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Chapter 6

Eastern Europe of the Habsburgs,
the Turks and Russia

With the arrival of the Turks in central and eastern Europe, the indigenous peoples lost control of their own destinies. Some became subjects of the Turks; others ended up, more or less voluntarily, under the protection of the Habsburgs, who through the strength of the Holy Roman Empire and from their hereditary properties, appeared to be the most effective bulwark against the Turks. Only the Poles managed to retain a kind of independence for a while, but their country was coveted by powerful neighbors ready to divide it among themselves.


The peoples of the Balkans had fallen to Ottoman rule by the end of the 14th century. Ottoman hegemony was essentially political, though its application varied in manner and severity. Certain Balkan people enjoyed a relatively autonomous status--like the Albanians and the Rumanians. Others, such as the Serbs, were subjected to a rule of strict submission. But despite these diversities, certain characteristics of Turkish rule were common to all of the countries they subjected. All countries were assigned Turkish garrisons which were quartered in the towns and along strategic points. In spite of colonizing efforts in certain regions, the Turks were a minority everywhere in relation to the indigenous Christian populations. The Turks did not attempt to impose their Muslim religion on their Christian subjects.

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The Privileged Peoples

Among the peoples ruled by the Turks, the Albanians and the inhabitants of Moldavia and Wallachia--ancestors of present-day Rumani- ans--enjoyed particularly favorable circumstances. After the death of the resistance leader, Skanderbeg, in 1469, the Albanians became loyal subjects of the Turks. Dissenters chose to emigrate to Calabria and Sicily where their present-day descendants still preserve the memory of their origins. But the great majority of Albanians stayed, accepted the Muslim religion and supplied the Turks with civil servants, officers and numerous soldiers.

In the principalities of the Lower Danube, the prince of Wallachia, Mircea the Great, and Stefan the Great of Moldavia, attempted to organize resistance, but by the end of the 1 5th century, both had become vassals of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, Turkish rule was far from heavy-handed there. It mainly consisted of collecting an annual tribute, the pechkeche, as well as fixed taxes and a monopoly on trade. In exchange, the Turks guaranteed the safety of the two principalities' borders against foreign intruders. Each

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principality retained a substantial measure of freedom in administrative and judiciary affairs. The local nobility, the Boyars, retained the right to elect the prince, but the Turks could veto their decision. Most of the time, the princes of Moldavia and Wallachia were content to remain loyal vassals of the sultan, maintaining luxurious courts in their respective capitals, Jassy in Moldavia and Bucharest in Wallachia. Taking advantage of Turkish tolerance, the Rumanian church flourished. It managed to break loose from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and beginning in the 16th century, liturgical texts were translated into Rumanian. Numerous churches and monasteries were constructed in a style that illustrated the still-prevalent influence of Byzantine art.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Rumanian principalities experienced a noticeable cultural development. Prince Matei Basarab of Wallachia (1632-1654) and Prince Vasil Lupu of Moldavia (1634-1653) opened numerous schools and founded printing businesses at Jassy in 1646 and at Bucharest in 1652. The two capitals each had their own academy. This late-blooming renaissance was encouraged by the broad autonomy the two principalities enjoyed in the 17th century. But in the following century, severely tried by the reconquest of Hungary by the Habsburgs and very anxious about the growth of the Russian state, the Turks clamped down on the Danubian principalities. This policy instigated dissensions, and the Rumanians appealed to Czar Peter the Great. The Turks replied by replacing the local princes by the Pharnariots who were assigned as governors with power to rule in the name of the sultan. Through the Pharnariot middlemen, the Turks drew increased wealth from the Danubian principalities. The annual tribute was increased by five times during the course of the 18th century. Under such economic pressure from the Turks, many Rumanian peasants sought refuge in Transylvania. Others resorted to rebellion and were supported by Russia, who led a victorious war against the Turks (1768-1774). At the Peace of Kuciuk-Kainardji, the Turks pledged to respect the privileges of the Danubian principalities and granted the Czar the right to protect Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire. From that time on, Russian "protection" was added to the Ottoman domination. At the same time, the Habsburgs, who had been supporting the Russians, forced the Turks to cede Bukovina.

