestants in Royal Prussia.

The wars’ effects were tremendous. In 1661, forty-six settlements around Warsaw were burned or destroyed. In Royal Prussia, one-third of villages were completely destroyed. Towns in Mazovia had their populations reduced by 70%. Widespread hunger and disease were caused from the war. By the 1670s, Poland’s population decreased by about one-third from the beginning of the 1600s. There were from six to seven million people in Poland by the 1670s. Russians deported so many in eastern Poland that towns became depopulated. The Jewish population was halved in Poland from murders and deportations by Russia and the Cossacks.

On September 16, 1658, a treaty was signed in Hadziacz that made the Ruthenian Kingdom out of the voivodeships of Kiev, Czernihow, and Bracaw. A hetman would rule who would be confirmed by the king of Poland. It would have its own offices, tribunal, and academy. The kingdom would be represented in the sejm. Orthodox Christians were to be allowed to be in the senate. Orthodox Christianity was made equal to Roman Catholicism. On May 12, 1659, the king, primate, and senate swore to the Union of Hadziacz.

In the winter of 1659 to 1660, Russia attacked Lithuanian troops. Nowogród, Grodno, and Brześć were sacked by Russia. On June 27, 1660, Poland won against Russia in the Battle of Polonka with the help of the hussars. Hussars were winged cavalry who were known for their effectiveness in battle. On October 7, 1660, Poland defeated Khmelnytsky at the Battle of Sobodyszcze. On October 17, 1660, Khmelnytsky signed an agreement of capitulation in Cudnow. The agreement made Cossacks fall under Polish power, fight with Russia on Poland’s side, and end attacks on the Crimean Tatars. On November 1, 1660, Szeremietiew’s Russian army surrendered to Poland after its reinforcements did not arrive and hunger along with disease besieged his troops.

The wars Poland endured were blamed on toleration of non-Catholics. Intolerance was enforced during and after the wars. In 1658, the sejm banned Arians who would not convert to Roman Catholicism. Those who would not convert or leave were executed or had their property confiscated. Arians defended that the wars were the result of the sins of all Polish citizens. In 1659, a constitution passed by the sejm reinforced the previous ban of Arians but with more rigor. In 1660, several hundred Arian families left Poland for Royal Prussia and Siedmiogród. Some stayed and hid their faith.

Reform was sought by the sejm. On July 4, 1661, Jan II Casimir Vasa said that if Poland would not improve its political system, Poland would be taken over by its neighbors. On February 20, 1662, the sejm wanted to pass financial reforms, prevent an election in vivente, and remove the lifetime limit of the position of the hetman. It also wanted to decentralize the treasury. Two confederations named the Pious Union and the Holy Union approached the sejm. The sejm then compromised to avoid a conflict with the confederations. Vivente rege was not allowed and a general tax on all people including the nobility was passed to fund the army.

In the autumn of 1663, the Russia bojar Afansij awrientiewicz Ordin-Naszczokin came to Poland to make a peace deal. Poland did not want to make peace with Russia. It wanted to wage war with Russia to get Smoleńsk and the other lands that Russia took from it. In mid- August 1663, Jan II Casimir Vasa and his army left Lviv to conquer Ukraine and Russia. After Polish forces conquered Kerop, the fortress of Głuchów was unsuccessfully besieged for two weeks. It was abandoned and the offensive to conquer Moscow continued. It eventually resulted in defeat and was abandoned. On June 11, 1664, peace negotiations with Russia began in Zwirowicze in Belarus. Poland wanted all Polish lands under Russian occupation to be returned. It also wanted 10,000,000 złoty for war reparations. Negotiations ended when Russia wanted Lithuania in return for peace.

After a peasant’s rebellion led by Siepan Razin occurred in Russia, Russia wanted peace with Poland. Peace negotiations began on March 10, 1666, in Andruszów, Belarus. Crimea got a new chan in Aadil Girej during the talks who supported the new hetman of Ukraine, Piotr Doroshenko. Girej’s troops entered Ukraine and attacked Polish troops. In December 1666, the Tatars’ troops defeated Polish troops led by Sebastian Machowski at Ściana and Braiłów. At the end of December 1666, Poland’s senate recommended that the peace negotiations with Russia quickly finish. It also wanted an alliance with Russia against Crimea. On January 30, 1667, a truce was signed in Andruszów that was favorable for Russia. Smoleńsk, Siewierszczyzna, the voivodeship of Czernihów, and the fortresses in Witebsk were to be Russia’s. Ukraine was divided. Russia kept the left bank of the Dnieper and Kiev for two years. Archives, paintings, bells, and other goods were to be returned. Poland’s nobility was allowed to return to Poland. Negotiations were scheduled to occur in two years to make the temporary peace an eternal one. The terms were a loss for Poland. They began Poland’s borders and power to diminish, while Russia’s power and borders dilated.

In the autumn of 1667, the Cossacks and Tatars attacked Poland. From October 4, 1667, to October 17, 1667, Polish forces led by Jan Sobieski stopped their offensive. A peace was made that was favorable to Poland. The chan of Crimea, Girej, promised to not engage in the affairs of Ukraine and to be an ally of Poland.

The wars were very costly for Poland. They led it to decrease the amount of metal it had in its currency. In 1658, a monetary commission made an agreement with the royal secretary, Tytys Liwiusz Boratinim, that reduced the amount of silver in the currency by 25% to 30%. In 1662, it was repeated. It led Polish currency to be divided into good and bad currency. The bad currency was debased and refused to be taken in transactions. In 1685, the mint was closed to stop the monetary chaos.

In 1665, Jerzy Lubomirski began a rebellion to remove Jan II Casimir Vasa and replace him. In the beginning of April 1665, Lubomirski’s forces occupied Lubowla. In June 1665, a confederation led by Adam Ostrzycki with 3,150 soldiers formed that demanded that soldiers be paid what they were owed. On July 6, 1665, a confederation was made in Sokal to defend Lubomirski. The bishop of Kraków, Andrzej Rzebicki, and the bishop of Chem, Tomas Leeski, were able to get the confederations to surrender. Jan II Casimir Vasa promised to give Lubomirski amnesty for earlier betrayal. In the spring of 1666, an agent of Lubomirski in the sejm broke its session up. In June 1666, Lubomirski led an army of 12,000 from Greater Poland against Jan II Casimir Vasa. On July 13, 1666, Jan Casimir’s forces lost at the Battle of Mtwy. On July 31, 1666, an agreement in Łęgonice was made. Jan Casimir repudiated his plans for an election of a new king while he was still king.

On March 9, 1668, Jan II Casimir Vasa made a secret treaty with Louis XIV that would have him abdicate in favor of the Elector of Palatine, Philip William. Jan II Casimir Vasa would receive material goods in return. From June 12, 1668, to June 14, 1668, Jan II Casimir Vasa said in the senate that he would abdicate. The senate asked him to not abdicate, since it would break Polish tradition. On September 16, 1668, Jan II Casimir Vasa abdicated. He stayed in Poland for a short period and then left to the abbey in Saint-Germain des Pres that Louis XIV gave him. He later lived in the castle in Moulin. Mikołaj Prażmowski became the interrex when Jan II Casimir Vasa abdicated.

Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki (1669-1673)

From November 5, 1668, to December 6, 1668, a sejm met to discuss who should be elected. It decided that no one could be elected who used illegal means or foreign capital. On May 2, 1669, the electoral sejm met. On June 6, 1669, the nobility surrounded the building where the senate met. It led the interrex to remove Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, from the list of possible kings to be elected. On June 17, 1669, nobles interrupted the senate during discussions again and threatened it. On June 19, 1669, Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki was elected king. Te Deum laudamus (“God, We Praise You”) was sung and shots were fired in celebration. The majority of senators did not want him as king and tried to remove him. On September 29, 1668, Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki was coronated in Wawel’s cathedral in Kraków.

Wiśniowiecki tried to get back Kiev and make an alliance against Turkey and Crimea. He was unsuccessful. On March 17, 1670, the treaty of Andruszów was confirmed. Winiowiecki was unable to get back Kiev in the treaty. On April 9, 1672, a treaty was signed between Poland and Russia in Moscow. It obligated Russia to help Poland if Turkey attacked it. Czar Aleksy Michajlowicz only used diplomatic means and not force in the future when Poland had problems with Turkey. In the spring of 1670, the sejm met. A majority supported the king and a possible war with Turkey, if it occurred. On March 5, 1670, the sejm swore that it would not dissolve through the use of liberum veto. The opponents of Wiśniowiecki were accused of planning to dethrone him and use foreign troops to make the count de Longueville king of Poland. They said that Wiśniowiecki was trying to kill their leaders. From September 9, 1670, to November 1, 1670, another sejm met. Primate Prażmowski charged the king of breaking law and for trying to remove those who opposed the king. The sejm agreed to coronate Eleonora as queen. On October 19, 1670, Eleanora was coronated as queen. In 1668, hetman Piotr Doroshenko made an agreement with the metropolitan of Kiev, Józef Tukalski, to conquer the left bank of Ukraine from Iwan Brzuchowiecki. After Michał Chanenka was made the hetman of Zaporoski, Doroshenko got help from the Tatars to fight Chanenka. On October 29, 1669, Doroshenko defeated Chanenka’s forces at Steblów. On September 2, 1670, a treaty was signed that gave Ukraine freedom of religion and old privileges that the Cossacks had earlier, such as the right to elect a hetman. Poland’s nobility was allowed to return to its lands in Ukraine. In the autumn of 1670, the sejm confirmed this agreement. In July 1671, war continued. The Cossacks besieged Biaa Cerkwia. On August 26, 1671, Jan Sobieski’s army defeated the forces of the Cossacks and Tatars at Bracaw. Ten Ukrainian towns were surrendered in the next few days. More of Ukraine was conquered. The towns of Winnica, Ściana, and Raszków were taken.

On June 4, 1672, Mehmed IV of Turkey led an army of 50,000 to the Dnieper River after he would not wait for Poland’s peace embassy to arrive. Cossacks and Tatars joined his army. In the beginning of August 1672, the troops reached Poland’s border. On August 14, 1672, they besieged Kamieniec Podolski until it was conquered. Freedom of religion was given to Catholics, Orthodox, and Armenians. All churches except for three were made into mosques or buildings for the army. On September 20, 1672, Tatars surrounded Lviv. On September 24, 1672, Turkish forces besieged Lviv. On October 6, 1672, the siege ended after peace negotiations.

On October 18, 1672, a peace treaty was signed in Buczacz. Poland gave Turkey the voivodeships of Podole with Kamieniec, Bracław, and Kiev. Poland also had to pay 22,000 ducats for haracz annually. Turkey said it would stop Turks, Tatars, and Cossacks from attacking Poland. The peace did not last long. In the autumn of 1673, war continued. From Setpember 2, 1621, to October 9, 1621, Jan Karol Chodkiewicz defeated Turkey’s sultan Osman II at the Battle of Chocim. It was one of Poland’s greatest victories. In the beginning of 1674, Polish troops had to evacuate from Moldova after they were threatened by the Tatars. On November 10, 1673, Wiśniowiecki died.

Jan III Sobieski (1674-1696)

From April 20, 1674, to June 9, 1674, an electoral sejm met. On May 21, 1674, Jan III Sobieski was proclaimed king. Lithuanians did not support him at first, but they were talked into supporting him by a diplomat from the Holy Roman Empire, Krzysztof Schaffgotsch. In 1674, Turkey attacked Russia and Russia retreated behind the Dnieper River. Sobieski’s army conquered Bar. Sobieski wanted to get back Ukraine in the war. The problem was that Michał Pac, the great hetman of Lithuania, repudiated his loyalty to Jan III Sobieski and relinquished his troops from his command. Polish troops were still able to conquer Kalnik, Bracław, and Niemirów. In May 1675, Turkish forces under Ibrahim Szyszman crossed the Dniester River, combined with the forces of the Tatars, and marched through Podole to the voivodeship of Rus. On August 24, 1675, Jan III Sobieski’s troops smashed the Tatars’ troops at Lesience by Lviv.

On January 30, 1676, Jan III Sobieski went to Kraków. He interred the remains of Jan II Casimir Vasa and Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki in Wawel’s crypt. On February 2, 1676, Jan III Sobieski and his wife Marysieka were coronated by primate Andrzej Olszowski. The sejm then met and agreed to make an army of 60,000 to fight Turkey. On September 23, 1676, Jan III Sobieski’s troops defeated the Tatars at Wojniłow. On October 17, 1676, a truce was agreed upon. On June 11, 1675, Jan III Sobieski made a secret agreement with Louis XIV of France to strengthen Poland’s position on the Baltic Sea. Louis XIV promised to give up to 200,000 talars every year to Poland, if it fought the elector of Brandenburg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Louis XIV would give twice this amount if Austria entered the war. Austria and Russia made an alliance aimed at Poland once it was known that Poland and France made an alliance. On August 4, 1677, Poland and Sweden made a secret alliance that planned to attack Royal Prussia. On January 30, 1679, Swedish troops were defeated by troops of the elector of Brandenburg right after they started their offensive. In the summer of 1678, France made a peace agreement with Holland and Spain. Louis XIV was able to get the elector of Brandenburg to return Szczecin. In April 1678, Turkey and Poland made a treaty that gave Turkey Podole with Kamieniec and Bracławszczyzna up to Biała Cerkwia and Pawołowczy. Poland got Bar, Międzybóż, Niemirów, and Kalnik. Poland did not have to pay a haracz anymore and could not help any of Turkey’s enemies. On August 17, 1678, Poland and Russia signed a treaty in Moscow in which Russia agreed to make some corrections on its borders with Poland. Poland got Newla, Wieliża, and Siebieża from the treaty. It also got 200,000 rubles and its truce with Russia was prolonged for thirteen years.

There was a conspiracy to dethrone Jan III Sobieski. The plotters wanted to make Karol Lotaryński king. The plan was to get the army to rebel, start a confederation, and take over the country. The leaders of the plot were bishop Trzebicki, Hetman Dymitr Wiśniowiecki, hetman Michał Pac, voivode Jan Leszczyński, voivode Jan Opalański, and voivode Feliks Potocki. Jan III Sobieski prevented the plot from executing.

Anti-Turkish sentiment rose in Poland from 1679. Many wanted a crusade against its Muslim rulers. A plan was to prepare 48,000 soldiers to fight. Jan III Sobieski tried to get Ukraine on his side against the Ottoman Empire, but he was unsuccessful. On April 1, 1683, Jan III Sobieski made an alliance with cesar Leopold I. Leopold I promised to pay 1,200,000 złoty and give 60,000 men for the war against the Ottoman Empire. Poland would have 48,000 soldiers. Kara Mustafa had an army of about 100,000. In the middle of July 1683, his troops besieged Vienna. On July 7, 1683, cesar Leopold I escaped from Vienna. On July 28, 1683, Hieronim Lubomirski defeated the armies of Thokoly and the Ottoman Empire at Bratyslawa. On September 3, 1683, a meeting on strategy in the war occurred at Stettelsdorf. On September 9, 1683, the alliance’s forces reached the Vienna Woods. On September 12, 1683, Jan III Sobieski attended a mass at Kahlenberg by a priest named Marca d’Aviano who the Vatican sent to promote the war to protect Christianity. 10,000 Turks were killed. 5,000 Turks were injured. The alliance lost 1,5000 men. 2,500 were injured. Jan III Sobieski wrote a letter to Pope Innocent XI that said, “Venimus, vidimus et Deus vicit” (“We came, we saw, and God conquered”). On September 13, 1683, Jan III Sobieski entered Vienna.

On October 7, 1683, Poland lost in the First Battle of Párkány. On October 9, 1683, the Ottoman Empire lost the Second Battle of Párkány. On March 5, 1684, the Holy League was formed in Linz of Poland-Lithuania, the Holy Roman Empire, and Venice to fight against the Ottoman Empire. The Holy League was to return the lands that the Ottoman Empire took. Poland would get Podole and Ukraine. On May 24, 1684, oaths were taken in Rome for the alliance in front of the Pope. In the beginning of 1685, the sejm ratified the alliance in the Holy League. The war continued and was difficult for the Holy League in 1684 and 1685. Jan III Sobieski tried to get the shah of Persia, Sulejman, to join against the Ottoman Empire, but he would not help. On May 6, 1686, Poland and Russia signed a treaty named the Treaty of Moscow or the Treaty of Grzymułtowski that was favorable to Russia. Poland gave up its claims to Smoleńszczyzna, Czernihowszczyzna, Siewierszczyzna, and the left bank of Ukraine to Russia. Poland received 730,000 złoty from Russia and an eternal peace treaty with Russia. Poland and Russia would be in alliance against the Ottoman Empire. The war continued poorly. On September 2, 1686, Jan III Sobieski resigned from the war.

In 1690, hetman Jabłonowski took 18,000 men to Moldova to capture the strongholds of Suczawy and Kimpolungu. From September 10, 1691, to September 12, 1691, Polish troops defeated troops of the Ottoman Empire and Tatars at Pereryta. In 1695, Polish troops defeated troops of the Tatars by Lviv.

Jan III Sobieski was very weak in his last years as king. His wife made many important decisions for him. On July 15, 1692, she made an alliance with France. She was from a poor noble family in France. Louis XIV was allowed to have an influence on choosing who would be appointed to positions in Poland. He would also be able to influence the Polish cardinal in Rome. Louis XIV gave Jan III Sobieski 150,000 livres annually. The aim was to make Polish politics in favor of France. France was to help Poland in peace negotiations with the Ottoman Empire and Poland was to help in making peace between France and the League of Augsburg. France was to come to the aid of Poland if Austria, Brandenburg, or Russia attacked it. Trade between France and Poland was to be promoted by giving businessmen in both countries special rights. Jan III Sobieski never signed the document for the alliance with France, even though Louis XIV did sign it. Resentment grew towards Jan III Sobieski’s poor health and his wife’s influence on politics. Magnates conspired to not allow one of Jan III Sobieski’s sons to be king. On June 17, 1696, Jan III Sobieski died in Wilanowa. He was buried in Warsaw. In 1734, August III sipped the ashes of Jan III Sobieski at Wawel in Kraków.


In 1661, Jesuits established the Academy in Lviv. It was known for the subjects of theology and philosophy. In 1677, the king’s secretary Krzysztof Mieroszewski received a royal privilege to make a military-engineering school that would be under the care of Kraków’s University, but it was never realized. Polish nobles usually went abroad to Italy and the countries that the Habsburgs ruled to get higher education. They usually became priests. Some went to France. Protestants from Pomerania, Greater Poland, and Lithuania usually went to study in Holland, England, and Germany.


Several Poles were famous scholars. Johannes Hevelius drew the surface of the moon and discovered a few constellations, one of which he called the Shield of Sobieski. In 1690, Stanisław Solski wrote Architekt Polski (“Architect of Poland”) that was the first book in Polish on technical mechanics used in construction. From 1683 to 1686, he published a three-volume textbook on geometry called Geometra polski (“Polish Geometry”). Wojciech Tylkowski wrote Uczone rozmowy (“Learned Conversations”) that had encyclopedic knowledge. In 1675, Jakub Kazimierz Haur wrote, Ekonomika ziemska generalna (“General Manorial Economics”) that described how to manage a large farm or plantation. In 1650, the voivode of Poznań, Krzysztof Opaliski, wrote Satura albo przestrogi do naprawy rzdu i obyczajów w Polszcze nalecych that said that the nation’s morale collapsed and that the pressure put on peasants will lead to an uprising. Walenty Pęski wrote Palatium reginae Libertatis that defended golden freedom and the privileges of the nobility. He wrote how great Poland’s political system was.

Polish fiction had themes from history, religion, and fantasy. Romances were dominated with pastoral themes. Poetry’s themes were religion and love. Two well known Polish poets were Zbigniew Morsztyn and Wacław Potocki. Both were Arians. Potocki converted to Catholicism. Both poets wrote about injustice and intolerance. In 1695, Wespazjan Kochowski wrote Psalmodia polska in which he stated that the Polish nation is a chosen nation by God to save and strengthen Christianity. In 1661, Hieronim Pinocci published the first Polish journal called Merkuriusz Polski Ordynaryjny. It lasted only one year.

August II the Strong (1697-1733)

On May 15, 1697, a sejm met to discuss who should be the next king. On June 26, 1697, it was found that Jakub Sobieski did not have enough votes to become king. He resigned. On June 27, 1697, François Louis, the Prince of Conti, was proclaimed king, but another election occurred that chose Friedrich August Wettin. The bishop of Kujawy Stanisław Dąmbski proclaimed Friedrich August Wettin king. He became known as August II the Strong in Polish history. He brought his kingdom of Saxony in today’s Germany into the union with Poland and Lithuania. The Saxon Period in Polish history began that lasted until 1763. Jews and Jesuits supported his electoral campaign with finances.

In May 1697, August II the Strong published electoral promises that included helping Poland militarily and financially to get the lands it lost to the Ottoman Empire. He promised Silesia would be returned to Poland. He promised to increase trade and crafts. He promised to regulate the currency. He promised he would not make his son the next king of Poland.

Saxony had a population of around 2,000,000. Its agricultural system was based on rent and not feudalism. Its economy was powered by its townspeople who were involved in trade, metallurgy, finance, and textiles. In 1698, August II the Strong made a secret chancellery that became a Secret Cabinet after reforms in 1704 and 1706. It was the most important political body in the electorate. It dealt with the most important matters of the state. August II the Strong appointed men to it. August II the Strong made a report called Jak Polskę przekształcić w kraj kwitnący i cieszący się szacunkiem u sąsiadów (“How to Change Poland into a Blossoming and Delightful Country that has the Respect of Its Neighbors”) that was a plan to develop Poland. It was to be done through developing trade and manufacturing. Specialists and rich settlers were to be brought over. Taxes were to be increased. Universities were to teach law for administration and the economy. Poland and Saxony were to get freedom from tariffs in trade.

August II the Strong made a company in his first years as king of Poland that would have contact with Persia. War got in the way of this plan. August II the Strong planned to improve the military, rebuild fortresses, improve the artillery, and build a fleet.

August II the Strong led an army of 7,000 to Poland and on July 16, 1697, crossed the border of Poland. On July 27, 1697, August II attended mass in Piekary. He later swore to the pacta conventa. On the night of September 6, 1697, and September 7, 1697, Conte with the help of Louis XIV left Dunkirk with a small fleet to Gdańsk to claim he was king of Poland. August II the Strong sent troops to intercept him. He gave up. Louis XIV ended relations with Poland and had the property of buyers in Gdańsk confiscated. On September 15, 1697, August II the Strong was coronated in Wawel’s cathedral.

On April 16, 1698, a sejm met in Warsaw to pacify the situation about who is king. On May 21, 1698, August II the Strong made an agreement with primate Radziejowski that recognized him as the guard of law in the country in relation to the king. August II the Strong promised to uphold law. In 1699, another sejm met to pacify the country and to appease those who did not want to recognize August II the Strong as king.

August II the Strong planned to conquer Moldova and Wallachia for Poland. In the latter half of September 1698, August II the Strong had around 20,000 Poles, 15,000 Saxons, and 6,000 Lithuanians in his army. The Tatars attacked Podole and Wołyń. Hetman Szczęsny Potocki stopped them and forced them to retreat after beating them at the Battle of Podhajce from September 8, 1698, to September 9, 1698. On January 26, 1699, peace was made with the Ottoman Empire at Karłowice. Poland did not lose any territory in the treaty. On September 22, 1699, Poland conquered Kamieniec from the Ottoman Empire.

On August 24, 1699, August II the Strong promised Jan Reinhold Patkul, the leader of the opposition in Inflanty, to help the nobility in Inflanty to get back Inflanty from Swedish control. August II the Strong was to get Inflanty under his control for the rest of his life. On October 5, 1699, Poland and Denmark made an alliance. On November 21, 1699, August II the Strong made an agreement as the elector of Saxony with Peter the Great of Russia. It was aimed against Sweden. Russia was to enter the war once it made peace with the Ottoman Empire.

