Kingdom of Poland (congressional)

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This article is about the state from 1815 to 1918. See also Kingdom of Poland.

Kingdom of Poland


Flag of the Kingdom of Poland

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland

Hymn: National song for the prosperity of the king


Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland

Official language


Capital city


Political system

constitutional monarchy

Head of state

King Nicholas I

Dependent on

Russian Empire

On his behalf

Governor Ivan Paskevich

Area – total

128,500 km²

Population (1815) – total – population density – nations and ethnic groups

3,200,00024.9 persons/km²Polans (dominant), Jews, Germans and others



Created by the final act of the Congress of Vienna

From the lands of the Duchy of Warsaw16 June 1815


into the Russian Empire as an autonomous region26 February 1832

Dominant religion

Roman Catholic religion recommended to the special care of the government[1].

Multimedia in Wikimedia Commons

Keyword in Wikislovnik

Kingdom of Poland Царство Польское


Flag of the Kingdom of Poland

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland

Hymn: National song for the prosperity of the king


Organic Statute for the Kingdom of Poland

Official language

Polish, Russian (since 1867)

Capital city


Dependent on

Russian Empire

Head of territory

Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Russian SFRY Lev Kamenev

On his behalf

Governor[a](on behalf of the Emperor of Russia) Pavel Yengalichev (last)[b].

Head of the government

Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars Vladimir Lenin[c].

Area – total

128,500 km²

Population (1897) – total – population density – nations and ethnic groups

9,402 25373.2 persons/km²Polans (75%),Jews (13.5%),Germans (4.3%)


zloty, ruble


Into the Russian Empire as an autonomous region26 February 1832

Cession of territory on the basis of the Treaty of Brest

Russia to the Central Powers3 March 1918

Dominant religion


Time zone

UTC +1

{State infobox}} Obsolete fields: “members” and “members_text”.

Creator of the Congress Kingdom, Emperor of Russia and King of Poland Alexander I Romanov, portrait by Alexander Molinari, 1813.

Coronation of Empress and Queen Alexandra by Nicholas I at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on May 24, 1829, painting attributed to Antoni Brodowski

See Wikiresources text The division of the Kingdom of Poland into provinces, districts and counties by the Royal Governor on January 16, 1816 made.

Administrative division of the Congress Kingdom in 1830

Lands of the Russian partition in 1821: The Kingdom of Poland (Congress Kingdom) and the partitioned lands against the background of the borders of the Republic of 1772

Physical and administrative map of the Kingdom of Poland, 1815-1830

General map of the Kingdom of Poland, 1821

The Kingdom of Poland and the western gubernias of Russia (1902)

Banner of the Polish army of the Kingdom of Poland

The Kingdom of Poland (Russian: Царство Польское, Tsarstwo Polskoye), the so-called Congress Kingdom, colloquially Kongresowka – a state created by a decision of the Congress of Vienna, united by a personal union with the Russian Empire from 1815 to 1832, based on the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland (1815)[2]. From 1832 to 1917, the union of the Kingdom of Poland with the Russian Empire was regulated by the Organic Statute (1832), although its provisions never entered into force, due to the “state of siege” in effect from 1833 to 1917.

It was formally created by the Russian-Austrian-Prussian treaty of May 3, 1815, in which the powers divided the lands of the Duchy of Warsaw. Article V of this treaty proclaimed that the lands of the Duchy of Warsaw under Russian control were merged with Russia indispensably by its constitution and placed in the hands of the Most Excellent Emperor of All-Russia for eternity. The partition treaty later became part of the final act of the provisions of the Vienna Congress of June 9, 1815.

This leads modern historiography to consider its provisions as a de facto cession of the territory of the occupied Duchy of Warsaw, which Polish historians Stefan Kieniewicz and Wladyslaw Zajewski call the Fourth Partition of Poland,[3][4] with which Mieczyslaw Zywczynski disagrees, stating, that the term “partition” referred to the entire Polish state within the borders of 1772[5]; moreover, the term Fourth Partition of Poland is most often referred to the loss of sovereignty in 1939 after the aggression against Poland coordinated between the Third Reich and the USSR.

