Duchy of Warsaw: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Księstwo Warszawskie
Duchy of Warsaw
Client of the First French Empire

 

 

 

1807–1815
 

 

Coat of arms

Map of Duchy of Warsaw and Republic of Danzig after 1809
Capital Warsaw
Language(s) Polish
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
Duke of Warsaw Frederick Augustus, King of Saxony
Historical era Napoleonic Wars
 - Established 9 June 1807
 - Annexation of Galicia 14 October 1809
 - Collapse January 1815
 - Congress of Vienna 9 June 1815
Area 155,000 km2 (59,846 sq mi)
Population
 -  est. 4,300,000 
     Density 27.7 /km2  (71.9 /sq mi)

The Duchy of Warsaw (Polish: Księstwo Warszawskie; French: Duché de Varsovie; German: Herzogtum Warschau; Russian: Варшавское герцогство, Varshavskoye gertsogstvo) was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna.

The duchy is often referred to, incorrectly, as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

Contents

History

The area of the duchy had already been liberated by a popular uprising that had escalated from anti-conscription rioting in 1806. One of the first tasks for the new government included providing food to the French army fighting the Russians in East Prussia.

The Duchy of Warsaw was officially created by Napoleon Bonaparte, as part of the Treaty of Tilsit with Prussia. Its creation met the support of both local republicans in partitioned Poland, and the large Polish diaspora in France, who openly supported Napoleon as the only man capable of restoring Polish sovereignty after the Partitions of Poland of late 18th century. Although it was created as a satellite state (and was only a duchy, rather than a kingdom), it was commonly hoped and believed that with time the nation would be able to regain its former status, not to mention its former borders.

The newly (re)created state was formally an independent duchy, allied to France, and in a personal union with the Kingdom of Saxony. King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony was compelled by Napoleon to make his new realm a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament (the Sejm). However, the duchy was never allowed to develop as a truly independent state; Frederick Augustus' rule was subordinated to the requirements of the French raison d'état, who largely treated the state as a source of resources. The most important person in the duchy was in fact the French ambassador, based in the duchy's capital, Warsaw. Significantly, the duchy lacked its own diplomatic representation abroad.

In 1809, a short war with Austria started. Although the Battle of Raszyn was won, Austrian troops entered Warsaw, but Duchy and French forces then outflanked their enemy and captured Kraków, Lwów and much of the areas annexed by Austria in the Partitions of Poland. After the Battle of Wagram, the ensuing Treaty of Schönbrunn allowed for a significant expansion of the Duchy's territory southwards with the regaining of once-Polish and Lithuanian lands.

Advertisements

Napoleon's campaign against Russia

Prince Józef Poniatowski Commander in Chief of forces of Duchy of Warsaw, by Juliusz Kossak

Poles expected in 1812 that the duchy would be upgraded to the status of a kingdom and that during Napoleon's march on Russia, it would be joined with the liberated territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Poland's historic partner in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, Napoleon did not want to make a permanent decision that would tie his hands before the anticipated peace settlement with Russia. Nevertheless he proclaimed the attack on Russia as a second Polish war.

That peace was not to be, however. Napoleon's Grande Armée, including a substantial contingent of Polish troops, set out with the intention of bringing the Russian Empire to its knees, but his military ambitions were frustrated by a combination of the Russians and an appalling winter climate; few returned from the march on Moscow. The failed campaign against Russia proved to be a major turning point in Napoleon's fortunes.

After Napoleon's defeat in the east, most of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw was taken by Russia in January 1813 in their advance on France and its German allies. The rest of the duchy fell to Prussia. Although several isolated fortresses held out for more than a year, the existence of the state in anything but name came to an end. Alexander I of Russia created a Provisional Highest Council of the Duchy of Warsaw to govern the area through his generals.

The Congress of Vienna, and the Fourth Partition

Although many European states and ex-rulers were represented at the so-called Congress of Vienna in 1815, the decision-making was largely in the hands of the major powers. It was perhaps inevitable, therefore, that both Prussia and Russia would effectively partition Poland between them; Austria was to more-or-less retain its gains of the First Partition of 1772.

Russia demanded to gain all territories of Duchy of Warsaw. It kept all its gains from the three previous partitions, together with Białystok and the surrounding territory that it had obtained in 1807. Its demands for the whole Duchy of Warsaw were denied by other European powers.

Prussia regained territory it had first gained in the First Partition, but had had to give up to the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807. It also regained as the "Grand Duchy of Posen" (i.e. Poznań) some of the territory it had conquered in the Second Partition, and had again had to give up in 1807. This territory formed an area approximately 29,000 km² in size.

The city of Kraków and some surrounding territory, previously part of the Duchy of Warsaw, were established as a semi-independent Free City of Kraków, under the "protection" of its three powerful neighbours. The city's territory measured some 1164 km², and had a population of about 88,000 people. The city was eventually annexed by Austria in 1846.