In June 1698, August II the Strong met with Friedrich III in Pisz. Friedrich III offered him a small loan. On December 13, 1699, Friedrich III agreed on a treaty that would give Elbląg to Poland in exchange for 300,000 talars. When the Great Northern War broke out, the governor of Riga, Erik Dahlberg did not allow Saxon troops into his town in February 1700. He had the townspeople who supported the Saxons killed. Riga was besieged. Saxon troops conquered the fort of Kobrun. In the middle of March 1700, Saxon troops conquered the stronghold of Dünamünde that was later renamed Augustusburg. On August 18, 1700, peace was signed upon at Travendal. Denmark recognized that Holstein was independent. August II the Strong stopped besieging Riga. He wanted to make peace with Karol XII. Russia then made a peace treaty with Turkey and declared war on Sweden. August II the Strong took his troops to Parnawa to attack Russia and then conquered Kokenhausen. On November 30, 1700, Karol XII conquered Russian forces at Narva, but he did not march into Russia. He attacked August II the Strong’s troops instead. On December 15, 1700, August II the Strong made a treaty with France. August II promised that if a war of succession occurred in Spain that he would help to make an anti-Habsburg alliance in the Empire and help Louis XIV militarily. France promised to give him Silesia. This alliance was to be made after peace was settled with Sweden. In February 1701, Peter the Great met with August II and Karol XII at Bira. Peter the Great and Karol XII tried to get August II the Strong into the war. Lithuanians wanted to ally with Russia, but Poles were very anti-Russian. The meeting ended with a renewal of the alliance between August II the Strong and Peter the Great. Peter the Great agreed to help August II the Strong militarily and financially and to make a peace treaty. On the night of July 18, 1701, and July 19, 1701, Swedish troops attacked Saxon troops and forced them to retreat. Saxon troops then retreated from Inflanty.

In July 1701, Karol XII’s troops conquered Saxon troops by the Dźwina River and entered Kurlandia. Poland’s senate sent an embassy that pleaded for its land not to be taken away. Karol XII responded by wanting August II the Strong to be dethroned for peace to be made. August II the Strong tried to make peace with Sweden. On May 4, 1702, Poland’s embassy was greeted by Karol XII, but Karol XII said that he only wanted peace with Poland if August II the Strong was dethroned. August II the Strong ended his alliance with Louis XIV. On August 9, 1702, August II the Strong lost at the Battle of Kliszów to Sweden. 2,000 Saxons were killed. 700 Saxons were injured. 1,000 Saxons were captured. Eighty Poles were killed. Sweden lost 1,000 men. 900 were injured. On August 10, 1702, Swedish troops occupied Kraków without any resistance. On August 20, 1702, Polish nobility of Lesser Poland met with the king and senators. A confederation was formed. Polish nobility was against dethroning August. It was decided that peace negotiations should be made with Karol XII. August II the Strong swore to the pacta conventa again and promised to keep Poland’s laws and to have his troops retreat after a peace treaty was signed with Sweden. Swedish troops entered Warsaw again and defeated Saxon troops on May 1, 1703 at Pułtuski. At the end of May, 1703, Swedish troops besieged Toruń. On March 27, 1703, primate Radziejowski gathered senators and other dignitaries to Warsaw to make peace with Karol XII. August II the Strong was against it.

Stanisław Leszczyński (1704-1709- and 1733-1736)

In December 1703, Karol XII named Jakub Sobieski as the candidate to be Poland’s king instead of August II the Strong. One of the candidates some Poles supported was Stanisław Leszczyński. A small group of Polish nobles surrounded by Swedish troops proclaimed Stanisław Leszczyński king of Poland. Leszczyński was from a family of magnates in Greater Poland. He was loyal to Karol XII. In 1705, a treaty with Sweden made Poland be politically and economically controlled by Sweden. In May 30, 1704, a general confederation formed that pledged loyalty to August II and Poland. It supported the treaty with Russia and condemned those who supported Sweden. August II the Strong swore to the pacta conventa again and promised to protect Poland. The majority of Poland’s nobility supported him. August II the Strong’s troops conquered Warsaw.

On December 13, 1703, August II the Strong renewed his treaty with Peter the Great in Jaworów. On August 30, 1704, an alliance was made between Peter the Great and Poland. It led to relations developing between Poland and Russia in the 18th century. On August 30, 1704, the Treaty of Narva was signed between Poland and Russia that made a military alliance against Sweden. It was to last until war with Sweden ended. Peter the Great was to pay 200,000 rubles annually and Poland was the produce an army of 48,000. Russia was to send an army of 12,000 to Poland.

In the autumn of 1704, Swedish troops occupied Lviv and then they took Warsaw. Sweden put Leszczyński and his followers back in power to negotiate with Sweden. On October 4, 1705, Stanisław Leszczyński was coronated without traditional monarchal insignia in Warsaw. From August 1705 to November 1705, debates on the Treaty of Warsaw occurred that made Poland be subject to Sweden. Poland was to be in alliance with Sweden against Russia. Swedes received trade privileges that were harmful to Polish maritime trade. They also received freedom to trade in Polish towns. Protestants in Poland were given privileges and were put under the protectorate of Sweden’s king. On November 26, 1705, the Treaty of Warsaw was signed.

In October 1705, Peter the Great met with August II the Strong in Tykociń to plan to attack Sweden. On February 13, 1706, Swedish troops under general Karol Gustaw Rehnsköld defeated the troops of Peter the Great and August II the Strong. Saxony’s Secret Council told August II the Strong to resign from the Polish crown to avoid military defeat. Karol XII’s troops then attacked Russian troops in Grodno. Russian troops then retreated to Poland’s eastern border. In August 1706, Swedish troops marched into Lower Silesia and Saxony without much resistance. On September 24, 1706, the Treaty of Altranstädt was signed that forced August II the Strong to resign from ruling over Poland, but he was allowed to keep the title of king. Saxony was to pay indemnities to Sweden. The alliance with Russia was to be nullified. August II the Strong did not want to sign the treaty. The combined troops of the Saxons, Russians, and confederation of Sandomierz fought with Swedish troops on October 29, 1706, at the Battle of Kalisz and won. The victory did not mean much, since the treaty had to be ratified by Saxony despite the victory. In the beginning of 1701, a confederation formed in Lviv. A council formed with Russian officials who acted upon Peter the Great’s behalf. The Treaty of Narva was confirmed. Terms for Russian troops to abide by in Poland were settled. Russian troops attacked the property of the confederation based in Warsaw. They robbed and raped. Those who supported Sweden were arrested and deported to Russia. One person who was deported to Russia was the archbishop of Lviv, Konstanty Zieliński, who coronated Stanisław Leszczyński. On July 7, 1707, Peter the Great influenced the confederation of Sandomierz to declare an interregnum.

Karol XII prepared to fight Peter the Great. He took contributions from Saxony and prepared his troops. He got France, Austria, England, Prussia, and Turkey to recognize Stanisław Leszczyński as king of Poland. Only Peter the Great and Pope Clemens XI did not recognize Stanisław Leszczyński.

In 1708, Leszczyński and Ivan Mazepa made a treaty that would put Ukraine under the power of Poland. Mazepa was to get a feudal kingdom that would be subordinated to Poland. In the autumn of 1707, Karol XII’s troops left Saxony and returned to Poland through Lower Silesia. On November 21, 1708, the armies of Stanisław Leszczyński were defeated by the Confederation of Sandomierz at the Battle of Koniecpol. On July 8, 1709, Peter the Great’s armies beat Karol XII’s forces at the Battle of Poltava. The win led to Russian domination in northern Europe and particularly in Poland. After Swedish troops left Saxony, August II the Strong fought in a war on the side of France. In July 1709, August II the Strong negotiated a treaty with Peter the Great in Dresden for a new alliance, but Peter the Great never signed it. At the end of July 1709, August II the Strong went with a Saxon army to Poland. He said that his abdication was invalid. Stanisław Leszczyński did not oppose him. Leszczyński went to Szczecin and began his emigration. August II the Strong met Peter the Great in Toruń and made a new alliance. Peter the Great promised to give August II Inflanty, but he never did it. On February 4, 1710, August II the Strong called a council to replace the sejm that gave amnesty for the supporters of Stanisław Leszczyński and raised the number of the army to 40,000. The peace with Russia from 1686 was ratified along with the Treaty of Narva. On March 31, 1710, the Holy Roman Empire became neutral in relation to Poland and Saxony in the northern war. From 1711 to 1712, August II was unable to defeat Swedish forces. In 1712, Jan Grudziński attacked Poland from Bukowina for Stanisław Leszczyński, but he was defeated in Greater Poland.

August II the Strong wanted to changed Poland’s political system. He wanted absolutism and parliament based on the model Holland had. He wanted liberum veto curtailed. He let his Secret Cabinet decide international politics for Poland. August II the Strong’s politics led to upheaval in Poland. In Lesser Poland, a confederation formed that fought Saxon troops. Polish troops under marshal Władysław Gorzeński joined the insurrection by attacking Saxon troops. Saxon troops were forced to retreated to Kraków. An anti-Saxon movement started in southern Poland. On November 26, 1715, Polish nobles formed a general confederation in Tarnogród with the goal of removing Saxon forces from Poland. On January 18, 1716, an agreement was made to put down arms and for Saxon troops to leave Poland. On February 17, 1716, the confederation of Tarnogród appealed to Peter the Great to mediate in the conflict with August II the Strong. On June 13, 1716, discussions began in Lublin to end the conflict. On November 3, 1716, the Treaty of Warsaw was signed that regulated the relations between Poland and Saxony. Saxon ministers were not allowed to decide on Polish and Lithuanian matters. Only six Saxon ministers were allowed in Poland when August II entered Poland. Saxon troops were to leave Poland. August II the Strong was not allowed to stay in Saxony for more than three months.

On February 1, 1717, the Silent Sejm met. Only a few were allowed to speak at the sejm, while Russian troops were outside the sejm. Russian troops were supposed to leave, but they stayed. August II the Strong and the Senate sent emissaries to Peter the Great twice to ask for Russian troops to be taken from Poland, but they were unsuccessful. On October 3, 1718, a sejm met to show Polish unity against Russia. An emissary was sent to Russia to get Russian troops to retreat from Poland. On January 5, 1719, a treaty was signed in Vienna that would stop Russian influence in Poland. Russian troops were supposed to leave Poland under the treaty. Russia eventually removed its troops from Poland and eased relations with it. In 1721, Sweden made a peace treaty with Russia in Nystad that gave Russia Ingria and Karelia. It also got Estonia and Inflanty. August II was supposed to get them.

On July 16, 1724, Protestants attacked the Jesuits’ college in Toruń. They profaned its chapel and an image of the Virgin Mary. Toruń’s political authority did not stop the act of vandalization, since it was Protestant. August II the Strong called a commission to investigate what happened. It was found that the mayor did not help to quell the rebellion. Mayors Jan Godfried Rösner and Jacob Henrich Zernecke were sentenced to death along with nine who participated in the vandalization. Vincent Santini, the papal nuncio, intervened to help those who were accused. Zernecke was pardoned. On December 1724, the rest were hanged. Catholics were to make up half of the city’s council after the affair. Protestant kings in Friedrich Wilhelm I and George I of England called the affair a disgrace to justice in Catholic Poland. Peter the Great threatened to intervene, but he died in 1725 before he could. George I sent an emissary named Edward Finch to defend the Protestants in the case, but Poland’s sejm would not let him have an audience with the king. He was forced to leave Poland immediately.

On February 1, 1733, August II the Strong died. His last words were, „Boe, wybacz mi, cae moje ycie byo jednym grzechem.” They are, „God, forgive me. My whole life was one sin.” On September 12, 1733, Stanisław Leszczyński was elected by the majority of the nobility that numbered 13,500 members. On September 19, 1733, Stanisław I swore the pacta conventa in a cathedral. The Habsburgs in Austria and Russia did not want Stanisław Leszczyński to be king.

The Nobility

A few noble families were able to collect great landed estates. Elizabeth and Adam Sieniawski had great estates in Podole, Red Ru, Lesser Poland, around Lublin, Mazovia, around Warsaw, and Lithuania. The Lithuanian family of the Sapiehas owned estates that ranged from the Russian border to Silesia. August Czartoryski, the voivode of Ru, was making 3,000,000 złoty annually during the middle of the 18th century. These lands were primarily used to grow grain and raise cattle. There were from twenty to thirty noble families who distinguished themselves with their influence and wealth. In Greater Poland, they were the Leszczyńskis. In Lesser Poland, they were the Jabłonowskis, Koniecpolskis, Lubomirskis, Ossolińskis, Potockis, Sieniawkis, Sobieskis, and Zamoyskis. In Lithuania, they were the Radziwiłłs, Sapiehas, Sanguszkows, and Wiśniowieckis. From the 17th to 18th centuries, the Szembeks, Mniszchs, Przebendowskis, Rzewuskis, and Załuskis in Poland emerged. The Ogińskis and Pociejs emerged in Lithuania.


In the middle of the 18th century, there were about 750,000 Jews. 75% lived in cities. They were about half of the population in cities. Jews were involved in trade, crafts, and banking. Jewish communities banked with Catholic clergy and wealthy nobles. Jews were allowed to trade in all of Poland. Jews were limited to where they were allowed to live in some cities and provinces. August II the Strong supported Jews. They helped him financially to get elected in Poland. Bernd Lehman was a Jewish banker of August II the Strong. In 1714, the Theological University of Lipsk undertook a study after August II the Strong asked for one to see if Judaism allowed ritual murder. It was found that Judaism did not.


In 1721, the first Masonic lodge was established in Poland in the city of Warsaw. It was called, „Bractwo Czerwone” („Red Brotherhood”). Members included a few from the wealthy family of the Czartoryjskis. In 1729, the lodge of the „Trzech Braci” („Three Brothers”) was established in Warsaw with the help of the son of August II, Friedrich August Turowski. He also made the first lodge in Dresden called the lodge of the „Trzech Biaych Orłów" („Three White Eagles”). More lodges were established in Poznań, Gdańsk, and Dukla. In the 1770s, Masonic Lodges formed with poor members of the townspeople. Polish Freemasons created the Knights’ School. Five members of the Commission of National Education were Freemasons. Seventy-four Freemasons were members of the Great Sejm. In 1781, the Great National Lodge of the Great Polish East was formed. It subordinated all Polish Lodges within a few years. Polish Freemasons included Ignacy Potocki, Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz.

August III (1734-1763)

On August 5, 1733, Friederich August was elected as king by the village of Kamień. The bishop of Poznań Hozjusz proclaimed him the winner as August III. Russian guns fired to celebrate the event.

On October 10, 1733, France declared war on Austria after it heard that Poland’s election was corrupted, even though it did not use its military to intervene in Poland. The kingdom of Sardynia and Spain entered the war. France’s goal in the war was to win Lotharyngia. The kingdom of Sardynia and Spain wanted parts of Italy as spoils in the war. The war was known as the War of the Polish Succession. Stanisław Leszczyński was protected as king in Gdańsk. In February 1734, Russian and Saxon troops besieged Gdańsk. On May 11, 1734, two French battalions landed at Westerplatte. Their captain decided not to take them to Gdańsk. They went to Kopenhagen and returned to Westerplatte. They were attacked and capitulated on June 23, 1734. On June 29, 1734, Gdańsk surrendered. The majority of senators then swore an oath of loyalty to August III.

On October 5, 1733, a confederation in Warsaw formed under the leadership of marshal Antoni Poniński. In November 1733, 10,000 Saxon troops entered Greater Poland and Lesser Poland to defend August III. In December 1733, August III came to Poland and swore the pacta conventa in the sanctuary of Mary in Piekary in Silesia. On January 15, 1734, August III participated in a ceremony in Wawel’s cathedral that presented the coffins of Jan III and August II. On January 17, 1734, August III and Maria Josepha of Austria, the daughter of Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor, were coronated by the bishop of Kraków, Jan Lipski. On November 5, 1734, a confederation formed under the leadership of Adam Tarło at Dzików to support Stanisław Leszczyński. In February 1735, Józef Potocki and others in the confederation went over to the side of August III. Saxon and Russian troops defeated the confederation at Stężyca. There were pockets of resistance by Kamieniec Podolski that fought until the end of 1735. In May 1735, an emissary of the confederation named Jerzy Ożarowski and Stanisław Leszczyński went to Paris to get help. On September 28, 1735, cardinal Fleury made an agreement with Jerzy Oarowski to form a military alliance. On October 3, 1735, peace was settled in the matter in Vienna. Poland had no influence on it. The peace let Stanisław Leszczyński keep the title of king, but he had to abdicate in Poland.

When Prussian troops entered Silesia during the First Silesian War, Maria Teresa asked for help from August III. Saxony and Austria had an alliance together. Maria Theresa asked Poland to help by offering to give Royal Prussia to it. Saxony made an alliance with France. Saxony planned to partition Bohemia. On August 10, 1741, Friedrich II occupied Wrocław. In the beginning of 1742, Prussian and Saxon troops under Friedrich II began a campaign in Moravia. On July 28, 1742, peace was signed in Berlin. Prussia received Lower Silesia, the earldom of Kłodz, and a majority of Upper Silesia, excluding the duchy of Cieszyń and Opawa. On July 23, 1742, Saxony made a peace treaty with Austria that included a clause of mutual support if their neighbors attacked them.

After the Second Silesian War started, August III and Maria Theresa made an alliance on December 20, 1743. On February 4, 1744, Saxony made an alliance with Russia. On January 8, 1745, an alliance was signed in Warsaw between England, Holland, Austria, and Saxony against Prussia. August III was to provide an army of 50,000 with English money. A secret article in the treaty said that he would be helped to strengthen royal power in Poland and to ensure the heredity of the throne. After Maria Theresa and August III made a new alliance, they attacked Prussia. On June 4, 1745, Austria was defeated at the Battle of Strzegomiem. After Prussian troops entered Łużyce and Saxon troops were defeated at Kesselsdorf, August III made a peace treaty with Friedrich II in Dresden on December 25, 1745. No territorial changes were made in the peace. Silesia was to remain Prussian.

Stanisław August Poniatowski (1764-1795)

On October 5, 1763, August III died. On September 6, 1764, the election for the next king of Poland occurred in the village of Wola by Warsaw. Russian troops were stationed in Warsaw during the election. Stanisław Poniatowski was unanimously elected. He was previously in a relationship with Catherine II the Great. He came from the Ciołek coat of arms. Russian troops were to intervene if Poniatowski was not elected. On November 25, 1764, Stanisław August Poniatowski was coronated in Warsaw.

Poniatowski created a a commission for the treasury to limit the powers of the treasurer. He made a commission for the army to limit the powers of the hetman. Andrzej Zamoyski, the Great Crown Chancellor, helped to revitalize declining towns. Zamoyski regulated currency and removed private tariffs and reorganized general tariffs. Poniatowski made a conference of ministers that functioned similar to a cabinet. In 1765, Poniatowski opened the Knights School. It was to help to rebuild the army. Poniatowski put Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski at the head of the School for Knights.

In 1767, a Protestant confederation was formed in Toruń and an Orthodox confederation in Słuck. The leaders of both confederations were working for Catherine II the Great. In the autumn of 1767, a sejm met in Warsaw. 40,000 Russian troops in Warsaw secured the elections. The Russian ambassador, Mikołaj Repnin, recommended that a smaller group in the sejm should have power. Sixty-six delegates were given power to vote. The ones who voted were picked by Russians. An opposition to Repnin formed that was quelled with force. He had the bishops Kajetan Sołtyk and Józef Andrzej Załuski arrested. Two senators by the names of Wacław Rzewuski and his son Seweryn were arrested. They were sent to Kaługa and imprisoned there for five years. Poniatowski did not take any action. The chancellor, Andrzej Zamoyski, protested by resigning from his position. Andrzej Młodziejowski, a collaborator of Repnin, took his place.

The sejm met until 1768. A treaty was passed between Poland and Russia that guaranteed that Poland’s lands could not be changed. Orthodox and Protestant Christians were given equal rights to Catholics. In 1767, the bishop of Kraków, Kajetan Sołtyk, the bishop of Kamieniec, Adam Krasiński, hetman Wacław Rzewuski, court marshal Jerzy August Mniszech, and Teodor Wessel had a plan to dethrone Poniatowski once Russian troops left Poland. The plan was to recall the reforms of 1764 and put in a king from the family of the Wettins. On February 29, 1768, the Confederation of Bar was formed by members of the nobility. Goals of the confederation were to bring back Roman Catholicism’s primacy in Poland, end Russian despotism, and restore law in Poland. Poniatowski called his council of senators to plan how to resolve the problem with the confederation. Poniatowski asked for help from Russia by sending troops. Ambassador Repnin sent troops to disperse the confederation. In June 1768, Russian troops conquered the first capital of the confederation, Bar in Podole. Not many members of the confederation were stationed at Bar. A priest named Marek Jandołowicz, better known as Priest Marek, encouraged the members of the confederation in Bar to fight. A peasant uprising against Poles and Polish nobility in Ukraine helped to defeat the confederation. Melchizedek Znaczko-Jaworski was an Orthodox monk who supported the rebellion. He wrote a manifesto in support of Catherine II the Great that called to fight the Lachy, Jews, and Uniates. In June 1768, the massacre at Humań took place. 20,000 Polish nobles, townspeople, and Jews were killed. Austria took advantage of the chaos in Poland. In 1769, it occupied Spisz. In 1770, Austria occupied Nowy Targ and Nowy Sącz. These events were a prelude to a larger partition that started in 1792.

On October 22, 1770, the confederation of Bar published a document that dethroned Poniatowski. It led Poniatowski’s supporters to support Russia more. On November 3, 1771, the confederation of Bar tried to kidnap Poniatowski and put him on trial in front of the confederation. On April 18, 1772, Wawel was conquered in Kraków. On August 18, 1772, Częstochowa capitulated. It was the final defeat of the confederation of Bar. Over 10,000 from the Confederation of Bar were sent to Siberia by Russia as punishment. In 1781, they were given amnesty, but many of them did not even know about it. It was the largest amount of Poles who were sent to Siberia by Russia up to that time. Those who participated were persecuted and had their property confiscated. Many emigrated. Casimir Pułaski was a participant in the confederation who emigrated to Britain’s Thirteen Colonies in North America. He fought in the American Revolutionary War in the Battle of Charleston in May 1779.

Friedrich II Hohenzollern was the main actor in the planning of Poland’s partition. In 1769, Friedrich II sent Rochus Lynar from Berlin to St. Petersburg to propose to Russia that Prussia and Austria would support Russia in war against Turkey. Prussia was to get Warmia and Austria was to get Spisz in return. Russia would take Polish land that it wanted. In 1769, Friedrich II Hohenzollern met with Joseph II Habsburg in Mysa and then in Nowe Miasto in Moravia. After Austria occupied Spisz and took parts of three Polish districts, Prussia occupied Royal Prussia in 1770 and cut it off from Poland. It said it was cordoning off the plague that was on Turkey’s borderland.

In 1771, plans were being formulated to partition Poland. In the beginning of 1772, Russia and Prussia were planning to partition Poland in St. Petersburg. Austria then joined in the plans. On August 5, 1772, three treaties were signed in St. Petersburg. The justification for the partition of Poland was that Poland’s internal instability and war with the Confederation of Bar threatened its neighbors. The treaties began with an invocation of the Holy Trinity. Russia took northeastern Poland with the voivodeships of Inflanckie and Mścisławskie. It took almost all of the voivodeships of Witebskie, part of the voivodeship of Połocki, and part of the voivodeship of Mińsk. The land totaled 92,000 km2 and had a population of 1,300,000. Prussia took the voivodeships of Pomorskie without Gdańsk, Malborski with Warmia, Chełmiński without Toruń, and parts of the voivodeships of Poznań, Gnieźno, Inowrocław, and Brzeski-Kujawski. It took the lands of Lęborska and Bytowska. The land Prussia took totaled 36,500 km2 and had a population of 580,000. Austria took Lesser Poland up to the Vistula River and the lower San River. It took parts of the voivodeship of Wołyń and Podole. Austria took 83,000 km2 with a population of 2,650,000. The first partition took 30% of Poland’s lands and 37% of its population.

Poniatowski did not fight much against the partition. He just sent letters to England, Spain, and France in hopes of getting them to protest. Michał Fryderyk Czartoryski, the Lithuanian chancellor, told Poniatowski to resign, even though he put a chancellery’s stamp on a treaty that confirmed the partition.

Russia, Prussia, and Austria spoke of the partition as revindication and not annexation. Publications were produced that defended the partition by saying the land was rightfully taken away from Poland. Outdated treaties were used as justification.

