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The Bar Confederation ( ; 1768–1772) was an association of Polishmarker nobles (szlachta) formed at the fortress of Barmarker in Podolia in 1768 to defend the internal and external independence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against aggression by the Russian Empiremarker and against King Stanisław August Poniatowski and Polish reformers who were attempting to limit the power of the Commonwealth's magnates (wealthy szlachta). The founders of the Bar Confederation included the magnates Adam Krasiński, Bishop of Kamenetsmarker, Kazimierz Pułaski and Michał Krasiński. Despite several victories against the Russians, the Confederation only succeeded in helping precipitate the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Some historians consider the Bar Confederation the first Polish uprising.


Bar Confederation 1768-72
In 1767-1768, Russian forces forced the Polish parliament (Sejm) to pass resolutions they demanded. In response to that, and particularly the arrest and exile of several dissidents, namely bishop of Kiev Józef Andrzej Załuski, bishop of Cracow Kajetan Sołtyk, and hetman Wacław Rzewuski with his son Seweryn, Polish magnates Adam Krasiński, Bishop of Kamenetsmarker, Kazimierz Pułaski and Michał Krasiński and their allies decided to form a confederatio - a legal military association opposing the government.

King Stanisław August Poniatowski was at first inclined to mediate between the Confederates and Russia, the latter represented by the Russian envoy to Warsawmarker, Prince Nikolai Repnin; but finding this impossible, he sent a force against them under Grand Hetman Franciszek Ksawery Branicki and two generals, who captured Barmarker. However, the simultaneous outbreak of the Koliyivschyna in Ukrainemarker stimulated the extension of the Confederation throughout the eastern provinces of Poland and even into Lithuaniamarker. The Confederates appealed for help from abroad and contributed to bringing about war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774). So serious did the situation become that King Frederick II of Prussia advised Tsarina Catherine II of Russia to come to terms with the Confederates.

Bar Confederats Standard

Confederation forces under Ignacy Malczewski, Michał Jan Pac and Prince Karol Radziwiłł roamed the land in every direction, won several engagements with the Russians, and at last, utterly ignoring the King, sent envoys on their own account to the principal European powers. In 1770 the Council of Bar Confederation transferred from its original seat in Silesia to Hungarymarker, whence it conducted diplomatic negotiations with Francemarker, Austriamarker and Turkey with a view to forming a league against Russia. Council proclaimed the king dethroned October 22 1770. The court of Versailles sent Charles François Dumouriez to act as an aid to the Confederates, and he helped them to organize their forces. Meanwhile, king Stanisław August waivered and was about to accede to the Confederation, but was kidnapped in unclear circumstances for a few days, presumably by confederates, in Warsaw in 1771.The king thereupon reverted to the Russian faction, and for this act targeting their king, the Confederation lost much of the support it had in Europe. Nevertheless its army, thoroughly reorganized by Dumouriez, maintained the fight for several more years; the last traces of it did not disappear until 1772 (defenders of the Wawel Castlemarker in Krakówmarker lasted until on April 28; fortress in Tyniec capitulated on until July 13; fortress in Częstochowamarker, on 18 August; perhaps the last stronghold of the confederates was in the monastery in Zagórzmarker, which fell only on the 28th November 1772).

Bar Confederates taken as prisoners by the Russians, together with their families, formed the first major group of Poles exiled to Siberia. Russians organized 3 concentration camps in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for Polish captives, where these concentrated persons have been waiting for their deportation there.


Some historians consider the Bar Confederation the first Polish uprising[43712]. Until the times of the Bar Confederation, confederates, especially operating with the aid of outside forces, were seen as antagonists fighting against the Golden Liberty. But in 1770, during the times that the Russian Army marched through the theoretically independent Commonwealth, and foreign powers forced the Sejm to agree to the First Partition of Poland, the confederates started to create an image of Polish exiled soldiers, the last of those who remained true to their Motherland, an image that would in the next two centuries lead to the creation of Polish Legions and other forces in exile. The Confederation has generated contradicting views among historians, with some blaming it for causing the First Partition, while others noting it was the first serious national military effort trying to restore Polish independence.

See also


  1. Alicja Deck-Partyka, Poland, a Unique Country & Its People, p. 35.
  2. Giacomo Casanova, Stephen Sartarelli, Gilberto Pizzamiglio and Sophie Hawkes, The story of my life, p. 528, notes 46, 49, 50.
  3. Adam Michnik and Maya Latynski, Letters from prison and other essays, p. 185
  4. Norman Davies, Europe: A History, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0198201710, Google Print, p.664
  5. Władysław Konopczyński, Konfederacja barska, t. II, Warszawa 1991, pp. 733-734.
  6. Bohdan Urbankowski, Józef Piłsudski: marzyciel i strateg (Józef Piłsudski: Dreamer and Strategist), Wydawnictwo ALFA, Warsaw, 1997, ISBN 8370019145, p. 155

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