Between 1815 and 1832, the kingdom had its own constitution, Sejm, army, coinage and education headed by the Royal University of Warsaw, and official activities were conducted in Polish. Poland was linked to Russia – the person of the monarch[d] (every emperor of Russia was at the same time the king of Poland and appeared in the kingdom under such a title) and foreign policy, which belonged to the royal prerogatives. The crown of the kingdom was the Polish imperial crown. As a result of the November Uprising, King Nicholas I Romanov abolished the Kingdom’s constitution on February 26, 1832, replacing it with the Organic Statute, which abolished the Diet and the independent army, strengthening the Kingdom’s connection with the Empire while maintaining administrative autonomy, and also restored the office of governor exercising civil and military power[6][7].

Later, there was a gradual reduction in the autonomy of the Kingdom of Poland, especially after the suppression of the November Uprising in 1831 and the January Uprising in 1864 until the formal abolition of the territory’s political and administrative autonomy in 1867. However, it still retained many legal and political distinctions (including the civil code, the village system, the status of the Jewish population, and the status of the Polish language) that distinguished the Kingdom of Poland from the Russian Empire[8].

Between 1832 and 1918, the Kingdom of Poland was more firmly integrated into the Russian Empire (although the Russian emperors bore the title of King of Poland and were represented by their governors). It had gradually limited and then abolished autonomy; after its abolition in 1874, the name Vistula Country (Russian: Привислинский край) began to be used semi-officially to describe the kingdom’s lands, although the name “Kingdom of Poland” continued to function. In 1912 the Chełm Governorate was detached[9].

In the summer of 1915, its territory came under German and Austro-Hungarian occupation, but until 1917 de jure it was part of the Russian Empire. After the Provisional Government seized power in Russia, it theoretically became part of the Russian Republic and then, on November 7, 1917, the Russian Federative Soviet Socialist Republic. It relinquished its claim to the territory of the former Kingdom under Article 3 of the Treaty of Brest.

Table of contents

1 Organization of the state

1.1 Constitution 1.2 Constitution

2 Territory and population

2.1 Cities 2.2 Administrative division of the Kingdom of Poland over the years 2.3 Religious denominations

3 Economy 4 Science and education 5 Culture 6 Military

7 History

7.1 Early years 7.2 November Uprising 7.3 Limitation of autonomy 7.4 Posevastopol thaw 7.5 January Uprising 7.6 Abolition of autonomy

7.7 World War I

7.7.1 Evacuation 7.7.2 Occupation 7.7.3 Interregnum 7.7.4 Liquidation of affairs 7.7.5 Cession

8 Status of the Kingdom of Poland 9 See also 10 Notes 11 Footnotes 12 Bibliography 13 External links

Organization of the state[edit | edit code].

See also category: Politics of the Congress Kingdom.

Constitution[edit | edit code].

Separate article: Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland.

On November 27, 1815, the Kingdom was octrouled by the Emperor of Russia with a constitution, drafted by a team headed by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, which was a compilation of the Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw (1807) and the Constitution of May 3 (1791). It maintained the privileged position of the nobility both in the authorities (Sejm, offices, judiciary) and in the economy. It guaranteed private property and freedom of speech and printing, personal freedom, freedom of religion and belief. Under the Constitution, the Kingdom of Poland was guaranteed: its own territory, authorities, monetary and educational system. The constitution is considered quite liberal at the time, but its principles were disregarded by the Russians over time.

The aristocratic strata and the majority of Polish society enthusiastically supported the establishment of the Congress Kingdom in 1815 and treated this moment as the restoration of independence. However, in the face of constitutional violations by the Russian emperors, dissatisfaction grew, leading to the outbreak of the November Uprising. The uprising was formally aimed at defending the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland. On January 25, 1831, the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland dethroned Nicholas I as King of Poland.

Separate article: Resolution of the Sejm on the dethronement of Nicholas I.

After the defeat of the uprising, Tsar Nicholas I suspended the provisions of the Constitution and introduced the Organic Statute for the Kingdom of Poland. After the fall of the uprising, the Russian Empire’s title to the Kingdom of Poland was derived by the Tsar from the law of conquest, not from the provisions of the Congress of Vienna introducing a form of personal union of the Kingdom of Poland with the Russian Empire subject to constitutional rule.

Constitution[edit | edit code].

