The Austrian Partition refers to the former territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth acquired by the Austrian Empire during the First (1772) and Third (1795) partitions of Poland in late 18th century, conducted jointly by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria. The Austrian acquisition was the second largest share of the Commonwealth's population after Russia; over 2.65 million people living on 128,900 km2 (49,800 sq mi) of land constituting formerly south-central frontiers of the defunct country.
The Austrian Empire (later the Austro-Hungarian Empire) acquired Polish territories in the First (The Duchies of Zator and Auschwitz, part of Little Poland the counties of Kraków and Sandomierz, and Galicia, less the city of Kraków) and Third (Western Galicia and Southern Masovia) partitions of Poland. Major historical events of the Austrian Partition included: the formation of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw in 1807, which was followed by the 1809 Polish-Austrian War aided by the French, and the victorious Battle of Raszyn resulting in Austrian temporary defeat (1809) marked by the recapture of Kraków and Lwów by the Ducy. However, the fall of Napoleon, leading to abolition of the Duchy at the Congress of Vienna (1815) allowed Austria to regain control. The Congress created the Free City of Krakówa protectorate of Austria, Prussia and Russia, which lasted for a decade. It was abolished by Austria, after the crushing of Kraków Uprising in 1846. The period of military occupation lasted until World War I. The formation of the Polish Legions by Piłsudski initially to fight alongside the Austro-Hungarian Army, helped Poland regain its sovereignty in aftermath of World War I.
For most of the 19th century, the Austrian government made little or no concessions to their Polish constituents,their attitude being that a "patriot was a traitor – unless he was a patriot for the [Austrian] Emperor." However, by the early 20th century – just before the outbreak of World War One and the collapse of Austria-Hungary – out of the three partitions, the Austrian one had the most local autonomy. The local government called Governorate Commission (Polish: Komisja Gubernialna) had considerable influence locally, Polish language was accepted as the official regional language on Polish soil, and used in schools; Polish organizations had some freedom to operate, and Polish parties could formally participate in Austro-Hungarian politics of the empire.
On the other hand, economically, Galicia was rather backward, and universally regarded as the poorest of the three partitions. There was much corruption during the elections, and the region was seen by the Viennese government as the low priority for investment and development. It was a vast, but constantly struggling region with inefficient agriculture and little industry. In 1900, 60% of the village population (age 12 and over) couldn't read or write. Education was obligatory till the age of 12, but this requirement was often ignored. Between the years 1850 and 1914 it is estimated that about 1 million people from Galicia (mostly Poles) emigrated to United States.Galician poverty to this day has survived in Polish language as an expression (adage: bieda galicyjska or nędza galicyjska).
The Austrian Empire divided the former territories of the Commonwealth it obtained into:
- Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria - from 1772 to 1918.
- New Galicia - from 1795 to 1809
- Free City of Kraków - from 1815 to 1846
In the first partition, Austria received the largest share of the formerly Polish population, and the second largest land share (83,000 km² and over 2.65 million people). Austria did not participate in the second partition, and in the third, it received 47,000km² with 1.2 million people. Overall, Austria gained about 18 percent of the former Commonwealth territory (130,000 km²) and about 32 percent of the population (3.85 million people). From the geographical perspective, much of the Austrian partition corresponded to the Galicia region.
Further reading↑Jump back a section
- Norman Davies (2005), "Part 4. Galicia: The Austrian Partition", God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present (Oxford University Press): 102–119, ISBN 0199253404, retrieved November 24, 2012
- Norman Davies (ibidem), "The Modern Polish Frontiers (Granice)", God's Playground. A History of Poland. The Origins to 1795 (Google books preview.) (revised ed.) (Oxford University Press), Vol. I: 367, ISBN 978-0-19-925339-5
- Hein Erich Goemans, War and Punishment: The Causes of War Termination and the First World War, Princeton University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-691-04944-0, pp. 104-5
- Jerzy Lukowski, Hubert Zawadzki, A Concise History of Poland, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-55917-0, Google Print, p.129
- Anatol Murad (1968 (first print)). "A patriot was a traitor—unless he was a patriot for the Emperor.". Franz Joseph I of Austria and His Empire. Ardent Media. p. 17. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Andrzej Garlicki, Polsko-Gruziński sojusz wojskowy, Polityka: Wydanie Specjalne 2/2008, ISSN 1730-0525, p. 11-12
- David Crowley, National Style and Nation-state: Design in Poland from the Vernacular Revival to the International Style, Manchester University Press ND, 1992 ISBN 0-7190-3727-1, Google Print, p.12
- Piotr Stefan Wandycz, The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, Routledge (UK), 2001, ISBN 0-415-25491-4, Google Print, p.133