In 1772, before the first partition, Poland had over 730,000 km2 of land and over 12,000,000 inhabitants. 60% was Polish. 25% was Ruthenian and Lithuanian. 10% Jewish. Others were Germans, Armenians, Tatars, and other groups. Most were Catholic. The rest were Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim. 70% was farmers. 20% was townspeople. 10% was nobility and clergy. 85% lived in villages.

In October 1772, Stanisław August Poniatowski convoked the council of the senate. A general mobilization was desired. The majority of the council of the senate wanted to appease the interests of the countries that partitioned it. Many patriotic Poles did not wish to become candidates for the sejm. It led the Russian ambassador, Otto Magnus Stackelberg, to fill the sejm with his candidates.

Russian troops abused their power after they entered Poland. Ambassador Stackelberg organized these acts of abuse. Prussia’s ambassador, Gedeon de Benoit, and Austria’s ambassador, Karol Emeryk Revitzky, supported Stackelberg. Russian troops robbed the troops of the confederacy. Prussian troops forced Poles into the Prussian army. Frederick II the Great brought false currency into Poland and Lithuania. It was produced in Berlin and Wrocław. It had a Saxon stamp on it. On April 19, 1773, the sejm was opened. Tadeusz Rejtan protested against it. The sejm prepared treaties to accept the partition. Rejtan tried to block members of the sejm with his body. In 1780, he committed suicide.

On October 15, 1773, the constitution for the Commission of National Education was finished. It was the first of its kind in Europe. In 1775, the sejm created the Commission of National Education and Unremitting Council. Eight members composed the Commission of National Education for a period of six years. Its first members were Ignacy Józef Massalski, Michał Jerzy Poniatowski, Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, Joachim Chreptowicz, Ignacy Potocki, Andrzej Zamoyski, August Sukowski, and Antoni Poniski. The Commission of National Education held great authority. The university in Kraków, the university in Vilnius, over thirty academic schools, over forty monastic schools, four military schools, and many parish schools were subject to it. The College of Elementary Textbooks was created. It was responsible for providing textbooks, programs of teaching, and instructions for teachers.

The Unremitting Council took away many of the king’s powers. The king was given the right to lead it. He had a total of two votes in it. Thirty-six members composed the Unremitting Council. They were called upon by the sejm. One-third of its members stepped down every two years, while the sejm picked new ones. It oversaw five departments.

From 1773 to 1775, the sejm decided to increase the army to 30,000. 22,000 men were to be in Poland, and 8,000 were to be in Lithuania. It was not completely realized. In 1776, 14,000 troops were in Poland. In 1764, the Northern Alliance or Northern Concert of Russia and Prussia was formed. Austria entered it passively. Russia and Prussia entered the alliance against Poland and Lithuania. Chancellor Nikita Panin, the adviser of Catherine II the Great, was the organizer of the politics against Poland and Lithuania that led to the first partition of Poland.

Stanisław August Poniatowski wished to enter in an alliance with Russia and Austria against Turkey. When Catherine II the Great planned to visit Crimea during the spring of 1787, Stanisław August Poniatowski tried to meet her. On May 5, 1787, Stanisław August Poniatowski met Catherine II the Great at Kaniów. An alliance was not formed. Catherine II the Great did not want relations to change with Poland.

From 1780 to 1786, there was not much happening in the sejm. In 1788, an increase in political activity occurred in the sejm. Small reforms were desired. In the autumn of 1788, the sejm met and discussed until May 1792. It is known as the Four-Year Sejm or Great Sejm. The sejm wanted to stop its dependence on Russia and decide its own fate. A Prussian politician in the sejm named Ludwik Buchholtz suggested that Poland get into an alliance with Prussia, instead of Russia. He received secret instructions to start a confederation if Poland made an alliance with Russia. The confederation would be instructed to ask for help from Prussia. Buchholtz also was instructed to prevent the expansion of Poland’s army and any reforms that would strengthen Poland.

The Great Sejm increased the army to 100,000 after it opened. The Great Sejm replaced the Department of the Army’s Unremitting Council with the Army Commission. Stackelberg protested and tried to get the king to leave the Great Sejm. If he did leave it, the Great Sejm’s deliberations would cease. The Great Sejm then liquidated the Department of the Foreign Interests. On January 19, 1789, the Great Sejm ended the Unremitting Council. In November 1789, the president of Old Warsaw, Jan Dekert, led a procession with 141 delegates from Polish towns in a black procession to the royal castle to present its postulates to expand the rights of townspeople. The result was the Great Sejm made a special commission to create laws for towns.

On January 5, 1791, the Great Sejm produced a document called Deklaracja („Declaration”) that said that anyone in the sejm who takes foreign money must receive the death penalty. On April 18, 1791, the Great Sejm passed new laws for towns that were inspired by the procession on November 1789. It was called, Miasta nasze królewskie wolne w pastwach Rzeczypospolitej („Our Royal, Free Cities in the Republic”). It allowed the nobility to have rights in cities, buy property in cities, occupy offices in cities, and be involved in trade in cities. Another document in relation to deliberations was passed on April 18, 1791. Both documents were inserted into the Constitution of May 3rd. On May 3, 1791, 20,000 townspeople gathered by the royal castle. The Ustawa Rządowa („Government Bill”) was read in the Great Sejm. It was passed and the king swore an oath to it. It is known as the Constitution of May 3rd. It is composed of eleven articles written in Latin. The first four articles dealt with Catholicism and laws that related to the nobility, townspeople, peasants, and clergy. On October 22, 1791, the Great Sejm passed Zarczenie wzajemne Obojga Narodów („Mutual Betrothal of Both Nations”) that put Poland and Lithuania in a union.

The Constitution of May 3rd was the second in the world, after the United States of America’s Constitution from September 17, 1787. France had its constitution passed after Poland’s on September 3, 1791. The first article established Roman Catholicism as the reigning religion. It gave it privileges and rights. Other religions were guaranteed freedom. Apostasy from Roman Catholicism was not allowed. The second article established the nobility as a leader in society. It was given rights and privileges. The third article dealt with cities. Townspeople were given some rights that only the nobility possessed. It gave them neminem captivabimus nisi iure victum („no one will be imprisoned without a court verdict”). They received the right to be in offices in the administration and judiciary. They were also allowed to be in the army. Townspeople were allowed to become nobles. The fourth article protected peasants’ rights under national law. They were given personal freedom and were freed from serfdom. The sixth article said the sejm created laws. The sejm was constituted of the chamber of deputies and the chamber of senators. There were 204 members of the chamber of deputies. The senate had 132 members who were bishops, castellans, provincial governors, and ministers. The king presided over the senate and had one vote. He had two votes if there was stalemate. The king called sejms and had the right to start the legislative process. Bills were passed in the king’s name, but his role in the whole process was limited. Bills first went to the chamber of deputies. It was discussed and passed with a majority vote. It then went to the senate, where it could only be vetoed. Article seven dealt with the power of the king. Articles nine, ten, and eleven supplemented it. Free elections of the king were removed.

Russia had a pretext to attack Poland by supporting a group of magnates who were against the Constitution of May 3rd. They were Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, and Seweryn Rzewuski. On April 27, 1792, Polish magnates signed the Act of General Confederation in St. Petersburg. The text of the document put a false date of May 14, 1792, as the date of the confederation. The location of the confederation was Targowica in Ukraine. Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki was the marshal of the confederation. Dyzma Bończa Tomaszewski was the secretary of the confederation. On May 18, 1792, 100,000 Russian forces entered Poland. Russia’s envoy, Jakow Bułhakow, told Stanisław August Poniatowski that Russia was helping Poland’s real patriots. On May 21, 1792, a Russian declaration was read in the sejm. It was met with silence.

In June 18, 1792, Poland won the Battle of Zieleńce. On June 23, 1792, Stanisław August Poniatowski joined the Confederation of Targowica and told his forces to stop the war. The leaders of the army, Józef Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, surrendered. Hugo Kołłątaj, Ignacy Potocki, and Stanisław Maachowski emigrated to Saxony. Stanisław August Poniatowski was ready to abdicate to Catherine II the Great, but she would not accept his abdication.

On January 23, 1793, the second partition was signed in St. Petersburg by Russia and Prussia. It opened by invoking the Holy Trinity and justifying the partition on behalf of quelling anarchy. Russia received 250,000 km2 of land and over 3,000,000 people. Prussia received 58,000 km2 of land and about 1,000,000 people. The sejm met to pass the partition. It was carefully picked to be devoid of supporters of the Constitution of May 3rd and others who would not support the partition. The Prussian general Johann Rautenfeld gave Stanisław August Poniatowksi a pencil to sign the treaty, and he signed it without resistance. After Russian and Prussian troops occupied their new lands, an economic crisis ensued. The price of food rose. It led to a negative situation in towns.

Many Poles emigrated after the partition. The list includes Józef Poniatowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Stanisław Maachowski, Kazimierz Nestor Sapieha, Ignacy Potocki, Hugo Kołłątaj, and Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz. Saxony was a popular destination for Polish emigrants. Many Poles who remained after the partition conspired for freedom. The list includes Ignacy Działyński, Ignacy Wyssogota-Zakrzewski, Franciszek Barss, Andrzej Kapostas, Antoni Madaliski, and Jakub Jasiski. Many were arrested and sent to Siberia as punishment. Ignacy Dziayski was one such example.

During the autumn of 1793, Tadeusz Kościuszko met at a conference in Podgórze by Kraków and decided that an ideal time was needed for an uprising with enough planning and forces. On March 12, 1794, Polish forces led by general Antony Madaliński left Ostrołęka for Warsaw. On March 24, 1794, Tadeusz Kościuszko proclaimed an uprising in Kraków. Hugo Kołłątaj wrote a manifesto for the uprising. He said the uprising was for freedom and independence.

On May 7, 1794, Kościuszko proclaimed the Universal Połaniecki that gave peasants personal freedom and limited their serfdom. They were allowed to leave villages, move to other villages, and live in towns. On April 4, 1794, Kościuszko’s troops won at the Battle of Racławice. On April 17, 1794, an uprising occurred in Warsaw. Warsaw was freed after two days of fighting. On April 23, 1794, colonel Jakub Jasiński freed Vilnius. A large part of Lithuania was subsequently freed. On June 6, 1794, Kościuszko lost at the Battle of Sszczekociny. On June 8, 1794, general Józef Zajączek lost at the Battle of Chełm. On June 15, 1794, Prussian troops occupied Kraków. On June 28, 1794, a riot occurred in Warsaw. Members of the riot took out several members of the Confederation of Targowica from prison and hanged them. Portraits of traitors were hung on gallows. At the end of June 1794, Prussian and Russian armies blockaded Warsaw. On August 11, 1794, Vilnius capitulated. On October 10, 1794, Kościuszko was defeated and captured. On November 4, 1794, Russian troops conquered Prague. On November 9, 1794, Warsaw signed its capitulation. Seweryn Rzewuski asked Catherine II the Great to be dictator, in return for pacifying Polish lands for Russia. Catherine II the Great did not agree. On November 16, 1794, Polish troops gave up their arms at Radoszyce. Polish generals were imprisoned in Russia, Prussia, or Austria.

The third partition of Poland was the result of two treaties. The first was between Russia and Austria from December 23, 1794, to January 3, 1795. The second was between Russia and Prussia on October 13, 1795. The treaty between Russia and Austria said that it was necessary to partition Poland, since Poland’s anarchy was a danger to regional security. On January 15, 1797, Austria, Prussia, and Russia signed a secret treaty to not use the name of Poland in official documents. On November 25, 1795, Stanisław August Poniatowski abdicated in Grodno. On February 12, 1798, Stanisław August Poniatowski died in St. Petersburg. In 1938, his casket returned to Poland.

Austria received 47,000 km2 of land and around 1,500,000 people out of the partition. Prussia received 48,000 km2 of land and around 1,000,000 people. Russia received 120,000 km2 of land and about 1,200,000 people. Occupying troops destroyed property, killed people, and chased criminals who resisted the new authorities. On December 17, 1794, Mikoaj Repnin, the general governor of Lithuania, issued a manifesto that said the new subjects should be grateful for restoring peace and order. On July 5, 1796, Warsaw paid homage to the king of Prussia, after Stanisław August Poniatowski abdicated. Various authors supported or condemned the partition. Voltaire and Claude Carloman Rulhiere supported the partition of Poland. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Garbiel Bonnot de Mably, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, Edmund Burke, and Stephen Jones were against it.

The partitions of Poland led to deep hatred of Germans and Russians by Poles. Austrians werenotdislikedasmuch,sincetheygavePolesthemostfreedom.Attheturnofthe18th century and during the 19th century, Polish officers and politicians moved to Turkey. They took part in wars against Austria and Russia. Joachim Deniska organized Polish forces in Moldova. Wacaw Rzewuski became an emir. Michał Czajkowski converted to Islam in 1850, took the name Sadyk Pasza, and lived in Istanbul. General Józef Bem worked for the sultan. Adam Mickiewicz organized a Polish legion in Istanbul to fight Russia. Marian Langiewicz lived in Istanbul in 1867.

Warsaw’s population dropped after the partitions by 40% to 50%. It had over 100,000 inhabitants before the partitions. It was also growing in terms of its economy and cultural value. The partitions prevented its growth. Gdańsk stopped being a major town of maritime traffic. In 1797, the Germans in Gdańsk conspired under Gottfried Bartholdy, since they were unhappy under Prussian rule. Greater Poland’s cloth industry languished after being cut off from important trade routes. Kraków’s importance dropped. Poznań, Grodno, and Vilnius all suffered. New Russian, Prussian, and Austrian fortunes were made at the expense of Polish property. The Russian duke Płaton Aleksandrowicz Zubow received Polish royal lands in mud for his involvement in the partitions. Field Marshal Aleksander Suworow received Polish property in Polesia for his service in pacifying Kościuszko’s insurrection and murdering thousands in Prague. In Prussia, Karol Hoym was in charge of disbursing Polish properties to Prussians.


Prussia attempted to Germanize Poles and make them function within Prussian politics. The Polish lands Prussia received from the partitions composed about fifty percent of its country. After the first partition in 1772, the newly incorporated lands were called Westpreussen. After the second partition in 1793, the newly incorporated Polish lands were called Südpreussen. Part of Kraków’s voivodeship with Bdzin became Neuschlesien in 1793. After the third partition in 1795, the newly incorporated Polish lands became known as Neuostpreussen. Prussia organized Polish lands according to Provinzen, Regierungen, and Länder. The newly incorporated Poles were considered conquered and expected to be loyal to Prussia. Prussian law was brought to Poland from 1794’s Landrecht or law of the land. It became completely obligatory in 1797.

Assimilation of Poles was planned by teaching Poles German. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, Vorschlag zur Einführung der deutschen Sprache in Polen (“The Proposition of Implementing German in Poland”). Polish nobles lost their nobility in Prussia. They were not allowed to be represented in parliament and local government.

Prussia tried to degrade small towns in the newly annexed Polish lands and put them on the same level as villages. Cities were allowed to keep their gilds. In 1797, Jews were given the General-Jüden-Reglement that ended their self-government, determined their economic laws, and supported their Germanization. Peasants’ rights were protected by not allowing them to be displaced from their lands and the amount of their feudal service was not to be increased. After the partitions, around 9,000 Prussian officials came with their families to settle on newly acquired Polish lands. Polish towns were colonized by Prussians. Prussians took property that was owned by the Polish king, by the church, and Polish patriots. Prussian peasants were paid the cost of their trip, given cattle, awarded agricultural tools, freed from military service, and exempted from paying taxes for a few years, if they moved to the newly acquired Polish lands.


Russia called the land it took from Poland the western part of the country or western governorates. After the first partition in 1772, Russia organized the newly acquired lands into the governorates of Pskov and Mahilyow that made up the general governorship of Belarus. The governorate of Smoleńsk was added to it. After the second partition in 1793, the governorates of Minsk, Zasaw, Bratslav, and Kiev were created. After the third partition in 1795, the governorates of Courland, Vilnius, and Slonim were created. Governors were at the head of governorates. Governorates were divided into counties.

The Polish cities that Russia gained through the partitions were composed of many nationalities besides Poles. They included Jews, Germans, Lithuanians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians. Villages were mostly composed of Lithuanians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians. The inhabitants of the newly acquired lands were usually Catholic, but there were some Orthodox on the eastern parts.

Peasants were required to serve in the army for twenty-five years. After they served their term, they did not usually return to their old lives. Russia did not Russify its newly acquired people right away. Nobles were allowed to have a degree of self-government with a sejm and they were allowed to pick officials. Courts were based on III Statut Litewski from 1588 and old Polish law. Polish was spoken in courts. The University of Vilnius was allowed to exist. In 1805, Krzemieniec Lyceum was established as a secondary school in Krzemieniec. Tadeusz Czacki was at its head. It was known as Volhynian Athens.

Russia took away many of the Catholic church’s privileges. Those who converted to Catholicism were recognized as apostates. Marriages that were mixed with a Catholic and Orthodox required their children to be Orthodox. The leader of Catholicism in Russia was the Archbishop of Mohilyow, Stanisław Bohusz-Siestrzeńcewicz. Russia subordinated the Catholic church to the Orthodox church. Catholic clergy’s contact with the Vatican was limited and they were not allowed to freely move around in Russia. Papal bulls were censored. Some Catholic churches were closed, if Russian authorities judged that there were not enough Catholics in the community. Russia persecuted Uniates, closed some of their monasteries and churches, and forced them to convert. In 1762, the Archbishop of Polotsk, Junosz Smogorzewski, was forced to leave Russia, when he refused to end ties with the Vatican.


After the partition of 1772, Austria named the land it received from Poland the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. During Kościuszko’s Uprising in 1794, Austrian troops crossed Poland’s border and went into Sandomierz and the voivodeship of Lublin. The military action was made in the name of protecting Austria’s security. The real aim was to permanently occupy Polish lands. The Polish land that Austria received from the third partition in 1795 was called New Galicia or Western Galicia. Austria had this land until 1809, when the Treaty of Schönbrunn gave it to the Duchy of Warsaw. Austria put a governor with advisers in charge of the newly acquired Polish land. Lviv became its capital. Germanization of Poles was the goal of Austria. Poles were not allowed to work in the administration in the newly acquired lands. They did not know German and Austrian law.

After the partitions, Austria allowed Polish law and courts to function until 1784. In 1797, a civil codex called Western Galician was implemented. In 1803, penal law was codified. In 1811, a general Austrian civil codex called Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch was introduced.

Polish nobles in Austria had their personal legal immunity taken away, along with their immunity in relation to their property. Their freedom from taxes was taken away. They were not allowed to assemble in congresses. They were not allowed to possess their own armed forces.

Austria divided up Polish nobles into two categories. The first was magnates and the second was knights. In Poland, all nobles were equal. Polish nobles were allowed to own manorial land and use peasants to maintain it. Austrian rule over Polish lands led to towns suffering economically. After Galicia started observing Austria’s tariffs in 1784, towns had to compete with Czech and Austrian industry. It led to less output. Polish towns had to abide by Austria’s ban of certain exports and imports. Austria made use of a policy of mercantilism.

Austria divided Polish cities into three categories. The first category was reserved for Lviv, the capital of the province. The second category was for imperial cities that were given special privileges by Polish kings. The third category was for municipal cities that had magistrates. Townspeople were divided into two categories. The first category was Bürger or citizens. They were allowed to own businesses that used mills, sawmills, quarries, and breweries. The second category was Bewohner or residents. They paid a special tax.

Polish peasants were treated better under Austrian rule. In Poland, nobles had complete control over peasants, but in Austria relations between peasants and nobles were regulated to prevent nobles from abusing their power. Peasants received the privilege to be under law and to have their cases heard in court. In 1775, 1781, and 1786, obligations of peasants were reformed. Increasing their dues were prohibited. Three days a week were made the maximum amount of feudal service. Austrians migrated to Galicia as colonists. Colonization was allowed with a law in 1781 that gave Austrians land in Galicia to settle, if they moved.

Austria’s dominant religion was Roman Catholicism, but it did not have the same power as it had in Poland. Austria’s Archduke, Joseph II, practiced Josephinism that had secular rulers regulate affairs of the Catholic Church. Josephinism did predicate the Catholic Church approving anything the Archduke did, since it was subordinate to the Archduke of Austria. All papal bulls and writings could only be published in Austria after getting permission from the Archduke. Priests’ and bishops’ communications were censored by royal bureaucrats. Joseph II liquidated some monastic orders, confiscated their property, and used their property for barracks, offices, and prisons. Their archives and libraries were given universities.

Austria tolerated Lutherans, Calvinists, and Orthodox with a law from 1781. Jews were not tolerated. They were removed from villages. They were not allowed to rent their lands to others. They were forced to pay a special tax and serve in the military. German names were given to them, and they were taught German. In 1789, a law ended the discrimination of Jews and allowed them to practice Judaism.

In 1775, a sejm met in Galicia named Postulat-Landtag. The Archduke asked the sejm to settle what the limit of taxes there should be. Sejms in Galicia lost their legislative and pecuniary powers with time. They were left with power to only help Austria’s administration. In 1782, Joseph II passed an ordinance that let the sejm meet only a few times during his reign.


An organization was established in Paris that dealt with affairs related to Polish emigration. A lawyer named Franciszek Barss and a general named Józef Wielhorski were at its head. As more Polish emigrants came to Paris, a government was formed from the organization that that wanted to make a republic for Poland. It sent emissaries to conspire and declare a republic. Lviv became a center for conspirators to take an oath to the movement. Walerian Dzieduszycki was at its head. Poles emigrated to northern Moldova that was part of the Ottoman Empire. They emigrated to avoid serving in the armies of the countries that Polish lands were a part of and to gain freedom. They formed into an army led by Joachim Denisko. Denisko hoped the Polish army could get help from Turkey to go into Galicia. In 1797, Denisko with his army attacked Bukowina and lost. Austria arrested Polish conspirators in Lviv.

As more Poles emigrated to Paris, differences arose on the political direction they should take. A project was made to form an army to fight on the side of France. The army was to be formed in northern Italy and link up with Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. On January 9, 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte signed a treaty with the Transpadane Republic that led to the creation of Polish Legions that would fight for the Transpadane Republic. In 1797, Józef Wybicki wrote “Mazurek Dąbrowskiego that was the song of the Polish Legions in Italy. It became Poland’s national hymn after it became independent in 1918. In the autumn of 1797, there were around 8,000 men in the Polish Legions. About 75% escaped from military service in the Austrian army. The other 25% was emigrants. In the summer of 1798, Tadeusz Kościuszko came to Paris after being released from prison in Russia and spending a year in America. The Polish Legions recognized him as its leader but he would not lead them.

On November 17, 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte signed a convention with the Cisalpine Republic that succeeded the Transpadane Republic. The agreement allowed Polish Legions to exist. The Polish Legions were divided into two legions. Karol Kniaziewicz led one legion, and Józef Wielhorski led the other legion. Both legions participated in the Napoleonic Wars. When one of the legions was defeated at Mantua, French troops handed Polish soldiers to the Austrians, who killed them for deserting the Austrian army. In 1799, Karol Kniaziewicz became the general of the Danube Legion with French help. 6,000 men were sent from the Polish Legions to Haiti to suppress the slave revolt. Only a few hundred returned. In 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops entered Polish territory. Polish Legions organized an uprising in Greater Poland.

Alexander Romanow, who became the czar of Russia as Alexander I, told Adam Jerzy Czartoryski that he supported Poland and did not support the policy of Catherine II the Great. In 1795, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and his brother Constantine were sent to St. Petersburg by the Familia, a faction led by the magnate families of the Czartoryskis and Poniatowskis, to build connections. After Alexander I was crowned in 1801, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was made an academic curator in Vilnius. In 1802, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski became the substitute for the minster of foreign affairs, Alexander Votontsov. From 1804 to 1806, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was the minister of foreign affairs. Adam Jerzy Czartoryski came up with a plan for Russia and Austria to attack Prussia that was presented in Puławy to Alexander I. After the war, Polish lands that Prussia took would be given back. Austria would get Silesia and return Galicia to Poland. Alexander I would become the king of Poland. Poland and Russia would be in a union. They would collectively attack Napoleon. The plan was never realized. Antoni Radziwiłł also had a grand plan to restore Poland. In 1807, Radziwiłł suggested a plan for Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia to become the king of Greater Poland. Alexander I of Russia would become the king of Lithuania, Podole, and Volhynia. Francis I of Austria would become the king of Galicia and Lodomeria. Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia may have supported the plan.