The Oppressed Peoples

Bulgaria had a less desirable fate. After the failure of the crusade at Nicopolis in 1396, the Bulgar people fell under five centuries of Ottoman domination. The Bulgars mounted a much more obstinate resistance than the Rumanians, and were harshly treated. Since their territory was in the immediate vicinity of the center of the Turkish Empire, it was even more

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tightly controlled. Right after the conquest, the Bulgarian nobility was totally eliminated and its properties converted into military fiefs for Turkish officers and civil servants who simply continued the lordly rule of their predecessors. Bulgarian peasants underwent a change in masters, but continued to work feudal labor duty and to pay the head tax and the tithe to their new lords. And the Bulgar people, who had been decimated by massacres and slave markets dating back to the early days of Turkish occupation, were still periodically obliged to give up their sons when needed as recruits for the Janissaries.

In order to better control and exploit the country, the Turks dispersed the Bulgar peasants living on the coastal plains and in the Maritsa Valley, and replaced them with colonists from Asia Minor. Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Jews moved into the towns that quickly took on a cosmopolitan and oriental flavor with mosques and bazaars. The Orthodox religion was tolerated, but in order to keep it under control, the Turks entrusted Greek bishops with the task of watching over the Bulgarian clergy.

The fate of the Serbs was much closer to that of the Bulgars than that of the Albanians and Rumanians. Of course, the Serbs did manage to retain their independence and to form a solid bastion of Christianity surrounded by Turkish fortresses. Occasionally, these Montenegrins did not hesitate to attack the Turks, either alone or with the help of Austria and Venice which held the Dalmatian coast. But Montenegro could not be called a state. It was more a confederation of tribes under a chief, the Vladika. At the end of the 17th century, the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty took over the office of Vladika by passing it from uncle to nephew. As for the Serbs of Bosnia, among whom were many followers of the Bogomilian heresy, there were numerous conversions to Islam, which afforded them a relative tranquility reinforced by the mountainous nature of their country which discouraged Turks from entering in great numbers.

The Serbs of Serbia proper, who made up the great majority of the Serbian people, were subjected to a harsh military occupation. Their lands became the property of the sultan who converted them into hereditary or life-long military fiefs for Turkish civil servants. As in Bulgaria, the tribute of children was exacted of Serbian families to supply the ranks of future Janissaries.

The Serbian church was the center of the resistance. At the beginning of the Turkish occupation, tolerance prevailed, and the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec was even restored in 1557. But after the failure of the rebellion of 1688-1690, thousands of Serbs led by the Patriarch of Pec, Arsenije III, fled to Hungary where Emperor-King Leopold I granted them land and privileges. This was the origin of the Serbian population in the southern provinces of Hungary. In retaliation, the Turks abolished the Patriarchate of

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Pec and the remaining Serbian clergy were put under the authority of the Greek church. Thus in Serbia, as in Bulgaria, the Greek clergy proved to be an effective agent of Turkish power.



At the beginning of the 17th century, the Habsburgs of Austria ruled over territories that reached from southern Germany to the Hungarian plain. Besides imperial functions, the Habsburgs added the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary to their possessions. Their empire constituted a solid bastion united around a Catholic dynasty from which the slow reconquest of regions under Turkish occupation would take place.

