1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Poland, Russian
POLAND, RUSSIAN, a territory consisting of ten governments which formerly constituted the kingdom of Poland (see above), but now are officially described as the “governments on the Vistula,” or occasionally as the “territory on the Vistula.” It is bounded N. by the Prussian provinces of West and East Prussia, W. by those of Posen and Prussian Silesia, S. by the Austrian crown land of Galicia, and E. by the Russian governments of Volhynia, Vilna, Grodno, and Kovno.
|Emery Walker sc.|
Physical Features.—The territory consists for the most part of an undulating plain, 300 to 450 ft. above the sea, which connects the lowlands of Brandenburg on the west with the great plain of central Russia on the east. A low swelling separates it from the Baltic Sea; while in the south it rises gradually to a series of plateaus, which merge imperceptibly into the northern spurs of the Carpathians. These plateaus, with an average elevation of 800 to 1000 ft, are mostly covered with forests of oak, beech and lime, and are deeply cut by river valleys, some being narrow and craggy, and others broad, with gentle slopes and marshy bottoms. Narrow ravines intersect them in all directions, and they often assume, especially in the east, the character of wild, impassable, woody and marshy tracts. In the south-eastern corner of Poland they are called podlasie, and are in a measure akin to the polyesie of the Pripet. The Vistula, which skirts them on the south-west, cuts its way through them to the great plain of Poland, and thence to the Baltic. Its valley divides the hilly tracts into two parts—the Lublin heights on the east, and the Sędomierz (Sandomir) or central heights on the west. These last are diversified by several ranges which run east-south-east, parallel to the Beskides of the Carpathian system, the highest of them being the Lysa Góra, which reach 1910 ft. and 2010 ft. above the sea. Another short ridge, the Chęcinski hills in Kielce, follows the same direction along the Nida river and reaches 1345 ft. south of the Nida, the Olkusz hills, linked on to spurs of the Beskides, fill up the south-west corner of Poland, reaching 1620 ft, and containing the chief mineral wealth of the country; while a fourth range, 1000 to 1300 ft. high, runs north-west past Częnstochowa, separating the Oder from the Warta (Warthe). In the north, the plain of Poland is bordered by a flat, broad swelling, 600 to 700 ft. above the sea, dotted with lakes, and recalling the lacustrine regions of north-western Russia. Wide tracts of sand, marshes, peat-bogs, ponds, and small lakes, among which the streams lazily meander from one marsh to another, the whole covered with thin pine forests and scanty vegetation, with occasional patches of fertile soil—such are the general characters of the northern border region of the great plain of central Poland. The rivers flow across the plain in broad, level valleys, only a few hundred or even only a few dozen feet lower than the watersheds; they separate into many branches, enclosing islands, forming creeks, and drowning wide tracts of land during inundations. Their basins, especially in the west, interpenetrate one another in the most intricate way, the whole bearing unmistakable evidences of having been in recent geological, and partly in historical times the bottom of extensive lakes, whose alluvial deposits now yield heavy crops. The fertility of the soil and the facility of communication by land and by water have made this plain the cradle of the Polish nationality. The very name of Poland is derived from it—Wielkopolska and Wielkopolane being the Slav terms for the great plain and its inhabitants.
Rivers and Canals.—Russian Poland belongs mostly, though not entirely, to the basin of the Vistula—its western parts extending into the upper basin of the Warta, a tributary of the Oder, and its north-east spur (Suwalki) penetrating into the basin of the Memel, of which it occupies the left bank. For many centuries, however, the Poles have been driven back from the mouths of their rivers by the German race, maintaining only the middle parts of their basins. About Jozefow (51° N.) the Vistula enters the great central plain and flows north and west-north-west between low banks, with a breadth of 1000 yds. Its inundations, dangerous even at Cracow, become still more so in the plain, when the accumulations of ice in its lower course obstruct the outflow, or the heavy rains in the Carpathians raise its level. Embankments 20 to 24 ft. high are maintained for 60 m., but they do not always prevent the river from inundating the plains of Opole in Lublin and Kozienice in Radom, the waters sometimes extending for 150 m. to the east. Thousands of rafts and boats of all descriptions descend the stream every year with cargoes of corn, wool, timber and wooden wares, giving occupation to a large number of men. Steamers ply as far as Sandomir. The Wieprz (180 m.), a right-hand tributary of the Vistula, is the chief artery of the Lublin government; it is navigable for small boats and rafts for 105 m. from Krasnystaw. The Bug, another right-hand tributary of the Vistula, describes a wide curve concentric with those of the middle Vistula and the Narew, and separates the Polish governments of Lublin and Siedlce from the Russian governments of Volhynia and Grodno. Only light boats (galary) are floated down this broad, shallow stream, whose flat and open valley is often inundated. Its tributary, the Narew (250 m.), brings the forest-lands of Byelovyezh in Grodno into communication with Poland, timber being floated down from Surazh and light boats from Tykocin in Lomza. The Pilica, which joins the Vistula from the left 30 m. above Warsaw, rises in the south-western corner of Poland, and flows for 200 m. north and east in a broad, flat, sandy and marshy valley, of evil repute for its unhealthiness.
