Poland during the period of the partition

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Division of the lands of Boleslaw III the Wrymouth: Senior district A fiefdom of Poland under the control of the princeps (Western Pomerania) The lands of Ladislaus II (Silesian Duchy) The lands of Boleslaus IV (Mazovian Duchy) The lands of Mieszko III (Greater Poland Duchy) The lands of Henry (Sandomierz Duchy) The widow’s Possession of Salomea (Leczyca Duchy)

Poland in the period 1275-1300

Poland during the reign of Casimir II the Just

The Church in Poland in the 12th-13th centuries

Quarterly schism (or feudal fragmentation) – a period in Polish history lasting from 1138 to the coronation of Wladyslaw Lokietek in 1320. A characteristic feature of this period is the progressive fragmentation of the Polish state into smaller and smaller largely independent territorial authorities. This process was associated with the growth of the Piast dynasty, each member of which, according to Polish customary law, had the right to own part of the paternal estate. Similar processes had occurred in the history of the Piast state before, but usually managed to stop them fairly quickly.

The long period of district dismemberment contributed to the awakening of regional particularisms, the growth of the importance of the magnates and the higher clergy. The lack of a strong decision-making center capable of concentrating the powers of the entire kingdom in its hands, as well as the frequent lack of cooperation between individual princes, contributed to the weakening of the state, and thus not only the inhibition of any expansionist ambitions, but also the loss of much territory. During the period of the district schism, the principalities of Pomerania became independent (the western duchies succumbed to the influence of the Brandenburg margraves, and Danzig was incorporated into the Teutonic state in the 14th century), Brandenburg occupied the Lubusz land, and the Silesian principalities largely fell into the circle of dependence on the Kingdom of Bohemia, later the Czech crown. The de facto district breakup resulted in the transformation of Poland into a loose confederation of principalities, united only by a common head of state and (in theory) foreign policy. After the expiration of the principle of principate, the “confederation” transformed into dozens of completely independent states.

Table of contents

1 Genesis 2 Beginning of the schism 3 Brief characteristics of the period 4 Polish princes and kings during the period of the district schism 5 See also 6 Footnotes

Genesis[edit | edit code].

Under the Law of Succession of Boleslaw III the Wrymouth, the Duchy of Poland was divided into districts. The eldest son, Władysław II the Exile, became the senior ruling authority, receiving Silesia and the Lubusz Land. Mazovia fell to Boleslaw IV the Curly, and western Greater Poland to Mieszko III the Old. After the death of the Wrymouth, the Sandomierz land was separated to Henry Sandomierski, and the Łęczyca-Sieradz land was given to his widow Salome as a bound.

The senior prince was to rule in the senior district, which included the land of Cracow, the land of Sandomierz, the land of Kalisz, the land of Łęczyca-Sieradz and Gdansk Pomerania (a strip of land stretching southward on the axis of Cracow-Kalisz-Gniezno-Gdańsk, which connected the other districts).

Beginning of the split[edit | edit code].

After the death of Salomea, Ladislaus II, known as the Exile, seized her district against the will of his brothers. As a result of the war between him and his brothers, Ladislaus II fled the country in 1146 and went to Germany to ask for help from the emperor. The senior district was taken over by Boleslaw the Curly – thus he became the senior. Boleslaw was unable to maintain the sovereignty of the state and, as a result of an imperial expedition in 1157, had to pay tribute to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. He gave the state as a fief and agreed that after the death of Ladislaus II the Exile, his sons (Boleslaus the Tall, Mieszko the Platypus) could return to his hereditary district – Silesia.

In 1173, after the death of Boleslaw the Curly, his role as senior, prince and lord of Kraków was taken over by Boleslaw the Wry-mouthed’s third son, Mieszko the Old. After four years there was again a struggle for the throne. Mieszko was exiled, and Kraków was controlled by the youngest of the brothers, the heir of Boleslaw III the Wry-mouthed: Casimir II the Just, which meant breaking the principle of seniority (supreme power for the eldest of the family). Casimir, unlike Mieszko, did not try to oppose the magnates and the Church.

After Casimir’s death, his son Leszek the White ruled in Cracow. With his death in Gąsawa in 1227, the central authority (principate) finally disappeared. The fragmentation of Poland’s lands gradually progressed, linked to the strengthening of the separatism of the district principalities. There were no supra-divisional offices or laws. Around the middle of the 13th century, Poland consisted of more than a dozen principalities, without any central authority. The district period was a period of internal struggles between rival princes – for power and for territory.

Brief characteristics of the period[edit | edit code].

During this period, the country faced strong external threats, the split meant military weakness. The pressure of German princes and margraves on the western lands and of Bohemian princes and margraves on Silesia intensified. Western Pomerania and Greater Poland fell into the expansion zone of the Brandenburg March.

The district period was nevertheless a time of intense economic development and significant social change. In agriculture, the three-field system, the use of fallow land as pasture, became widespread. More modern agricultural tools began to be used. Immunities were created – exemptions of estates from tributes and services, which changed the situation of free peasants. Towns were located under German law, and other settlement norms were codified (Polish law, Środa law). Rural self-government and a general set of feudal rules emerged.

District breakdown was characteristic of the transformation of the feudal system. It occurred in different countries at different times due to differences in the course of the processes of social and economic change.

Despite district divisions, the sense of unity in the Polish community was not lost. The concept of Polish nationality – gens polonica – appears in local and foreign authors. This unity was strengthened by the unity of the church organization[1]. The term Regnum Poloniae also functioned during the partition.

Polish princes and kings during the period of the partition[edit | edit code].

Separate articles: Dukes of Cracow and Dukes of the Polish districts.

The below-mentioned princes rose to power in Cracow. From 1138 to 1227, the throne in Cracow was associated with the supreme authority in Poland.


Date of reign

Ladislaus II the Exile 1138-1146

Boleslaw IV the Curly 1146-1173

Mieszko III the Old 1173-1177

Casimir II the Just 1177-1191

Mieszko III the Old 1191

Casimir II the Just 1191-1194

Leszek the White 1194-1195

Mieszko III the Old 1195

Leszek the White 1195-1199

Mieszko III the Old 1199-1202

Ladislaus III the Laskonogi 1202 or 1202-1206

Leszek the White 1202 (1206)-1210

Mieszko IV the Platypus 1210-1211

Leszek the White 1211-1227

Ladislaus III Laskonogi 1227-1228

Henry I the Bearded 1228-1229

Conrad I of Mazovia 1229-1230

Ladislaus III Laskonogi 1230

Conrad I of Masovia 1230-1232

Henry I the Bearded 1232-1238

Henry II the Pious 1238-1241

Bolesław II Rogatka 1241

Conrad I of Masovia 1241-1243

Boleslaw V the Chaste 1243-1279

Leszek the Black 1279-1288

Henry IV the Right 1288-1290

Przemysł II 1290-1291

Ladislaus I the Short 1291

Wenceslas II 1291-1305

Przemysł II 1295-1296[2]

Wenceslas III 1305-1306

Ladislaus I the Short 1306-1333

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