Triumph of the Counter-Reformation in Bohemia

Since the beginning of the 16th century, the countries of the Crown of St. Wenceslas (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), had been an integral part of the inheritance of the House of Austria. Religious dissent from the Hussite period and the spread of the Protestant Reformation continued to weigh on the life of the country for a long time. Emperor Rudolph II, hoping to put an end to the matter, granted Bohemia a Royal Decree in 1609 which allowed them freedom of religion and the right to open temples and schools. The Protestants were allowed to elect their own representatives, the Defenders of the Faith, to see that contents of the Royal Decree were respected. Religious peace seemed to have returned, and did last throughout the reign of Rudolph II and into the reign of his successor, Matthias (1612-1619). The Catholic Counter-Reformation was also active through the teachings and missionary efforts of the Jesuits.

From 1617, power was in the hands of the Archduke Ferdinand of Styria, who became King Ferdinand II two years later. Ferdinand II (1619-1637), a former student of the Jesuit college at Ingolstadt, wanted to restore religious unity in his states. Upon his ascendancy, he sought to curtail the privileges of the Protestants. The result was a full-scale war of religion, first in Bohemia and then throughout the Holy Roman Empire. This Thirty Years, War began in early 1618 with an incident involving the Bishop of Prague and Czech Protestants. The archbishop had closed a temple and forbidden the Protestant religion in a town under his authority. The Defenders of the Faith protested by calling together a Protestant assembly. On May 21, 1618, the lieutenant governors prohibited the meeting . A Protestant delegation led by a high Protestant noble of German origin, the Count of Thurn, went to the royal palace to plead before the lieutenant

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governors on May 23. It was a stormy conference, and the two lieutenant governors, as well as two Czech Catholic nobles, William of Slavata and Jaroslav of Martinic, and a secretary were thrown out of a window. The "defenestration of Prague" marked the beginning of the long conflict that raged for thirty years throughout central Europe. Meanwhile, Emperor Matthias died, and the Bohemian Diet refused to recognize the new sovereign, Ferdinand II. It also excluded the Habsburg family from the throne, then decided to expel the Jesuits from Bohemia and to confiscate their properties. Then in August 1619, the Diet chose a German Calvinist prince as king (the Palatin elector, Frederick I, head of the Evangelical Union). The "anti-king," Frederick I, had the support of most of the Protestant princes of the Empire, and that of the Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen, who took advantage of it by declaring himself king of Hungary the following year. Ferdinand II pitted the Catholic League against the Protestant coalition. A Bavarian army under the command of the Count of Tilly entered Bohemia, and on November 8, 1620, soundly defeated the Protestant army of Frederick I near Prague. Frederick I was forced to flee Bohemia, and Prague yielded.

According to Czech historic tradition, reported by French historian Ernest Denis, the battle of the White Mountain marked the end of Czech independence. But in reality, it is better to regard it as the victory of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The losers were severely punished, not because they were Czech, but because in setting up an "anti-king" in place of the legitimate king, they had committed treason. The repression was led by the governor, Prince Charles of Liechtenstein, a converted Protestant. A special tribunal condemned to death 27 leaders of the rebellion who were executed on June 21, 1621, on the square of the old city of Prague. Among the victims was the rector of the University of Prague, Jan Jensensky. A "Commission of Confiscation" proceeded to confiscate the rebels' properties from 1622 to 1629. Nearly three-quarters of Bohemian land changed hands, half of it in Moravia alone, but Silesia was not affected by the confiscations. Part of the confiscated lands were distributed to a new Catholic nobility, often of foreign origin, and another part was given to the Catholic Church. The reign of tolerance promised by the Royal Decree was abolished. Catholicism became the state religion; Protestantism and Utraquism were prohibited and all of their ministers expelled. Nobles and burghers who refused to abjure were forced into exile, leaving their wealth behind. During the ten years that followed the defeat of the White Mountain, nearly 15,000 persons were exiled. Among the famous exiles, a special place must be made for Jan-Amos Komensky, better known as Comenius (1592-1670), who was the last bishop of the United Brotherhood, a scholar, linguist and teacher--the Czech Descartes.

