POLAND-LITHUANIA (DUAL KINGDOM)
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.
POLAND-LITHUANIA AS A MAJOR POWER (16th and 17th c.)
Russia going through Time of Troubles (1584-1613)
Poles had captured Moscow for a few years (until 1613)
Protestants and Jews persecuted.
Large area between Russia and Germany
No natural, protective boundaries
Competition between monarchy and nobility
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
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.
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
Ethnic and religious differences
Lithuania, Duchy of Prussia, Ukraine
No national language
Very small middle class
Townspeople were largely Germans and 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.
PARTITION OF POLAND
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.
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
Prussia took area around Warsaw
Austria gained Krakow region.
Russians took what remained of Lithuania and the Ukraine.