Today in World History: October 24th

Partitions of Poland
A map showing the partitions of Poland-Lithuania between Prussia, Russia, and Austria.

The Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania was partitioned for the third and final time on this day in 1795. The kingdom, established in the sixteenth century following a union of the two nations, had become increasingly unstable, weak, and poor. The kingdom had already fallen under Ottoman influence before, and by the late eighteenth century it was a protectorate of Russia. Following several revolutions against the Polish monarchy by the nobles and the citizens of Poland, and Russia, Prussia, and Austria sought to wipe the country from the map completely. During three partitions, the three countries divided the land between them, with Russia taking the majority of the land, including Vilnius, Prussia taking less than twenty percent of the land but including the Warsaw region, and Austria taking the least land of the three, but controlling Lublin and Krakow by the end. By the end of the third partition, Poland-Lithuania was completely annexed by the countries, and a Polish or Lithuanian independent state would not exist again until the end of the First World War in 1918, when both countries were restored and given independence.

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