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A subdued Bohemia received a new constitution from the king in 1627. According to this constitution, the crown became hereditary, passing through the masculine line of the Habsburg family. The king appointed all of the administrative officers and members of the superior courts. The Diet was maintained and kept the right to consent on taxes, but representation of the towns was diminished and the clergy was reintroduced. Finally, to emphasize that Bohemia belonged to the Empire, German became the official language.

The pacification of Bohemia did not put an end to the Thirty Years' War. To the contrary, the armies of Ferdinand II, led by General Wallenstein, a Czech Catholic adventurer, continued to war against the German Protestant princes and their Swedish allies. Under the new sovereign, Ferdinand III (1637-1657), a more liberal rule was slowly established. The Peace of Westphalia put an end to the Thirty Years' War in 1648. Imperial power came out of it weakened, and the principle of Cujus Regio Eius Religio (to each region, its own religion) made each sovereign the master of his subjects, religion. The King of Bohemia was Catholic, and his subjects had to be also, or be exiled. But for Bohemia, as for the Empire, the wars had been ruinous. Bohemia had lost a fifth of its population and was partially repopulated with German Catholics driven from Protestant states.

After 1650, a pacified Bohemia began to rise from its ruins and was definitively integrated into the Habsburg monarchy. The economy began to recover its prosperity, which essentially rested on an agricultural base. The rule of the nobility was consolidated by extending the feudal labor talc to the reserves, which permitted the lords to sell excess harvests. In return, productivity of the mines which had been very active at the end of the Middle Ages declined due to exhaustion of resources. The population grew, and according to the census of 1754, the countries of the Crown of St. Wenceslas contained over three million inhabitants, only 50,000 of them in Prague since it had lost its role as home of the sovereign to Vienna.

By the end of the 17th century, through the efforts of the Jesuits, Bohemia and especially Moravia had returned to Catholicism. The Jesuits controlled higher education and had 175 colleges which trained the future elite. The Catholic Reformation did all that it could to garner the admiration of the lower classes, and stimulate their imagination. The introduction of baroque art with its sumptuously decorated churches and pompous, elaborate ceremonies was a valuable aid in the reconquest of hearts and minds. In 1729, the canonization of St. Jan Nepomucene, martyr of the secret of confession, gave Czech Catholics a spiritual rallying point that partially compensated for the impact of the Protestant Jan Hus. Despite its regained majority status, Catholicism in Bohemia would never have the same intensity nor the same fervor as in Poland. The memories of the religious wars were too strong and had too deeply affected the populace.

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The Habsburgs, Hungary and the Turks

At the beginning of the 1 7th century, the Habsburgs in effect controlled the western and northwestern parts of the Hungarian kingdom. They were, at least in theory, masters of Transylvania--as the Transylvanian princes were their vassals as well as vassals of the Turks. Until 1660, the Habsburgs, policy as rulers of Hungary had been one of simply holding onto their gains. They adopted an essentially defensive attitude against the Turks, but the Thirty Years' War prevented them from acting effectively. To counter the many Protestants in the part of the kingdom they controlled, the Habsburgs staunchly supported the Catholic Reform movement led by Cardinal Peter Pazmany (1570-1637) and his successors. Pazmany was so successful in his preaching and persuasion in Hungary that Counter-Reformation did not produce the same tensions as in Bohemia. A university directed by the Jesuits was founded at Nagyszombat in 1635, numerous colleges were opened and the education of the lower Catholic clergy was improved. Baroque religious art spread throughout western Hungary and, as in Bohemia, helped attract converts to the church. By the mid-17th century, the Counter-Reformation had triumphed in western Hungary without violence.

At the same time, Transylvania, a land of religious tolerance, maintained its autonomy and experienced a Golden Age under Gabriel Bethlen (1613-1648), and continued under his successors, George I (1630-1648) and George II Rakoczi (1648-1662). In spite of the ambitions of the princes, Transylvania remained in the sphere of influence of the Habsburgs while enjoying total autonomy.

