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Where did the power of Poland vanish to, since... let`s say, some 300 years ago?


Crow 146 | 9,117
6 May 2011 #1
It seams that power of Polish state began to drop rapidly since the Battle of Vienna in 1683 (not exactly since that year but approximately around that period). This is how i got impression looking at historical events and chronology.

So, what could be main reasons for weakening of Polish state? What are those direct losses that led to weakening of Poland and, what is even more important, what are those interests that forced Poland to loses its sharpness and power? On the end, what was situation with factors within the Polish state that eventually contributed to the weakening of Poland?

are you interested for discussion on this?
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
6 May 2011 #2
It seams that power of Polish state began to drop rapidly since the Battle of Vienna in 1683

Polands power was lost in enormous wars with Sweden, Brandenburg, Wallachia, Cossacks, Tartars and Muscovites between 1650 and 1683, by the time of Battle of Vienna Poland while still powerfull was in an advanced state of decay.

So, what could be main reasons for weakening of Polish state?

Fighting an enormous war for nearly 30 years, losing 1/3 of the population.
boletus 30 | 1,366
6 May 2011 #3
So, what could be main reasons for weakening of Polish state?

Sarmatism was definitely part of it...

Here is a nice article "Sarmatism: A Dream of Power" with few nice pictures and interview by Nick Hodge for Kraków Post,

krakowpost.com/article/1940

I like this fragment:
KP: Minister Sikorski suggested last year that the kontusz [Sarmatian dress] should be reinstated as national dress for Polish diplomats at galas and festive occasions. Do you think that this is commendable idea?

BB-S: This is a commendable idea - all the members of parliament could attire themselves in this fashion, and line up on display in Krakow, so we could see how it works. Speaking seriously though, for special occasions, yes. Well-sown garments and well-composed colours could create a sensation. But after all, if you wear such garb then noblesse oblige....


Sarmatism: A Dream of Power (Sarmatyzm: Sen o Potędze) runs until 30th May at the Stanisław Wyspiański Museum in the Szołayski House, ul. Szczepańska 11.
piktoonis - | 86
6 May 2011 #4
Constant wars, unlimited privileges for nobility, lack of cooperation between GDL and Poland, plagues and most importantly - Veto right.
OP Crow 146 | 9,117
6 May 2011 #5
Sarmatism was definitely part of it...

i agree to it. Its definitely one of internal reasons. Polish understanding of freedom was actually far more advanced for that historical momentum. So foreign factor took advantage in internal Polish turmoils that occurred.

Polands power was lost in enormous wars with Sweden, Brandenburg, Wallachia, Cossacks, Tartars and Muscovites between 1650 and 1683

what i understand, Poland did`t profit from her victorious battles. On the long run, all Polish victories or defeats turned to be one great disaster. How tragic

Fighting an enormous war for nearly 30 years, losing 1/3 of the population.

yes. Terrifying

i know what are you talking here. As a Serbian i understand well what those loses means. In WWI, Serbia lost 16,11 % of its population. Those were greatest casualties in WWI by one country. Then, speaking of Serbian loses in WWI add to those percents number of Serbs outside of Serbia (in other Serbian lands on Balkan) and you can just imagine what were total Serbian loses just in WWI.

see >
WWI
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties
Marek11111 9 | 816
6 May 2011 #6
You cannot fight wars and survive as strong nation, the never ending conflicts Poland had to fight did it in, and do you see some nation following the footsteps of Poland with constant war, can we predict what will happen as history repeats it’s self.
Koala 1 | 332
6 May 2011 #7
I think it's a combination of many things. Liberum veto, which lead to parliament losing any sort of legislative or decisive power. The King and his crew were stripped of any power, too, so basically there was really no one to rule the country. The second big factor would be extremely conservative society and lack of any innovation, on any level of human activity (technological, constitutional, economical, military etc.) - Poles were merely followers, and even then they adapted innovations much later than everyone else. It basically wasn't a modern country anymore at the time

You cannot fight wars and survive as strong nation, the never ending conflicts Poland had to fight did it in, and do you see some nation following the footsteps of Poland with constant war, can we predict what will happen as history repeats it’s self.