On November 3, 1806, Jan Henryk Dąbrowski and Józef Wybicki declared loyalty to Napoleon in Berlin. They were ready to organize a Polish army and help France’s army. Napoleon may have supported helping Poland become independent. In 1806, an uprising occurred in Greater Poland. Poznań, Kalisz, Łęczyca, and Częstochowa were freed. German officials were removed from Poland. Polish forces were formed.

As French armies forced Prussian armies to retreat, Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia wrote a letter to Józef Poniatowski that told him he was in charge of Warsaw. He organized a militia and restored order in Warsaw. French troops under marshal Joachim Murat entered Warsaw and were greeted. When Napoleon came to Warsaw in December 1806, Stanisław Maachowski proposed revitalizing the Great Sejm, while general Józef Zajczek suggested removing the nobility’s privileges and putting Tadeusz Kościuszko and Hugo Kołłątaj in power. On January 14, 1807, Napoleon created the Ruling Commission to rule Poland temporarily. The commission had seven members. Stanisław Małąchowski led it. Józef Poniatowski was the director of war. Feliks Franciszek Łubieński was the director of justice. Napoleon’s secretary of state, Hugues-Bernard Maret, controlled the Ruling Commission. Three legions were made of around 40,000 soldiers. They were led by Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, Józef Zajączek, and Józef Poniatowski. These Polish forces fought on Napoleon’s side.

The Duchy of Warsaw

According to the Treaties of Tilsit on July 7, 1807, and July 9, 1807, Prussia lost the district of Biayłstok to Russia. Gdańsk became free. French troops were to be stationed there. The Duchy of Warsaw was created out of the land that was taken in the second and third partitions. It encompassed about 104,000 km2 of land and around 2,500,000 people. Napoleon and Alexander I offered Frederick Augustus I of Saxony rule over the Duchy of Warsaw. In Dresden, Napoleon gathered the Ruling Commission and Frederick Augustus I of Saxony met to decide on the Duchy of Warsaw’s future composition. Poles drafted a constitution, but Napoleon had his own plans. On July 22, 1807, Napoleon told the Ruling Commission the principles of the new constitution. The new constitution was written in French and had eighty-nine articles. The constitution made the king of Saxony be the king of the Duchy of Warsaw. The title would be hereditary to future kings of Saxony. Napoleon left marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout as his representative in the Duchy of Warsaw. He was at the head of the French army that was stationed there. He controlled external politics and politics in relation to the army. On December 21, 1807, Frederick Augustus I of Saxony issued a decree to clear up the uncertain nature of the constitution’s clause that ended slavery. It stated that all peasants had personal freedom and could move freely. It also declared that there should be agreements between peasants and their lords on the obligations of peasants. It effectively ended serfdom.

The constitution made the Council of State composed of the king of Saxony, ministers, advisers, and referendaries. The king could be substituted with a president. The constitution made the Council of Ministers that was composed of six ministers who were at the head of major parts of the administration that included war, justice, internal affairs, treasury, and police. All government documents had to be signed by the king and the minister of one of the six departments. The constitution made the king and sejm share legislative power. The sejm was composed of the senate and the chamber of deputies. The king was the chair of the senate. The president of the senate could be his substitute. The sejm only met three times during the life of the Duchy of Warsaw.

Warsaw was the city with the greatest population in the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1810, it had around 70,000 people. In 1809, Kraków had about 24,000 people. Poznań had about 17,000 people. Kalisz and Lublin both had about 10,000 people. Jews made up about 30% of the population of cities. They mainly participated in trade.

On June 26, 1812, Napoleon created the Konfederacja Generalna Królestwa Polskiego (“General Confederation of the King of Poland”) that was to lead to a newly organized kingdom of Poland. It was never realized. In 1808, the Napoleonic Code was enacted in the Duchy of Warsaw that established civil law. The Napoleonic Code established equality, removed limits to the purchase of property, and secularized marriages. Marriages and divorces were to become official before government officials. The aim was to take away power from the Catholic Church.

As Napoleon’s intentions in relation to the Duchy of Warsaw changed, he gave some of his marshals parts of the Duchy of Warsaw. Napoleon gave Louis-Nicolas Davout the duchy of owicz and the duchy of Siewierz to Jean Lannes. Other marshals who received Polish land were Jan Bernadotte, Ludwik Berthier, Mikoaj Soult, Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, Józef Zajączek, and Józef Poniatowski.

From 1808 to 1809, around 8,000 Polish men fought under the leadership of Wincenty Krasiński in Spain on the side of France. In March 1809, the Duchy of Warsaw’s sejm approved taxes to fund a war against Austria. On April 15, 1809, Austrian troops under the leadership of Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este entered the Duchy of Warsaw with 32,000 men. Józef Poniatowski had less than 16,000 men in his army. On April 21, 1809, Poniatowski gave up Warsaw to Austrian troops. A Polish uprising occurred in the Polish lands that Austria received in the partitions. 70,000 Russian troops under general Dmitry Golitsyn were stationed on the border of the Duchy of Warsaw. Russian troops entered the Duchy of Warsaw after Polish troops had some success. On May 27, 1809, Polish troops occupied Lviv. It led Austrian troops to retreat from Warsaw. On July 15, 1809, Józef Poniatowski occupied Kraków. On October 14, 1809, peace was signed between France and Austria in Schönbrunn that took away the Polish lands that Austria took in the third partition. The Duchy of Warsaw received most of them. The land it received was about 38,000 km2. It now had about 142,000 km2 of land and around 4,300,000 people. The Duchy of Warsaw did not keep everything from the third partition. Austria and Prussia kept Wieliczka. Russia took a part of eastern Galicia. In 1811, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski went to Warsaw to get Józef Poniatowski on Russia’s side. Under his plan, the Duchy of Warsaw would be under Russian auspices. The plan was not favored, nor realized.

Napoleon was demanding of the Duchy of Warsaw. He wanted it to fortify Toruń, Modlin, and Zamość. He also wanted its army to have about 60,000 men. In 1811, the sejm agreed to appropriate more money for the army. In 1812, 90,000 Polish soldiers made up around one-third of Napoleon’s Grand Armée. On June 22, 1812, Napoleon signed a daily order in Wikowszk that was directed to Polish soldiers. It said that a second Polish war began. The aim was to defeat Russia and remove its influence on Europe. Around 30,000 Polish men returned from Napoleon’s campaign against Russia. On February 8, 1813, Russian troops occupied Warsaw. Józef Poniatowski’s army of about 8,000 men and the government of the Duchy of Warsaw retreated to Kraków. In December 1813, the fortresses in Modlin and Zamo capitulated to Russian troops. Polish nobles who supported Alexander I tried to convince Józef Poniatowski to switch to Russia’s side instead of France’s side. Józef Poniatowski remained loyal to his pledge of loyalty to Napoleon. On May 13, 1813, Russian troops occupied Kraków. The government fled to Cieszyn and was ordered by Frederick Augustus I of Saxony to disband. Alexander I created the Highest Temporary Council. It was composed of five officials. Two were Polish. On October 17, 1813, Józef Poniatowski was made a marshal of France. On October 19, 1813, Józef Poniatowski died in the Battle of the Nations. After Napolon abdicated on April 6, 1814, Polish troops were allowed by Alexander I to return home. Alexander I’s brother, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, monitored them.

In January 1807, the Chamber of Education was formed. In 1812, it was made into the Office of National Education. Stanisław Kostka Potocki led it. Others who worked with him were Stanisław Staszic, Inufry Kopczyński, and Samuel Bogumił Linde. In 1808, a three-year school called the School of Law was created to prepare judges to administer the Napoleonic Code. In 1809, the School of Medicine was established. In 1811, the School of Law became the School of Law and Administration. In 1816, the University of Warsaw was created by combining the School of Law and Administration with the School of Medicine.

In 1808, the Archiwum Ogólne Krajowe (“The General Archive of the Country”) was created. In 1815, it was renamed to the Archiwum Główne Królestwa Polskiego (“The Main Archive of the Kingdom of Poland”). In 1867, it became the Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych (“Main Archive of Bygone Acts”).

After Russian troops entered the Duchy of Warsaw in 1813, Alexander I called the Highest Temporary Council of the Duchy of Warsaw in March 1813. Vasily Lanskoy led it. It had to deal with a major problem with the economy. There was a flood in the spring. Many peasants ran away from their lords. Nobles went into debt, as their estates were not tended. Some taxes were repealed to help the economy. Alexander I issued a decree that created the Komitet Reformy Agrarnej (“Committee of Agricultural Reform”). Adam Jerzy Czartoryski led it. It was made to help peasants and prevent them from running away from nobles’ estates. The committee sent surveys to nobles to ask them on their opinion of what should be done with the problem with peasants. The majority was in favor of keeping the decree of December 1807 that ended serfdom.

At the end of February 1813, Russia and Prussia signed a treaty in Kalisz that would return Polish land that connected eastern Prussia with Silesia. In return, Prussia would resign from wanting more land of the Duchy of Warsaw. In June 1813, Alexander I met with the Prussians and Austrians in Reichenbach. They agreed to partition the Duchy of Warsaw. On June 4, 1813, when Napoleon agreed to an armistice, he agreed to divide the Duchy of Warsaw. A final agreement to divide the Duchy of Warsaw was not produced. When Napoleon was obligated by the Treaty of Fontainebleau on April 11, 1814, to abdicate as emperor of France, Alexander I allowed Polish troops to return to the Duchy of Warsaw with their arms. Alexander I wanted to add the lands of the Duchy of Warsaw to Russia. Tadeusz Kościuszko asked Alexander I to discuss the future of the Duchy of Warsaw. Alexander I invited Tadeusz Kościuszko to Paris. Kościuszko asked for Poland to be restored to its borders from 1772. He also asked for amnesty for Poles and a liberal constitution that would give peasants rights. Alexander I did not promise him anything. When Polish troops returned to the Duchy of Warsaw, Alexander put his brother, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, in charge of them. Alexander I created the Komitet Organizacyjny Wojskowy (“The Organizational Committee of the Army”) to rebuild the Polish army. The committee was made of Polish generals.

The Congress of Vienna in 1814 debated on the future of the Duchy of Warsaw. Alexander I wanted to restore the kingdom of Poland, but he wanted Russia to have a personal union with it. He wanted to give it a liberal constitution and return the land Russia took from Poland in the partitions. Alexander I’s minister of foreign affairs, Friedrich Carl von Nesselrode- Ereshoven, was against it, just like England and Austria were. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna decided to take away the department of Poznań, the department of Bydgoszcz, and Toruń. Gdańsk was given to Prussia. Austria was returned the district of Tarnpol and given the right to use the salt mines in Wieliczka and Podgóra. The Free City of Kraków was put under the supervision of Russia, Prussia, and Austria. The Kingdom of Poland was created from the remaining land the Duchy of Warsaw possessed. It was in a personal union with Russia. Poland was promised to have its own representatives and institutions, as well as autonomy. These promises were not kept.

On June 20, 1815, the Kingdom of Poland was proclaimed in Warsaw. It was two days after Napoleon’s final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. An interim government was created that was led by general Vasily Lanskoy. The vice president was Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, who prepared a new constitution for Poland, along with the president of the Senate, Tomasz Ostrowski and many others. The interim government produced a document called, Zasady Konstytucji Królestwa Polskiego (“Principles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland”), that had thirty-seven articles. On May 25, 1815, Alexander I signed it. Alexander I and Mikoaj Nowosilcow participated in making final revisions to the constitution that included making the monarchy stronger and allowing arbitrary measures to be enacted. On November 27, 1815, Alexander I came to Warsaw and signed the constitution of the Kingdom of Poland. On December 24, 1815, the constitution was activated. It had 165 articles and seven chapters. Poland and Russia were in a personal union. Russia’s monarch ruled it in cooperation with Poles. Citizens were given personal immunity, freedom of religion, protection of property, freedom of press, and freedom to speak Polish. The king had power to declare war, preside over the army, control the finances of the country, nominate all positions to the government, nominate senators, and nominate bishops. A deputy was to take the place of the king, if he was not present. The czar was advised by the Council of the State. It was composed of the Council of the Administration and the General Assembly of the Council of State. The Council of Administration presided over the commissions of religion, justice, internal affairs, war, and treasury. There were eight voivodeships. They were Augustowskie, Płockie, Mazowieckie, Podlaskie, Kaliskie, Sandomierskie, Lubelskie, and Krakowskie.

The constitution said that the nation was represented by the king, sejm, and senate. The sejm was to meet every two years for thirty days. The sejm had the power to make projects that related to citizens and the administration. It also had power over the budget. The country had over three million people. Around 100,000 had the right to vote.

In 1816, Poland encompassed 128,500 km2 of land. It had about 3,300,000 people. Poles made up 75% of the population. Jews were 10%. Germans were 7.5%. Ruthenians were 2.5%. Warsaw was the biggest city with over 100,000 people. There were 451 cities in Poland. Most had from one to two thousand people. There were 22,500 villages.

Agriculture made up 70% of Poland’s income. During the first part of the 19th century, field rotation was used more often. Potatoes and other crops were popularized. Modern machines for agriculture were imported. As a market formed for metal products, metallurgy and mining spread. In 1816, an office was made in Kielce to manage mining. Stanisław Staszic led it. In 1816, the School of Mining was established in Kielce. In 1826, it was transferred to Warsaw. In 1824, the Department of Mining was created. Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki was at its head. In 1823, the government owned thirty-seven mines of steel.

Industry developed in Warsaw during the beginning of the 19th century. Textiles were produced that were used to make cloth, cotton, and silk. In the 1820s, steam machines were imported from Western Europe. The growth of industry led to the employment of more workers. Cities developed.

The newly formed kingdom of Poland quickly ran into problems. In 1820, it was closed to bankruptcy. Alexander I dismissed Jan Węgleski from his position of minister of finance. In 1821, Alexander I appointed Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki in his place. Poland was warned that if it did not improve its state that it would become controlled by Russia. Lubecki received permission from Russia to make tariffs in Poland to alleviate the financial crisis. Raw materials that traveled in between Poland and Russia were not to face a tariff, but other goods would be levied a tariff. In 1828, the Bank of Poland was created with the help of Lubecki. It was created for many reasons. It was to provide credit to industrialists and businesses. It was to pay the debt that the Duchy of Warsaw accrued. The economic activity that occurred under Lubecki’s ministry helped to improve the economy and remove the deficit by 1829.

Several ministries helped to develop Poland. Tadeusz Mostowski led many projects as the minister of the Komisja Rządowa Spraw Wewntrznych (“Government Commission of Internal Affairs”). One project was to spread the knowledge of agriculture by helping to establish the Agronomical Institute in Marymont. Stanisław Staszic as the minister of the Wydział Rzemiosł i Kunsztów Komisji Spraw Wewntrznych (“Department of Crafts and Arts of the Commission of Internal Affairs”) helped to promote mining and the textile industry. His department made roads and canals.

StaniStanisławsaw Kostka Potocki, the minister of the Rządowa Wyznań Religijnych i Oświecenia Publicznego (“Government Commission of Religion and Public Enlightenment”) helped to develop education. Elementary schools increased in number. Three elementary schools were created for Jews. Twenty-nine middle schools were created that had over 4,500 students. In 1816, an exam was introduced in middle schools to test maturity. Schools that taught professional crafts were set up on Sundays. An institute was created for the deaf. Several professional schools were established. They were the Institute of Teachers in Łowicz, the Institute of Agronomics in Marymont, the Military School, the Politechnical Institute in Warsaw, and the University of Warsaw. The University of Warsaw had the departments of philosophy- mathematics, law, medicine, liberal arts, and theology. A priest named Wojciec Szweykowski was its first rector.

On December 9, 1820, Stanisław Kostka Potocki was dismissed after the bishop of Kraków, Jan Paweł Woronicz, accused him of anti-Catholic measures and gave Potocki’s anticlerical brochure to Alexander I. Stanisław Grabowski replaced Potocki. He was conservative. In the beginning of 1821, the Dyrekcja Wychowania Publicznego (“Front Office of Public Behavior”) was created out of the Rządowej Wyznań Religijnych i Oświecenia Publicznego (“Government Commission of Religion and Public Enlightenment”). Józef Kalasanty Szaniawski led it. In 1821, the Front Office of Public Behavior took control of the University of Warsaw and other institutions of higher learning. It also oversaw professors and their lectures. 40% of Poland’s budget went to the army. In 1830, 33,000,000 złoty went to the army. The army engaged in intensive training that included military drills that resulted in the deaths of some soldiers. Flogging of soldiers was practiced until 1825. From 1815 to 1830, fifty soldiers committed suicide in the army.

On September 13, 1820, Alexander I told the sejm about the negative trend in Europe that was in favor of revolution. A liberal group opposed him and criticized the government by saying that the constitution was violated and finances were compromised. The leader of this group, Wincenty Niemojowski, was forbidden to be around the czar in the future. Before Alexander I left Warsaw, he gave Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich full power to rule Poland.

Clubs formed that were for freedom and independence. In 1817, Ludwik Mauersberger and other students at the University of Warsaw started an organization called Panta Koina that means “everything in common” in Greek. It wanted to liberate peasants and provide equality. It had around twenty members. In 1819, Mauersberger and Ludwik Koehler established a branch of Panta Koina in Berlin, where they were studying. In 1822, Prussia’s police liquidated it. In Warsaw, its members were arrested. They were freed after an investigation, but they were banned from holding state positions. In 1820, Związek Wolnych Polaków (“Union of Free Poles”) was formed that supported independence. It issued a journal called, “Dekada Polska” (“Polish Decade”), that supported freedom. The organization’s members were arrested and the journal was ended. In 1823, Russian authorities found secret organizations in Lithuania and arrested their members. Members included students, teachers, and administrators, including the rector of the University of Vilnius, Józef Twardowski. Nikolaj Novosiltsev came to Vilnius to investigate. Members of the secret organizations were imprisoned, exiled, forced into the military, or mandated to laborious work. Adam Miczkiewicz was one member who was arrested. Joachim Lelewel, a professor of the University of Vilnius, lost his job.

On May 30, 1819, Walerian Łukasiński created Wolnomularstwo Narodowe (“National Freemasonry”). Its aims were to unite the country and promote Polish nationalism. There were probably over eighty members in the organization. In 1821, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich discovered the organization and imprisoned its leaders. Łukasiński received nine years of imprisonment.

After the Decembrist Revolt was suppressed on December 14, 1825, it was found that Poles in the organization Towarzystwo Patriotyczne (“Patriotic Society”) had connections to the conspirators of the uprising. Its leaders were arrested. Czar Nicholas I called a commission with five Russians and five Poles to investigate. In January 1827, the commission issued a report that called for eight members of the Patriotic Society to be tried for treason. The court of Poland’s sejm did not agree. A Polish investigation ensued. It found that members of the Patriotic Society were innocent of treason. They were only found guilty of being members of a secret organization. They were given short terms of imprisonment. After Nicholas I was made czar of Russia on December 1, 1825, he promised on December 25, 1825, to let Poland keep its constitution and institutions that Alexander I allowed. In May 1829, Nicholas I was coronated in Warsaw. There was a conspiracy to capture Nicholas I when he came to Warsaw, but it never realized. The conspiracy was led by Piotr Wysocki, an instructor in Warsaw’s Szkoła Podchorązych (“School of Officer Cadets”).

In the first half of the 19th century, around 10% of Poland under the Russian protectorate lived in cities. Vilnius had the largest population with 35,657 people. Białystock had 9,217 people. Brześć had 7,706. Many Jews lived in cities. In 1829, there were over 10,000 Jews in Vilnius. Peasants made up around 80% of Poland under Russian control. Russian serfdom was adopted that was more demanding than Polish serfdom. Landowners had the right sell serfs and remove them from their property. Peasants suffered more under Russian rule.

Nicholas I changed politics with regard to the Polish land that was received through the partitions that was not part of the kingdom of Poland. He did not want them to be joined to the rest of Poland. He strengthened Russian rule over them. He tried to convert Uniates to the Orthodox Church. A committee was made to subordinate Uniates and to Russify their clergy.

Great Duchy of Poznań

The Congress of Vienna made two of the ten departments of the Duchy of Warsaw become annexed to Prussia as the Great Duchy of Poznań. It encompassed 28,951 km2 of land and had around 776,000 people. It was organized according to the Prussian model. Poles were allowed to become employed in state offices. They were allowed to speak Polish publicly. Joseph Zerboni di Sposetti served as Prussia’s president in the Great Duchy of Poznań.

In 1824, the sejm was opened in the Grand Duchy of Poznań. It was to meet every three years. Discussions were secret. Abstracts of sessions were published. Nobles led by Andrzej Niegolewski opposed Germanization in the sejm.

80% of people in the Grand Duchy of Poznań was engaged in agriculture. In 1823, relations between peasants and their lords were changed and peasants were allowed to buy their freedom from their lords. They could pay them in money, work, or goods. There were around 1,200 manors in the Grand Duchy of Poznań. Around 900 were owned by Poles. The rest were owned by Germans.

Urbanization was slow in the Grand Duchy of Poznań. Poznań was the largest city in it. In 1840, it had around 35,000 people. About half of the population was German. In 1830, the Grand Duchy of Poznań had around 1,100,000 people. Around 680,000 were Catholic, around 300,000 were Protestant, and around 70,000 were Jewish. An archdiocese was opened in Poznań. Its leader had the title of primate of the Grand Duchy of Poznań.

Republic of Kraków

The Republic of Kraków was created by the Congress of Vienna. It included Kraków, Chrzanów, Trzebinia, Nowa Góra, and 244 villages. It had 1,164 km2 of land. In 1815, it had around around 88,000 people. Around 23,400 were in Kraków. Austria, Prussia, and Russia supervised over the Republic of Kraków. It had a constitution. The Komisja Organizacyjna Wolnego Miasta Krakowa (“Organizational Commission of the Free City of Kraków”) was made that was composed of three citizens of the Republic of Kraków and three commissars of Austria, Prussia, and Russia. In 1818, it received a new constitution. It made the Senat Rządzący Wolnego Miasta Krakowa (“Ruling Senate of the Free City of Kraków”) that was composed of thirteen members. A president led it. He was designated a three-year term.

The constitution made Roman Catholicism the religion of the state. It allowed freedom of the press. Jews were not given political rights. Peasants were given freedom. The Komisja Włościańska (“Farmers’ Commission”) was created to replace serfdom with a system that would have farmers pay rent for the land they used. Marcin Badeni led it. The rent was calculated to be too high. Farmers did not favor it. In 1833, the senate reduced rent payments by 33%. The Republic of Kraków’s population grew steadily. In 1828, there were 120,737 people in the Republic of Kraków. There were 32,905 citizens in Kraków. In 1843, there were 145,787 people in the Republic of Kraków and 42,990 people in Kraków.

Jews made up around 30% of Kraków. Hebrew schools were closed and Jews were assimilated in public schools. They received German surnames.

The Republic of Kraków had 244 villages. 137 villages belonged to forty-one individuals. The family of the Potockis owned thirty-three villages and one city.

Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria

The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria was under the rule of the Habsburgs. It encompassed 77,300 km2 of land. It had around 3,500,000 people. In 1822, Poles made up 47.5% of the population. 45.5% was Ukrainian. 6% was Jewish. 1% was German. A governor ruled the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria from Lviv for the cesar. German was the language used in the administration. Poles were only allowed to hold lower level positions.

In 1784, Lviv’s academy was made into an Austrian university. The academy was established in 1661. The university was closed after the third partition in 1795. In 1817, the university in Lviv was reopened. It had three departments. They were theology, philosophy, and law. Latin was used during lectures. In 1824, German replaced Latin as the university’s language. A department dedicated to Polish and Polish literature was added. In 1817, Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński received permission to open Ossolineum, an institute that promoted Polish culture.

Warsaw became an important city for education. In 1816, the Royal University of Warsaw was established. In 1816, the Institute of Agronomics was formed in Marymont. In 1824, the Veterinarian School was established. In 1826, the School of Mining was formed. In 1823, the School of Civil Engineering of Roads and Bridges was established. In 1830, the Politechnical Institute was formed. In 1821, the Conservatorium of Warsaw was made.