Beginning in 1660, the Turks took up the offensive in Hungary. They first tried to intervene in Transylvania, where they opposed the new prince, Janos Kemeny (1660-1662). The Habsburgs, freed from conflicts in central Europe by the Peace of Westphalia, reacted under Emperor-King Leopold I (1657-1705). The struggle against the Turks was first led by a high noble from Western Hungary, Miklos Zrinyi, who harassed Turkish garrisons in central Hungary (1663-1664) and destroyed the bridge of Eszek, one of the traditional paths of invasion. The Turks tried to retaliate by sending the army of the Vizir Koprulu, but the joint forces of the emperor and Zrinyi defeated them at Szent-Gottard on August 1, 1664. The Treaty of Vasvar, which left the Turks the positions they held in Hungary, acutely displeased the Hungarian nobility. Certain nobles made contact with agents of Louis XIV who was then at war with Leopold I. One of the conspirators, Emeric Thokoly, took refuge in Transylvania where, beginning in 1672, he led a campaign against the Leopold supporters. Suddenly, Thokoly found himself on the side of the Turks, which alienated him from a number of his supporters. In order to aid Thokoly, to whom they granted the title "Prince

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of Hungary, " the Turks launched a large expedition and laid siege to Vienna in July 1683. The intervention of the Polish king, Jan Sobieski and his victory at Kahlenberg on September 1, 1683, saved the city. It was then that an intensive counter-offensive began, leading to the liberation of Hungary. The Imperialists liberated Visegrad in 1684, then Buda on September 2, 1686, and finally Belgrade in 1688. After the victory of Prince Eugene of Savoy at Zenta on September 11, 1697, the sultan gave up Hungary and Transylvania to Leopold I by the Peace of Karlovici (January 26, 1699), but kept the Banat with Temesvar, which would be liberated later by the Peace of Passarovitz in 1718.

The prestige of the Habsburgs allowed them to consolidate their position in Hungary. At the Diet of October 1687, the Hungarian throne was proclaimed hereditary. In exchange, the sovereign recognized the nation's traditional rights, with the exception of the right to insurrection. In regard to Transylvania, Leopold I was also generous. Diploma Leopoldianum of 1691 recognized Transylvania as autonomous, with its diet and its freedoms, but the title of prince was inherited by the King of Hungary. Freedom of religion was solemnly reaffirmed everywhere. It was at this moment that part of the Rumanian Orthodox clergy of Transylvania reinstated the Rumanian Church to form the Uniate Church. Hungary was exhausted by the civil and foreign wars that had waged in its territory since 1526. Its population had been severely reduced, numbering scarcely more than 2,500,000 inhabitants, including 900,000 foreigners. The Magyars were the most significantly affected element of the population, because the mountainous regions where the other ethnic groups lived were relatively spared by the wars.

Part of the nobility, most of them Protestant, accepted the Habsburgs, hereditary right to the crown only reluctantly and cherished thoughts of their former independence, particularly in Transylvania. The intrigues of Louis XIV and the Habsburgs' difficulties during the Spanish War of Succession induced Francis Rakoczi, who was related to the Zrinyi family and to Thokoly, to stage an insurrection. In May, 1703, Francis Rakoczi called on the Hungarians to revolt. As master of Upper Hungary with the support of the Hungarian, Slovak and Vlach peasants, he proclaimed himself Francis II, Prince of Transylvania. At the death of Leopold I, the rebels refused to recognize the new king, Joseph I (1705-1711), and announced the dethronement of the Habsburgs. But the country longed for peace. The Catholic Church was suspicious of the Protestant entourage of Francis II, and the nobility feared his projects for social reform. Finally, the support expected from Louis XIV turned out to be only symbolic. From 1708 on, the armies of Joseph I were victorious everywhere. The Peace of Szatmar on April 30,1711, put an end to the insurrection. The rebels were granted amnesty

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and religious freedom, and constitutional guarantees were solemnly reaffirmed. After two centuries of war, Hungary was finally at peace again within its historic borders.