Frequent wars weren't unheard of at the time, many countries had many ongoing wars.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
6 May 2011 #8
Liberum veto,

My history professor, so many years ago, used to make fun of the Liberum veto (Nie pozwalam!) and would often mention it as an example of how not to get anything done. Of course the nobility was largely to blame for Polands downfall as well. Some of those people were way too arrogant. frequency of warfare didn't help matters any either (not all wars are created equally).
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
6 May 2011 #9
I think it's a combination of many things. Liberum veto, which lead to parliament losing any sort of legislative or decisive power

Rubbish.

he King and his crew were stripped of any power, too, so basically there was really no one to rule the country.

Again rubbish.

The second big factor would be extremely conservative society and lack of any innovation

Even more rubbish, Poland was the most tolerant and open minded nation with advanced law regarding such issues as divorces, as for advancements? The first artillery book Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima was written by a Pole and remained the basic such book for 200 years, the second or third european university was built in Poland and so on and so forth.

Poland between XV and XVII centuries developed tactics which shaped european warfare much in the same way as later Sweden would, the innovative tactics and strategy, the use of artillery and fortified mobile camps, gun teams, stormtroopers et cetera.

Poland for most of its history and especially reinessance was one of the most innovative, tolerant and advanced countries, what it lacked was industry and cities but thats a different story.

The problem with your post is you, you're an ignorant moron who has an opinion but no knowledge to back it.

Frequent wars weren't unheard of at the time, many countries had many ongoing wars.

A country wide 25 years long conflict with multiple enemies two of whom can be classified as european superpowers, yes it is unheard of.
boletus 30 | 1,366
7 May 2011 #10
the second or third european university was built in Poland and so on and so forth.

Well, I would not claim that much, because:
Main School of Kraków (later Kraków Academy, and then Jagiellonian University) was established in 1364 but it quickly went down in 1370, after the death of Casimir III the Great, only to recover in the year 1400. So, depending on which year we take as its origin, it is either the 17th or the 20th oldest university in Europe. Poles like to brag that it is the second oldest one in Central Europe, after the Charles University in Prague (1348). University of Vienna (1365) is also from Central Europe, isn't it?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_universities_in_continuous_operation

The first artillery book Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima was written by a Pole and remained the basic such book for 200 years

The author of Artis Magnae Artilleriae, Kazimierz Siemienowicz, was indeed a citizen of the Commonwealth, but he was more likely a Lithuanian/Belarusian than a Pole. And I do not think the Artis Magnae Artilleriae was the first artillery book ever written - it was just a very good book, translated into several languages. There were many artillery books written before, especially in Italian.

For example, Andrew Della-Aqua, a Venetian, a self-taught swindler and impostor, with no clue about geometry and mathematics, wrote two books about artillery: "About the Assembly and School of Gunners of His Majesty the King Zigmunt III" (printed in 1623) and "Praxis ręczna działa" (A manual operation of a gun) [manuscript only, 1637]. And he was handsomely paid for them.

You can read about it in "Historya Artyleryi Polskiej" (History of Polish Artillery) by Konstanty Górski, Warsaw 1902. (available on line from the Digital Library of Wielkopolska.

Górski leaves no shade of the doubt that Della-Aqua, although an apparent erudite, had only a superficial knowledge of the subject. His many illustrations and explanations in his manual seem to be a result of compilation of fragments taken out of context from some Venetian artillery books - combined with his own fuzzy and nonsensical explanations.

Poland between XV and XVII centuries developed tactics which shaped european warfare much in the same way as later Sweden would, the innovative tactics and strategy, the use of artillery and fortified mobile camps, gun teams, stormtroopers et cetera.

Poland indeed may lay claim to some innovative military tactics, strategy and commanders:
Hetman Jan Tarnowski, Krzysztof Arciszewski, Kazimierz Siemionowicz, generals Przyjemski, Krzysztof Grodzicki, etc.

