Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1813 1848-1871
Galicia 1815-1846 Cracow

Grand Duchy of Posen, 1815-1848

A.) 1815-1830

The Province resp. Grand Duchy of Posen covered an area of c. 30,000 square km and had a population of c. 800,000. In an 1815 proclamation, King Wilhelm III. assured the Poles that they were to maintain their nationality and language, besides German being the language of administration. Prince ANTON RADZIWILL was appointed first stadholder.
In 1821 the archdiocesis Gniezno-Poznan (Gnesen-Posen) was created, adjusted to the Grand Duchy's borders. In Polish high schools, Polish and German language were to be treated as equal (1822). In 1823 the peasants were freed of feudal obligations.
In 1824 a diet (LANDTAG) was formed, organized in 3 estates - nobility (24 seats), burghers (16 seats), farmers (8 seats). Landtag deliberations were bilingual.

B.) 1830-1848

As Poles from Posen (Poznan) had supported the rebellion in Russian Poland, the stadholder was deposed and the position left vacant. The Grand Duchy's special status was ignored, the territory treated as any other Prussian province. Under province president EDUARD VON FLOTTWELL a policy aiming at reducing the influence of Polish nobility and clergy and attempting the GERMANIFICATION of the Polish peasants set in. In 1832 German was declared sole language of administration. In 1839, Archbishop M. Dunin-Sulgustowski of Gniezno-Poznan was, by order from Berlin, deposed and banished.
King Friedrich Wilhelm III. died in 1840; his successor Friedrich Wilhelm IV. proclaimed a general amnesty for those who had participated in the rebellion; the archbishop returned; president v. Flottwell was recalled in 1841, replaced by A.H. VON ARNIM-BOITZENBURG, who pursued a more conciliatory policy towards the Poles.

In 1840 K. MARCINKOWSKI founded a 'Society to Support Instruction' (in Polish) to support the development of a Polish educated class. Further cultural-political organizations founded in the early 1840es were the 'Federation of Plebeians' (1842) and the 'Democratic Society' (1843). The latter prepared a revolt; in 1846 L. MIEROSLAWSKI, leader of the planned revolt, was arrested.

C.) Other Prussian Provinces with Polish Population

Prussia's administration did not regard West Prussia as a province Polish in character. Under the rule of the TEUTONIC ORDER (1309-1440) the province had seen considerable German immigration. Another population element were the Slavic KASHUBIANS. When the Diet of West Prussia (German in character) rebelled against the Teutonic Order and chose the King of Poland as their new master in 1457, the territory remained autonomous and preserved it's character. German remained the language of administration. Only from 1550 onward a POLONIZATION had set in.
However, the historical unity of (Polish) West Prussia and of the Hohenzollern Duchy of (East) Prussia was long remembered. When Duke Friedrich Wilhelm in 1701 succeeded in being "promoted" king, his title was KING IN PRUSSIA (because he did not rule over all of Prussia). Only since the 1st Polish Partition could FREDERICK THE GREAT claim to be KING OF PRUSSIA. The German-speaking population element was larger than in Posen, especially in the cities of Danzig, Thorn, Elbing.
It has to be mentioned, that a part of SILESIA's population (separated from Poland since the 14th century, Prussian since 1742) also spoke Polish. The minority was concentrated in Upper Silesia. Here the language of administration was German alone.

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The Era of National Insurrections and The Impact of Nationalism and Romanticism , from Library of Congress, Country Studies
DOCUMENTS 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
Manfred Hellmann, Daten der Polnischen Geschichte (Dates in Polish History), München : dtv 1985
Krzysztof A. Marowski, Deutsche in Posen 1815-1871 (Germans in Poznan, 1815-1871), pp.234-262, in : Joachim Rogall, Land der grossen Ströme. Von Polen nach Litauen. Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas (Land of the Large Streams. From Poland to Lithuania. German History in Europe's East), Berlin : Siedler 1996; in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 16th 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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