Kingdom of Poland was to be a constitutional monarchy.

It was the beginning of a perpetual personal union of the Kingdom of Poland with the Russian Empire (on the model of earlier unions: the Polish-Lithuanian and Polish-Saxon) – each successive Russian emperor was to be the Polish king under a constitution binding on him. The king’s extensive prerogatives included foreign policy, exclusive legislative initiative, supremacy over the armed forces, appointment of senior officials, veto power over Sejm resolutions, etc. A governor, who was permanently present in the kingdom, acted on his behalf; the first governor was General Vasily Lanskoy in 1815, the same year the king appointed General Jozef Zajączek as governor; after his death in 1826, the king did not appoint another governor and the governor’s powers were transferred to the Administrative Council. However, after the suppression of the November Uprising (1830-1831), Tsar (dethroned King) Nicholas I Romanov appointed a new governor, who became Gen. Ivan Paskevich.

Separate articles: Governor (Kingdom of Poland), Sejm (Kingdom of Poland), Sejm Court (Kingdom of Poland), Sejm Resolution on dethroning Nicholas I, Administrative Council and Supreme Audit Office.

See also category: Officials of the Congress Kingdom.

Territory and population[edit | edit code].

Administrative division of the Kingdom of Poland in 1907

Kingdom of Poland was formed on the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw, from which the western part of Greater Poland (Posen) and Bydgoszcz were detached, from which the Grand Duchy of Posen was formed, incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia, and without the Chelmno Land with Torun, Chelmno and Brodnica, incorporated directly into the Kwidzyn Regency in West Prussia. In addition, the Free City of Krakow was created from the left-bank area of Krakow, which was to be controlled by all three partitioners, while the Austrian Empire seized the right-bank district of Wieliczka and Podgórze. Warsaw Prince Frederick August I, hitherto monarch of the Duchy of Warsaw, was forced to relinquish all rights to the Kingdom of Poland and exempt the army from its oath.

The Kingdom of Poland covered a territory of 128,500 square kilometers with a population of 3.2 million (1815),[10] in which eight provinces were established in 1816.

Separate articles: administrative division of the Kingdom of Poland and Illustrated Geographical Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland.

According to the Russian census of 1897, the population of the current Polish lands belonging to the Russian Empire, i.e. the lands of the Kingdom of Poland with the Bialystok district, but without part of the Suwałki gubernia (the first statistic), and the population of the then Kingdom of Poland (the last two columns) were as follows:

Nationalities (1897)

Lands of the Russian Empire, now part of Poland[11].

Territory of the Kingdom of Poland[12]



percentage of population


percentage share in population

Poles 6,962,100 75.2% 6,755,503 72.0%

Jews 1,310,300 14.2% 1,267,194 13.5%

Germans 392 100 4.2% 407 274 4.3%

Ukrainians 360,300 3.9% 335,337 3.5%

Russians 112,200 1.2% 267,160 2.8%

Belarusians 45 200 0.5% 29 347 0.3%

Lithuanians 9300 0.1% 305 567 3.2%

Others 61,800 0.7% 34,871 0.4%

Total 9,253,300 100.0% 9,402,253 100.0%

Population growth of the Kingdom of Poland (numbers are given in thousands)

Cities[edit | edit code].

The largest cities of the Kingdom of Poland in 1897 according to census data:






683 692




314 020




50 385




45 045




31 182




29 896




26 966




26 765




26 234




26 093




24 418




23 757




23 178




22 907




22 648


Administrative division of the Kingdom of Poland over the years[edit | edit code].




















krakowska (from 1841 kielecka)

























Religious denominations[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: The administrative division of the Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Poland (1815-1918) and The suppression of monasteries in the Russian partition.

Catholics accounted for 84% of the population of the Kingdom of Poland in 1827, followers of the Greek rite 1.9%, Protestants 4.4% and Jews 9.1%[13].

In 1871, the area of the Kingdom of Poland had a population of 6,026,421, of which 4,596,956 (76.28%) were Catholics of the Latin rite and 327,845 (5.44%) were Protestants[14].