But those were the times where everyone was borrowing words, technology and commanders. Just to name a few:
- "cejgwart" (from German word "Zeugwart" - a commander of gunners and of an arsenal
- "cekauz" or "cekhauz" (from German "Zeughaus" - combination of "Zeug" (fabric, cloth, tool, equipment, weaponry) and "Haus" (house))

- taraśnica (Czech: tarasnica, German: Tarasbüchse, trestle-gun)
- hufnica (Czech: houfnica, proto howitzer)
- Fromhold Wolf von Ludinghausen, general of artillery, served under Wladyslaw IV
- Patrick Gordon, a Scottish mercenary, serving in Sweden, Poland and Russia

The latter two are mentioned in a historical article in the weekly 'Polityka' - nr 42, October 16, 2010: Jerzy Besala, 'Seven weeks of brawl'.

"In fall of 1660 the Polish armies [29 thousands of Polish soldiers, supported by 15-20 thousands of Tartars] met with the superior forces of Moscow [33,000] and Cossacks [20,000 of Dnieper Cossacks plus 40,000 Cossacks led by Jerzy Chmielnicki - the son of the famous Bohdan]. The decisive battle took place at Cudnów (today's Ukraine).'

"Crossing the muddy river Hniłopiat has become a problem for the Polish division. But then the dragoons of the Lieutenant Patrick Gordon, and the Tartars went into action under the protection of the artillery fire - driving away the Cossack defenders of the river crossing."

"The uphill attack, under the hail of Cossack bullets, was very risky but it paid off amply. The dragoons of the Lieutenant Gordon broke in first, followed by the infantry and the units of cavalry."

"The Russian army has been pushed against the woods and then shelled by the artillery of general Fromhold de Ludinghausen Wolff."
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
7 May 2011 #11
Polish understanding of freedom was actually far more advanced

Im sure the serfs felt that too...............
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
7 May 2011 #12
The author of Artis Magnae Artilleriae, Kazimierz Siemienowicz, was indeed a citizen of the Commonwealth, but he was more likely a Lithuanian/Belarusian than a Pole

He spoke Polish, he had a natively Polish coat of arms an his name and surname are polish so yeah he's Polish.

And I do not think the Artis Magnae Artilleriae was the first artillery book ever written

It was the first artillery book every written in Europe.

You can read about it in "Historya Artyleryi Polskiej" (History of Polish Artillery) by Konstanty Górski, Warsaw 1902. (available on line from the Digital Library of Wielkopolska

I've got him on my shelf right now. Artis was the first artillery textbook in Europe, in the world it was preceded by Chinese.

As for universities they werent very popular in any place at that time, being educated didnt play off untill more than 150 years later when engineers, writers and such became crucial for the development of european nation, second university though kills the "stale backwards country" argument of the retard i quoted.

Górski leaves no shade of the doubt that Della-Aqua, although an apparent erudite, had only a superficial knowledge of the subject. His many illustrations and explanations in his manual seem to be a result of compilation of fragments taken out of context from some Venetian artillery books - combined with his own fuzzy and nonsensical explanations.

The problem with italian artillery books is that what they were were effectively instructional booklets on how to operate a cannon, then came a Pole who described various pieces of artillery, methods of deployment, transport, usage, supporting fortifications, he didnt base it all on others too since he came up with most of it.

Mark you untill late XVII century Poland has the most advanced artillery in the world with mortars, falconets, organ guns, the works.

Also Poland is the country responsible for squad and division military units since it was their inventor.

Im sure the serfs felt that too...............

Serfdom was not installed untill mid XVI century, XV century Poland for example was a country completely free, also the serfs in Poland while not free were ceirtanly not slaves nor starving, whereas german peasants had to starve, US ne#ros were downright slaves the serfs in Poland had rights albeit limited and their life was not all that bad.
Koala 1 | 332
7 May 2011 #13
The problem with your post is you, you're an ignorant moron who has an opinion but no knowledge to back it.