Fryderyk Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin lived from 1810 to 1849. He composed songs mainly on the fortepiano. From 1817 to 1821, he wrote three polonaises. From 1823 to 1826, he wrote polonaises and mazurkas. In 1831, he moved to Paris and never returned to Poland. His repertoire includes fifty- seven mazurkas, nineteen nocturnes, and two études. He wrote many more pieces. He is known as a virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who possessed great talent.

The November Uprising of 1830

In July 1830, a revolution occurred in France. In August 1830, a revolution occurred in Belgium. In November 1830, an uprising occurred in Poland. The uprising occurred as the result of the political and economic situation in Poland, as well as the preparation by Nicholas I of Russia to intervene in Western Europe with Polish forces. His goal was to restore order that was mandated according to the Holy Alliance. On November 18, 1830, Warsaw’s newspaper wrote that Nicholas I mobilized his army. He was planning to use it to stop the revolution in Belgium. Nicholas I wanted to use Poland’s army, but his brother, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, did not agree. There were people in Poland’s army who swore a secret pact. They were led by Piotr Wysocki in the Officer Cadet School. The Carbonari joined them and tried to persuade Poles to make an uprising. An uprising would prevent troops from intervening in France and Belgium. On October 18, 1830, the officers in the military who were led by Piotr Wysocki and had a secret pact decided to start an uprising. They planned to imprison or kill Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich. On November 27, 1830, the conspirators found out that Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich wrote a letter to arrest them, since the police found out about their plot. On November 28, 1830, the conspirators decided to start the uprising on November 29, 1830. They planned to storm Belweder Palace, kill Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, attack Russian troops, and incite the populace to revolt. The plan divided Warsaw into three zones. Piotr Wysocki was at the head of the southern zone. His troops were to attack Russian troops. Civilians were to storm Belweder Palace and kill Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich. Józef Zaliwski’s troops in the central zone were to capture the arsenal. Piotr Urbański’s troops in the northern zone were to disarm Lithuanian troops and occupy the bridges on the Wisła River.

The uprising was supposed to start around 5:00 p.m. on November 29, 1830, after a brewery was to be set on fire. The uprising was to commence as soon the brewery was lit, but it did not go according to plan. The uprising began without the burning of the brewery. Wysocki’s men stormed Belweder. They killed a Russian general. They tried to agitate Poles into engaging in the uprising, but they were unsuccessful. Some generals who refused to join the uprising were killed. Józef Zaliwski’s men were able to take over the arsenal. Weapons were given to some civilians who joined the uprising.

In the northern zone, a bridge was seized. Some of the Polish troops fought against the uprising, while others joined it. On December 1, 1830, senators and members of the sejm met and wanted the sejm to meet. On December 1, 1830, the Patriotic Society met. It called for the revolution to continue and for Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich to be arrested. Joachim Lelewel, Maurycy Mochnacki, Ludwik Nabielak, and Ksawery Bronikowski joined the Patriotic Society. A delegation was sent to Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich for negotiations. It was decided that Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich would leave Poland and go to Nicholas I to make Poland free. On December 3, 1830, an interim government was created. Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was at its head. Its members were Joachim Lelewel, Władysław Ostrowski, Michał Kochanowski, Ludwik Pac, and Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz. The interim government called for the sejm and senate to meet on December 13, 1830. It made a decree that made general Józef Chłopicki the head of the army. On December 5, 1830, general Chłopicki told the interim government that it was not going to be successful. He named himself dictator. He was against the revolution. He used his power to reverse the revolution. On December 10, 1830, he sent a report to Nicholas I that said that he was restoring order in Poland. On December 17, 1830, Nicholas told Poles to submit to his rule.

A delegation was sent to Russia to negotiate. It was to ask for the czar to respect Poland’s constitution from 1815, let the sejm meet on May 1, 1831, and remove Russian troops from Poland. Nicholas I did not agree. On December 26, 1830, Nicholas I demanded Poland to obey him. Chłopicki was to punish those who participated in the uprising.

On December 18, 1830, the sejm unanimously agreed to describe the revolution as national. Chłopicki did not agree. He wanted to dismiss himself. On December 20, 1830, the sejm agreed to follow Chłopicki's plan and continue his dictatorship. The sejm issued a manifesto that explained the reasons for the uprising. Chłopicki dismissed himself after he saw that he could not win with a more powerful Russia. General Michał Radziwiłł replaced Chłopicki. On January 24, 1831, the Patriotic Society organized a demonstration by the sejm to commemorate those who were killed in the Decembrist revolt on December 26, 1825, in Russia. The marshal of the sejm, Władysław Ostrowski, suggested to dethrone Nicholas I. His proposition was accepted in the sejm, as the result of the protest. The sejm made the National Government with five members. Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was its president. The rest of the members were Stanisław Barzykowski, Wincenty Niemojowski, Teofil Morawski, and Joachim Lelewel. In the beginning of 1831, six ministers were appointed who were to serve the National Government. On February 5, 1831, Russian troops entered Poland and marched onto Warsaw. Russia allocated around 200,000 soldiers to end the uprising. Field marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch was at the head of the Russian army.

Thousands of Poles joined the uprising. Almost all of the students of Jagiellonian University joined. Almost 300 students from the University of Warsaw joined. There were about 57,000 Poles in the army when it began its military operations. On February 14, 1831, a Russian division under general Friedrich Caspar von Geismar fought Polish forces at Stoczek. General Józef Dwenicki led Polish forces at the battles. Poles won the battle. They killed 400 men and captured 230 men. On February 25, 1831, Poland lost at the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska. Poland lost around 7,000 men. Over 1,000 were captured. Russia may have lost up to 9,400 men. On February 26, 1831, the War Council met. Radziwiłł resigned. The War Council unanimously appointed general Jan Skrzynecki. He showed initiative during the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska.

On the night of March 30, 1831, and March 31, 1831, over 40,000 Polish troops crossed the Vistula River secretly and attacked Russian troops. On April 10, 1831, Polish troops won in the battle of Iganie. 1,500 Russians were killed. 3,000 Russians were captured. On April 17, 1831, Polish troops lost at the battle of Wronów and on April 18, 1831, at the Battle of Kazimierz Dolny. On May 26, 1831, Polish troops lost at the Battle of Ostroka. 7,000 Poles and 6,000 Russians were killed. On June 19, 1831, Russian troops attacked Polish troops at Łysobyki. Polish troops ended up retreating. On August 10, 1831, the sejm dismissed Skrzynecki and made general Henry Dembiński take his place on August 11, 1831. On August 10, 1831, the Patriotic Society issued a brochure with fifty-eight questions for the government. It attacked how the government made war and Czartoryski’s international politics. From August 11, 1831, to August 15, 1831, the Patriotic Society debated on future politics. Some wanted to make a dictatorship led by Jan Krukowiecki. Others wanted a revolution that would make a new government.

On August 15, 1831, a mob stormed Warsaw’s castle and hanged prisoners. Another group of people went to Old Town in Warsaw and hanged prisoners on the streets. Thirty-four people died. General Jan Krukowiecki was made the governor of Warsaw by Wincenty Niemojowski. Krukowiecki used the army to break up the mobs by arresting some of their members. The National Government dismissed itself. On August 17, 1831, the sejm made Krukowiecki the president of the council of ministers with dictatorial powers. On August 19, 1831, Krukowiecki called a war council to plan military strategy. In the beginning of September 1831, Russian troops stormed Warsaw and gained territory.

A crisis occurred in Poland’s leadership. Krukowiecki thought the war was lost and peace negotiations should begin. On September 7, 1831, fighting stopped. Krukowiecki met Russian generals in a tavern. Negotiations established that Nicholas I would be king and Poland was to be his subject. Poland would remain in existence and amnesty would be given to those who engaged in the uprising. The sejm did not confirm the agreement. The war continued. Krukowiecki signed an unconditional surrender. The sejm did not approve of the unconditional surrender. It decided to dismiss Krukowiecki and put Bonawentury Niemojowski in his place. On September 8, 1831, Warsaw signed an agreement for capitulation. On September 23, 1831, the war council agreed to capitulate. On September 25, 1831, Niemojowski decided to leave the country. On September 26, 1831, Niemojowski and members of the National Government emigrated.

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski sent diplomats to powerful European countries to get their support for the November Uprising. They were told to say that the uprising was the result of the violation of the constitution and the Treaty of Vienna. Aleksander Wielopolski was sent to London. His mission was not well received, since Great Britain did not want to risk a war with Russia. Konstanty Wolicki was sent to Paris on a mission backed by the Polish government. General Karol Kniaziewicz and Ludwik Plater went on an unofficial mission. They showed documents that showed Russian military plans to stop the revolutions in France and Belgium. On July 1831, ambassador Talleyrand proposed to Great Britain a plan to mediate for Poland in relation to Russia. The proposal was unable to get support from Great Britain or France. Konstanty Czartoryski met with Klemens von Metternich in Austria, but Metternich told him that the uprising should capitulate. Russia severely punished for the November Uprising. The Highest Criminal Court was created to prosecute those who participated in the uprising. An amnesty was dispensed, but it did not apply to the members of the National Government, sejm, those who emigrated, and those who participated in the uprising. Property was seized of over 3,000 Poles. Ten leaders of the uprising were condemned to be beheaded with an axe. Over 200 were condemned to hangings. Nicholas I changed these sentences to hard labor. Polish soldiers were to work in Russia’s army for fifteen years. Soldiers who participated in the November Uprising were to serve in the Russian military for twenty-five years. If they refused to pledge allegiance to the czar, they were caned to death. The University of Warsaw, the University of Vilnius, the Politechnical Institute in Warsaw, and the Krzemieniec Lyceym were all closed. Valuable libraries were sent to St. Petersburg.

Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich was made the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland. He had power over the Interim Government, army, gendarmerie, and secret police. On February 22, 1832, Nicholas I proclaimed the Organic Statute that incorporated the Kingdom of Poland into Russia. Poland lost the right for the czar to be coronated in Warsaw. The Administratory Council was to govern it. All members of the Administratory Council were to be appointed by the czar. The Polish army was ended. Polish soldiers were merged into Russia’s army.

Nicholas I treated Poles on the lands that Russia received from the partitions worse. He did not give them amnesty. Many who participated in the November Uprising were sent to Siberia. Their property was confiscated. 50,000 members of the nobility had their property seized and were resettled in Siberia or the Caucasus. Uniates were forcefully converted to Orthodox Christianity.

The November Uprising had negative effects for Poles. Austria, Prussia, and Russia took away privileges and freedoms of Poles. In 1833, the rulers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia met at Münchengrätz. They were against the revolutions in Europe and particularly in Poland. They decided that the Republic of Kraków would be liquidated to prevent another uprising.

The November Rising had many effects on Europe and Russia. It prevented Russian intervention in Belgium, thereby allowing Belgium to remain independent. It renewed the Holy Alliance. It strengthened the position of Nicholas I in Russia. The failure of the November Uprising caused many Poles to emigrate. In the beginning of October 1831, over 20,000 Poles emigrated to Prussia. Many went to Saxony, Bavaria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Algeria, and other countries. Organizations were created in German countries to help those who emigrated. Around 11,000 emigrated after the November Uprising. By 1839, there were around 5,700 Poles in France who emigrated.

France became an epicenter for Polish political activity by Polish emigrants. They created many organizations. They were unable to create one organization for all Poles, since there were too many divisions among themselves. On November 6, 1831, the Interim Committee of Polish Emigration was established in Paris. Bonawentura Niemojowski became its president. The organization dissolved after factionalism took it over. On December 15, 1831, the National Polish Committee was formed. Joachim Lelewel was its leader. In February 1832, the Society of Friends of Progress was established. It wanted to end the National Polish Committee and create a new organization that was democratic. On March 17, 1832, the Society of Democratic Poland was created. On August 29, 1832, the National Committee of Poland and the Seized Lands was created. It became the National Committee of Polish Emigration. General Józef Dwernicki led it. It fought for Polish independence. The sejm was briefly active after the November Uprising. In February 1831, the sejm decided to meet outside Poland if it had at least thirty-three deputies and senators. The sejm tried to meet in Paris from January 1832. On January 3, 1833, thirty-four members of the sejm met. Władysław Ostrowski led it. Some members of the sejm did not want to continue the session and left. The sejm failed.

At the end of December 1832, an organization called Vengeance of the People was organized. It was to secretly be the successor to the National Polish Committee that was broken up, since the Russian ambassador asked for France to dissolve it. On January 3, 1833, a plan was made for Józef Zaliwski to return to Poland to start an uprising. In March 1833, Zaliwski arrived in Galicia. The plan was for Zaliwski to declare freedom to peasants to get them to start an uprising. On March 19, 1833, Zaliwski and a group of partisans entered the Kingdom of Poland. They wanted to go to Lublin, but their trip was not a success. They did not get support from others. Zaliwski called off the uprising. The leaders of the uprising were condemned to death. The others were sentenced to hard labor. Russia and Austria began to be more repressive to prevent further rebellions.

On April 3, 1833, August Szulc and Feliks Nowosielski led a rebellion to take over Frankfurt. The military defeated the rebellion and pushed its participants out of town. When Poles heard of the uprising in France, they wanted to join it. An organization called Holy Detachment in France planned to go to Baden through Switzerland. It had over 500 Poles in it. It created a legion that was led by Ludwik Oborski. When it crossed the border of Switzerland and found that the revolution did not take place, it could not return to France, since French troops secured the border. Switzerland helped them to organize an army. In the autumn of 1833, Swiss diplomacy was able to get France to allow 200 Poles to return to France. About 200 stayed in Switzerland.

Giuseppe Mazzini, the leader of Carbonari, got in contact with Polish emigrants in Switzerland to take over Sabaudia. Mazzini hoped that if they would enter Saubadia, a revolution would occur in Italy that would unify the country. If it happened, a Polish legion would be created. Girolamo Ramorino led the group into Saubadia, but it returned to Switzerland after a few days. They were unsuccessful. Prussia, Russia, Austria, Saubadia, and Sicily demanded that the Polish emigrants be removed from Switzerland. At the end of March 1834, France agreed to allow Poles to go through France to Great Britain. At the end of April 1834, the Holy Detachment was dissolved in Switzerland. Most Poles left Switzerland. Efforts were made to make Polish legions. King Leopold I of Belgium was for allowing Poles to join his army, but France opposed it. Only a few Polish officers were allowed to join it. France allowed Polish battalions to be created within its Foreign Legion in Northern Africa. In January 1832, France signed an agreement that allowed it, but not too many Poles joined it. In Portugal, a Polish legion was created for a short time, but it was dissolved. Adam Jerzy Czartoryski’s circle that tried to work for Polish independence was called Hotel Lambert. The name is from his residence on the Island of Saint-Louis.

In the 1840s, organizations made of Polish emigrants began to prepare for another uprising. In 1846, general Józef Begm wrote a brochure called O powstaniu narodowym (“On the National Uprising”). He advocated partisans working with regular armies to prepare for the uprising. Polish emigrants were sent to French military schools to teach other Poles how to fight. Many books were written on the November Uprising that focused on the mistakes and lessons committed. In December 1839, a department of education was created in the Kingdom of Poland that was subject to the ministry of education in St. Petersburg. Sergiej Szypow led it. He tried to make Russian the official language in Polish schools, but it did not work. In 1845, high fees were made for students who went to school who were not of the nobility. In 1847, peasants and townspeople were not allowed to send their children to classical schools.

Poles tried to band together in Siberia. A priest named Jan Sierociński conspired in Siberia with others for freedom. In 1837, the conspiracy was revealed. Sierociński was sentenced to 6,000 beatings with a stick. He died during the flogging. After the November Uprising, Prussia took away the property of around 1,400 Poles in the Great Duchy of Poznań and imprisoned them. Freedoms and privileges were taken away. In 1832, German was made the official language in administration and courts. In 1833, monasteries were closed, and their property was seized. The wealth created from them went to education. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV became king in Prussia in 1840, he was liberal to Poles. He let Poles use their language in school and administration. He also stopped the colonization of Polish lands. Censorship was reduced. It led to an increase in Polish literature and newspapers. In 1841, Towarzystwo Naukowej Pomocy dla Młodzieży Wielkiego Księstwa Poznańskiego (“Society of Academic Help for Youth of the Great Duchy of Poznań”) was created. It gave scholarships to Polish students.

In March 1833, a commission arrived in the Republic of Kraków to reorganize the senate and other governmental bodies. The number of senators was reduced to eight. Jagiellonian University’s autonomy was limited and it was reformed according to Austria’s model. When the Holy Alliance met at Münchengrätz in 1833, it was decided that if Kraków’s senate did not successfully fight against revolutionary movements, a military occupation would occur. In 1835, the Holy Alliance decided at Cieplice that the Republic of Kraków should be liquidated. In January 1836, a Prussian spy named Jan Behrens-Pawłowski was killed. He claimed to be working for the Society of Democratic Poland. The senate then forced 400 foreigners to leave Kraków. On February 17, 1836, Austrian troops entered Kraków. Russian and Prussian troops followed them shortly afterwards. Kraków was occupied by them until February 1841. Freedoms and privileges in the Republic of Kraków were limited after the occupation. The police department lost its autonomy. A commission was sent to Kraków to investigate. The Napoleonic Code was replaced with Austria’s codex. From 1839 to 1841, many revolutionary groups were broken up. Their members were arrested.

The Uprising of February 1846

From 1843 to 1846, there were bad harvests in Galicia. In 1845, Galicia was flooded twice. In 1845, meetings took place in Kraków and Poznań to start an uprising. It was decided that an uprising should occur in February 1846. Ludwik Mierosławski in Paris was to plan it. He planned it for February 21, 1846. On December 31, 1845, he arrived in Poznań and then went to Kraków. On January 18, 1846, the National Government was created in Kraków. Polish emigrants came from France to start the uprising. In February 1846, Prussia arrested over seventy conspirators. Many of them were very important to the coming uprising. Even though the uprising was to take place on February 21, 1846, Leon Czechowski in Tarnów wanted to do it on February 18, 1846, since he feared arrests would prevent the uprising. There was division between the leaders of the uprising and peasants. According to Czechowski’s plan, his forces would attack Tarnów, but the plan failed. Peasants burned manors and killed their owners. 430 manors were destroyed. They killed over 1,000 people. 3,000 were arrested.

In Chochołów, a priest named Józef Leopold Kmietowicz and an organist named Jan Kanty Andrusikiewicz led the uprising. The border police were able to suppress it. Ludwik Mierosawski and the leaders of the uprising in the Great Duchy of Poznań were arrested. On February 18, 1846, Austrian troops entered Kraków. The leader of the uprising in the Kingdom of Poland, Bronisław Dąbrowski, escaped to Prussia after he found out that Mierosawski was arrested. After Austrian troops left Kraków on February 22, 1846, crowds of people in Kraków formed battalions. The Committee of Security was created with Józef Wodzicki at its head. Jan Tyssowski proclaimed a National Government in Krzysztofory. A manifesto was issued that promised to end serfdom and give equality to all. On the night of February 23, 1846, to February 24, 1846, Tyssowski proclaimed himself dictator. On the night of February 24, 1846, to February 25, 1846, a professor at Jagiellonian University, Michał Wiszniewski, tried to become leader of the uprising, but he failed. He was tried by the revolutionary tribunal and given the death penalty. On March 1, 1846, Austria demanded that Kraków surrender in forty-eight hours. On March 2, 1846, Tyssowski resigned and left Kraków with an army of 1,500. On March 4, 1846, the troops gave up their weapons and were interned by Prussian troops. After Austrian, Prussian, and Russian troops entered Kraków, they arrested 1,252 people. On November 16, 1846, Austria annexed the Republic of Kraków.

The uprising led to more repression of Poles by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. In Prussia, around 600 were arrested. Polish clubs and newspapers were closed. Polish teachers lost their jobs. German colonization of Polish lands was restarted. In Berlin, 254 were tried for conspiracy and treason. Eight leaders were given the death penalty. Ninety-seven were imprisoned. In Galicia, over 3,000 were arrested. Many were imprisoned and many were given the death penalty.

The Uprising of 1848

On February 22, 1848, a banquet was to occur in Paris on the anniversary of the uprising in Kraków. The French government would not allow it. The press called for demonstrations. Demonstrations became violent. Barricades were put up. Rioting occurred. Louis Philippe I was forced to resign. On February 26, 1848, 400 to 600 Polish emigrants with general Józef Dwernicki protested in front of the city hall in Paris. The protests did not do much. The French government would not allow Poles to form in legions. It could not help in making Poland independent.

Polish emigrants returned to Poland in large numbers once they heard of the revolutions of 1848. On May 15, 1848, the Central Revolutionary Committee, an organization that united several Polish clubs, in Paris organized a protest in favor of Poland. The crowd entered the parliament and proclaimed a new government. Its members were arrested only after a few hours. The army was brought in to restore order. The event led to worse relations for Poles in France. Polish emigrants in the protest were arrested. Several Polish periodicals were shut down. The French government did make a diplomatic gesture of supporting a free and independent Poland. No actions were made to realize this goal.

In March 1848, Poles planned to go to the king of Prussia to ask for independence and for cooperation between Poles and Germans. On March 20, 1848, Poles protested in Poznań. The authorities allowed Poles to make a delegation that would express its political desires. Poles formed a delegation and the National Committee. The National Committee called for peace and Polonization. General Ferdinand August Colomb used the army to break up the National Committee, but he was unsuccessful. Poles protested in Poznań and supported the National Committee.

On March 24, 1848, an order was issued to reorganize the Great Duchy of Poznań. Schools and the administration were to be Polonized. A national guard was to be created. Prussian troops were to be withdrawn. Poles took off Prussian eagles on public buildings. Peasants formed into armed groups. Prussians were removed from power. The National Committee called for Prussians to be in an alliance with Poles against Russia. The National Committee changed its name to National Central Committee. Germans and Jews in the German Committee worked with the National Central Committee, but cooperation did not last long.

On March 22, 1848, the delegation of the National Central Committee went to Berlin and tried to meet with the king. The delegation met with general Wilhelm von Willisen and Wilhelm Radziwiłł. Radziwiłł told the delegation to not ask for independence and limit goals to the Great Duchy of Poznań. On March 23, 1848, king Friedrich Wilhelm IV agreed to reorganize the Great Duchy of Poznań. A Polish-German committee was to meet. In the beginning of April 1848, a sejm met in Poznań that was to decide if it was to join the German Confederation. The majority was against it. The German minority met and wanted to break away from the Great Duchy of Poznań. Prussia agreed. It was a loss for the National Central Committee. On March 25, 1848, it was announced that a national guard was to be formed. On March 18, 1848, Ludwik Mierosławski of the Polish Revolutionary Committee came to Poznań and joined the National Central Committee. He became its leader.

On March 28, 1848, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski came to Berlin to help make an alliance between Prussians and Poles against Russia. He was unsuccessful. On April 1, 1848, the National Central Committee declared that peasants who joined the Polish army would get land and their feudal obligations would be ended. This declaration led to war. On April 3, 1848, general Colomb sent the army to Poznań to restore order. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV announced that general Wilhelm von Willisen would be sent to Poznań to negotiate with the National Central Committee. Negotiations were difficult. They were moved to Jarosławiec. On April 11, 1848, a compromise was reached in negotiations. The terms of the agreement were to reduce Poles in the army to 3,000 and to allow Poles to have nine counties. They had twenty-six before. The rest of the counties and Poznań were incorporated into Prussia. A vote was made to dissolve the National Central Committee. It led to consternation to Poles in the army.

On April 29, 1848, Prussian troops under Heinrich von Brandt attacked Polish troops in Książ. They outnumbered Polish troops by four times. Książ was conquered. On April 30, 1848, Prussian troops attacked Miosaw. Polish troops withstood the attack. On May 2, 1848, Polish troops were successful around Sokołowo against Prussian troops. Mierosławski resigned and was replaced with Augustyn Brzeżański. On May 9, 1848, a treaty of capitulation was signed at Bardo. Polish officers were allowed to go home. Poles who emigrated for the uprising were allowed to return home. On May 11, 1848, Mierosławski was arrested. He was allowed to return to France in July 1848.

Some partisans continued to fight. After they were defeated, repression began. Prussian troops maltreated Poles for several months. In the autumn of 1848, the terror ended. Amnesty was given. Teachers, officers, and priests were not included in it. The Great Duchy of Poznań was reorganized. The new border was not favorable for Poles. Prussia’s administration was spread to all of the province of Poznań.

