Partitions of Poland

The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by Habsburg Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations; the First Partition of Poland was decided on August 5, 1772. Two decades Russian and Prussian troops entered the Commonwealth again and the Second Partition was signed on January 23, 1793. Austria did not participate in the Second Partition; the Third Partition of Poland took place on October 24, 1795, in reaction to the unsuccessful Polish Kościuszko Uprising the previous year. With this partition, the Commonwealth ceased to exist. In English, the term "Partitions of Poland" is sometimes used geographically as toponymy, to mean the three parts that the partitioning powers divided the Commonwealth into, namely: the Austrian Partition, the Prussian Partition and the Russian Partition.

In Polish, there are two separate words for the two meanings. The consecutive acts of dividing and annexation of Poland are referred to as rozbiór, while the term zabór means each part of the Commonwealth annexed in 1772–95 becoming part of Imperial Russia, Prussia, or Austria. In Polish historiography, the term "Fourth Partition of Poland" has been used, in reference to any subsequent annexation of Polish lands by foreign invaders. Depending on source and historical period, this could mean the events of 1815, or 1832 and 1846, or 1939; the term "Fourth Partition" in a temporal sense can mean the diaspora communities that played an important political role in re-establishing the Polish sovereign state after 1918. During the reign of Władysław IV, the liberum veto was developed, a policy of parliamentary procedure based on the assumption of the political equality of every "gentleman", with the corollary that unanimous consent was needed for all measures. A single member of parliament's belief that a measure was injurious to his own constituency after the act had been approved, became enough to strike the act.

Thus it became difficult to undertake action. The liberum veto provided openings for foreign diplomats to get their ways, through bribing nobles to exercise it. Thus, one could characterise Poland–Lithuania in its final period before the partitions as in a state of disorder and not a sovereign state, as a vassal state, with Russian tsars choosing Polish kings; this applies to the last Commonwealth King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who for some time had been a lover of Russian Empress Catherine the Great. In 1730 the neighbors of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, namely Prussia and Russia, signed a secret agreement to maintain the status quo: to ensure that the Commonwealth laws would not change, their alliance became known in Poland as the "Alliance of the Three Black Eagles", because all three states used a black eagle as a state symbol. The Commonwealth had been forced to rely on Russia for protection against the rising Kingdom of Prussia, which demanded a slice of the northwest in order to unite its Western and Eastern portions.

Catherine had to use diplomacy to win Austria to her side. The Commonwealth had remained neutral in the Seven Years' War, yet it sympathized with the alliance of France and Russia, allowed Russian troops access to its western lands as bases against Prussia. Frederick II retaliated by ordering enough Polish currency counterfeited to affect the Polish economy. Through the Polish nobles whom Russia controlled and the Russian Minister to Warsaw and Prince Nicholas Repnin, Empress Catherine the Great forced a constitution on the Commonwealth at the so-called Repnin Sejm of 1767, named after ambassador Repnin, who dictated the terms of that Sejm; this new constitution undid the reforms made in 1764 under Stanisław II. The liberum veto and all the old abuses of the last one and a half centuries were guaranteed as unalterable parts of this new constitution. Repnin demanded religious freedom for the Protestant and Orthodox Christians, the resulting reaction among some of Poland's Roman Catholics, as well as the deep resentment of Russian intervention in the Commonwealth's domestic affairs, led to the War of the Confederation of Bar of 1768–1772, formed in Bar, where the Poles tried to expel Russian forces from Commonwealth territory.

The irregular and poorly commanded Polish forces had little chance in the face of the regular Russian army and suffered a major defeat. Adding to the chaos was a Ukrainian Cossack and peasant rebellion, the Koliyivshchyna, which erupted in 1768 and resulted in massacres of noblemen, Jews and Catholic priests, before it was put down by Polish and Russian troops. In 1769 Austria annexed a small territory of Spisz and in 1770 -- Nowy Targ; these territories had been a bone of contention between Poland and Hungary, a part of the Austrian crown lands. In February 1772, the agreement of partition was signed in Vienna. Early in August, Russian and Austrian troops invaded the Commonwealth and occupied

Warlord Era

The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China when control of the country was divided among former military cliques of the Beiyang Army and other regional factions, which were spread across the mainland regions of Szechuan, Tsinghai, Kwangtung, Kansu and Sinkiang. In historiography, the era began when Yuan Shikai died in 1916, lasted until 1928 when the Nationalist Kuomintang unified China through the Northern Expedition, marking the beginning of the Nanking decade. Several of the warlords continued to maintain their influence through the 1930s and the 1940s, problematic for the Nationalist government during both the Nationalist-Communist Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War; this era was characterized by constant military conflicts between different factions, the largest conflict was the Central Plains War which involved more than one million soldiers. Early in the 20th century the term was adopted in China as "Jun Fa" to describe the aftermath of the 1911 Wuchang uprising and Xinhai Revolution, when regional commanders led their private militias to battle the state and competing commanders for control over territory, launching the period that would come to be known in China as the modern Warlord Era.

