IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 5. National Patterns, 1648–1815 > i. Poland > 1788–92
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
The Four Years' Diet, dominated by a progressive patriotic party, while Prussia, Austria, and Russia were at war with the Ottomans. The Prussian minister Hertzberg hoped to secure Danzig and Thorn by agreement with a reformed Poland. Developments in France led to an agreement between Prussia and Austria and to postponement of the scheme.  1
1791, May 3
The Polish patriots put through a new constitution that (1) converted the elective monarchy into a hereditary monarchy; (2) conferred the executive power upon the king and council of state; (3) vested the legislative power in a diet of two chambers; (4) abolished the liberum veto.  2
1792, May 14
Prussia and Austria accepted this change, but the Russians organized the Confederation of Targowicz, in defense of the old constitution. Russian invasion was followed by similar action on the part of the Prussians and finally led to the 1793 bargain between the two powers.  3
Virtuti Militari, a military order founded to honor distinguished veterans of the Russian-Polish conflict of 1791–92. It was suppressed by Catherine the Great.  4
1793, Jan. 23
SECOND PARTITION OF POLAND (See 1793, Jan. 23). Russia took most of Lithuania and most of the western Ukraine; Prussia took Danzig and Thorn as well as Great Poland.  5
1794, March 24
NATIONAL UPRISING in Poland, led by Thaddeus Kosciuszko. After an unequal struggle against the forces of Russia and Prussia, the Poles were defeated (capture of Kosciuszko, surrender of Warsaw to Suvorov), and Austria joined Russia and Prussia on Oct. 24, 1795 in the THIRD PARTITION OF POLAND (See 1795, Oct. 24), ending independent Poland until after World War I.  6
The Age of Enlightenment produced much satirical writing; Ignatius Krasicki (1735–1801), poet, novelist, author of satires and fables. New dramatists emerged when the first public theater was established in Warsaw; Francis Zoblocki (1754–1821) and Julian Ursyn Niemciwicz (1757–1841), also translator of English poems, author of novels, memoirs, and a collection of historical songs (Spiewy historyczne). (See Poland)  7
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.