Crowds gathered in Kraków after it was known that there was a revolution in Vienna. On March 17, 1848, students gathered in front of Jagiellonian University. Crowds gathered at the prison of St. Michał. There were around 150 prisoners there who participated in the uprising in Kraków and who plotted for independence. The crowds demanded that the prisoners be freed. A delegation with Adam Potocki and Ludwik Jabłonowski met with Moritz Deym. Some prisoners were freed after negotiations. Students then demanded that a national guard be created. It was opposed.

Poles in Lviv planned to ask for reforms and privileges when they heard of the revolution in Vienna. On March 19, 1848, a delegation was sent to governor Franz von Stadion with a document signed by thousands that wanted prisoners to be freed. 150 prisoners were freed. On March 21, 1848, the National Guard was created, but it did not last long. On March 26, 1848, a delegation was sent to Vienna. On April 6, 1848, some of the delegation met with the cesar. On May 22, 1848, the president of the Austrian Empire, Franz Freiherr von Pillersdorf, sent a letter to the delegation that said that Austria’s constitution meets the majority of its desires.

After pressure in Kraków, permission was given to create the National Guard. It was to be made of six divisions. Four were to be of citizens. A fifth was to be made of Jews from Kazimierz. A sixth was to be made of students from Jagiellonian University and the Technical Institute. The Committee of Citizens declared itself the National Committee. On April 15, 1848, the National Central Council was created in Lviv. Its members included Aleksander Fredro, Jan Dobrzański, and Franciszek Smolka.

On the night of April 5, 1848, to April 6, 1848, Wiktor Heltman called for peasants to be freed from feudal service on Easter. On April 22, 1848, Austria declared that feudalism would be ended on May 15, 1848. In the latter half of April 1848, Austria would not give arms to the National Guard. The National Committee decided to arm them with scythes. On April 22, 1848, the production of scythes and pikes was banned, since they could be used by the National Guard. Emigrants who tried to return home were not allowed. The National Committee asked to have negotiations to resolve the situation. Protests resulted after failed negotiations. Austria’s army was brought in. On April 26, 1848, Austrian troops shot at crowds when they threw rocks at them. Barricades formed. Austrian troops bombarded Kraków. Fires erupted in town. They led the National Committee to surrender. The terms of the surrender were that emigrants had to leave Kraków, the National Guard had to be reorganized, the National Committee had to be dissolved, and Poles had to give up their arms.

Austria adopted a constitution at the end of April 1848, but its ideals were not realized. They were repeatedly broken. The constitution gave freedom of speech and equality.

In October 1848, an uprising occurred in Vienna. General Wilhelm von Hammerstein in Lviv was to disarm the National Guard. On November 1, 1848, the two sides fought. The Austrian army surrounded the center of town. Barricades were formed by citizens of Lviv. On November 2, 1848, Austria’s army bombarded Lviv. Several fires were caused by the bombardment. Around 100 died. The city was besieged. The fight spread to the rest of Galicia. The National Guard and Polish newspapers were liquidated.

From June 2, 1848, to June 12, 1848, Slavs gathered in the Slavic Congress in Prague for democratic reform. 340 attended the congress. They were mainly Slavs from lands ruled by Austria. About fifty were Poles. An uprising occurred in Prague during the Slavic Congress. The army shot at its participants. The uprising was ended after five days of fighting. The Slavic Congress ended.

Poles tried to strengthen their position in Italy. In November 1847, Władysław Zamoyski went to Rome to try to get Pope Pius IX on Poland’s side. Hotel Lambert tried to get Pope Pius IX to help create a Polish legion. In 1848, Adam Mickiewicz came to Rome to help make a Polish legion to fight Austria. He met Pope Pius IX twice. Pope Pius IX was against a Polish legion. On March 29, 1848, Mickiewicz formed a Polish legion in Rome called the Polish Battalion.

Poles participated in the uprising in Hungary in 1848. They joined Hungary’s army and tried to create a Polish battalion. At least 4,000 Poles joined the cause during the first phase of the uprising. Around 25% of students from Jagiellonian University participated. In the spring of 1849, Polish divisions were allowed to be organized. In May 1849, general Józef Wysocki became their leader.

After the Revolutions of 1848, Prussia terminated most Polish newspapers. German was brought into all Polish schools. The Great Duchy of Poznań was renamed Provinz Posen. Prussia’s black eagle replaced the Polish eagle in the coat of arms of Provinz Posen.

Austria Germanized Poles more after the Revolutions of 1848. In 1853, almost all lectures at Jagiellonian University were to be in German henceforth. Austrian professors replaced Polish professors. On February 26, 1861, the February Patent was issued that changed the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. A viceroy was to represent the power of the cesar. He was to be Polish and live in Lviv. He was to have an administration that was to govern all of Galicia. Galicia’s National Sejm was to deal with education, art, economics, and other matters.

At the end of September 1861, king Victor Emmanuel II and Prime Minister Count Camillo Benso of Cavour allowed a Polish military school to be created in Italy. They gave them 100,000 franks to make it. The school opened in Genoa. Ludwik Mierosławski directed it. In June 1862, the school was closed, since Russia would not recognize a united Italy with it. Around 200 Poles were taught in the school. Many of them participated in the January Uprising of 1863.

In 1857, Poles at the university in Kiev create an organization called Trojnicki Union. It wanted to start an uprising and make reforms that would enfranchise peasants and improve their education. This organization tried to make contacts with young Poles in Russia, Austria, and Prussia. In Russia, Polish officers in military schools conspired. In August 1857, Zygmunt Sierakowski established the Officers’ Circle. Its members were students, officers, and civilians. Russians and Ukrainians were members in addition to Poles. About 400 in the group planned the January Uprising of 1863.

In Warsaw, an organization called the Society of Brotherly Help was created by students of the Academy of Medicine that was opened in 1857. About half of the students in the school were members. There were over 200 students in the school. Jan Kurzyna was the leader of the group. The group planned for an uprising and made contact with Ludwik Mierosławski. The Academy of Medicine tried to gets its students from being political in 1859. It required an additional exam for students who were in their second year. 200 students asked to be withdrawn from the Academy of Medicine as a result.

In 1860, on the the thirty-year anniversary of the November Uprising of 1830, a crowd gathered and sang a song written by Alojzy Feliński for czar Alexander I. Its refrain was, “Please, return our free homeland.” On February 25, 1861, a march occurred in Warsaw on the thirty-year anniversary of the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska. On February 27, 1861, the army shot at the demonstration. Five people were killed. On March 2, 1861, their funeral occurred with large crowds. Mikhail Dmitrievich Gorchakov, czar Alexander II’s viceroy in the Kingdom of Poland, met with Poles in Warsaw to hear their grievances. He communicated to them Alexander’s response that said that there would be reforms in education and administration. The Government Commission of Religious Beliefs and Public Enlightenment was reanimated. A school of law was also promised. The Agricultural Society and the Municipal Delegation had to be ended for these reforms to take place. After they were dissolved, crowds demonstrated on April 7, 1861. On April 8, 1861, more demonstrated occurred. Shots were fired to disperse the crowd. 100 to 200 were killed. Many were injured. Peasants rebelled and did not fulfill their feudal obligations. On May 16, 1861, Alexander II’s decree that allowed peasants to pay a fee instead of committing feudal obligations was issued.

After Gorchakov died in May 1861, Nikolai Sukhozanet replaced him as viceroy in the Kingdom of Poland. He was much stricter. He arrested Poles if they wore their national garb and sang national songs. On October 10, 1861, a demonstration occurred to commemorate the Polish-Lithuanian Union on its 448th anniversary. On that same day, thousands participated in the funeral of Archbishop Antoni Melchior Fijałkowski. On October 14, 1861, the army took over Warsaw and posted signs that martial law was imposed. Poles were barred from singing patriotic songs, meeting together, and wearing national symbols. Another demonstration was planned on October 15, 1861, on the anniversary of the death of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Masses took place on the anniversary in Warsaw. The army guarded the churches and prevented Poles from entering them. The doors of the churches were closed. The army forced itself into the church. 1,678 men were arrested. Women were not.

On October 17, 1861, a secret organization formed that wanted to unite all organizations in Warsaw and beyond. It wanted to prepare for war. Apollo Korzeniowski led it. The organization called itself the Municipal Committee. On October 20, 1861, Korzeniowski was arrested. Ignacy Chmieleński replaced him. From November 1861, the organization began to produce a secret periodical called, “Motive.”

The tumults led Alexander II to reform. He appointed Aleksander Wielopolski to the head of the government in the Kingdom of Poland. Wielopolski agreed to be appointed, only if three decrees were passed. They were to reform education, remove all discriminatory restrictions against Jews, and replace feudalism with payments from peasants to lords. After Wielopolski took his office at the end of June 1862, he enacted the three decrees.

Several assassinations were attempted in Warsaw. On June 27, 1862, there was a failed assassination attempt on Alexander von Lüders, who was Alexander II’s viceroy in the Kingdom of Poland. On July 3, 1852, there was a failed assassination attempt on Alexander II’s brother, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich. There were to attempts on the life of Aleksander Wielopolski.

The January Uprising of 1863

In June 1862 and July 1862, the National Central Committee was formed. It had five members. They were Jarosław Dąbrowski, Witold Marczewski, Władysław Daniłowski, Agaton Giller, and Bronisław Szwarce. On July 24, 1862, it declared its program. It was to prepare a general uprising, restore Poland’s borders from 1772, and reform feudalism. The committee planned an uprising for the summer of 1862, but it was not realized. There was dissension among its members, and Dąbrowski was arrested on August 14, 1862.

On October 6, 1862, the Common Newspaper wrote that a conscription would take place. It would apply to males from the ages of fifteen to twenty-five. It appeared to be a plot to prevent an uprising. A leaflet was handed out in Warsaw that said that an uprising should start when the conscription began. The National Central Committee did not write the leaflet, but it took responsibility for it. At the end of December 1862, a secret printing press was found by the police that was used to prepare the uprising. In Paris, four members of the National Central Committee were arrested for trying to buy arms. On January 3, 1863, a decision was made by the National Central Committee to start an uprising. It was to occur on the night of January 22, 1863, and January 23, 1863.

The conscription was to take place on the night of January 14, 1863, to January 15, 1863, in Warsaw. 12,000 were to be recruited. 2,500 were to be recruited from Warsaw. On January 15, 1863, the National Central Committee met and decided to keep the date for the uprising as the night of January 22, 1863, and January 23, 1863. On January 19, 1863, Władysław Janowski came to a meeting of the National Central Committee and proposed to make general Ludwik Mierosławski the dictator of the planned uprising. The committee changed its name to the Interim National Government and asked Mierosławski to be its leader.

1000s of pieces of arms were collected for the uprising. The Russian army had over 100,000 men. In Warsaw, it had around 22,000 men. There were from 20,000 to 25,000 who were ready for the uprising. On the night of January 22, 1863, to January 23, 1863, 6,000 to 7,000 attacked seventeen Russian garrisons. Russia implemented martial law. On January 24, 1863, to January 25, 1863, seven more Russian garrisons were attacked.

When the uprising began, the Interim National Government issued a manifesto written by Maria Ilnicka that called Poles to fight for freedom. In the beginning of February 1863, Polish nobles with large estates met. They did not condemn the uprising, but they said it would not be successful. They told nobles to not support the uprising.

Ludwik Mierosławski negotiated with members of the Interim National Government on becoming its leader. On January 30, 1863, Mierosławski agreed to come to the Kingdom of Poland and become the leader of the Interim National Government. Some people did not accept him. It led him to return to Paris after several weeks. On January 3, 1863, Russian troops forced an army of 3,000 Poles to retreat at the Battle of Węgrów. On February 7, 1863, Poles lost at the Battle of Siemiatycze. On February 17, 1863, Poles lost at the Battle of Miechów.

On February 8, 1863, the Alvensleben Convention was made between Prussia and Russia to work together politically and militarily to stop the January Uprising. Prussian troops were placed on Prussia’s border to prevent the transportation of arms for the January Uprising. Napoleon III was against the Alvensleben Convention. He wrote a letter to the czar to suggest that the Kingdom of Poland should return with its constitution from 1815. Napoleon III wrote a letter to the king of Austria to restore Poland. The czar of Russia said that if France wanted good relations with Russia, it should not try to restore Poland.

On February 23, 1863, members of the Temporary National Government returned to Warsaw who left Warsaw before the outbreak of the uprising. On April 12, 1863, Russia offered amnesty for all in the uprising who would surrender their weapons within a month. On March 7, 1863, it was decided that a new dictator would be placed in power instead of a new government.

Marian Langiewicz was to be the new dictator. His first act was to create the secret National Civilian Government. On March 20, 1863, Langiewicz crossed the border and was arrested by Austria. Stefan Bobrowski declared that the Interim National Government would rule in Langiewicz’s place. Moderates were in power of the Intermin National Government. They included Karol Ruprecht, Agaton Hiller, Oskat Awejde, Edward Siwiński, and Józef Kajetan Janowski. On May 10, 1863, the Interim National Government declared itself the National Government. On June 17, 1863, and June 18, 1863, a document with six points was sent to the czar. It covered amnesty, as well as the composition of the government, education, law, religious freedom, and other matters. The document called for the countries that signed the Treaty of Vienna to meet. On October 17, 1863, Romauld Traugutt was made dictator of the National Government. Józef Kajetan Janowski and Marian Dubiecki aided Traugutt. Russia sent more forces to stop the uprising and worsened its terror against Poles. Nikolaj Milyutin was sent with specialists to Poland to try to offer agricultural reforms to peasants. On December 22, 1863, a decree was made by the National Government to implement agricultural reforms for peasants.

On March 2, 1864, the czar freed peasants from feudal duties. On March 8, 1864, Józef Ordga on behalf of the National Government signed an agreement with general György Klapka against Austria. A similar agreement was signed with Giuseppe Garibaldi.

During the night of April 10, 1864, to April 11, 1864, Traugutt was arrested. Others were arrested. On August 5, 1864, Traugutt was hanged in Warsaw along with four members of the government. The uprising ended between the end of February 1864 and the middle of April 1864.

Over 1,000 were executed publicly after the uprising. Over 1,000 were killed during interrogations in prisons. At least 20,000 were killed in battle during the uprising. 35,000 to 40,000 Poles were resettled in Russia. About half of them never returned home. Over 10,000 emigrated afterwards. Around 100 cities and villages were destroyed in the uprising.

Russia gradually liquidated Polish authority. Russians replaced Poles in government positions. Education was Russified. The police’s authority was strengthened. Censorship was imposed. In March 1864, Russia reformed feudalism. Its scope was similar to the Polish decree of January 1863. It affected all categories of serfs except those who worked at taverns, mills, and brick factories. The nobility’s right to produce beer and vodka were taken away. Serfs were given land that was abandoned, owned by the treasury, and owned by the church.

In 1866, Russia removed Polish administrative districts. New districts were made with new Russian laws. Poles were replaced with Russian officials in administrative offices. Schools were required to use Russian as the official language. Only religion was taught in Polish. In 1869, Warsaw’s university named Szkoła Główna(“Main School”) was closed. A Russian university replaced it. In 1885, Russian was made the official language of all classes in the university, except religion and Polish. The Kingdom of Poland’s name was changed to Kraj Przywiślański (“Country By the Vistula River”).

On November 27, 1864, 129 monasteries in Poland and Lithuania were surrounded by Russian forces. Monks were deported. Property was seized. Contact with Rome was prohibited. In 1865, Warsaw’s seminary for priests was closed. If people took Catholic marriage rites and baptized their children according to Catholicism, they were caned or sent to Siberia.

Otto von Bismarck implemented the Kulturkampf (“Cultural War”) to subordinate the Catholic Church. Priests’ oversight over education was ended. Secular inspectors replaced them. Civil unions were replaced with marriages. Secular authorities were given the right to oversee seminaries that trained priests. The Catholic Church’s jurisdiction was curtailed. A law was made that only German citizens who had a degree from a German university were allowed to hold positions in the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX charged Bismarck with persecuting the Catholic Church. Bismarck retaliated by removing Jesuits and other organizations that collaborated with them. He also removed the German representative to the Vatican. Bismarck changed the politics of the Kulturkampf in the latter part of the 1880s. He found that they were not helping.

Schools were Germanized in the 1870s. German was used in most schools. Some schools allowed classes on Polish. In 1876, Prussia’s parliament removed Polish from the judiciary, administration, and self-government. Many Polish villages and towns were given German names. In 1886, the Colonial Commission was created with 100,000,000 Marks to buy land from Poles. Polish newspapers, social groups, and libraries were confiscated. Polish last names were replaced with German names when civil marriages were consummated. Emigration occurred for seasonal jobs mainly to German lands and France. Others emigrated permanently to North America and Brazil.

In autonomic Galicia, schools were Polonized. In 1887, Polish was allowed in schools. From 1900 to 1901, there were 2,121 Polish schools and 2,157 Ukrainian schools. In March 1885 and June 1885, Poles were ordered to leave eastern Prussia if they did not have German citizenship. About 26,000 Poles were forced out. From 1886, schools were Germanized more. Polish teachers were replaced with German teachers. Polish was removed from schools.

On August 10, 1904, a German law required Poles to ask for permission to build new homes. Poles were only allowed to build new homes if they did not interfere with the Colonial Commission’s goals. Michał Drzymała was unable to get permission to build a home. He lived on a circus cart and then built a home on wheels. He raised the money for the home from Poles in Germany, Austria, and Russia. German authorities evicted Drzymała. Many Poles imitated him.

In the summer of 1904, Józef Piłsudski as the leader of the Polish Socialist Party and Roman Dmowski as the leader of the Endeks traveled to Japan. Piłsudski tried to make an alliance with Poland, while Dmowski tried to prevent anything that would hurt Polish interests. In November 1905, Roman Dmowski led a delegation of the Endeks in St. Petersburg that asked for autonomy for Poland. Dmowski met with prime minister Siergei Witte to talk about restoring Polish autonomy. On September 26, 1908, Piłsudski led a robbery of a post office train at Bezdane by Vilnius. Piłsudski led seventeen men in the heist. 200,000 rubles were stolen. Piłsudski said the money was necessary.


Romanticism developed in the 19th century. In 1832, Adam Miczkiewicz wrote Ksigi narodu polskiego i pielgrzymstwa polskiego (“Books of the Polish Nation and Polish Pilgrimages”). It was written to help Polish emigrants to stay strong and believe in their nation. From 1832 to 1834, he wrote Pan Tadeusz (“Mr. Tadeusz”). In 1838, he became a professor of Latin literature at the Lausanne Academy in Switzerland.

Henryk Sienkiewicz wrote Quo Vadis (1913) and a trilogy: With Fire and Sword (1884), The Deluge (1886), and Fire in the Steppe (1888). Zygmunt Krasiski wrote Nie-Boskiej komedii (“The Undivine Comedy”) (1835) and Irydion (1836). Juliusz Słowacki, Cyprian Kamil Norwid, and others participated in the romantic movement.

World War I

World War I changed the attitudes of Austria, Prussia, and Russia to Poland. Austria complemented the valor of Poles in the war and encouraged them to continue for Austria. The head of the Russian army, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, proclaimed that Poland would be reborn under Russian power.

Piłsudski led several units of men in Krakow when the war broke out. On August 3, 1914, his men congregated at Oleandry in Kraków. He gave them a speech to liberate Poland. On August 9, 1914, the men were led by Tadeusz Kasprzycki out of Kraków to Kielce. On August 9, 1914, Piłsudski created the National Government in Warsaw. All Poles were to follow it. In the beginning of August 1914, Juliusz Leo met at a conference with the foreign minister of Austria- Hungary, Leopold Berchtold, and the chief of the general staff, Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf. They agreed to create Polish Legions. On August 16, 1914, the Chief National Committee was created in Kraków to lead Poles. Juliusz Leo was its president. Two Polish legions were to be created. Austrian generals of Polish ancestry were to lead them. Piłsudski was to be the leader of one of the regiments. During the winter of 1914 and 1915, the Polish legions increased in size after more Poles entered them. From December 22, 1914, to December 25, 1914, the Polish legions won at the Battle of Łowczówek.

In November 1914, the National Polish Committee was formed in Warsaw. Dmowski was its president and Zygmunt Wielopolski was its vice president. The National Polish Committee wanted Poland to be united with the help of Russia. It did not want Germany to do it.

On October 18, 1914, Russia allowed Witold Gorczyski to create a Polish legion. He recruited in Brześć and Puławy. In the middle of January 1915, Russia allowed the Organizational Committee of Polish Legions to be created. Edmund Świdziński was its president. The legions were required to speak Russian. The Polish legions had 1,000 soldiers when they first participated in the war.

In the summer of 1916, Austria-Hungary accepted Germany’s idea of creating a Polish state as a buffer zone. In August 1916, Germany and Austria-Hungary agreed to create an independent Poland with a hereditary monarchy. It was to be allied with Germany and Austria- Hungary. On November 5, 1916, a document signed by the kings of Germany and Austria- Hungary allowed a Polish state. On December 2, 1916, Russia’s premier, Alexander Trepov, called for a free Poland in the Duma. Poland would be in a union with Russia under his plan.

On January 22, 1917, the President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson told the senate that Poland should be free and independent. After the communist revolution in March 1917, Lenin’s interim government declared that Poland should be independent if it gave minorities equal rights, had a military alliance with Russia, and Russia determined its borders. Poles were allowed to create three corps in Russia that were allowed to fight on Russia’s side. In July 1917, Poles decided to create an independent Poland that was not affiliated with any power. Many Poles who were led by Piłsudski decided to recant their oaths of loyalty to their home armies. They were interned or forced to the frontlines of World War I. Piłsudski and other leaders were interned in Magdeburg. Poles protested. Over 3,300 were imprisoned for protesting.

In August 1917, the National Polish Committee was created in Lusanne, Switzerland. Roman Dmowski, Erazm Piltz, Marian Seyda, and Ignacy Paderewski were its members. Their politics were anti-German. On September 20, 1917, France recognized it. In October 1917, Britain recognized it. On September 12, 1917, the Regency Council was created as Poland’s greatest political entity. Its members were archbishop Aleksander Kakowski, Zdzisław Lubomirski, and Józef Ostrowski. In August 1918, the Communists in Russia issued a declaration that stated all nations in Russia could create independent countries. After Russia left World War I, Dmowski declared in the National Polish Committee on November 13, 1917, that German and Austrian dominance must end in Central Europe. He wanted to create an independent Poland out of the Polish lands they ruled.

On December 12, 1917, Vittorio Orlando, the Prime Minister of Italy, told parliament that an independent Poland should be created to create a lasting peace. On January 5, 1918, David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Britain, said an independent Poland was necessary to create stability in Western Europe. On January 8, 1918, Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States of America, issued the Fourteen Points. The thirteenth point called for an independent Poland with access to the sea that had its territoriality guaranteed by an international treaty.

On the turning point of November 1918 and December 1918, the Regency Council was created with Jan Kucharzewski at its head. On June 4, 1917, France issued a decree that created a Polish army in France that was subject to France’s highest command. On February 22, 1918, a Polish-French treaty gave the National Polish Committee the right to an independent Polish army in France. It had freedom to adopt its own oath and regalia. On September 28, 1918, a Polish- French treaty put the Polish army under the power of the National Polish Committee. In the winter of 1918, Poles were recruited to the army in France, the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, and Holland. The most came from the United States of America. During the first months of 1919, there were over 70,000 Poles in the army. They were divided into six divisions. General Józef Haller became the leader of the Polish army. On October 16, 1919, the National Polish Committee in Paris proposed to create an interim Polish government to rule in Poland.

On September 12, 1917, the Regency Council was formed as the highest authority for the kingdom of Poland. On October 7, 1918, it issued a statement on its politics. On October 12, 1918, it took over authority over the Polish army formation in the German army. Its soldiers took a new oath to God, Poland, and the Regency Council. From October 20, 1918, to October 21, 1918, a meeting took place in Warsaw with representatives of twenty-nine Polish parties. On October 23, 1918, the Regency Council put in Józef Świeżyński’s cabinet in power of Endeks.

On October 28, 1918, Polish politicians in Kraków created the Polish Liquidation Committee. It was the highest Polish authority in Austria. Its highest members were Wincenty Witos, Ignacy Daszyński, and Tadeusz Tertil. On October 31, 1918, the Polish Liquidation Committee assumed complete power in Kraków. Austrian rule in all of western Małopolska ceased after a few days. The Polish Liquidation Committee had a Ruling Commission with nine people in it. Four were Polish. Four were Ukrainian. One was Jewish.