The term "Jun Fa" is now applied retroactively to describe the leaders of regional private armies who, throughout China's history, threatened or used violence to expand their political rule over additional territories, including those who rose to lead and unify kingdoms. The origins of the armies and leaders which dominated politics after 1912 lay in the military reforms of the late Qing dynasty. During the Taiping Rebellion, the Qing dynasty was forced to allow provincial governors to raise their own armies, the Yong Ying, to fight against the Taiping rebels. Strong bonding, family ties and respectful treatment of troops were emphasized; the officers were never rotated, the soldiers were handpicked by their commanders, commanders by their generals, so personal bonds of loyalty formed between local officers and the troops, unlike Green Standard and Banner forces. These late Qing reforms did not establish a national army but instead they mobilized regional armies and militias that had neither standardization nor consistency.

Officers were loyal to their superiors and formed cliques based upon their place of origins and background. Units were composed of men from the same province; this policy was meant to reduce dialectal miscommunication, but had the side effect of encouraging regionalistic tendencies. Although the post-Taiping Rebellion governors are not recognised as the direct predecessors of the warlords, their combined military-civil authority and somewhat greater powers as compared to earlier governors provided a model for Republic-era provincial leaders; the fragmentation of military power due to the Late Qing's lack of a unified military force, exacerbated by the rise of provincialism during the revolution, was a strong factor behind the proliferation of warlords. Apart from administrative and financial obstacles, the late Qing government seemed to have relied on this divided military structure to maintain political control; the Confucian disdain for the military was swept aside by the rising necessity of military professionalism, with scholars becoming militarized, many officers from non-scholarly backgrounds rising to high command and high office in civil bureaucracy.

At this time, the military upstaged the civil service. Influenced by German and Japanese ideas of military predominance over the nation, coupled with the absence of national unity amongst the various cliques in the officer class, led to the fragmentation of power in the warlord era; the most powerful regional army was the northern-based Beiyang Army under Yuan Shikai, which received the best in training and modern weaponry. The Xinhai Revolution in 1911 brought widespread mutiny across southern China; the revolution began in October 1911 with the mutiny of troops based in Wuhan. Soldiers once loyal to the Qing government began to defect to the opposition; these revolutionary forces established a provisional government in Nanjing the following year under Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who had returned from his long exile to lead the revolution, it became clear that the revolutionaries were not strong enough to defeat the Beiyang army and continued fighting would certainly lead to defeat. Instead, Sun negotiated with Beiyang commander Yuan Shikai to bring an end to the Qing and reunify China.

In return, Sun would hand over his presidency and recommend Yuan to be the president of the new republic. Yuan refused to move to Nanjing and insisted on maintaining the capital in Beijing, where his power base was secure. Reacting to Yuan's growing authoritarianism, the southern provinces rebelled in 1913 but were crushed by Beiyang forces. Civil governors were replaced by military ones. In December 1915 Yuan found a new dynasty; the southern provinces rebelled again in the National Protection War. Yuan renounced his plans for restoring the monarchy to woo back his lieutenants, but by the time he died in June 1916 China was fractured politically; the North-South split would persist throughout the entire Warlord Era. Yuan Shikai cut back on many government institutions in the beginning of 1914 by suspending parliament, followed by the provincial assemblies, his cabinet soon resigned making Yuan dictator of China. After Yuan Shikai curtailed many basic freedom


Solgränd is an alley in Gamla stan, the old town of Stockholm, Sweden. It connects the Stortorget square to the street Prästgatan, it is a parallel street to Storkyrkobrinken, Ankargränd, Spektens gränd, Kåkbrinken. Solen was the name of several taverns in Gamla stan, in a list dated 1671 three taverns and inns are said to bear the name, one of, called Solen vid Prästgatan. A tavern located in the corner of Prästgatan gave the alley its name; the popular troubadour Carl Michael Bellman mentions the alley in his lyrics. The tavern mentioned in his epistle n:o 79 however, dedicated to a mor Maja Myra i Solgränden vid Stortorget, anno 1785, is referring to a tavern next door to Solen, in epistle n.o 56 called Förgyllda Bägaren. List of streets and squares in Gamla stan Stockholmskällan - Historical photos