Reformed evangelicals (Calvinists) living in the Kingdom initially belonged to three different ecclesiastical provinces dating back to the First Republic: the parishes in Zychlin and Wola Tłumakowa, were subject to the Unity of Greater Poland; 5 parishes belonged to the Unity of Lesser Poland, while the parish in Sereja belonged to the Unity of Lithuania. The parishes of Warsaw and Zelow functioned separately. In 1817 an Evangelical-Reformed consistory was established in Warsaw, to which all parishes except those in Malopolska were subordinate, and which was headed by the energetic Rev. Karol Bogumił Diehl. It is estimated that the number of Reformed evangelicals then reached about 2,500 believers[15]. In 1829-1849 they were part of the General Consistory of Evangelical Denominations. After its liquidation by a decree of Tsar-King Nicholas I, the Evangelical-Reformed Synod, popularly known as the Warsaw Unity, was established, comprising five parishes: in Warsaw, Serejach, Sielc, Zelow and Zychlin, with about 4,500 believers. In time, other parishes were established in Kucow (1850), Lublin and Starowiczna (1852), Zyrardow (1874), Suwalki (1877), Nowosolna (1881) and Lodz (1904). According to the 1897 census, there were 5503 Reformed evangelicals living in the Kingdom. The most numerous parishes were those in Warsaw and Zelow. The church authorities were dominated by Poles and Polish was the liturgical language, although services were held in Polish, German and French. According to the 1897 census, Czechs (48%) outnumbered Germans (27%) and Poles were said to make up only 21% of the faithful[16].

Economy[edit | edit code].

Separate article: Customs war between the Kingdom of Poland and the Kingdom of Prussia.

Seal of Treasury Minister Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki

The Kingdom of Poland existed in its initial form for 15 years. During this period, significant economic development took place, especially concerning the emerging metallurgical, mining and textile industries. The metallurgical industry was mainly iron and zinc metallurgy, which developed in the area of Dabrowa Gornicza and Starachowice. Coal, zinc and copper mining were concentrated in the Dąbrowa Basin. The textile industry included cloth and cotton manufactories in Lodz and hundreds of cloth workshops located in Kalisz, Sieradz and Warsaw (the Kalisz-Mazovian industrial district). The development of this field of production was possible mainly thanks to exports to Russian markets, facilitated by low, preferential customs duties on the border with Russia. Foreign exports increased threefold in the Kingdom, and some Polish products gained recognition on world markets. The father of this industrialization of the Kingdom of Poland was the Treasury Minister of the Administrative Council, Prince Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki.

Cities were developing, mainly Warsaw, Kalisz, Lublin and Plock[17]. Warsaw was put in urban order, and the great reconstruction of Kalisz began[18]. New cities related to the growing industry around Lodz were created. Communication investments in the Kingdom developed significantly, including the construction of a network of beaten roads, the calming of rivers, and the construction of the Augustow Canal began. The development of agricultural production was worse, mainly due to the maintenance of feudal serfdom structures in the countryside. The ruling nobility did not intend to carry out the enfranchisement of peasants, which was carried out in Western Europe to the benefit of agricultural prosperity.

Science and education[edit | edit code].

See also category: Science and education of the Congress Kingdom.

Elementary and vocational education was greatly expanded, with the University of Warsaw established in 1816 and the Polytechnic Institute in Warsaw in 1820. In 1816, the Agronomic Institute, the first agricultural college in Poland and one of the first in Europe, was founded in Marymont; the organizer and first director of the institute was Jerzy Beniamin Flatt. The University of Vilnius and the Krzemieniec Lyceum[e] flourished (outside the Kingdom, but in cooperation with its scientific centers), thanks to the activity of the Superintendent of the Vilnius District, who was Prince Adam Czartoryski.

After the suppression of the November Uprising, the University of Warsaw was closed, and the Warsaw Society of the Friends of Science was liquidated. In 1839 the Warsaw Scientific District was created, directly subordinated to the Ministry of Education in St. Petersburg. The Education Acts of 1833 and 1840 were aimed at lowering the level of schools in the Kingdom of Poland and unifying Polish government secondary education with the school system in the Russian Empire[19].

See also Russification in the Polish lands.

Culture[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Warsaw Government Theaters and the Secret Press 1861-1864.