On December 27, 1918, an uprising broke out in Greater Poland. The Commissariat of the Leading Council of the People seized power. It held power there until August 1919. On November 7, 1918, the Interim People’s Government of the Republic of Poland under the lead of Ignacy Daszyński was created. After Piłsudski was released from prison in Magdeburg, he went to Warsaw on November 10, 2018. He was offered the leading position of the Polish army. On November 14, 2018, Piłsudski was the head of the Polish military. On January 16, 1919, a new government with Ignacy Paderewski was created. On January 30, 1919, the United States of America recognized it. On February 23, 1919, France recognized it. On February 25, 1919, Britain recognized it. On February 27, 1919, Italy recognized it.

On January 18, 1919, World War I’s peace conference began in Paris. Dmowski and Ignacy Paderewski represented Poland at the conference. On January 29, 1919, the Polish delegation introduced its territorial requests to the United States of America, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. A special commission was created to deal with Poland. Jules Cambon, the previous ambassador of France in Berlin, led it. On February 28, 1919, Dmowski wrote a letter to the commission. He wanted Poland’s borders from 1772. On March 12, 1919, Cambon’s commission decided upon Poland’s fate. A plebiscite would decide if controversial lands would return to Poland. Gdańsk was decided to be a free town under the aegis of the League of Nations. On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles gave Poland Greater Poland and Pomerania. Gdask was not included. On January 10, 1910, the Treaty of Versailles took effect. On July 11, 1920, the plebiscite in Powiśle, Warmia, and Masuria took place. Only 3.3% supported joining Poland. Five villages in Powiśle and three in Masuria went to Poland’s side.

From August 17, 1919, to August 24, 1919, the first uprising in Silesia took place. It was by Poles against German rule. German troops were removed from Silesia. An international commission with Henri Le Rond came to implement a plebiscite. From August 19, 1920, to August 25, 1920, the second uprising occurred in Silesia. The International Police liquidated German police in Silesia as a result. The new police was composed of both Poles and Germans. On March 20, 1921, a plebiscite took place in Silesia. 97.5% participated. The majority voted to keep Silesia in Germany. Protests resulted. From May 2, 1921, to July 5, 1921, another uprising occurred. Wojciech Korfanty was its leader. An international commission stepped in to resolve the matter. On October 20, 1921, the Council of Ambassadors divided Silesia. Poland received about 29% of Silesia. On May 15, 1922, a Polish-German convention was signed in Geneva that created trade without tariffs. Poles and Germans were given equal rights.

On April 21, 1920, Ukraine made a political agreement with Poland that recognized eastern Galicia and Woy as Polish. On April 24, 1920, Poland agreed to give military help to Ukraine to remove Soviet troops. On April 25, 1920, Polish troops were deployed and supported by Ukrainian troops. On May 7, 1920, Polish troops took Kiev over.

Władysław Grabski, the Prime Minster of Poland, went to Spa for a meeting on German reparations. On July 10, 1920, Grabski was promised support for Poland. Poland was to cease fighting and agree to the Curzon Line as its border. Vilnius was to be given to Lithuania. On July 1, 1920, the Council of Defense of the Country was created. Piłsudski led it. It had power to declare war and peace. On July 24, 1920, the Government of National Defense was created. Wincenty Witos and Ignacy Daszyński led it.

In the beginning of August 1920, Communist troops crossed the Bug River. From August 12, 1920, to August 25, 1920, the Battle of Warsaw occurred. The Virgin Mary appeared. Communist troops fled the battle field. Poland won the battle. It is called the Miracle of the Vistula.

On August 13, 1920, Communist troops occupied Radzymin and came close to Prague. Polish troops led by Władysław Sikorski attacked. In the beginning of September 1920, Polish forces stood at the Bug River. From September 20, 1920, to September 28, 1920, Poland won the Battle of the Niemen River.

In the middle of August 1920, negotiations between Poland and Communists occurred in Mińsk. The Communists wanted Poland to become a vassal state. They wanted it to accept the Curzon Line, liquidate its army, give up its arms, and give up its arms factories. On October 12, 1920, a preliminary peace was settled. On March 18, 1921, the Treaty of Riga was signed that ended the war. The peace settlement decided Poland’s border. Both sides agreed to not interfere in each other’s affairs. The Communists were to pay 30,000,000 rubles to Poland, but they never did. The Communists were obligated to return Polish cultural treasures that were taken after January 1, 1772. They included archives and museum pieces. On November 5, 1918, the Kingdom of Cieszyn and the Czechs agreed to divide up contentious lands between themselves. On January 23, 1919, Czechs occupied historic lands that they claimed in the Kingdom of Cieszy. On February 3, 1919, a truce was settled. Czechs were forced back. Powers at the conference at Spa settled the matter in the Czechs’ favor. The Czechs were allowed to keep land that had around 150,000 Poles located on them.

In April 1919, Polish forces occupied Vilnius Region. On April 22, 1919, Piłsudski wrote to Lithuanians that explained that Lithuania was treated unjustly by its neighbors and that Poles would treat it with respect. On July 12, 1920, Lithuania and the Communists made an agreement that expanded Lithuania’s land. Piłsudski recommended an uprising taking place to claim Lithuanian land for Poland. General Lucjan Żeligowski led his men in his Lithuanian- Belarussian division in an uprising that marched on Vilnius on October 9, 1920. Vilnius Region could not be annexed by Poland. On October 12, 1920, a new country was proclaimed: Central Lithuania. On January 8, 1922, elections took place in Central Lithuania that supported entering a union with Poland. On March 24, 1922, Poland’s sejm agreed to incorporate it. On March 15, 1923, the Conference of Ambassadors recognized Poland’s eastern border. It included Vilnius Region and eastern Galicia. Poland now had 388,600 km2 of land. In 1921, it had a population of over 27,200,000. In 1931, it had 32,100,000 people. In 1939, it had 35,000,000.

On November 14, 1918, the Regency Council ended. Józef Piłsudski took power over from it. On November 22, 1918, a decree reorganized the Polish government. Józef Piłsudski was made the head of state who had power to nominate candidates to the highest positions in the government. On November 28, 1918, two decrees were issued that articulated the principles of election and placed the date for elections on January 26, 1919. All citizens regardless of their ethnicity or religion could vote if they were at least twenty-one years old. A cabinet led by Ignacy Paderewski was formed after the elections, but it only lasted until the autumn of 1919. On December 13, 1919, a cabinet led by Leopold Skulski was formed. It lasted until June 9, 1920. A cabinet led by Władysław Grabski followed it from June 23, 1920, to July 24, 1920. A new cabinet had to be formed after defeats with the Communists.

On February 10, 1919, the Legislative Sejm met. On February 20, 1919, the sejm passed a decree that made Józef Piłsudski the head of state. On March 17, 1919, the Legislative Sejm passed the constitution. A celebratory march to the church of Saint John followed where flowers were placed on the sarcophogus of Stanisław Małachowski.

The constitution had 126 articles. It divided power among three branches. One was parliament in the sejm. The second was the executive branch with the president and government. The third branch was the judicial. The legislative branch had more power than the executive branch. The sejm had 444 members who served five-year terms. The senate was made up of 111 members.

On July 25, 1922, the sejm voted no confidence to the head of state. Józef Piłsudski created a new cabinet with Julian Nowak at its head. New elections proceeded that made Gabriel Narutowicz the first president. On December 11, 1922, protests formed in Warsaw against Jews and other minorities in the sejm. One worker was killed in the protests and several were injured. On December 14, 1922, Gabriel Narutowicz assumed power in Belweder in a great celebration. On December 16, 1922, Narutowicz was shot and killed. Maciej Rataj followed him. A cabinet with Władysław Sikorski was formed. On December 20, 1922, elections for president took place. Kazimierz Morawski won. On May 26, 1923, the sejm rejected Sikorski’s request for more funds for the minister of foreign affairs. Sikorski and his cabinet ended up resigning. On May 28, 1923, Wincenty Witos created a new government. By the end of 1923, Witos’ cabinet fell apart after economic problems. On March 15, 1923, the Council of Ambassadors recognized Poland’s eastern border. It included eastern Galicia and Vilnius Region.

The new Polish state had a problem with currencies. There were four currencies that were used on Polish land after World War I. They were Russian rubles, German marks, Austrian coronas, and Polish marks. On March 11, 1919, a law was created that banned the transfer of currency from abroad. Polish marks were to replace foreign currencies. On January 15, 1920, Austrian coronas were allowed in Galicia next to Polish marks, since there were not enough Polish marks. On March 24, 1920, Polish coronas were required to be exchanged for Polish marks. In the autumn of 1923, German marks were exchanged for Polish marks in Upper Silesia. Polish marks became the only accepted currency henceforth.

Hyperinflation was the result of creating fiat, Polish currency. It led to higher taxes. Economic unrest ensued. On November 6, 1923, protests in Kraków occurred. Thirty people were killed. In January 1924, post-war debt was paid off. Hyperinflation ended.

Difficulties in passing reforms led Grabski to seek more power. On January 11, 1924, the sejm gave him more power until January 30, 1924. He had power to raise taxes, impose tariffs, get foreign loans, and create a new currency. On January 19, 1924, the Bank of Poland was established. The Polish złoty replaced Polish marks.

In March 1923, a loan was received from Banca Commerciale Italiana for 400,000,000 lira or 90,000,000 złoty. In January 1925, a loan was received from Dillon, Read & Co. in New York for 27,000,000 dollars. In 1925, a loan was received from a Swede named Ivar Kreuger for 6,000,000 dollars. The terms of the loans were not favorable for Poland.

Poland had problems with Germany. Poland had the right to have its post office in the free city of Gdańsk, but on January 5, 1925, Germany took its rights away. Germany’s flag’s colors were painted on the Polish post office in Gdańsk. In May 1925, the League of Nations confirmed Polish rights in the matter. On June 15, 1925, the deadline for Polish products from Upper Silesia going to Germany without tariffs ended. On June 15, 1925, Germany stopped coal exports from Poland. A tariff war followed. Gustav Stresemann, the chancellor and minister of foreign affairs of Germany, said that Poland would undergo an economic crisis that would render it powerless. The złoty decreased in value. On November 11, 1925, the Bank of Poland stopped intervening in the markets. It allowed the złoty to continue to drop.

In 1923, a land reform program was implemented that distributed state land and land that was owned in surplus by citizens. In central Poland, 180 ha was the maximum amount of land that an individual could own. In eastern and western Poland, it was 400 ha. On December 28, 1925, another agricultural reform plan was enacted. It made 60 to 180 ha the maximum amount of land that could be owned in central Poland. It was 300 in eastern and western Poland.

On November 14, 1925, Piłsudski visited the president and gave him a letter that said that the government’s politics in relation to the army upset many in the army. On November 15, 1925, several officers gathered in Sulejówek to commemorate the release of Józef Piłsudski from prison in Magdeburg. On November 20, 1925, a new cabinet with Aleksander Skrzyński was made. He had good relations with Piłsudski and his supporters. On November 27, 1925, men were assigned to the Ministry of Military Affairs after a talk with Józef Piłsudski. Lucjan Żeligowski was made the minister of military affairs.

On May 10, 1926, Wincenty Witos opened a new government. It was not accepted by the left in the sejm. On May 11, 1926, and afterward, many manifestations on the streets occurred in support of Józef Piłsudski. On the night of May 11, 1926, and May 12, 1926, a shot was fired on Józef Piłsudski's villa in Sulejówek. On May 12, 1926, Piłsudski prepared to become president. The army supported him. He started an insurrection with the army. They took over parts of Warsaw. There was a meeting between Józef Piłsudski and president Stanisław Wojciechowski on Piłsudski's Bridge. Piłsudski wanted to defend the constitution and create a new government. On May 14, 1926, the government escaped from Belweder palace in Warsaw to Wilanów. A strike took place in support of Piłsudski. President Stanisław Wojciechowski resigned. Maciej Rataj took his place. Rataj want everyone to surrender their weapons and stop fighting. Almost 400 people died in three days of fighting. Over 900 were injured.

On May 15, 1926, a new government with Kazimierz Bartel was formed. Piłsudski became the minister of military affairs until his death. On May 31, 1926, the National Assembly gathered and voted. Piłsudski received 292 votes. Adolf Bniński received 193 votes. On June 1, 1926, the National Assembly gathered to vote again. Mościcki received 215 votes. A second vote occurred. Mościcki received 281 votes. On August 2, 1926, the sejm’s rules were changed. The president was allowed to dissolve the sejm. Before, it took 3/5 of the senate to vote to dissolve it. At the end of September 1926, the sejm voted no confidence for the minister of internal affairs, Kazimierz Młodzianowski, and the minister of religion and public enlightenment, Antony Sujkowski. On September 24, 1926, premier Kazimierz Bartel and his government dismissed themselves in a sign of solidarity with the vote of no confidence. Three days later, the president appointed a new government with Kazimierz Bartel at its head. In November 1926, the president issued a decree that would punish the media for spreading falsehoods. Fines would range from 100 to 10,000 złoty. Jail terms would be from ten days to thirty months. In 1930, the sejm repealed it.

On June 27, 1928, Piłsudski and his cabinet resigned. Piłsudski cited his worsening health as a reason for his resignation. Bartel replaced him. Piłsudski still remained politically active. On September 9, 1930, Piłsudski's enemies were arrested by the police and gendarmerie. Those arrested included members of the sejm who were guilty of fraud and other crimes. They were placed in a military prison at Brześć. On September 14, 1930, mass meetings held by opposing parties were ended by the police. Some were injured and killed. Arrests were made of people who were suspected of being enemies of the nation. They included Orthodox priests and students.

On March 17, 1931, a new constitution began to be drafted. The most important people involved in drafting it were Stanisław Car, Bohdan Podoski, and Stanisław Cat-Mackiewicz. On April 23, 1935, the president and members of the government signed the constitution into existence. The new constitution was made of eighty-one articles that were divided into fourteen units.

On December 10, 1927, Piłsudski asked the premier of Lithuania during a secret session of the League of Nations if there was a state of war or peace between Lithuania and Poland. A resolution was adopted that made peaceful negotiations between the two powers, if problems arose. In 1928, Poland signed the Briand-Kellog Pact that denounced war as a way of resolving conflicts. On July 25, 1932, Poland and the U.S.S.R. signed a pact of nonaggression. Both signs were obligated to not use force against each other for three years and not to get into pacts with other countries against each other.

On July 1, 1931, Gdańsk’s senate did not allow Polish warships to use its port. On June 15, 1932, three British warships came to Gdańsk, after being invited by the League of Nations. Two months later, Poland and Gdańsk renewed their pact of mutual relations. In March 1933, Gdańsk’s senate repudiated its agreement to have share power in the police of Gdańsk’s port.

On January 26, 1934, Poland and Germany signed a nonaggression treaty that was to last for ten years. From February 13, 1934, to February 15, 1934, Poland and the U.S.S.R. prolonged their nonaggression treaty for ten years. On May 12, 1935, Józef Piłsudski died. On October 29, 1938, Germany expelled thousands of Jews to Poland who had Polish citizenship. They were gathered in a camp called Zbąszyń in Poland at first.

In January 1935, Hermann Göring proposed a secret treaty to Poland that would give Poland a sphere of influence that included Ukraine and Lithuania. Piłsudski was not interested in it. On November 5, 1937, Poland and Germany signed a treaty that protected Poles in Germany and Germans in Poland. On September 6, 1936, France gave a loan of 2,600,000 to invest in Poland’s army. On March 17, 1938, Poland issued an ultimatum to Germany five days after Germany occupied Austria. It demanded normal diplomatic relations. On October 2, 1938, Polish troops occupied Czechoslovakia’s Zaolzia after Germany annexed Sudetenland. In November 1938, Poland forced Czechoslovakia to return Spisz and Orawa. On October 24, 1938, Germany wanted Poland to join the Anti-Comintern Pact. Germany offered Poland to guarantee its borders and prolong its pact of nonaggression for twenty-five years, if it joined. Poland refused.

On March 31, 1939, Prime Minister Arthur Neville Chamberlain declared in parliament that Britain was ready to help Poland, if it would be in a war to defend its independence. In April 1939, France gave Poland a loan of 430,000,000 franks. On August 8, 1939, Britain gave Poland a loan of 8,000,000 pounds.

World War II

On May 19, 1939, France agreed to give Poland military help, if a war broke out. The help would start with aerial help with fighter planes and then ground help with its army. On the sixteenth day of a potential war, all French forces would be used. At the end of May 1939, Britain promised to give Poland aerial help, if a war broke out. In August 23, 1939, Germany and the U.S.S.R. signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that divided Poland between the two powers. On August 25, 1939, Britain agreed to help Poland, if a war broke out with Germany. On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland. Germany claimed that it was under attack by Poland. It said that Polish soldiers took over a radio station in Gliwice and proclaimed anti- German propaganda.

On September 17, 1939, Wacław Grzybowski told the Polish ambassador in Moscow that the Polish government ceased to exist. The U.S.S.R. attacked Poland on that day. On the night of September 17, 1939, and September 18, 1939, the president of Poland fled to Romania.

On September 4, 1939, members of the government fled Warsaw. On September 7, 1939, premier Składkowski fled to Łuck. The majority of the members of the government fled to Krzemieniec. The president fled to Ołyka. On September 30, 1939, Władysław Raczkiewicz became the president. On October 1, 1939, Władysław Sikorski became the prime minister. On November 7, 1939, Rydz-Śmigły was replaced by Władysław Sikorski as the leader of the army.

On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill invited Sikorski to London. On June 19, 1940, Sikorski evacuated his troops from France. On July 18, 1940, the president dismissed Sikorski as prime minister. August Zaleski replaced him. On August 5, 1940, Poland and Britain signed an agreement that allowed Polish troops in Britain. There were about 27,600 Polish troops in Britain.

In the latter half of 1940, Poland and Czechoslovakia discussed creating a confederation. On November 11, 1940, Poland and Czechoslovakia signed a declaration that stated the two countries wanted to join a political and economic union. Other countries could join the union. On January 23, 1942, an agreement was signed that detailed the principles of the union. Czechoslovakia lost interest in the union and left it. From March 24, 1941, to May 9, 1941, Sikorski visited the United States of America and spoke with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1940 and 1941, the Germans arrested Polish 1,025 priests. The majority was placed in concentration camps. Many of them died. Up until the middle of 1944, around 1,300 churches were closed.

On March 4, 1941, the Nazis issued the Volksliste that was a list that divided people up into four categories. The first two categories were Germans. The third and fourth categories were people who could be Germanized. They included the Kashubians, Masurians, and Gorals. 960,000 belonged to the first two categories in Poland. 1,900,000 belong to the latter two categories. Poles from the ages of fourteen to sixty-five were forced to work for the Third Reich. Kraków became the the center of the General Government that was Polish land occupied by Nazis. Hans Frank was the governor. He was stationed at Wawel. The General Government was divided into four districts that were centered around the cities of Kraków, Radom, Lublin, and Warsaw.

On November 6, 1939, the Nazis executed Sonderaktion Krakau that arrested 183 professors of Jagiellonian University and the Mining Academy in Kraków. They were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. From February 1940 and onward, some were released. Nineteen died in captivity.

In May 1940, the Nazis executed Aktion-AB in Poland. 3,500 Poles were shot who could be leaders. Maciej Rataj and Mieczysław Niedziałkowski were examples of people who were shot. From May 1940 to June 1940, thousands of Poles were arrested and sent to concentration camps. In 1940, the Nazis began to build concentration camps in occupied Poland. On June 14, 1940, Poles from Tarnów were first transported to Auschwitz.

In October 1939, Polish soldiers who were taken captive in the war by the U.S.S.R. were puts into camps in Kozielsk and Starobielsk. On April 3, 1940, prisoners of war in Kozielsk were taken to Katy and shot. On July 5, 1941, Sikorski met with Ivan Maisky, the ambassador of the U.S.S.R., in Britain. Sikorski agreed to say that Poland’s treaties with the Third Reich from 1939 did not exist. On July 30, 1941, Poland and the U.S.S.R. signed the Sikorski-Maisky Agreement that stated that the treaties between the Third Reich and the U.S.S.R. in relation to Polish land were invalid. Other points of the agreement were that diplomatic relations between Poland and the U.S.S.R. were to be reinstated and a Polish army was to be created in the U.S.S.R. A protocol was added to the agreement that gave amnesty to all Poles in the U.S.S.R. On July 30, 1941, Britain stated that it did not recognize any treaty that changed Poland’s borders in August 1939. On August 14, 1941, Poland and the U.S.S.R. made an agreement that stated that the Polish army was under the control of a sovereign Poland. On December 4, 1941, Sikorski and Stalin agreed to a declaration that said they would fight until the Third Reich was defeated.

During the night of April 12, 1943, and April 13, 1943, a German radio station stated that graves of Polish soldiers were found by Smoleńsk in the U.S.S.R. On April 16, 1943, Poland asked the Red Cross to investigate. The Third Reich did the same. The U.S.S.R. said there was collaboration between Poland and the Third Reich that was hostile to the U.S.S.R. On July 4, 1943, Sikorski died on a plane from Gibralter that was supposed to go to London. British and/or Communist machinations may have been behind his death.

On July 15, 1943, Mikołajczyk was made president. On January 18, 1944, Churchill asked for Poland to recognize the Curzon Line without Lviv as its border. Poland would be promised parts of the Third Reich and defense of its independence. On February 22, 1944, Churchill said that his government wanted the Curzon Line to be Poland’s border. It was not popular among Poles.

On August 3, 1944, Stalin met Mikołajczyk in Warsaw. Mikołajczyk told him about the uprising in Warsaw and asked him for help. On August 12, 1944, the U.S.S.R. said that it did not support the Warsaw Uprising. On October 13, 1944, Churchill, Stalin, and Mikołajczyk met in Moscow. From February 4, 1945, to February 11, 1945, Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill met at the Yalta Conference. They decided that the Curzon Line would be Poland’s border. It was not favorable for Poland. On February 13, 1945, the British government said the decision to recreate Poland’s borders was another partition.

In June 1945, sixteen members of the Polish underground were tried in Moscow. General Okulicki was tortured and given ten years in prison. Jankowski received eight years. On June 28, 1945, Bolesław Bierut created the Interim Government of National Unity. On July 5, 1945, Britain and the United States of America stopped recognizing the London Government in Exile.

On July 22, 1944, Moscow’s radio announced that the Polish Committee of National Liberation was created in Chem. It was to have an alliance with the U.S.S.R. after the war. It claimed that the London Government in Exile possessed illegal authority. The majority in the committee spent the whole war in the U.S.S.R. On July 27, 1944, some of the members of the Polish Committee of National Liberation arrived in Chem. On August 1, 1944, the Polish Committee of National Liberation was installed in Lublin.

On September 6, 1944, a decree for agricultural reform was passed. It stated that properties of over 50 ha would be broken up. The land would be distributed after it was taken over. On October 9, 1944, Witos was dismissed from the Polish Committee of National Liberation. Osóbka-Morawski took his place. On August 31, 1944, the Polish Committee of National Liberation issued a decree that punished Fascists, Nazis, and Polish traitors. The decree was used to go after members of organizations that wanted Polish independence. On October 30, 1944, the Polish Committee of National Liberation issued a decree that gave the death penalty or imprisoned people if they interfered in agricultural reform or possessed radios. In October 1944, the U.S.S.R.’s People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) began an operation in Lublin with over 8,000 soldiers that fought against the Polish underground.

The operation lasted until August 1946. Over 16,800 Poles were arrested until January 1945. In December 1944, Bolesław Bierut was made the president of the National Home Government. Stalin agreed to make the Polish Committee of National Liberation into the Interim Government. The primer minister and minister of foreign affairs was made Osóbka-Morawski. Gomułka was made the deputy prime minister. On January 17, 1945, the U.S.S.R.’s army occupied Warsaw. 70% of Warsaw’s downtown was destroyed. On January 19, 1945, the Red Army conquered Kraków and Łódź. On January 23, 1945, it took over Bydgoszcz. On January 27, 1945, Katowice was taken over. On February 1, 1945, Warsaw was made the center of the Polish government.

