First Partition of Poland by Prussia, Russia, and Austria

Historical Context Note

Pawel Styrna (University of Illinois at Chicago)
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Having been the largest state in Europe in the sixteenth century, Poland was progressively weakened in the eighteenth when Peter the Great (1672-1725) transformed Russia into a powerful empire and wrested control over the eastern Baltic from Sweden by the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. It then sought to extend its control over eastern Poland. Weakened by its own civil war in 1768, Poland could not resist the manoeuvres of Russian, Austria and Prussia to partition the country between them. This inaugurated a tragic phase of Polish history which would extend through further Russian interventions in 1792 and 1794, down to 11 November 1918 when the Poles were at last given back the political identity that the population craved.

The 1772 partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the first

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Citation: Styrna, Pawel. "First Partition of Poland by Prussia, Russia, and Austria". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 June 2009 [, accessed 16 July 2024.]

4191 First Partition of Poland by Prussia, Russia, and Austria 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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