I think you should learn some proper manners, buddy. Otherwise people will ignore you, as I'm going to from now on.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
7 May 2011 #14
On the end, what was situation with factors within the Polish state that eventually contributed to the weakening of Poland?

In my opinion, Poland lost power because it bit off more then it could chew. It had land that had too many non-Poles in it who were loyal first to their own ethnicity and not Poland. So it was just a matter of time before these ethnic groups undermined and weakened Poland with the help of outside nations.

In proportion to the land it controlled, Poland back in the 1600's had a relatively tiny ethnic Polish population that controlled vast amounts of land.

If Poland had at least 3 times the ethnic Polish population back then that it did, it would have had more control and not as easily defeated. There is no two ways around it. Biological strength EQUALS national strength when it comes to European countries.

Its no accident that the strongest European countries today are the ones with the biggest ethnic populations native to those countries.
PennBoy 76 | 2,436
7 May 2011 #15
It seams that power of Polish state began to drop rapidly since the Battle of Vienna in 1683

In the early 1700s Austria, Prussia and Russia secretly signed the "Alliance of the Three Black Eagles" (Löwenwolde's Treaty) which was meant to keep Poland weak economically and militarily. The Commonwealth had been forced to rely on Russia for protection against the rising Kingdom of Prussia, while Prussia was demanding a slice of the northwest in order to unite its Western and Eastern portions.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitions_of_Poland#Prelude

Thus Russia chose the Polish kings, which we're more or less loyal to Russia and run Poland's politics.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
7 May 2011 #16
... proper manners...

It's just his 'charm'. Although Sokrates knows little when it comes to women and he is a bit crude in some of his responses; I have found much of his information (dare I say 'insight'?) interesting and even valuable.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
7 May 2011 #17
Poland between XV and XVII centuries developed tactics which shaped european warfare much in the same way as later Sweden would

Poland was defeated in many battles with the Cossacks and Ukrainian peasants who chased the Polish army with sticks and brooms and no imaginary tactics of yours helped it :)

advanced law regarding such issues as divorces, as for advancements?

Who cares about divorces when there is the decadence of the state is at stake. 300 years after Poland is still the most conservative catholic state with divorces practically ending in excommunications.

Poland for most of its history and especially reinessance was one of the most innovative

It was copying from Germans, French and Italians - this is not an innovation.

what it lacked was industry

It lacked civilized government, clear-cut decision-making machine, militarily it was backward with moronic generals leading the army for the Ukrainian Cossack's lunch-time appetizer. It fought with everyone and wanted to be everything. The intestine happened to be too thin.

The problem with your post is you, you're an ignorant moron who has an opinion but no knowledge to back it.

The problem is that you have no idea what you are talking about. At least, learn your own history! What you said is that there were no flaws in the RP. And there were multitude and Koala named some of them which are generally accepted.

Mark you untill late XVII century Poland has the most advanced artillery in the world with mortars, falconets, organ guns, the works.

;))))) Oh yeah. What else? Did Poland fly to the moon in the XVII century too?

Also Poland is the country responsible for squad and division military units since it was their inventor

What??? I thought you invented the legions and then the Romans borrowed it.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
7 May 2011 #18
I think you should learn some proper manners, buddy. Otherwise people will ignore you, as I'm going to from now on.

Learn about the subject or have decency to ask before issuing opinionated retarded arguments you inbred.

It had land that had too many non-Poles in it who were loyal first to their own ethnicity and not Poland. So it was just a matter of time before these ethnic groups undermined and weakened Poland with the help of outside nations.

Back then there was no idea of ethnicity. People were loyal to kings, countries or religions, nationality and ethnicity in the way you understand it didnt exist untill XIX century.

What??? I thought you invented the legions and then the Romans borrowed it.

No just the division and squad system :) Polish army in VX and early XVI century operated on the basis of squads of combined arms, crossbowmen, halberdiers in plate armor, pavise bearers and mounted troops, they could operate in small units or join together to form larger ones.

