Partitions of Poland – Russia Moves Westwards 1772–95

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Map Code: Ax00972

In the period 1772–95, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was annexed by Russia, Prussia and Austria during three separate partition agreements. Poland itself was politically compromised with many of its diplomats controlled through Russian bribes. It was also militarily and economically weakened by civil war and became gradually more so with each consecutive partition. The first partition, which was completed in 1772, was a result of Austria’s growing fear of Russian expansion into the Ottoman Empire. Prussia determined that by ceding Polish lands to Russia, the situation would be diffused. Poland lost a third of its land and half its population in the first partition. When Poland enacted a new liberal constitution in 1791, conservatives sought the assistance of Russia. Prussia also got involved and the two powers agreed a second partition of land between them. The final partition occurred as a reaction to an uprising in 1794, after which Poland was completely dissolved.

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