On This Day
1795 – Partitions of Poland: The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, a northern fief of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ceases to exist and becomes part of Imperial Russia.
The Partitions of Poland[a] were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.
The First Partition of Poland was decided on August 5, 1772. Two decades later, Russian and Prussian troops entered the Commonwealth again and the Second Partition was signed on January 23, 1793. Austria did not participate in the Second Partition. The Third Partition of Poland took place on October 24, 1795, in reaction to the unsuccessful Polish Kościuszko Uprising the previous year. With this partition, the Commonwealth ceased to exist.
In English, the term “Partitions of Poland” is sometimes used geographically as toponymy, to mean the three parts that the partitioning powers divided the Commonwealth into, namely: the Austrian Partition, the Prussian Partition and the Russian Partition. In Polish, there are two separate words for the two meanings. The consecutive acts of dividing and annexation of Poland are referred to as rozbiór (plural: rozbiory), while the term zabór (pl. zabory) means each part of the Commonwealth annexed in 1772–95 becoming part of Imperial Russia, Prussia, or Austria. Following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the borders of the three partitioned sectors were redrawn; the Austrians established Galicia in the Austrian partition, whereas the Russians gained Warsaw from Prussia and formed an autonomous polity of Congress Poland in the Russian partition.
In Polish historiography, the term “Fourth Partition of Poland” has also been used, in reference to any subsequent annexation of Polish lands by foreign invaders. Depending on source and historical period, this could mean the events of 1815, or 1832 and 1846, or 1939. The term “Fourth Partition” in a temporal sense can also mean the diaspora communities that played an important political role in re-establishing the Polish sovereign state after 1918.
Born On This Day
1895 – Ángela Ruiz Robles, Spanish teacher, writer and inventor, pioneer of the electronic book (d. 1975)
Ángela Ruiz Robles (March 28, 1895 Villamanín, Leon – October 27, 1975, Ferrol, A Coruña) was a Spanish teacher, writer, pioneer and inventor of the mechanical precursor to the electronic book. In 1949, Ruiz was awarded Spanish patent 190,698 for the “Mechanical Encyclopedia” (Spanish: la Enciclopedia Mecánica).
Ruiz Robles wanted to lighten the weight of the books carried by her students, so she devised a device consisting of a series of text and illustrations on reels, all under a sheet of magnifying glass with a light for reading in the dark, and was to incorporate spoken descriptions of each topic. Her device was never put into production but a prototype is in display at the National Museum of Science and Technology in A Coruña.
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