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Poland

prussia, kingdom, polish, poles, silesia, century, tribes, qv, russia and boleslaw

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POLAND, poland. A former kingdom of Europe, whose territory is now included in Bus sia, Austria-Hungary, and Prussia. At its great est extent, previous to 1660, it had an area of about 375,000 square miles. with a popula tion of about 15.000,000, and extended north ward to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga westward to Brandenburg; southward to Hungary, Moldavia, and nearly to the Crimea ; and eastward so as to include most of the basin of the Dnieper. About six-sevenths of this area is now included in the Russian Empire. embracing Russian Poland (see POLAND, lirsSIAN), \Vest Russia ( Lithuania. Volhynia, etc.). a great part of Little Russia, Livonia, and Courland. The part of Poland belonging to Austria the Crownland of Galicia (q.v). The parts of time kingdom incorporated in Prussia include Posen (q.v.), West Prussia (q.v.). and the Dis trict of Ermland (q.v.), in East Prussia. Before the final partition in 1793 the area of Poland was reduced to 94,1114 square miles, with a population of 4.500,000.

EritxoLoov. The territory comprised in the Kingdom of Poland before its dismemberment was inhabited by four ethnic types. Poles. Little Rus sians (Ruthenians). White Russians. and Lithua nians. The Poles proper have been identified with the Polianes. a branch of the Lekhs dwelling on the Vistula in the sixth century. The great Slav movement from the second to the sixth cen tury A.n. had dispersed the tribes in all direc tions, toward the Baltic., beyond the Elbe, and into the Danube basin and the Balkan peninsula. . the twelfth century the Germans had in a great Mt 'a pressed back the Western Slays to the banks of the Vistula. and the development of Polish power was forced to the east aml south among the Slav groups.

Ethically the Poles belong to the \Vestern Slay group. of them live in Russian Poland and adjoining, parts of Russia. Western Galicia, and the Prussian provinces of Posen and Silesia. They are below medium stature, their average height being 1.024 meters, and are main ly brachyeephalie and blond. Dyniker classes them in his fair, sub•braellyeeplialic, short, or eastern race, and secs among them traces of a sec ondary or Vistulian race, fair, mesoceplialie, and of very short stature. Race fusion has energeti cally acted in this region among various sections of the Slays, so that the Poles have the qualities coining from a good race mixture. Otlic-r Slavic tribes, as the Polaks or Podlachians in the Rus sian Government of Grodno, on the Polish fron tier, and the l'olessians of 'Russia have considerable Polish mixture. In Prussia, by the higher birth-rate and by the absorption of Ger man elements, the Poles have increased ably, weeding out colonies of Germans in, Polish districts, and planting colonies in (dicer portions of the kingdom, notably in \Vest Prussia and Silesia. Under this impulse they ha VC taken to CO111111(.111' and education with new ellerg,ry. In some districts they are expropriating the (Irtuari landlords ;111(1 sending Polish peasants to take their places. The other fragments of the Polish

kingdom in lIussia and .Austria also show this movement, though not with the same degree of progress as in Prussia.

1 i !STORY. Polish historians profess to go as far back as the fourth century, but the list of rulers are those of separate tribes. and not of the combined rove 110W known as Poles. At any rate, the history of Poland previous to the middle of the ninth century is too legendary to have much value. About 840 a king dom was organized out of kindred tribes under the Piast line of rulers. whose origin is 'uncertain. Ziemowit, said to be the second ruler of the Plant dynasty, is considered to be the first ruler whose history is to any extent to be upon; and it 1.111•? not till a century after, when his de seendant 3lieczyslaw (Aliecislas or ::\Iseislaw) I. ( 902-92 ) occupied the throne, and becaine a con vert to Christianity. that Poland really came into the field of European history. Mieczyslaw divided his dominions among his sons; but one of them, Boleslaw (or Holeslas) 1. 092-1(125), surnamed the Brave, soon reunited the separate portions, extended his kingdom beyond the Oder, the Car pathians. and the Dniester. and carried on a suc cessful war with the Emperor Henry Il, Und(o him Poland began to assume unity and con sistency. About the same time the distinction between the nobles or warrior class and the agriculturists was distinctly drawn. This was of the utmost importance in the development of 1'01;111(1, as it created a sharply defined caste. a military aristocracy entirely out of sympathy with the peasantry, which became ultimately one of the most arrogant and oppressive in Europe. An important event was the foundation of the archiepiseopal see of Gnesen in 1000. Shortly before his death Boleslaw exchanged the title of Piast for Xing. lle was succeeded by his son ..NlieCZyskIW II. (1(125-34), during whose reign the Danes, the Hungarians, and the Russians made themselves masters of various territories which had been occupied by the Poles. Under Casi mir 1. (103(-5S) and his warlike son, Holeslaw II., the Bold (1055-S1), Poland regained some thing of its former power. The latter monarch having with his own hands murdered the Bishop of Cracow (10(0), the country was laid under the Papal interdict and Boleslaw tied to Hun gary, where lie died. Boleslaw III. (1102-39), an energetic monarch. conquered Pomerania, de feated the pagan Prussians, and defended Silesia against the Emperor Henry V. A division of the kingdom among his sons was productive of much internal dissension. Silesia was severed from Poland, principalities ruled by branches of the Piast dynasty being established there. Ulti. mately, Casimir 11. (1177-94) reunited the severed portions, with the exception of Silesia, and established ou a firm footing the constitution of the country. A senate was formed from the bishops, palatines, and castellans, and the rights of the clergy and the peasantry were accurately defined.

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