The Warta (450 m.) rises in the Czenstochowa hills, 900 ft. above the sea, and flows north and west past Sieradz and Kolo. Below Czenstochowa it traverses a flat lowland, whose surface rises only 2 to 5 ft. above the level of the river, and the inhabitants have a constant struggle to keep it to its bed; every spring an immense lake is formed by the river at the mouth of the Ner, a little above Kolo.
The Memel flows along the north-east frontier of Poland, from Grodno to Yurburg, separating it from Lithuania. The yellowish sandy plains on its left will grow nothing except oats, buckwheat and some rye. The river often changes its bed, and, notwithstanding repeated attempts to regulate it, offers great difficulties to navigation. Still, large amounts of corn, wool and timber are floated down, especially after its confluence with the Black Hancza.
Though navigable for a few months only, the rivers of Poland have always been of considerable importance for the traffic of the country, and their importance is further increased by several canals connecting them with the Russian and German rivers. The Memel is connected with the Dnieper by the Oginsky canal, situated in the Russian government of Minsk. The Dnieper and Bug canal in Grodno connects the Mukhavets, a tributary of the Bug, with the Pina in the basin of the Pripet, that is, the Dnieper with the Vistula. The Vistula is connected also with the Oder by the Bromberg canal in Prussia, which links the Brahe, in the basin of the Vistula, with the Netze, a tributary of the Warta. All these canals are, however, beyond Russian Poland. In Poland proper, the Augustowo canal connects the Vistula with the Memel, by means of the rivers Black Hancza, Netta, Biebrz and Narew. Another canal, to the west of Lęczyca, connects the Bzura, a tributa of the Vistula, with the Ner and the Warta; and the bed of the Rirmer has been altered so as to obtain regular irrigation of the meadows along its banks.
Lakes.—Lakes are numerous in the government of Suwalki, but are all small and mostly hidden in thick coniferous or birch forests, and their waters penetrate with undefined banks amidst marshes, sandy tracts and accumulations of moss-grown boulders. Another group of small lakes is situated in the basin of the Warta (north part of Kalisz), the largest being Goplo, 18 m. long and 100 ft. deep.
Climate.—With the exception of the Lysa Góra hilly tracts (Kielce and south Radom), which lie within the isotherms of 41° and 42°, Poland is situated between the isotherms of 42° and 46°. The isotherms and isocheims (i.e. lines of equal mean summer and winter temperature respectively) crossing one another at right angles, and the former running east-north-east, Poland is included between the isotherms of 64° and 61° and the isocheims of 35.7° and 39.2°. The prevailing winds are westerly, with north-north-east and south winds in autumn and winter, and east winds in spring. There is an average of 21.7 to 23.6 in. of rainfall in central Poland, and the quantity increases slowly towards the south on account of the proximity of the Carpathians, where it is 30.3 in. Owing to this distribution the snow-sheet in Poland is not very thick, and spring sets in early. Still, frosts of -4° to -22° Fahr. are not uncommon, and the rivers are generally icebound for two and a half to three months—the Warta being under ice for 70 to 80 days, the Vistula at Warsaw for 80 days and (exceptionally) even for 116, and the Memel for 100 (exceptionally for 140).
