Administrative division of Polish–Lithuanian territories after partitions

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This article covers the changing administration of the territories of former territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth acquired after three partitions of Poland in the late 18th century by the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Russian Empire in the period 1772-1918. These changes were further complicated by the changes within those states and periodic recreations of some form of Polish state itself.

It does not cover the administrative divisions of two main Polish states of the 19th century - administrative division of Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1815) and administrative division of Congress Poland (1815–1918). For the administrative division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth before its final third partition, see administrative division of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For administrative divisions of the states that partitioned Poland, covering their entire administrative division, see:

Austrian partition[edit]

Territorial changes of Galicia, 1772-1918

The Austrian Empire (known from second half of the 19th century as the Austro-Hungarian Empire) acquired Polish territories in the First (1772) and Third (1795) partitions of Poland divided the former territories of the Commonwealth it obtained into:

Two important and major cities of the Austrian partition were Kraków (Cracow) and Lwów (Lviv).

In the first partition, Austria had received the largest share of formerly Polish population, and second largest land share (83,000 km² and over 2.65 million people). Austria had not participated in the second partition, and in the third, it had received 47,000 km² with 1.2 million people. Overall, Austria had gained about 18 percent of the former Commonwealth territory (130,000 km²) and about 32 percent of the population (3.85 million people).[1] From the geographical perspective, much of the Austrian partition corresponded to the Galicia region.

Prussian partition[edit]

Growth of Prussia. Yellow territories are the ones gained during partitions of Poland
German Empire (1871-1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia (known from second half of the 19th century as German Empire) acquired Polish territories in all three partitions and divided the former territories of the Commonwealth it obtained into:

In the first partition, Prussia has received 36,000 km² and about 0.6 million people. In the second partition, Prussia had received 58,000 km² and about 1 million people. In the third, similar to the second, Prussia gained 55,000 km² and 1 million people. Overall, Prussia had gained about 20 percent of the former Commonwealth territory (149 000 km²) and about 23 percent of the population (2.6 million people).[1] From the geographical perspective, much of the territories annexed by Prussia formed the province of Greater Poland (Wielkopolska).

Russian partition[edit]

Western governorates of the Russian Empire.

The Russian Empire which acquired the territories of the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia in all three Partitions, divided the former territories of the Commonwealth it obtained by creating or enlarging the following guberniyas:

After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Russian Empire created a separate entity called Congress Poland out of some of the above governorates. See administrative division of Congress Poland for details. Territories in the Russian partition which were not incorporated into Congress Poland were known as the Western Krai (combination of Northwestern and Southwestern Krais), and in Poland as the taken lands (Polish: ziemie zabrane).

The Western Krai comprised the following lands of the Commonwealth:

It consisted of 9 guberniyas: six Belarusian and Lithuanian ones that constituted the Northwestern Krai (Vilna Governorate, Kovno Governorate, Grodno Governorate, Minsk Governorate, Mogilev Governorate and Vitebsk Governorate) and three Ukrainian ones that constituted the Southwestern Krai (Volhynia Governorate, Podolia Governorate and Kiev Governorate).

The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was transformed into Courland Governorate (Government of Courland) and grouped with the Baltic governorates also known as Governments of Ostsee.

In the first partition, Russia gained 92,000 km² and 1.3 million people. In the second, 250,000 km² and 1 million people. In the third, 120,000 km² and 1.2 million people. Overall, Russia had gained about 62 percent of the former Commonwealth territory (462,000 km²) and about 45 percent of the population (3.5 million people).[1]

During World War I (1914–1918), much of the territories became occupied by the Central Powers (primarily, German Empire) and became administered by the Ober Ost.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Piotr Stefan Wandycz, The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, Routledge (UK), 2001, ISBN 0-415-25491-4, Google Print, p.133