In February 1945, the Yalta Conference took place. It was a success for Stalin and the U.S.S.R. It was decided that the Interim Government of Poland would provide elections. In the spring of 1945, the U.S.S.R. conducted a campaign of terror against Poles in Pomerania and Silesia. Prisoners were put into former Nazi concentration camps in Oświęcim (Auschwitz) and Potulice (Lebrechtsdorf). As of June 20, 1945, 54,761 Poles were interred by the U.S.S.R., according to Soviet numbers. At least 6,602 were members of the Home Army.

On May 24, 1945, the Council of Ministers decided to create the Corps of Internal Security. It was to have over 30,000 soldiers who were to fight against the Polish underground. Soviet general Bolesław Kieniewicz led the Corps. In 1945, Polish security forces killed 2,830 Poles and arrested 6,319 for conspiracy. In May 1945, Władysław Gomułka criticized the repressive behavior of the U.S.S.R. in Poland.

On April 21, 1945, Poland and the U.S.S.R. signed a pact of friendship, mutual support, and join cooperation for twenty years. On June 28, 1945, president Bierut created the Interim Government of National Unity. Osóbka-Morawski became the prime minister. Gomułka and Mikołajczyk became the deputy prime ministers. The United States of America and Britain both recognized the Interim Government of National Unity. From July 17, 1945, to August 2, 1945, the Potsdam Conference decided Poland’s final borders. On August 16, 1945, Poland the U.S.S.R. signed a treaty that determined Poland’s borders. In 1946, Poland and Czechoslovakia signed a treaty that confirmed their borders. In March 1947, Poland and Czechoslovakia signed a treaty of friendship and mutual support.

Poland’s new borders determined in 1945 lost 311,730 km2 of land or 20% of its land in comparison to its borders before World War II. Poland’s borders moved westward. The western lands it gained were more developed than the eastern lands it lost. The western lands were rich in coal. The eastern lands it lost were abundant oil. On August 16, 1945, Poland had to agree to send coal to the U.S.S.R. at the rate of $1.00 per ton that was 10% of its market value in return for getting 15% of the reparations from the U.S.S.R.’s zone of occupation. Poland was to send 8,000,000 tons of coal to the U.S.S.R. during the first year of the deal. 13,000,000 tons of coal were to be sent in the following four years. Afterwards, 12,000,000 tons were to be sent each year. Over 500,000,000 dollars were lost in the agreement.

A high estimate of how many Poles were lost in World War II is around 6,000,000. In February 1946, Poland had a population of 23,900,000. 20,500,000 were Poles. 2,300,000 were Germans. 162,000 were Ukrainians. 108,000 were Jews. In the autumn of 1945, Poland received help from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. In 1946, Polish agricultural production was around 48% of itself before World War II. On September 9, 1944, Poland, Belarus, and the U.S.S.R. signed agreements to exchange people. On September 22, 1944, Poland and Lithuania signed a similar agreement. From 1945 to June 15, 1946, over 480,000 Ukrainians moved from Poland to Ukraine. The Greek Catholic Church was legalized in Poland.

From 1945 to 1949, around 2,000,000 Poles came from countries west of Poland. The majority came from Germany. They were forced laborers and prisoners. Around 200,000 were from France and Belgium. They were mostly miners. On February 20, 1945, the U.S.S.R. allowed Poland to administer lands that were previously German. On July 5, 1945, Szczecin was taken over by Poland.

Over 4,000,000 Germans escaped from land that Poland took over before the Red Army arrived. There were around 3,000,000 Germans in the lands that Poland received from Germany after World War II. Over 1,000 camps were created for Germans in Poland after the war. In 1945, from 700,000 to 800,000 Germans left voluntarily or were expelled from the former German lands that Poland took over. In November 1945, the Allied Council of Control of Germany deported around 2,500,000 Germans from Poland to the British and Soviet zones of Germany. Around 2,000,000 Germans left Poland after World War II. Around 300,000 Germans stayed in Poland after World War II. From 1945 to 1946, around 300 Germans died during transportation to Germany.

From 30,000 to 150,000 Jews were left in Poland after World War II. Many Jews who were freed from concentration camps after World War II came to Poland. In January 1946, there were around 90,000 Jews in Poland. From February 8, 1946, to July 31, 1946, over 214,000 Jews came to Poland. From July 1946 to September 1946, over 63,000 Jews left Poland. Most went to Palestine or the United States of America. In the middle of 1949, there were around 110,000 Jews in Poland. In the spring of 1945, Poles began to move to the former German lands that Poland received after the war. By the end of August 1945, there were 1,000,000 people in the former German lands. By the end of 1948, 1,700,000 Poles from central Poland settled in the former German lands. In November 1945, the Ministry of Recovered Lands was created to administer to the German lands Poland received. Władysław Gomułka led it. On September 6, 1946, a decree stated that limited settlers in the newly acquired German lands to not have more than 15 ha of land. Polish settlers received around 440,000 parcels of lands. On January 3, 1946, industry was nationalized.

On October 16, 1945, Poland signed the United Nations Charter. On January 12, 1946, Poland received membership in the Security Council of the United Nations. From July 1946 to October 1946, Poland participated in the Paris peace conference with the allies of World War II. On May 3, 1946, protests occurred against the removal of May 3 as a holiday. In Kraków, over 1,000 people were arrested during protests. Twelve people were imprisoned. On April 27, 1946, an ordinance was passed to make a referendum on June 30, 1946. The referendum had three questions. The first dealt with the elimination of the senate. The second dealt with agricultural reform and nationalization of industry. The third dealt with keeping Poland’s new borders. On July 12, 1946, the results were given. They were falsified. 85% voted. 68.2% voted “yes” to the first question. 77.3% voted “yes” to the second question. 91.4% voted “yes” to the third question.

On July 4, 1946, thirty-nine Jews and two Poles were reportedly killed in a pogrom in Kielce that the Communist secret police orchestrated. On February 5, 1947, Bolesław Bierut was chosen president by the sejm. He assigned Józef Cyrankiewicz the job to create a new government. From April 28, 1947, to July 30, 1947, Operation Wisła occurred. 20,000 soldiers led by general Stefan Mossor resettled around 140,000 Ukrainians and Lemkos to the newly acquired and former German lands. They were scattered and separated. Attempts were made to not make them more than 10% of a given locality.

On May 26, 1951, a project started officially to write a new constitution. In January 1952, the constitution was finished. On July 22, 1952, the constitution was passed. On October 12, 1950, the anniversary of the Battle of Lenino became the Day of the Polish Army. On March 15, 1950, Poland left the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development. On August 15, 1950, Poland left the International Organization of Health. These moves were made to draw Poland closer to the U.S.S.R.

Communist Poland’s politics aggravated the Catholic Church. On September 28, 1947, a letter by Polish bishops called for Catholics to boycott the press, since it was anti-religious. The letter complained about censorship and disdain for the holiness of Sundays and religious holidays. In January 1948, prime minister Cyrankiewicz stated in the sejm that the Catholic Church’s participation in anti-government politics would not be tolerated. Priests were arrested. In September 1948, over 400 priests was prisoners. On July 13, 1949, the Vatican issued a decree that excommunicated Catholics who became members of the Communist party or helped it. On August 5, 1949, a decree was passed by Poland that punished those who abused religious freedom at the expense of the Polish state with up to three years in prison. On November 23, 1949, religious events outside of churches were banned, if they did not receive government permission. On April 14, 1950, the Polish Catholic Church and the Polish government signed an agreement that required the Polish Catholic Church to teach respect for the law and political authority. In the beginning of 1952, religion was removed from schools. On July 21, 1950, the sejm passed a six-year economic plan that emphasized the development of metallurgy and machinery. In January 1951, pharmacies were nationalized. After Stalin died on March 5, 1953, the number of arrests in Poland dropped. On May 14, 1955, the Warsaw Pact was created to oppose N.A.T.O. Poland and other communist countries were in the Warsaw Pact. On March 12, 1956, Bierut died of a heart attack.

On June 28, 1956, a strike occurred in Poznań. A crowd of up to 100,000 gathered on the center of Poznań. A thirteen-year-old boy was killed in a shooting during the manifestation. An army of 10,000 soldiers with over 400 tanks was sent to disperse the crowds. On June 30, 1956, the manifestation was pacified. Seventy-four people died. 575 were injured.

In June 1958, Poland and Czechoslovakia signed an agreement that settled their borders. In August 1959, Richard Nixon, the Vice President of the United States of America, visited Poland. Poland agreed to pay 40,000,000 dollars to citizens of the United States of America who were negatively affected by Poland’s nationalization program. On November 17, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower, the President of the United States of America, reinstated Poland’s privileged status for its goods that were imported to the United States of America.

On August 4, 1958, Poland passed a law that banned monks to teach religion in schools. Crosses and other symbols of Christianity were removed from schools. Prayer was ended in classes. On March 14, 1964, thirty-four intellectuals signed a letter and sent it to the prime minister. It complained about censorship. In October 1964, Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski, two men employed by the University of Warsaw, wrote a text that criticized Poland’s communist system. They were both fired by the University of Warsaw. On March 19, 1965, they were arrested. Modzelewski was sentences to three and one-half years in prison. Kuro received three years in prison.

On October 25, 1967, Adam Mickiewicz’s “Forefathers’ Eve” by Kazimierz Dejmek was shown in Warsaw’s National Theater. It had anti-Russian elements. It was considered to be anti- Soviet and had to be ended. The last show was to take place on January 30, 1968. After the show, around 300 gathered at Mickiewicz’s statue. The militia was sent to break up the crowd. Thirty-five were arrested. Over 4,200 in Warsaw and Wrocław signed a petition to reinstate Forefathers’ Eve. In March 1968, Adam Michnik and Henryk Szlajfer were removed from the University of Warsaw for telling Bernard Margueritte of Le Monde of what happened after the last show of Forefathers’ Eve. On March 8, 1968, 2,000 to 3,000 students protested the decision at the University of Warsaw. Participants were beaten by the police.

On December 7, 1970, Chancellor Willy Brandt and Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz signed a treaty that normalized relations between Poland and Germany. Poland’s western border was recognized. Both countries agreed to recognize each other borders and not seek changes to their borders.

On December 12, 1970, price increases were implemented. Meat went up 17.6%. Noodles went up 15%. Fish went up 11.7%. Jams went up 36.2%. Coal went up 10%. On December 14, 1970, workers at the shipyard in Gdańsk gathered at a meeting and demanded that the price increases end. Crowds formed in Gdańsk. Buildings were burned and property was destroyed. On December 15, 1970, six died and 500 were arrested in the conflict. On December 16, 1970, the conflict spread to Słupsk, Elbląd, and Kraków. On December 17, 1970, eighteen people were killed and over 550 were injured in Gdynia. On December 17, 1970, and December 18, 1970, sixteen were killed and 212 were injured in Szczecin. On December 17, 1970, Gomułka told Leonid Brezhnev over the phone that he had the situation under control and he would ask for help if he needed it. A group formed that wanted to remove Gomułka and replace him with Edward Gierek. On December 20, 1970, Gomułka resigned and Edward Gierek replaced him as the first secretary. Piotr Jaroszewicz was made the prime minister.

On June 28, 1972, Pope Paul VI issued a bull called Episcoporum Poloniae that created six dioceses on the lands that Poland received from Germany after World War II. In January 1972, the border between Poland and the German Democratic Republic was opened. In the first months of 1972, 5,000,000 Poles went to the German Democratic Republic. On December 1, 1972, a Polish consulate was created in New York City and an American consulate was created in Kraków. In October 1972, Poland and France signed a declaration of friendship and cooperation. An economic treaty was also signed for ten years. In 1972, the Federal Republic of Germany’s parliament passed a treaty from 1970 that created diplomatic relations with Poland.

On February 10, 1976, the sejm passed a reform of the constitution. Thirty articles were changed. The reforms stated that Poland is a socialist country that has a friendship with the U.S.S.R. From June 2, 1979, to June 10, 1979, Pope John Paul II came to Poland on his pilgrimage. Millions came to see him.

In the beginning of 1980, new prices were introduced in cafeterias and buffets. Strikes resulted that the government did not expect. Almost 90,000 workers went on strike. In August, 1980, strikes occurred in Warsaw and spread to Łódź, Kalisz, and Wrocław. On August 14, 1980, a strike occurred in a shipyard called Lenin in Gdańsk. Lech Wałęsa led a committee involved in the strike. The committee wanted a monument to be built for those who died in December 1970 and an increase in wages. On the night of August 16, 1980, and August 17, 1980, a new committee formed that Lech Wałęsa led. The committee wanted the right to strike, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly to make a union. On August 16, 1980, a government organization was created with secretary Stanisław Kania at its head to end the strikes. On August 18, 1980, a strike occurred in Szczecin. On August 19, 1980, a strike occurred in Elbląg. On August 20, 1980, Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Bronisław Geremek came to the shipyards of Gdańsk with a list of sixty-four intellectuals who supported the strike. The strike spread to Nowa Chuta, Poznań, Wrocław, Warsaw, and other cities. On August 30, 1980, vice prime minister Barcikowski signed a document that allowed self-governing professional organizations.

On September 17, 1980, creating a trade union called Independent Self-Governing Labor Union “Solidarity” was considered. On September 24, 1980, documents to create it were submitted in a court in Warsaw. On November 10, 1980, it was registered. The Solidarity movement was not welcomed by the U.S.S.R. In the autumn of 1980, the German Federal Republic and Czechoslovakia stopped tourism with Poland. The German Federal Republic and Czechoslovakia both concentrated their troops on their borders with Poland. On December 3, 1980, the leader of armed forced of the Warsaw Pact, marshal Wiktor Kulikow, asked for Poland’s approval to bring troops to Poland for exercises, but exercises were never executed. At the end of January 1981, students striked in Łódź. Strikes followed in Poznań, Warsaw, and Kraków. On February 19, 1981, the Independent Organization of Students was recognized by the minister of education.

On February 9, 1981, general Wojciech Jaruzelski was proposed to be the next prime minister. On February 11, 1981, Jaruzelski became the new president of the Council of Ministers. On March 27, 1981, Solidarity agreed to make a four-hour strike. If it did not work, a general strike would occur on March 31, 1981. On March 30, 1981, Wałęsa met with a delegation from the government. The general strike was called off. On April 3, 1981, the first issue of Solidarity Weekly was produced. It was redacted by Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Solidarity Weekly was a success with over half of one million subscribers.

On April 10, 1981, Jaruzelski demanded that the power to strike be annulled for two months. On May 13, 1981, an assassination attempt was made on Pope John Paul II. The U.S.S.R. was suspected, but when the assassin was released from prison, he wrote in a book that Ayatollah Kemeni told him to do it. On May 28, 1981, cardinal Stefan Wyszyński died. His funeral became a large manifestation.

In the spring of 1981, grocery stores began to be poorly supplied. In April 1981, food stamps were made for meat and cold cuts. Food stamps were then made for butter, rice, and flour. In June 1981, food stamps were made for laundry detergent. A great deal of time in lines was necessitated to get these articles. On July 30, 1981, women organized a hunger strike in Łódź. In June 1981, commemorations were organized in Radom, Ursus, and Płock to commemorate the events of 1976. On August 5, 1981, Solidarity organized a two-hour general strike. On September 5, 1981, members of Solidarity met in Gdańsk and accused Wałęsa of compromising and being a coward. On September 8, 1981, Solidarity wrote a missive to the working people of Eastern Europe that recommended that they create trade unions.

At the end of October 1980, discussions were made to implement martial law. Instructions to implement martial law were printed by the KGB in the U.S.S.R. and sent to Poland on September 4, 1981. From October 15, 1980, a list of people who needed to be isolated was created. A list of almost 13,000 was created. In February 1981, 13,600 were planned to be interned. A list of 7,500 was created of people who would defend socialism. They would be given weapons. At the beginning of September 1981, U.S.S.R. troops began maneuvers in Belarus and by the Baltic Sea under the name of “West 81.”

In October 1981, Kania resigned and was replaced with Wojciech Jaruzelski as the first secretary of the communist party. On October 19, 1981, Brezhnev called Jaruzelski and told him that he accepted him as the first secretary. On November 4, 1981, Jaruzelski met with primate Glemp and Wałęsa. On November 19, 1981, teachers protested in Lublin. In November 1981, colonel Ryszard Kukliński escaped from Poland. He worked in the military and helped to organized martial law. The CIA might have recruited him while he was on a mission in Vietnam.

On November 5, 1981, a decision was made to implement martial law. At 11:30 p.m. on December 12, martial law was started. The hotel where top officials of Solidarity were staying was surrounded. Most were arrested. Around 5,000 were arrested during the first days of martial law. Wałęsa and many high-ranking members of Solidarity were kept in luxurious accommodations after they were arrested. Others were placed in poor conditions. Around 100,000 people and over 3,000 tanks were used during martial law. Telephone lines were shut off. Jaruzelski appeared on television to explain why martial law was made. From 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each day, citizens were allowed to only reside within the borders of their towns or districts. Correspondences were censored. Strikes and protests were banned. The senate of Jagiellonian University condemned martial law. On December 14, 1981, and December 15, 1981, strikes at the University of Wrocław were suppressed. On December 16, 1981, a strike at the mine called “Wujek” in Katowice left nine dead and twenty-two injured. People who worked in the government were forced to sign letters to prove their loyalty. On January 10, 1982, telephone lines were restored.

On August 31, 1982, a demonstration was to take place to protest against the arrests of citizens under martial law. The demonstration was in sixty-six cities. On January 11, 1982, NATO condemned martial law in Poland. On December 23, 1981, Reagan did not allow LOT to extend its license to fly to the United States of America. About 30,000,000 dollars were given to Solidarity by the American government.

On December 19, 1982, a decision was made to end martial law on December 31, 1982. 2,580 were arrested for anti-state activities during martial law. It took around two hours of waiting in a line to buy food during martial law. It took days of waiting in a line to get furniture, refrigerators, and washing machines. On October 5, 1983, Wałęsa received the Noble Peace Prize. From December 16, 1983, to December 23, 1983, Pope John Paul II visited Poland for the second time. He met with Jaruzelski and Wałęsa.

In November 1982, Western banks agreed to give 550,000,000 dollars of credit to Poland. In 1984, the United States of America allowed Polish fishermen to fish by American water. It also allowed planes to fly to Poland from the United States of America. In June 1986, Poland became a members of the International Monetary Fund.

On January 26, 1984, the sejm passed a law that would imprison anyone or give them a fine if they published material without permission. On October 19, 1984, a priest named Jerzy Popiełuszko was killed for opposing communism. From June 8, 1987, to June 14, 1987, Pope John Paul II went on a pilgrimage to Poland. On November 29, 1987, a referendum occurred that asked people if they wanted a radical program to improve the economy and implement meaningful democratic reforms. A majority did not vote in favor of the referendum. From July 11, 1988, to July 14, 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev visited Poland.

Strikes occurred that wanted Solidarity to be legalized. On August 15, 1988, a strike occurred in the mines of Jastrzębie. Strikes spread to other mines. On August 17, 1988, a strike occurred in the shipyards of Szczecin. On August 20, 1988, a strike occurred in the port of Gdańsk. On August 26, 1988, general Kiszczak appeared on television and proposed to have a meeting at a round table with members of Solidarity. Wałęsa then called off the strikes. On February 6, 1989, the round table meeting took place in Warsaw. It was televised. Fifty-seven people sat at the round table. Matters that were discussed included politics, economics, and pluralism. On April 5, 1989, the round table meeting ended. On April 7, 1989, the sejm changed the constitution. Political power was restructured. Professional organizations, such as Solidarity, were legalized. On April 13, 1989, new elections were to take place on June 4, 1989, and June 18, 1989. Solidarity’s plan for the elections was to provide democracy and the development of the economy. On April 17, 1989, Solidarity was registered. On May 1, 1989, massive demonstrations occurred to support of Solidarity. On May 8, 1989, Adam Michnik’s Electoral Newspaper gave out its first issue.

On June 4, 1989, elections took place. 62.1% participated. Solidarity received 252 of 261 seats in the senate and sejm. On December 20, 1989, the sejm passed a law that made the high court be independent. On December 29, 1989, the constitution was changed. It removed language that referenced the U.S.S.R. It stated that Poland was a country where law ruled. The old name of Republic of Poland was restored. The old, white eagle with a crown was made the official symbol of the country again. On April 6, 1990, the holiday of July 22 was removed as the day of the rebirth of Poland. The holiday of May 3 was restored. August 15 was made the holiday of the Polish army, since on August 15, 1920, Poland won the Battle of Warsaw. In July 1990, Germany confirmed its border with Poland. On September 1, 1990, religious lessons were restored in classes.

In the spring of 1990, Jaruzelski went to Gorbachev in Moscow and received documents that showed the U.S.S.R. was responsible for the Katy massacre in 1940. In September 1990, Poland had discussions with the U.S.S.R. about removing Soviet troops from Poland.

Political parties emerged. In October 1989, the Christian National Union with Wiesław Chrzanowski was created. In January 27, 1990, Social Democratic Union was created by Tadeusz Fiszbach and the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland party was created by Leszek Miller and Aleksander Kwaśniewski. By the end of 1990, there were over 100 political parties.

On November 25, 1990, elections occurred. Wałęsa received 39.9% of the vote, Stanisław Tymiński received 23.1%, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki received 18% of the vote. On December 9, 1990, Wałęsa received 74.25% of the vote in the second round of the election. On December 22, 1990, Wałęsa became president. In April 1991, Poland and France signed a treaty of friendship. In June 1991, Poland and Germany signed a treaty of cooperation and friendship.

In November 1991, Poland became a member of the Council of Europe. On July 1, 1991, the Warsaw Pact was disbanded in Prague. In the beginning of September 1991, Poland made diplomatic relations with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. On October 26, 1991, Poland and the U.S.S.R. signed a pact that some Soviet troops would be removed from Poland by November 15, 1991. On February 15, 1991, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary signed an agreement to integrate in Europe. In July 1991, Poland joined Austria, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Hungary, and Italy in a pact to cooperate with each other. In October 1991, Poland signed agreements of friendship and cooperation with Czechoslovakia and Hungary. On June 1, 1991, Pope John Paul II visited Poland for a pilgrimage. On May 18, 1992, Poland and Ukraine signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation. On May 22, 1992, Wałęsa and Boris Yeltsin signed a treaty in Moscow to ensure cooperation between Poland and Russia. On June 23, 1992, Poland and Belarus signed a similar treaty.

On August 25, 1993, and August 26, 1993, president Yeltsin laid a reef at a cross for the victims of the Katy massacre and apologized for the event. On January 7, 1993, the sejm forbid abortion. On August 30, 1996, the sejm allowed certain cases of abortion.

On April 26, 1994, Wałęsa signed a treaty with Lithuania to make friendly relations and cooperation. From May 31, 1997, to June 10, 1997, Pope John Paul II visited Poland for the fifth time. On June 19, 1998, the sejm condemned totalitarian communism. It said that communism was thrust upon Poland by the U.S.S.R. and Stalin.

On September 1, 1999, education was reformed by making elementary school for six years and gimnazjum for three years. After the results of a test, students could go to a three-year lyceum, a two-year trade school, or a two-year trade liceum. On September 23, 1998, the sejm created the Institute of National Memory that was to investigate crimes committed against Poles during World War II and during communism.

On January 22, 1999, farmers began to protest by blocking roads. They wanted the government to implement protectionist politics in agriculture. Andrzej Lepper from the Self- Defense party supported them. On January 28, 1999, 114 roads were blocked.

On October 8, 2000, Kwaśniewski won the elections with 53.9% of the vote. On February 21, 1998, Poland, France, and Germany met in Poznań. France and Germany said that they wanted Poland to join NATO and the European Union. On March 12, 1999, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary became members of NATO.

On March 31, 1999, negotiations began to get Poland in the European Union. On April 16, 2003, Poland signed the Treaty of Accession 2003 to enter the European Union. On May 1, 2004, it became a member.

On April 10, 2010, a plane flying president Lech Kaczyski and other members of the government went down at Smoleńsk, Russia. Ninety-six died. They were going to attend a memorial for the Katy massacre. The official investigation found that the pilot was at fault. An investigation by Antoni Macierewicz found that there was an explosion. It has been hypothesized that a bomb was on the plane. After the plane went down, Andrei Menderey filmed the crash site, posted it on YouTube, and was stabbed to death on a street and in a hospital.