In literature and art, Enlightenment and Classical currents were supplanted by the new ideas of Romanticism, which propagated rebellion against feudal-bourgeois civilization and celebrated the cult of the spirit and individual freedom. In the concrete realities of the Kingdom of Poland, Romanticism fostered and stimulated revolutionary and independence activities.

Military[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Polish Army of the Congress Kingdom, the Warsaw Military District (Russian) and the Government War Commission.

History[edit | edit code]

Early years[edit | edit code].

Separate article: Independence organizations in the Polish lands 1815-1830.

At the beginning of the 19th century in the Kingdom of Poland, as well as in the partitioned lands, Galicia and Poznañ, a new social formation emerged by the nobility: the intelligentsia. It soon became the cultural elite of society. In its circles, secret youth unions were formed, especially student unions in university towns.

The elite was initially favorably disposed to the king, who was the Russian Emperor, Alexander I from 1815-1825, and Nicholas I Romanov from 1829. It was only at the end of Alexander’s reign and under Nicholas that a change was felt in the court’s relations with Poland. In the army, Grand Duke Constantine, brother of Alexander I, was the commander-in-chief. Although Konstantin had polonized to a considerable degree, especially after marrying the Polish woman Joanna Grudzinska, he was hated for the harsh Prussian discipline he had instituted in the Polish army. Wysocki’s conspiracy at the School of Infantry Cadets[20] was formed against him in 1828.

The main reason for the outbreak of the November Uprising was the Russian emperors’ failure to abide by the 1815 Constitution. The Tsar’s governor, Gen. Jozef Zajączek, abolished freedom of the press and introduced preventive censorship on June 15, 1819. On May 10, 1820, freedom of assembly was suspended and Freemasonry was banned. In 1822, Walerian Lukasinski, leader of the National Freemasonry, was convicted[21]. In 1823, the Russians broke up the network of secret societies in the partitioned provinces. Nikolai Novosiltsov began persecuting members of the Philomath and Philaret societies. On February 13, 1825, the Emperor, with an amendment to the Constitution, abolished the openness of parliamentary sessions.

At the same time, the persecution of Polish independence organizations intensified. In 1827 there were arrests of members of the Patriotic Society. The Sejm court, by passing mild sentences on the suspects and clearing them of the charge of treason, indirectly confirmed that they were acting in good faith to restore compliance with the provisions of the 1815 Constitution[22].

Another reason for the dissatisfaction of part of Polish public opinion was the tsar’s delay of the so-called “internal enlargement. Russia had pledged in the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna to enlarge the Kingdom of Poland by unspecified territory “as [the tsar] sees fit.”[23] A large part of the Polish political elite expected the tsar to fulfill this commitment by annexing to the Kingdom some or all of the territory of the partitioned provinces, that is, the lands lost to Russia between 1772 and 1807[24].

In July and August 1830, victorious revolutions broke out in France and Belgium, which led to the undermining of the Holy Alliance system.

On November 24, the National Congress in Brussels dethroned the King of the Netherlands and declared the de facto independence of Belgium. On November 29, an uprising broke out in Warsaw[25].

November Uprising[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Kingdom of Poland (1830-1831) and November Uprising.

See Wikiresources for text Manifesto of both chambers of the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland on the uprising of the Polish nation (December 20, 1830)

The Sejm during the November Uprising dethroned Nicholas I on January 25, 1831, even though the Constitution of 1815, octrouled by Alexander I, recognized the Kingdom’s union with Russia as perpetual and indissoluble. In February 1831, Russian troops led by Field Marshal Ivan Dybich entered the Kingdom’s territory. The Polish army fought several successful battles, but in the face of the impossibility of breaking the Russian main forces, it was pushed into a deep defensive position. The uprising began to die out after Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich captured Warsaw on September 8, 1831. On October 21, the Zamosc fortress, the insurgents’ last point of resistance, capitulated. After the fall of the November Uprising, the Romanovs retained the title of King of Poland. On the basis of the agreement concluded in 1833 at Münchengrätz, the three partitioners guaranteed each other the inviolability of their possessions on Polish territory, cooperation in tracking down independence conspiracies and the surrender of fugitives[26].

Limitation of autonomy[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Organic Statute for the Kingdom of Poland and Martial Law in the Kingdom of Poland (1833-1856).

