Before World War 1, Poland was partitionned between Prussia, Austria-Hungary and Russia. However I have strong reasons to suspect that the word "Poland" was at that time referring specifically to the Russian partition.

Example in this map, the word "Poland" is clearly written over the Russian partition, and it is very clear it is not referring to any part of Germany nor Austria-Hungary. I saw other maps where it was the same.

Also, last but not least, people asking polish-related questions on Genealogy stack exchange typically ask questions referring Russia's Poland as simply "Poland", while those referring to Austrian-Hungarian or German "Poland" will refer it as "Austria-Hungary" or "Germany" respectively.

  • 3
    That's because technically Poland didn't cease to exist, at least not right away. The Russian partition was originally organised as the Kingdom of Poland in personal union with the Russian Empire. So its very reasonable for "Poland" to refer specifically to the Russian part during those years. The legal kingdom did eventually get abolished in 1867, but the tsars continued to be style Tsar of Poland and the region remained relatively distinct (after 1880s, as Vistula Country), so it makes sense that the previous usage stuck.
    – Semaphore
    Dec 8, 2017 at 13:27
  • Do you mean immediately before, or ever?
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 8, 2017 at 17:29
  • It's no problem, really. Also I think it's nice to have a belle-epoque tag, as much of the late 19th century was the same as the early 20th century, and as such, it's dumb to separate those time periods in two tags, but more questions should use them.
    – Bregalad
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


Yes. Russian Poland, which included the former capital of Warsaw, was referred to as "Congress Poland." The term "Congress" refers to the Vienna Congress of 1815, which settled the boundaries of Europe for the post Napoleonic era. Congress Poland consisted mostly of what Napoleon had called the Duchy of Warsaw, that is the Polish heartland, and was handed over to Russia because of her role in the defeat of Napoleon. This was true even though parts of Congress Poland (e.g. Warsaw) had earlier been awarded to Prussia or Austria under the Third Partition in 1795.

The parts of "Poland" occupied by Prussia and Austria were (mostly) outlying areas of the former Poland, referred to by their regional names, e.g. as West Prussia in the case of Prussia, and Galicia in the case of Austria.

  • It might be worth noting the compensation that Prussia obtained in Western Germany for the loss of Polish territories. Dec 8, 2017 at 20:25
  • @PieterGeerkens: That's a valid point. But while it was a sop to Prussia, it had no (future) impact on Germany as a whole. And making that point might further confuse the issue, given that the "three" Polands are confusing enough.
    – Tom Au
    Dec 9, 2017 at 3:49

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