Constitutional Reform Poland Partitioned Again, 1815-1830

The Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1813

A.) The Polish Legion

After Poland was eliminated as a state in the THIRD POLISH PARTITION in 1795, many patriotic Poles fled. In Italy, Polish patriots formed the POLISH LEGION, which, under General JAN DABROWSKI joined Napoleon's French in fighting the Austrians. The legion adopted the song which would become Poland's national anthem :

Poland is not lost yet
as long as we live;
what was taken from us by foreign powers
we will regain by the power of the sword
March, march, Dabrowski
from Italian to Polish soil !
Under your leadership
We will reunite with our nation.

B.) The Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1813

However, the Polish Legion's efforts were in vain. Then, in the PEACE OF TILSIT in 1807, defeated Prussia had to cede the territory it had gained in the 3rd Polish Partition, from which to states were formed, the (GRAND) DUCHY OF WARSAW (with Frederick August, King of Saxony, as duke) and the FREE CITY OF DANZIG. In 1809, Austria had to cede it's acquisition in the 3rd Polish Partition, and the Duchy of Warsaw doubled in size; the duchy had 2,400,000 inhabitants.
The CODE NAPOLEON was introduced, as was mandatory military service. A new constitution (1807) extended the franchise, abolished serfdom. Civil registry was introduced, state and church separated, the latter reduced to a private institution. Frequent wars caused large-scale recruitment and a massive economic burden.
Napoleon himself disposed over the Duchy's army. In the Napoleonic wars, the Poles stayed loyal to Napoleon to the end; a few loyal Polish patriots followed him into exile to Elba. Napoleon is quoted to have said that 800 Poles would equal 8000 enemy soldiers. Unfortunately for Poland, it was the partitioning powers which, with their allies, defeated Napoleon and, on the VIENNA CONGRESS, planned Europe's post-Napoleonic order.

The Napoleonic Period, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
Duchy of Warsaw : the Army, from Histofig; Uniforms, from Histofig
Biography of Prince Poniatowski, from Histofig
Biography of Marie Walewska, from Histofig
Napoleon and the Duchy of Warsaw, ch.16 from Political History of Poland by F. Kobylarz, at rootsweb
Napoleon in Battle : Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, from Napoleonic Wars data on Polish units, scroll down, click unit
The Polish Bug Division (in the Russia Campaign, 1812-1813), by Marcin Mystkowski; The Volhynie Campaign 1812, by Marcin Mystkowski
Article Duchy of Warsaw, from Speedy Look
DOCUMENTS Poland's National Anthem
Troupes polonaises - juillet 1809, from Histofig
Medal " La Grand Duche de Varsovie, 1807, from Laskey's Napoleonic Medals; another medal 1807 posted on F. Kobylarz's Political History of Poland, ch.16
Chelminski/Mallbran, The Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, posted by Napoleonic Uniforms, images
Coin : Duchy of Warsaw, 1/3 Talar, 1814, from Napoleonic Medals
Order of Battle of Army of Grand Duchy of Warsaw, July 1, 1809 , by Marcin Mystkowski
Flag of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw (no illustration, only comment) from FOTW
Map of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, 1809, posted in F. Kobylarz's Political History of Poland, ch.16
Napoleon's Correspondence, posted by :
March 4th 1809, a Davout, on the Duchy of Warsaw troops, in French
Apr. 5th 1809, a Berthier, on the Duchy of Warsaw, in French
Documents upon the Peace of Tilsit, 1807, from
Map of The Baltic Lands 1809, from Freeman's Historical Geography 1903, posted by Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas
Map of Europe in 1808, ignoring political borders, from The General Gazetteer; or, Compendious Geographical Dictionary, R. Brookes, Dublin 1808, posted by Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas
Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw, 1807, from, in German
Acte du Congres de Vienne du 9 juin 1815 : Pologne, from Histoire Empire
REFERENCE Enno Meyer, Grundzüge der Geschichte Polens (Main Features of Polish History), Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft 1977

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First posted in 2000, last revised on July 5th 2008

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