Finally, the bulk of the former Duchy of Warsaw, measuring some 128,000 km in area, was re-established as what is commonly referred to as the "Congress Kingdom" of Poland, in personal union with the Russian Empire. De facto a Russian puppet state it maintained its separate status only until 1831, when it was effectively annexed to the Russian Empire.

Legacy

Superficially, the Duchy of Warsaw was just one of various states set up during Napoleon's dominance over the European continent, lasting only a few years and passing with his fall. However, its establishment a little over a decade after the Second and Third Partitions had appeared to wipe Poland off the map meant that Poles had their hopes rekindled of a resurrected Polish state. Even with Napoleon's defeat a Polish state continued in some form until the increasingly autocratic Russian state eliminated Poland once again as a separate entity. Altogether, this meant that an identifiable Polish state was in existence for at least a quarter of a century.

At the 200th anniversary of creation of the Polish state, numerous commemorative events dedicated to that event were held in Polish capital of Warsaw. In addition the Polish ministry of defense asked the honor of holding a joint parade of Polish and French soldiers to which President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed[1].

Government

Administrative Divisions

Administrative division of Duchy of Warsaw, 1810-1815

Administrative division of Duchy of Warsaw was based on departments. Headed by a prefect, it was a solution adopted based on the French model, as entire Duchy was in fact created by Napoleon and based on French ideas, although departaments were divided into Polish powiats (counties).

There were 6 initial departments, after 1809 (after Napolean defeats the Austrians and the Treaty of Schönbrunn) increased to 10 (as the Duchy territory increased). Each department was named after their capital city.

Map of the Duchy of Warsaw 1807-1809

In January 1807:

The above 6 departments were divided into 60 powiats.

Map of the Duchy of Warsaw 1809-1815

Added in 1809:

Napoleon conferring the Constitution in 1807

Military and Economic Demands

The duchy's armed forces were completely under French control via its war minister, Prince Józef Poniatowski, who was also a Marshal of France. In fact, the duchy was heavily militarized, bordered as it was by Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and Russia, and it was to be a significant source for troops in various campaigns of Napoleon.

The standing army was of a considerable size when compared to the duchy's number of inhabitants. Initially consisting of 45,000 of regular soldiers (made up of both cavalry and infantry), its numbers were to rise to over 100,000 in 1810, and by the time of Napoleon's campaign in Russia in 1812, its army totaled almost 200,000 troops (out of a total population of some 4.3 million people).

The heavy drain on its resources by forced military recruitment, combined with a drop in exports of grain, caused significant problems for the duchy's economy. To make matters worse, in 1808 the French Empire imposed on the duchy an agreement at Bayonne to buy from France the debts owed to it by Prussia. The debt, amounting to more than 43 million francs in gold, was bought at a discounted rate of 21 million francs. However, although the duchy made its payments in installments to France over a four-year period, Prussia failed to pay it, causing the Polish economy to suffer heavily. Indeed, to this day the phrase "sum of Bayonne" is a synonym in Polish for a huge amount of money. All these problems resulted in both inflation and over-taxation.

To counter the threat of bankruptcy, the authorities intensified the development and modernisation of agriculture. Also, a protectionist policy was introduced to protect industry.

Geography and demographics

According to the Treaties of Tilsit, the area of the duchy covered roughly the areas of the 2nd and 3rd Prussian partitions, with the exception of Danzig (Gdańsk), which was made into the Free City of Danzig under joint French and Saxon "protection", and the district around Białystok, which was given to Russia. The Prussian territory was made up of territory from the former Prussian provinces of New East Prussia, Southern Prussia, New Silesia, and West Prussia. In addition, the new state was given the area along the Noteć river and the Land of Chełmno.

Altogether, the duchy had an initial area of around 104,000 km², with a population of approximately 2,600,000. The bulk of its inhabitants were Poles.

Following the annexation in 1809 of Austrian Galicia and the areas of Zamość and Kraków, the duchy's area was increased significantly, to around 155,000 km², and the population was also substantially increased, to roughly 4,300,000.

Grand Duchy of Warsaw

The Duchy of Warsaw is commonly referred to today as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. However, the duchy was not referred to as such in French, which was both the diplomatic language of the time, and of course the language of the French Empire which created the state.

Article XV of the Treaty of Tilsit, which created the duchy, the Convention which transferred it to Saxony, and Article 1 of the Act of the Congress of Vienna, which effectively abolished it, all refer to it in French as the "Duché de Varsovie".

Similarly, the duchy's constitution refers to it in German as Herzogtum Warschau, and its coins bore the Latin inscription FRID·AVG·REX SAX·DVX VARSOV· (Fridericus Augustus, Rex Saxoniæ, Dux Varsoviæ; "Frederick Augustus, King of Saxony, Duke of Warsaw).

See also

References

External links

Further reading


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message