Integration of Hungary into the Habsburg monarchy allowed the country to rebuild its strength. The beneficial reigns of Charles III (1711-1740) and particularly of Maria-Theresa (1740-1780) made the difficulties and misfortunes of the preceding two centuries fade into memory. The sovereigns respected the constitution, and the Diet met regularly. During the time of Maria-Theresa, Hungary became a true center of the Empire . To cries of Vitam et Sanguinem Pro Rego Nostro Maria Theresia, * the Diet of 1741 voted to raise a 60,000-man army, permitting the sovereign to proceed with the war against Frederick II of Prussia, and it was a Hungarian general, Andras Hadik, who in October 1757 entered Berlin at the head of the imperial cavalry.

Despite Hungarian participation in all of the Empire's wars, the country experienced a period of prosperity in the 18th century. Under the enlightened influence of Chancellor Kaunitz, the Habsburg monarchy was endowed with an efficient administration and healthy financial management which benefited Hungary as well as Bohemia. Maria-Theresa was also interested in education, and in order to better educate the young nobles of the Empire, she founded the Theresianum in 1760 in Vienna, an elite school for future diplomats and administrators. French became the language of cultured society, and Latin remained the official language of Hungary. Latin had the advantage of putting all nationalities on an equal level, though it did risk weakening ethnic cultures and languages. But during Maria-Theresa's time, the benefits outweighed the disadvantages, especially because an influx of foreign peoples had been encouraged in order to repopulate the country after the wars of the preceding century. Foreign colonists, particularly Germans, had been invited, and refugees from regions still held by the Turks, especially Serbs and Rumanians, were welcomed.

Maria-Theresa intended to attain a unified empire while allowing Hungary to keep its privileges. Her son, Joseph II ( 1780-1790) was influenced by rationalist thought, and wanted to go even further with unification. As an enlightened despot, Joseph II abolished serfdom in 1785 and put an end to the rule of corporations and commercial monopolies. He incited the vehement protest of the Hungarian Diet, however, when he tried as a unifying measure to make German the official language of all the states. His death ended these attempts, but the unanimous reaction of the Diet indicated that in spite of loyalty to the dynasty, nationalist sentiment was rising again.

The Habsburg monarchy in Europe of the 18th century was still a viable structure however, being sufficiently centralized to be effective and at the same time flexible enough to avoid being oppressive. It had succeeded in driving the Turks out of the Middle Danube and in bringing together under the same political umbrella different nations united by a dynastic link and by certain common interests. The motto of the dynasty, A.E.I.O.U., Austriae


*"Our lives and our blood for our Queen Maria Theresia."

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Est Imperare Orbi Universo,* seemed more than ever justified. But could this idea of a universal empire, inherited from the Christian Middle Ages and adapted to the modern world by the philosophy of Reason, be reconciled with the feelings of nationalism that were beginning to appear?


Since the end of the 16th century, Poland had been an elective monarchy. With each vacancy on the throne, the election of a sovereign


*Austria has imperial influence over the world.

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opened bargaining between the various groups in the Diet and between the candidates and the electors. Poland became an aristocratic republic in which the Diet held the real power. Little by little, a new principle of public law came into effect in the 17th century called the liberum veto, according to which all important decisions of the Diet had to be unanimous. The liberum veto led rapidly to the paralysis of the state and reinforced the power of the nobility. When a situation was deadlocked, the nobles, along with the king, called a "confederation," a kind of anti-Diet, in which the liberum veto did not apply. The need for many such confederations eventually led to a situation of civil war.

