Third partition AKA Why my Polish ancestors stated they were from…?
The long answer is:
Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772, in an attempt to strengthen the greatly weakened Commonwealth, King Stanislaus Augustus put into effect a series of reforms to strengthen Poland’s military, political system, economy, and society. These reforms reached their climax with the enactment of the May Constitution in 1791, which established a constitutional monarchy with separation into three branches of government, strengthened the bourgeoisie and abolished many of the privileges of the nobility as well as many of the old laws of serfdom. In addition, to strengthen Poland’s international standings, King Stanislaus signed the Polish-Prussian Pact of 1790, ceding further territories to Prussia in exchange for a military alliance. Angered by what was seen as dangerous, Jacobin-style reforms, Russia invaded Poland in 1792, beginning the War in Defense of the Constitution. Abandoned by her Prussian allies and betrayed by Polish nobles who desired to restore the privileges they had lost under the May Constitution, Poland was forced to sign the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, which ceded Dobrzyn, Kujavia, and a large portion of Greater Poland to Prussia and all of Poland’s eastern provinces from Moldavia to Livonia to Russia, reducing Poland to one third of her original size prior to the First Partition.
The victors also agreed to ERASE THE COUNTRY’S NAME:
Immediately following the Third Partition, the occupying powers forced many Polish politicians, intellectuals, and revolutionaries to emigrate across Europe, in what was later known as the GREAT EMIGRATION*.
These Polish nationalists participated in uprisings against Austria, Prussia, and Russia in former Polish lands, and many would serve France as part of Napoleon’s armies. In addition, Polish poets and artists would make the desire for national freedom a defining characteristic of the Polish Romanticist movement. Poland briefly regained semi-autonomy in 1807 when Napoleon created the Duchy of Warsaw, but this effectively ended with the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Congress created a Kingdom of Poland, sometimes called Congress Poland, as a Russian puppet state. Even this, however, came to an end after a Polish insurrection in 1831, at which point Russia dissolved the Congress Kingdom and exacted multiple punitive measures on the Polish populace. In 1867, Russia made Poland an official part of the Russian Empire, as opposed to a puppet state. Poland would not regain full independence until the end of World War I, when the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the collapse of the Russian Empire allowed for the resurrection of Polish national sovereignty.
It was 1918 and Poland had made a comeback for 20 years until… World War II began.