After the November Uprising, the autonomy of the Kingdom of Poland was significantly restricted. In 1832, the so-called Organic Statute for the Kingdom of Poland was introduced to replace the suspended constitution for the duration of martial law. The constitutional union linking the Kingdom with the Empire was renamed the real union. The Sejm, the Polish Army and a separate coronation in Warsaw were abolished[26].

Ivan Paskevich became the governor of the Kingdom, and was given the title of Prince of Warsaw. Participants in the uprising who emigrated were sentenced to death in absentia. Confiscations of property were also carried out en masse, people were conscripted for 25 years, and resettlements were ordered. More sentences of exile and katorga multiplied. This period is known as the “Paskevich night.”

The lands of the Kingdom were occupied by a hundred thousand-strong Russian army, and in 1833 martial law was imposed for many years, which was lifted only after Russia’s defeat at Sevastopol during the Crimean War. In addition, the Congress Kingdom had to pay a contribution of 22 million rubles (the Kingdom’s budget did not exceed 10 million). In 1834, a customs border was introduced between the Kingdom and the Russian Empire. Since the main market for Polish goods was Russia, this upset the economy of the Congress Kingdom and caused the withdrawal of considerable capital and the transfer of unprofitable production under these conditions to Russia. In 1837, the division of the Kingdom of Poland into provinces was abolished, with the introduction of gubernias in their place, the Russian penal code was introduced and Polish higher education was abolished. Russification was intensified.

Posevastopol thaw[edit | edit code].

The new Russian Tsar Alexander II, after Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War, introduced some changes in the Kingdom of Poland as well, as part of the so-called “Posevastopol Thaw” in Russia: he lifted the martial law that had been in effect since the fall of the November Uprising, declared an amnesty, eased censorship, and opened Polish schools, including the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Medicine and Surgery. Poles were again allowed to hold office. The Agricultural Society was founded, bringing together most of the landed gentry of the Kingdom. It was headed by Count Andrzej Artur Zamoyski. During meetings, economic problems were officially discussed, and unofficially the Society acted as an illegal parliament[27]. Poles living in Silesia, mainly in the Prudnik area, began sending their children to schools in the Kingdom of Poland due to Germanization practices, so that they could learn Polish in peace[28].

The Poles pinned great hopes on regaining full autonomy, such as in the years 1815-1830; however, the tsar, unwilling to make such far-reaching promises, said to those greeting him during his visit to Warsaw in 1856: no dreams, gentlemen, no dreams.

Despite this, some increase in the scope of autonomy was achieved: Aleksander Wielopolski, director of the Commission of Religion and Public Enlightenment in the government of the Kingdom of Poland, curbed the arbitrariness of tsarist officials by replacing them with Poles; in 1862 he established a Central School in Warsaw on the basis of the Medical and Surgical Academy and restored the Council of State; and in June 1862 he became head of the newly established Civil Government of the Kingdom of Poland[29][30].

In February and April 1861, bloody riots took place in Warsaw, after which the Russian authorities imposed martial law throughout the country in October 1861. It was lifted in December 1862[31].

January Uprising[edit | edit code].

Separate article: January Uprising.

Abolition of autonomy[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Revolution of 1905 in the Kingdom of Poland and Martial Law in the Kingdom of Poland (1905).

After the January Uprising, the Council of State[32] and the Administrative Council[33] were abolished, replaced by the Arrangement Committee for the Kingdom of Poland, which operated from 1864 to 1871. In 1868, the governor was subordinated, instead of the emperor himself as before, to the relevant ministries in St. Petersburg, which meant a reduction in the importance of his office, henceforth called the chief executive[34]. In 1874, after the death of Fyodor Berg, the position of governor was not filled again, and most of his powers were transferred to the new office of the Warsaw governor-general[35]. Over time, the Kingdom itself also came to be referred to as the Vistula Land (Russian: Привислинский край, Priwislinskij kraj). In 1866, 10 governorates of the Kingdom of Poland were incorporated directly into the Russian Empire[footnote needed], and in 1867 the use of the Polish language in administration and education was banned. Towns that actively supported the uprising were stripped of their municipal rights as a repressive measure, causing their decline.