(Poland under Sigismund III Vasa (1587-1632) still gave the illusion of a powerful state, but at his death, the institutional weaknesses of the state along with the religious and ethnic diversity brought in by previous conquests became apparent in the face of mounting threats from the outside. By the 17th century, Poland's neighbors, Prussia, Sweden and Russia, had indeed become forces to be reckoned with. Problems came to light when King Jan Casimir (1648-1668) came to the throne. He was immediately confronted with the rebellion of the Kossaks in the Ukraine led by Bogdan Chmielnicki. After defeating the royal troops, the Kossaks placed themselves under the protection of Czar Alexis of Russia in 1654, and the resulting Russo-Polish war led to the division of the Ukraine between the contestants. The countries to the east of the Dnieper as well as the cities of Kiev and Smolensk were given to Russia. Simultaneously, Poland was drawn into the First War of the North; its territory was invaded by the Swedes whose king, Charles X, wanted to become King of Poland. By the Peace of Oiiva in 1660, Poland ceded Livonia to Sweden and gave up its sovereignty over Prussia. With Jan Sobieski (1674-1696), Poland seemed to recover briefly. The king's victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683 renewed the country's confidence, but quarrels among the various factions in the Diet prevented any reorganization of the state. Choice of a successor to Jan Sobieski opened up violent disagreements in which neighboring countries and France took part. The elector of Saxony, Augustus II the Strong (1697-1733), was supported by Austria and Russia. He was chosen king, but the agreement made with Peter the Great on this occasion brought Poland into the Second War of the North (1700-1721) on the side of Russia and against the Swedes and their Turkish allies. Charles XII of Sweden, victorious at Narva in November 1700, invaded Poland and had a new king, Stanislas Leczynski, elected in 1704. The defeat of Charles XII at Poltava in May 1709 allowed Augustus II to reclaim his throne, but he owed its restoration to the good will of Peter the Great whose troops had liberated Warsaw.

Poland was in ruins after a war in which it had once again served as a battlefield. The Peace Treaty of Nystadt in 1721 strengthened Russia's

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position. For Poland, Russia was soon to prove a dangerous neighbor as Peter the Great wished to establish direct contact with the West. Poland, however, as well as Sweden and Turkey, posed an obstacle to this contact. At the same time, the rise of the Prussian state, which became a kingdom in 1701, posed a danger to Poland because Polish lands bordering the Baltic blocked the formation of a contiguous Prussian state. Poland's independence was seriously threatened. This was obvious upon the death of Augustus II when in September, 1733, the Diet elected as king the national candidate, Stanislas Leczynski, father-in-law of the king of France, while Austria and Russia supported the son of the deceased king. Three weeks after the election of Stanislas, the Russian armies entered Warsaw and had Stanislas' rival, Augustus III, elected by a minority of nobles. The Polish succession opened a European war which ended with Stanislas Leczynski's renunciation of the throne. Poland then passed through a period of relative calm under Augustus III 11733-1763), but the liberum veto continued to paralyze the government internally. During this period, Poland slowly abandoned its policy of religious tolerance prevalent since the 16th century. Protestant and Orthodox dissidents were excluded from public office. This policy soon furnished neighboring countries with an excuse to intervene, Prussia to defend the Protestants, Russia to defend the Orthodox followers.

Poland's weakness was all too apparent upon the death of Augustus III. Catherine II of Russia and Frederick II of Prussia saw it as an excellent opportunity to act. Under the influence of the Czartoryski family, the Diet elected an old favorite of Catherine II, Stanislas-Augustus Poniatovski (1764-1795) as king, and Russian troops came immediately to reinforce the new sovereign's power. But the Czartoryskis were relying on the king to enact crucial reforms in order to save the country from anarchy. Among others, they hoped for the abolition of the liberum vero and for the creation of a standing army to defend the country. These attempts at reform alarmed Catherine II, who was becoming reconciled with Prussia. During the Diet of 1766, Russia and Prussia demanded by ultimatum the restoration of the liberum veto and the restitution of political rights to dissidents. To reinforce these demands the Russian ambassador, Repnin, called in Russian troops, and the Diet gave in to the demands of the two powers. Chancellor Zamoyski resigned and the Archbishop of Krakow--who had dared to protest the intervention by Russian troops--was arrested and deported to Smolensk. A few nobles retorted by organizing the Confederation of Bar "for faith and freedom" near the Austrian border in 1768. Russia reacted by instigating a rebellion of Orthodox peasants in the Ukraine and Podolia during which thousands of Poles were massacred. The confederates appealed to France; Foreign Minister Choisqul sent them a military envoy under the direction of General Dumouriez and pressured the Turks into declaring war on Russia.