The following averages will serve to illustrate the climate of Poland:—
|Earliest frost||Oct. 18||Oct. 17|
|Latest frost||March 15||March 25|
|Absolute maximum temperature||95.5°||89.3°|
|Absolute minimum temperature||-37.6°||39.0°|
|Annual rainfall (total)||22.8 in.||7.6 in.|
Flora.—The flora of Poland is more akin to that of Germany than to that of Russia, several middle European species finding their north-east limits in the basin of the Memel or in the marshes of Lithuania. Coniferous forests, consisting mostly of pine (Pinus sylvestris) and birch, cover large tracts in Mazovia in the north, extend across the Baltic lake-ridge southwards as far as the confluence of the Bug with the Narew, and join in the south-east the Polysie of the Pripet. The pine covers the Lysa Góra hills and the hills in the extreme south-west. The larch, which three centuries ago covered large tracts, has almost entirely disappeared. Pinus cembra is only remembered, as also Taxus baccata. Picea obovata is cultivated.
Of deciduous trees, the common beech is the most typical; it extends from the Carpathians to 52° N. and reaches three degrees farther north in small groups or isolated specimens; the confluence of the Bug and the Narew may be regarded as its eastern limit. The white beech (Carpinus betulus), the aspen, and two elms (Ulmus campestris, U. effusa) are found nearly everywhere. The lime appears in groves only in the east (Memel, Pripet, Lublin). It is the most popular tree with the Poles, as the birch with the Russians; judgment of old was pronounced under its shade, and all the folk songs repeat its name. The oak—a highly venerated tree in Poland, though not so much as in Lithuania—grows in forests only on the most fertile land, but it is of common occurrence in conjunction with the beech, elm, &c. The maples (Acer platanoides and A. pseudo platanus) are somewhat rare; the black alder (Alnus glutinosa) lines the banks of the rivers and canals, and the Alnus inana is common. The willow and orchard trees—apple, pear, plum and cherry—are cultivated everywhere.
Fauna.—The fauna of Poland belongs to the middle European zoological group; within the historical period it has lost such species as formerly gave it a subarctic character. The reindeer now occurs only as a fossil; the sable, mentioned in the annals, has migrated eastwards; the wild horse, described by the annals as intermediate between the horse and the ass—probably similar to the Equus przewalskii of central Asia—is reputed to have been met with in the 13th century in the basin of the Warta, and two centuries later in the forests of Lithuania. The wild goat, bison and elk have migrated to the Lithuanian forests. The lynx and beaver have disappeared. The brown bear continues to haunt the forests of the south, but is becoming rarer; the wolf, the wild boar, and the fox are most common throughout the great plain, as also the hare and several species of Arvicola. The mammals in Poland, however, do not exceed fifty species. The avi-fauna, which does not differ from that of central Europe, is represented by some one hundred and twenty species, among which the singing birds (Dentirostrae and Conirostrae) are the most numerous. On the whole, Poland lies to the westward of the most frequented route of the migratory birds, and is less visited by them than the steppes of south-west Russia. Numerous aquatic birds breed on the waters of the Baltic lake-region.
Population.—The population of Poland, 6,193,710 in 1871, reached 7,319,980 in 1881, and 10,500,000 in 1897. The estimated population in 1906 was 10,747,300 Details for 1897 are shown in the subjoined table.
| Density |
The non-domiciled population numbered about 1,000,000 and by 1904 the total was estimated to have increased to 12,000,000, the rate of increase between 1889 and 1904 having been 46.6. Poland, with 193 (domiciled) inhabitants or 213 inhabitants in all to the square mile in 1897, and 240 to the square mile in 1904, has a denser population than any other region in the Russian empire, the next to it being the governments of Moscow, with 189 inhabitants to the square mile, Podolia with 186, and Kiev with 181. The drift townwards of the rural population began in 1890, when the urban population amounted to only 18% of the whole, whereas in 1904 it reached 24%, as compared with 13% for the urban population of Russia as a whole. Of the towns of Poland 32 have a population each exceeding 10,000, the largest being Warsaw the capital, with 638,208 inhabitants in 1897 and 756,426 in 1901; Lodz, with 315,209 in 1897 and 351,570 in 1900; Czenstochowa, with 45,130 in 1897 and 53,650 in 1900, and Lublin, with 50,152 in 1897. According to nationalities, the population was made up as follows in 1897: 6,755,503 Poles, equal to 64.6% of the total; 1,267,194 Jews, equal to 12.1%; 631,844 Russians (6%); 391,440 Germans (4%); 310,386 Lithuanians and Letts (3%); with a few thousands each of Tatars, Bohemians, Rumanians, and Esthonians, and a few Gypsies and Hungarians.
