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Learn about the Partitions of Poland by its neighbouring countries in the decades after the Seven Years' War



Transcript

NARRATOR: By 1768, factional differences in Poland had led to civil war. The countries surrounding Poland—Prussia, Austria, and Russia—took advantage of this instability and claimed portions of Polish territory as their own in 1772. Poland lost almost one-third of its territory in this First Partition, with lands in the west going to Prussia, lands in the southwest going to Austria, and lands in the east going to Russia.

Over the next 20 years Poland experienced a remarkable recovery, with sweeping changes in its economy and educational system. A new liberal constitution was adopted in 1791; however, it prompted a conservative rebellion that created an opening for foreign intervention.

In 1792 troops from Russia entered Poland. Prince Józef Poniatowski and General Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko led Polish nationalists in a fight against this invasion, but they could not prevent another partition.

The Second Partition of Poland, in 1793, ceded further land in the west to Prussia and in the east to Russia.

In 1794 General Ko?ciuszko led a nationalist uprising against the partitioning powers that found initial success but was ultimately defeated.

As a result of the insurrection's failure, the Third Partition of Poland divided the remainder of Polish lands among Prussia, Austria, and Russia, effectively erasing Poland from the map. Poland existed as a partitioned land for the next 123 years.
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