Divisional system was invented in XV century and adopted by other european countries throught history becoming the basis of military organisation untill the French invented the corps.

The problem is that you have no idea what you are talking about. At least, learn your own history! What you said is that there were no flaws in the RP. And there were multitude and Koala named some of them which are generally accepted.

Commonwealth had a multitude of flaws like any country but they werent the cause of its downfall, the cause itself was simple, a prolonged period of massive wars.

It was copying from Germans, French and Italians - this is not an innovation.

Copying how? Polish divisions were completely unique to Poland, polish cavalry tactics were also completely unique, polish stormtrooper infantry tactics were used by Poland exclusively, Italy and Germans relied on pike and shot while France used crossbow and heavy cavalry, all of them were overrelaliant on gunpowder using caracol tactics.

Poles did not use pike, infantry used guns as a prelude to storming the opposition with

It lacked civilized government, clear-cut decision-making machine, militarily it was backward with moronic generals leading the army for the Ukrainian Cossack's lunch-time appetizer. It fought with everyone and wanted to be everything. The intestine happened to be too thin.

Is that why Cossacks never could win a war against Poland and won a few battles only after over a century of defeats only to be finally destroyed by Poles in the XVIII century?

Poland was defeated in many battles with the Cossacks and Ukrainian peasants who chased the Polish army with sticks and brooms and no imaginary tactics of yours helped it :)

Not really no, polish nobles were defeated, Cossacks managed to defeat polish army once and never managed to repeat that, nor were they able to do anything with their victory, they managed to hold on to a chunk of Ukraine for a grand total of 5 years untill Poland pacified them again.

It was copying from Germans, French and Italians - this is not an innovation.

What was it copying? Last i checke everyone is using divisions today so it seems they're "copying" Poland:)))))
Nathan 18 | 1,363
7 May 2011 #19
then came a Pole who described various pieces of artillery, methods of deployment, transport, usage, supporting fortifications, he didnt base it all on others too since he came up with most of it.

You could have stopped on "then came a Pole" ;)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
7 May 2011 #20
Whats ukrainian contribution to our european military history? Any?:))))))
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
7 May 2011 #21
Our friend Nathan already gave you that answer.

Ukrainian peasants who chased the Polish army withsticks and brooms

Palivec - | 380
7 May 2011 #22
Poland for most of its history and especially reinessance was one of the most innovative, tolerant and advanced countries, what it lacked was industry and cities but thats a different story.

How can a society without a developed urban middle class (missing industry and cities) be "one of the most innovative, tolerant and advanced countries"? Who was innovative and developed this "advanced" country? The Szlachta? Or the serfs?
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
7 May 2011 #23
Who was innovative and developed this "advanced" country? The Szlachta? Or the serfs?

Maybe it was the Jews?
gumishu 11 | 5,632
7 May 2011 #24
How can a society without a developed urban middle class (missing industry and cities) be "one of the most innovative, tolerant and advanced countries"? Who was innovative and developed this "advanced" country? The Szlachta? Or the serfs?

untill the end of 17th century Poland was perhaps only slightly backward in military technology (perhaps because the military often used imported materiel or the country imported craftsmen) - as for tolerance - it was a very tolerant country until 1655 (or the Swedish Deluge) - if you deny it please do back it up somehow - no Poland was not the most advanced country (as you correctly mentioned the seriously underdeveloped industry) in the world even in its 'golden' times - perhaps it was advanced only in political field for a time (but the growth of the nobility importance meant also ever growing serfdom of their subjects - so even this can be questioned)

Instead of Poland I should have used 'the Commonwealth' (meaning the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
7 May 2011 #25
How can a society without a developed urban middle class (missing industry and cities) be "one of the most innovative, tolerant and advanced countries"? Who was innovative and developed this "advanced" country? The Szlachta? Or the serfs?