During prehistoric times the basin of the Vistula seems to have been inhabited by a dolichocephalic race, different from the brachycephalic Poles of the present day; but from the dawn of history Slavs (Poles), intermingled to some extent with Lithuanians, have to be found on the plains of the Vistula and the Warta. The purest Polish type exists in the basin of the middle Vistula and in Posen. The Poles extend but little beyond the limits of Russian Poland. In East Prussia they occupy the southern slope of the Baltic swelling (the Mazurs), and extend down the left bank of the lower Vistula to its mouth (the Kaszubes or Kassubians). Westward they stretch down the Warta as far as Birnbaum (100 m. east of Berlin); and in the south they extend along the right bank of the Vistula to the river San in western Galicia. In Russia they constitute, with Jews, Lithuanians, Ruthenians and White Russians, the town population, as also the landed nobility and the country gentry, in several governments west of the Dvina and the Dnieper.
According to the localities which they inhabit, the Poles take different names. They are called Wielkopolanie on the plains of middle Poland, while the name of Malopolanie is reserved for those on the Warta. The name of Lęczycanie is given to the inhabitants of the marshes of the Ner, that of Kurpie to those of the Podlasie; Kujawiący, Szlący in the Silesia, and Górale in the Carpathians.
The Kaszubes, and especially the Mazurs, may be considered as separate stocks of the Polish family. The Mazurs are distinguished from the Poles by their lower stature, broad shoulders and massive frame, and still more by their national dress, which has nothing of the smartness of that of the southern Poles, and by their ancient customs; they have also a dialect of their own, contain in many words now obsolete in Poland, and several grammatical forms bearing witness to Lithuanian influence. They submit without difficulty to German culture, and in Prussia are Lutherans. The language of the Kaszubes can also be considered as a separate dialect. The Poles proper are on the whole of medium stature (5 ft. 4.6 in.), finely built, dark in the south and fair in the north, richly endowed by nature, inclined to deeds of heroism, but perhaps deficient in that energy which characterizes the northern races of Europe, and in that sense of unity which has been the strength of their present rulers.
The German element is annually increasing both in number and in influence. The Lodz manufacturing district, the Polish Birmingham, is becoming more German than Polish; and throughout the governments west of the Vistula German immigration is going on at a steadily increasing rate, especially in the governments of Plock, Kalisz, Piotrków and Warsaw.
The Jews, who are found everywhere throughout Poland, are nowhere agricultural; in the larger towns many of them are artisans, but in the villages they are almost exclusively engaged as shopkeepers, second-hand traders, dealers on commission, innkeepers and usurers. In the country, both commerce and agriculture are in the hands of their intimately connected trading associations. Their relations with Poles and Ruthenians are anything but cordial, and “Jew-baiting” is of frequent occurrence. They are increasing much more rapidly than the Slavs.
Agriculture.—From remote antiquity Poland has been celebrated for the production and export of grain. Both, however, greatly declined in the 18th century; and towards the beginning of the 19th, the peasants, ruined by their proprietors, or abandoned to the Jews, were in a more wretched condition than even their Russian neighbours. Serfdom was abolished in 1807; but the liberated peasants received no allotments of land, and the old patrimonial jurisdictions were retained. Compelled to accept the conditions imposed by the landlords, the peasants had to pay rack-rents and to give compulsory labour in various forms for the use of their land. Only a limited number were considered as permanent farmers, while nearly one-half of them became mere proletaires. Pursuing a policy intended to reconcile the peasantry to Russian rule and to break the power of the Polish nobility, the Russian government promulgated, during the outbreak in 1864, a law by which those peasants who were holders of land on estates belonging to private persons, institutions (such as monasteries and the like), or the Crown were recognized as proprietors of the soil—the state paying compensation to the landlords in bonds, and the peasants having to pay a yearly annuity to the state until the debt thus contracted had been cleared off. The valuation of these allotments was made at a rate much more advantageous than in Russia, and the average size of holding amounted to 15 acres per family. Of those who held no land a number received grants out of the confiscated estates of the nobility and monasteries. At the same time the self-government of the peasants was organized on democratic principles. The so-called “servitudes,” however—that is, the right to pasture on and take wood from the landlord's estates—were maintained for political reasons. These reforms resulted in a temporary increase of prosperity, or at any rate an alleviation of the previous misery of the peasants. But whereas between 1864 and 1873 the peasantry as a whole purchased, in add1t10n to the land granted to them by the government, 297,000 acres, in the period 1873-1893, they bought 540,000 acres and between 1893 and 1905 as much as 1,620,000 acres. Thus the process of breaking up the larger estates is proceeding rapidly and at an accelerated rate. In ten years (1864-1873) the area of cultivated soil increased by 1,350,000 acres, while dur1ng the fourteen years 1845-1859 its increase had been only 540,000 acres. But the maintenance of the “servitude's,” the want of pasture-land, the lack of money for improvements, and the very rapid increase in the price of land, all helped to counteract the benefits of the agrarian measures of 1864.
