• amanda0195



  • The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania joined together in a series of acts

  • Beginning in 1385 with the marriage of Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila (who became Wladyslaw II Jagiello of Poland)

  • The "Republic of Two Nations" was formally joined together in 1569 in the Union of Lublin

  • Becoming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

  • With its capital at Warsaw

  • In 1791, the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania were abolished

  • Creating the Polish Commonwealth in their place.

  • By then, Poland had already experienced its First Partition (1772)

  • The Second Partition in 1793 greatly reduced the size of the nation.

  • Poland disappeared altogether in the Third Partition in 1795.



  • Russia going through Time of Troubles (1584-1613)

  • Poles had captured Moscow for a few years (until 1613)

  • Religion

  • Primarily Catholic

  • Protestants and Jews persecuted.




  • Large area between Russia and Germany

  • No natural, protective boundaries

Competition between monarchy and nobility

  • King

  • King Sigismund II died in 1572

  • Ending long-ruling Jagellon dynasty

  • Nobles made sure tht no strong king would ascend throne.

  • King had no army, law courts, officials or income

  • King was elected by nobles

  • Nobles (szlachta)

  • Cosmopolitan, cultured and educated

  • Paid no taxes

  • Some had their own armies and foreign policy

  • Jealously maintained their power and independence

  • In order to prevent absolutism, elections were held

  • People too split to accept any Polish king.

Ineffective Diet

  • The Diet was the bicameral legislative body (or sejm)

  • Established by the Union of Lublin in 1569.

  • The king could not pass laws without the approval of the sejm.

  • Monopolized by nobles.

  • Required unanimous vote to pass any measure.

  • Every member held veto power - the right to "explode" the diet.

  • Called Liberum veto -- "free veto"

  • Made it almost impossible to pass any legislation

Heterogeneous population

  • Ethnic and religious differences

  • Lithuania, Duchy of Prussia, Ukraine

  • No national language

  • Very small middle class

  • Townspeople were largely Germans and Jews

  • Jews

  • Once thriving Jewish population pushed out of homes to live in ghettos.

  • Pogroms (organized persecution) targeted Jews 1648-1658.


  • Late Middle Ages, overland commerce between Black and Baltic seas flowed across Poland

  • But shifting commercial routes and centers to west in 16th c. bypassed Poland.

  • Nobles were fearful of alliance between merchants and the king

  • So penalized merchants by passing legislation to restrict trade.

  • Vast majority of Polish people remained serfs on noble lands.



First Partition 1772

  • Catherine the Great (Russia)

  • Secured election of her former lover, Stanislas Poniatowski, as king of Poland in 1763

  • Prussians under Frederick the Great

  • Wanted to prevent Russians from taking control of Poland

  • Arranged first partition in 1772.

  • Division

  • Prussia got West Prussia uniting Prussian-ruled East Prussia with Brandenburg.

  • Consolidated Hohenzolern domains.

  • Russia got large part of Byelorussia (White Russia)

  • Austrians took province of Galicia.

Second Partition 1793

  • Russia got most of Lithuania and western Ukraine

  • Prussia took area around seaport of Danzig

Third Partition 1794

  • Polish national revolt broke out led by Thaddeus Kosciuszko

  • In response, Prussia, Austria, Russia carried out Third Partition.

  • Poland ceased to exist as independent state

  • Division

  • Prussia took area around Warsaw

  • Austria gained Krakow region.

  • Russians took what remained of Lithuania and the Ukraine.

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