Miasto Stoleczne Warszawa

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History - Page 2

1791

The May 3rd Constitution was adopted at the Royal Castle. The Constitution introduced various innovative governmental solutions and the basis for a democratic state.


After the Swedish invasion, Warsaw started to flourish anew during King Jan III Sobieski’s reign, when he decided to locate his summer residence in Wilanów.

But Warsaw enjoyed the real “Golden Age” during the reign of Stanislaw August Poniatowski. It was then that Łazienki Palace was built at the foot of Ujazdowski Castle together with the National Theatre and Cadet School, which was designed to provide the reformed state with a well-educated military and civilian personnel.

In 1788-1792 Warsaw played host to the extraordinary deliberations of the Great Seym – a parliamentary conclave that resulted in the enactment of the Polish Constitution on 3 May 1791. It was the first in Europe and only the second modern-style basic law in the world, after the American Constitution. However, the main objective of the Great Seym sessions was to protect Poland against the danger lurking from its neighbors: Russia, Prussia and Austria.


1795

The process of the partitioning of Poland at the hands of Prussians, Austrians, and Russians occurred after the fall of the Kościuszko Uprising. During the entire 19th century an immense effort was made to regain independence and to resume economic development of Warsaw so that it would again become an important industrial center.


The enactment of the 3 May Constitution and reforms designed to empower the state triggered off Russian military intervention. In response, in 1794 Poles fought back and launched the Kościuszko Uprising, which ended in surrender and the massacre of the civilian population of Praga (Warsaw district on the right bank of the Vistula River) at the hands of the tsarist General Suworow and his soldiers. In 1795 Poland was partitioned and disappeared off the map of Europe for 123 years.

Despite the loss of independence, Warsaw was growing rapidly. Elegant buildings and notable palaces were erected at that time, such as the Wielki Theatre, Staszic Palace and Belvedere Palace. Founded in 1816, the Warsaw University had five faculties: medicine, law, theology, philosophy, fine arts and science.

During years of enslavement, the capital of Poland remained the political focal point of the country. Secret patriotic movements against the occupiers were also organised here. It was in Warsaw that rebellious ideas were first forged. These ideas led to two more national revolts and attempts to wrest back freedom; they are known as the 1830 November Uprising and 1863 January Uprising.

Intensified political and cultural oppression did not halt the economic development of the city. In the late 19th and early 20th century Warsaw became a major industrial centre with 450 factories employing nearly 30,000 workers. The city was becoming a modern metropolis with gas lighting and modern water supply and sewage system.

1918

For Poland the end of World War I signaled the return of its independence. Warsaw was declared the capital of Poland.


The reinstatement of Poland’s sovereignty was among the Versailles Treaty resolutions ending the World War I.
Poland was one of the first countries in the world to grant women the right to vote in all elections. Already in 1919 the first women served as parliamentarians in the Polish Seym.

Filled with joy and new hope evoked by the regained independence, Warsaw was yet again witness to new events that were of critical importance to Europe’s future.
The defeat of the Red Army during the Polish-Soviet War by Polish troops in the great Battle of Warsaw in 1920 stopped the threat of communist expansion to Western Europe. That battle, also known as the Miracle at the Vistula, is considered by historians as one of the most important battles in history that determined the world’s destiny.

The inter-war era 1918-1939 was a period of rapid urban development for Warsaw. New railways and tramways, as well as a new airport were built. New buildings were constructed, streets paved with asphalt, projects for the underground metro line outlined and designed, and in the 1930’s successful tests of electronic television sets were conducted.

Warsaw of the 1920s and 30s was a multinational city. Immediately before World War II there were 1.3 million inhabitants in Warsaw. 30% were Jewish and nearly 3% were Ukrainian, Belarusian, and German. The multicultural nature of Warsaw gave it character and colour, a wealth of customs and traditions and an ambience of tolerance and respect.