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The Turkish defeats of 1770 led Austria to reconcile with Prussia and Russia, as it did not want the Russians to occupy Turkey as they had already occupied Poland. The result was the Treaty of St. Petersburg on July 25, 1772, that led to the first partitioning of Poland "for fear of the total disintegration of the Polish state". as worded in the treaty. Austria received the county of Zips (Spisz) and Galicia. Prussia occupied the territory between eastern Pomerania and eastern Prussia, with the exception of Gdansk and Torun. As for Russia, it annexed all the territories to the north of the River Dvina as well as the lands of the Upper Dnieper.

The Polish Diet refused to ratify the treaty for a year, ceding only after the country was occupied by troops of the co-partitioning powers. The Diet also had to agree not to modify the constitution. Although Poland remained a state of 11,000,000 inhabitants, it was deprived of all freedom of action. King Stanislas-Augustus, stripped of all power, thus became a dependent sovereign.

The protectorate system worked fairly well until 178B. The Diet limited itself to passing a few economic reforms calculated to promote commerce and industry and to improve education. But beginning in 1788, the Diet, led by magnates of the Patriot Party, Ignace Potocki and Adam Czartoryski, took advantage of the reopening of the Russo-Turkish war in order to seriously address reforms. On May 3, 1791 , King Stanislas-Augustus solemnly presented a new constitution that granted the House of Saxony the hereditary right to the throne. As the executive, the king was to govern along with the ministers, who were responsible to a diet which included the nobles as well as representatives of the cities. Certain magnates who opposed the reforms convoked a confederation at Targowica in May, 1792, and appealed to the Russians. Catherine II responded to their appeal. The Polish army under Prince Joseph Poniatovski and General Tadeusz Kosciuszko tried to resist, but on July 23,1792, the king came over to the side of the confederates and withdrew the constitution while Russian troops occupied Warsaw. Prussia was disturbed by the spread of revolutionary ideas, and in January, 1793, sent in troops to prevent the Russians from deciding the Polish matter alone. Russia occupied all of Podolia, part of the Volhynia and all of White Russia with the city of Minsk, while Prussia annexed Gdansk and Torun, as well as Posnania.

Polish patriots wished to counter this show of force with a national insurrection, and they entrusted Kosciuszko with supreme powers. Kosciuszko appealed to the Polish nation from Krakow on March 24, 1794. A few days later, Warsaw rose up in arms, followed by Wilno. A month after Kosciuszko's call, Poland was liberated in a great burst of popular uprisings. The dictator tried to interest revolutionary France in the Polish cause, but to no avail. Austria had not acted up to that point, but then stepped in to

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reclaim its part of Poland, while the Prussians and Russians intervened militarily. On June 15, 1794, the Prussians took Cracow, and on November 5, the Russians under General Souvarov entered Warsaw. Kosciuszko and the leaders of the insurrection fell into the hands of the Russians. King Stanislas-Augustus, deposed in 1794, tried in vain to salvage the situation by placing Poland under the protection of Catherine II. He was forced to abdicate.

On October 24, 1795, Russia, Prussia and Austria divided up what was left of Poland. During this Third Partition of Poland, Austria received Little Poland-with the cities of Lublin and Cracow-which enjoyed the status of an "independent republic" until 1846. Prussia retained all that had been gained in 1793 and secured Mazovia with Warsaw as well. Finally, Russia occupied all of Lithuania and the land east of the Niemen and the upper Bug with the city of Brest-Litovsk. Poland had ceased to exist.

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