Lat/Long: 52.0000, 20.0000
Located in Central Europe, Poland experienced numerous changes in boundaries, status, and rulers during a history that dates back to the mid-fourth century. During the sixteenth century, Poland dominated an empire that stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. The seventeenth century witnessed the beginning of a long decline, with several disastrous wars depleting Polish power and influence. Additional calamitous conflicts and political weakness in the eighteenth century allowed Russia, Prussia, and Austria to dismember the country. Partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795 resulted in Poland ceasing to exist as an independent entity. In 1807, Napoleon partially reestablished Poland as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. At the Congress of Vienna, the European powers established Poland as an autonomous kingdom under Russian authority. From 1815 to 1830, Poland was autonomous but in personal union with Russia. In 1830-31, the Poles rebelled unsuccessfully against Russian hegemony, losing their autonomy. Further insurrections occurred in 1846, 1848, and 1863, all to no avail. After the abortive rising in 1863, Poland became a Russian province.
Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1988), 964; Courtlandt Canby, The Encyclopedia of Historic Places (New York: Facts on File, 1984), 2:743-44.