The Szlachta naturally, it only became stagnant in mid XVII.

untill the end of 17th century Poland was perhaps only slightly backward in military technology (perhaps because the military often used imported materiel or the country imported craftsmen)

Neither, untill around 1630 Poland is ahead of everyone else.
PolskiMoc 4 | 324
7 May 2011 #26
The Polish power vanished to Germany, Russia & Austria.

Mostly Germany.

Because Russia was under German Kurwa Catherine the UNgreat when Russia took over Poland.

The Russian Tsars were German.

It seems German Tsars purposefully also kept Russia in prolonged fuedalism to keep Russia from being able to keep up with Germany

Then Germans invented Communism & Sent the Bolsheviks to Russia to destroy Russia when Russians started to hate German Tsar Nicholas II

So most of the Polish Power & Wealth went to Germany.

Poland collapsed because of the Deluge period when both Russia & Sweden were attacking Poland. Although at First Poland destroyed both Russians & Swedes in the Battle of Klushino.

Poland could not handle constant wars with Russia & Sweden

Then Austrians & Prussian Germans invaded & That was the end
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,432
7 May 2011 #27
Last i checke everyone is using divisions today so it seems they're "copying" Poland:)))))

Do you have another link than wiki (I got curious). I would really like to learn more about it..

Wiki has no word on any polish invention of military units...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_(military)
gumishu 11 | 5,632
7 May 2011 #28
Poland could not handle constant wars with Russia & Sweden

Poland provoked wars with Sweden and Russia - or rather King Sigismund Vasa did - many in Poland inlcuding hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski objected to the idea of Poland interfering in Russian 'time of troubles' - it was the king's dynastic ambitions that propelled it
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,432
7 May 2011 #29
It seems German Tsars purposefully also kept Russia in prolonged fuedalism to keep Russia from being able to keep up with Germany

Erm...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_the_Great

Under her direct auspices the Russian Empire expanded, improved its administration, and continued to modernize along Western European lines.
Catherine's rule re-vitalized Russia, which grew stronger than ever and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe....

...During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and westward to absorb New Russia, Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Right-Bank Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland at the expense, mainly, of two powers - the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. All told, she added some 200,000 miles² (518,000 km²) to Russian territory.

Catherine's patronage furthered the evolution of the arts in Russia more than that of any Russian sovereign before or after her.

Catherine had a reputation as a patron of the arts, literature and education. The Hermitage Museum, which now occupies the whole Winter Palace, began as Catherine's personal collection. At the instigation of her factotum, Ivan Betskoi, she wrote a manual for the education of young children, drawing from the ideas of John Locke, and founded (1764) the famous Smolny Institute, admitting young girls of the nobility.[/quote]

...she isn't called "Great" for nothing! ;)

Then Germans invented Communism & Sent the Bolsheviks to Russia to destroy Russia when Russians started to hate German Tsar Nicholas II

He:)
You can call these bastards Germussians...makes it much easier to blame them for all polish warts and woes! :)
PolskiMoc 4 | 324
7 May 2011 #30
Under her direct auspices the Russian Empire expanded, improved its administration, and continued to modernize along Western European lines.
Catherine's rule re-vitalized Russia, which grew stronger than ever and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe....

Catherine the Great was a German Kurwa. She pimped out Russia to millions Volga Germans. of course Volga Germans later went on to become Lenin.

Lenin was half Volga German & Not Russian at all!

Catherine the Great is the one who first started mass genocide & land stealing against Poles in Russia

Before Catherine the Great there was a time period where Russians & Poles could have united under the Tatar & Turk threat even Russia stood up to Tatars & Turks a few time saying they should not mess with Poland.

Catherine the Great may have improved Russia
But her German blooded Tsar descendents kept Russia in prolonged feudalism.

Then when Russians rebelled Germans gave Russians Model Feudalism A.K.A Communism

Communism is nearly indenticle to Feudalism. In both Communsim & Feudalism people don't own land, work as equal slaves, are told how to live, are given rations of food & shelter ect


Home / History / Where did the power of Poland vanish to, since... let`s say, some 300 years ago?
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