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Congress Poland

The term Congress Poland refers to the Polish political entity that was created out of the Duchy of Warsaw at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when European powers reorganised Europe following the Napoleonic wars.

Congress Poland largely emerged as a result of the efforts of Adam Czartoryski, the Russian foreign affairs minister, who was a Pole and who aimed to resurrect the Polish state in alliance with Russia. Formally, Congress Poland was one of the few contemporary constitutional monarchies in Europe, with the Tsar of Russia as Polish King. The main problem was, that the Tsar had absolute power in Russia and didn't want to be limited in Poland.

Congress Poland had a parliament which voted laws and was responsible to the Tsar's Viceroy in Poland, Grand-Duke Constantine, the Tsar's brother. Grand-Duke Constantine was also responisble for Lithuania. Congress Poland lasted for a mere 15 years. In 1831, following continued curtailments of the rights provided in the Polish constitution on the part of the King (the Tsar) the Polish parliament deposed him as king of Poland. The Tsar responded by sending Russian troops into Poland and the so-called November Uprising broke out.

The end of Congress Poland came with the crushing of the uprising following an 11-month military campaign. The constitution was canceled. In 1863 the January Uprising started. After the defeat of the uprising, the official language of Congress Poland was changed to Russian, and eventually the territories of what had been Congress Poland were then simply incorporated into the Russian empire, however there were still many differences to the rest of empire. By extension, throughout the 19th century the term Congress Poland was used in relation to these territories, although the political entity they were connected with no longer existed.

The Congress Poland was abandoned by the Russian army in 1915.

Area: 127 000 km2