After the introduction of peasant self-governments, as a result of a campaign carried out by National Democracy from January to March 1905 to submit applications for the introduction of the Polish language in municipalities, the Russian authorities were forced in June 1905 to allow Polish as an official language at the municipal level[36]. Numerous Polish social organizations, such as nests of the Polish Gymnastic Society “Sokol”[37], were also established during this period. After the bloody suppression of demonstrations during the 1905 Revolution, Warsaw Governor General Georgy Sklon imposed martial law on November 10, 1905.

In 1912, Congressional Republic was truncated, directly annexing the newly created Chełm Governorate to Russia. Despite the arrangement of the administration along the lines prevailing in the rest of the empire (in 1915 the only remnant of the Kingdom’s separateness was the office of the Procurator General’s Office), the Kingdom of Poland was never abolished by the Russians (but this was of little consequence).

World War I[edit | edit code].

Evacuation[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Eastern Front (World War I), Demolition of Kalisz and Biezhenia.

Demolition of Kalisz (1914)

During World War I (1914-1918), as a result of the offensive of the Central Powers, carried out from May to August 1915, the entire territory of the Kingdom of Poland came under the occupation of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Administration, industry, financial institutions with their resources and universities[f] were evacuated. A large part of these institutions moved with their archives around different parts of Russia for a long time, continuing their formal and legal, but de facto only symbolic, activities. By early 1918 at the latest, most of them were dissolved by Bolshevik decrees. There was also a forced evacuation of the population in 1915. In order to maintain order on the territory of the Kingdom, civic committees organized citizen guards and courts. In Russia, on the other hand, the Central Civic Committee of the Polish Kingdom was established to provide assistance to exiles and represent the interests of Poles.

Occupation[edit | edit code].

The borders of the German and Austrian occupations and the Ober-Ost

The German General Government of Warsaw and the Austro-Hungarian General Government of Lublin were established as occupation authorities over most of the territory of the Kingdom of Poland. The administration of the Suwałki Governorate territories belonged to the Ober-Ost, while the Bug River districts were part of the army’s operational area. The occupation authorities established their own courts, abolishing the civil courts organized after the evacuation of the Russian authorities. On September 12, 1915, the Warsaw Governor General dissolved the Central Civic Committee. In order to facilitate their occupation, the occupation authorities established local self-government. Meanwhile, on November 15, 1915, they allowed the opening of the University of Warsaw and the Warsaw Polytechnic. The occupation authorities also allowed the Central Welfare Council and the Polish Educational Society.

In the autumn of 1916, the occupiers began the creation of a dependent Polish state within the Kingdom of Poland. This was to make it possible to field a Polish army to fight against the Entente, in a situation where the mobilization resources of the Central Powers were being depleted in the third year of the war. As a result of Germany’s defeat on the Western Front and the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the occupation ended in November 1918, and the Kingdom of Poland, established by the occupiers, gave rise to an independent Polish state.

Interregnum[edit | edit code].

On March 15, 1917, Russian Emperor Nicholas II abdicated on behalf of himself and his son. The following day there was a conditional refusal of Grand Duke Michael to accept the crown. The legal fiction of the monarchy (including the Russian-Polish throne) existed until September 14, 1917, when the Provisional Government of Russia proclaimed a republic.

Abolition of affairs[edit | edit code].

Since March 28, 1917, the Liquidation Commission for the affairs of the Kingdom of Poland existed under the Russian government, established to prepare property settlements between Poland and Russia, and to dissolve the administrative apparatus of the Kingdom, evacuated from its territory. Its establishment was linked to the Provisional Government’s manifesto on Polish independence, issued on March 17/30, 1917.[38]

Cession[edit | edit code].

The legal basis for the Central Powers’ disposition of territories captured from Russia was Article 3 of the peace treaty between the Central Powers and the Bolshevik government of Russia, concluded at Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918, according to which Germany and Austria-Hungary were to determine the fate of these territories in consultation with their populations. The Armistice of Compiègne (1918) and the peace treaties (Treaty of Versailles, Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, etc.) recognized the gains made by the Central Powers in the Peace of Brest as null and void, and ordered them to respect the independence of all territories that were part of the former Russian Empire on August 1, 1914, as permanent and inalienable.

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