V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914 > 8. Eastern Europe and the Balkans, 1762–1914 > b. Poland
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1794, March 24)
b. Poland
Poland in the 19th century is difficult to characterize, since it was split among three countries that developed differently. For the most important general social and economic trends, refer to the sections on Austria, Prussia, and Russia. Culturally, the overriding theme during this century remained, however, the reestablishment of an independent Poland and the best means of attaining that end.  1
Foundation of the Warsaw Society of the Friends of Science, which mixed national preservation with Enlightenment thought. Its most important work was the Dictionary of the Polish Language, published in 1806.  2
Napoleon and Alexander I of Russia created the DUCHY OF WARSAW, a constitutional state based on the French model, including the introduction of the Napoleonic Code. The Saxon prince, Frederick Augustus, became the duke.  3
Polish-Austrian War. The duchy of Warsaw gained new territory in the Treaty of Schönbrunn.  4
The Congress of Vienna (See Sept. 15–1815, June 9) accepted limited Polish autonomy through the creation of the grand duchy of Posen (Poznan), under Prussian leadership; the Congress Kingdom of Poland, in permanent union with the Russian Empire; and the Free State of Cracow. Nationalist hopes remained pinned on the kingdom of Poland, where a constitution provided for a Sejm (parliament), a separate administration and army, and official use of the Polish language. Gen. Josef Zaionczek (Zajaczek) was made viceroy, and Grand Duke Constantine became commander of the Polish army.  5
University of Warsaw established.  6
The first secret society, Panta Kojna (Everything in Common), was founded at the University of Warsaw. It was followed in 1820 by the more active Union of Free Poles. Students also founded secret societies at Wilno University, but, as in Warsaw, they did not last long.  7
Independent of student activity, military officers also formed secret patriotic societies such as the National Freemasonry Society in 1819, and the Patriotic Society in 1821.  8
Russian tsar Alexander introduced censorship into the Congress Kingdom as his rule became more autocratic in Poland. He refused to call the Sejm between 1820 and 1825.  9
The publication of Adam Mickiewicz's (1798–1855) first volume of poems marked the dawn of Polish romanticism. Mickiewicz's epics Konrad Wallenrod (1828) and Pan Tadeusz (1834) made him the movement's leader. Other romantic poets and dramatists included Count Alexander Fredro (1793–1876, comedies), Juljusz Slowacki (1809–49), and Zygmunt Krasinski (1812–59). After the November Insurrection, many of the brightest stars of Polish romanticism acquired fame in France, especially the musician Frédéric Chopin.  10
The Prussian Settlement Decree, abolishing serfdom (See 1815), was extended to Poles in the grand duchy of Posen. In 1836, however, a royal decree restricted the earlier terms of the settlement to favor the landlords of Posen, retaining a system of large estates as elsewhere in Prussia.  11
Polish and Russian revolutionaries reached a general agreement, but the Decembrist Revolt (See Dec. 26) of the following year was conducted without Polish support. Nevertheless, the Russian investigation unearthed this connection. The Polish government insisted that the suspects be tried by the Sejm, according to Polish law. In a mark of independence, all conspirators were acquitted of conspiracy and given short prison terms for membership in secret societies in 1828.  12
Ksawery Lubecki, minister of finance, established the Bank of Poland, part of a state effort to increase industrial development (textiles, mining, ironworks).  13
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.