In 1904 the village communities (peasantry) owned 43.8% of the total area; private owners, mostly nobles, 40.6%; the Crown and imperial family, 6%; and public bodies, such as towns and monasteries, 2.6%; while 3% was in the hands of the Jews. The holdings of the peasant families vary generally from 8 to 13 acres, the minimum in Russia being 16 to 22 acres. By a law of 1891 further subdivision below 8.3 acres is prohibited. But out of a total of some 7,000,000 peasants no fewer than 3,000,000 possess no land. In consequence of this every summer no fewer than 800,000 emigrate temporarily to Germany in quest of work.
Forests cover over 21.3% of the surface, of which nearly one-third belong to the Crown, and only 515,000 acres (7.7%) to the peasantry.
Agriculture in Poland is on the whole carried on according to more advanced methods than in Russia. The extensive cultivation of beetroot, of potatoes for distilleries, and of fodder crops has led to the introduction of a rotation of several years instead of the former “three-fields” system; and agricultural machinery is in more general use, especially on the larger estates of the west. Winter wheat is extensively cultivated, especially in the south, the Sandomir (Sedomierz) wheat having a wide repute. Of the land in the possession of the peasants no less than 70% is under crops, and of the land in the larger estates 52%; of the former category 11%, and of the latter 8%, is meadow. Altogether nearly 16 million acres of Russian Poland, or almost one-half of the total area, are under crops, principally rye, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes and hay, with some flax, hemp, peas, buckwheat and hops. After local wants are supplied, there remains every year a surplus of about 3½ million quarters of cereals for export. Beetroot is largely grown for the manufacture of sugar. Potatoes are extensively grown for use in the distilleries. The cultivation of tobacco is successfully carried on, especially in the governments of Warsaw, Plock and Lublin. The breeding of livestock (cattle, sheep and horses), is an important source of income. Fine breeds of horses and cattle are kept on the larger estates of the nobility, and cattle are exported to Austria. Bee-keeping is widely followed, especially in the south-east. Fishing is carried on remuneratively, more particularly on the Vistula and its tributaries.
Manufactures and Mines.—Since 1864, and more especially since 1875, there has been a remarkable development of manufacturing enterprise in Poland, the branch of industry which has shown the
greatest progress being the textile. Whereas in 1864 the annual production of all factories in Poland was valued at not more than 5¼ millions sterling, in 1875, when the workers numbered 27,000, the output was estimated at even less; but in 1905 the value of the industrial production reached 53 millions sterling. The principal industrial centres are Lodz (textiles), Warsaw (sugar, leather and miscellaneous) and Bendzin—Sosnowice—Dombrowa, in Piotrków (mining). The sugar factories and refineries, situated chiefly in the governments of Warsaw, Lublin and Plock, turn out approximately one million tons of sugar in the year, the Polish sugar industry being exceeded in Russia only by that of Kiev. Cotton is the principal product of the mills at Lodz and Lask, both in Piotrków; though woollen cloth, silk and linen are also produced. Tanning is centred in Warsaw and Radom; Polish (i.e. Warsaw) boots and shoes have a great reputation throughout the Russian empire. Other notable branches of manufacturing industry, besides those already named, are flour-mills, jute, hosiery, lace, paper, cement, hats, haberdashery, machinery, tobacco, soap and candle factories, iron and steel works, distilleries, breweries, potteries, vinegar, chocolate, varnish, furniture, clothing and brick works. The cottage industries, such as pottery and basket-making, formerly of considerable importance, are gradually being replaced by the factory system of working.
Southern Poland possesses abundant minerals, especially in the Kielce mountains and the region adjacent to Prussian Silesia. The Devonian sandstones contain malachite ores near Kielce, and copper has been worked there since the 15th century, though the mines are now neglected. The brown iron ores of Kielce contain no less than 40% of iron. The zinc ores of the Olkusz district, more than 50 ft. thick, contain 8 to 14%, sometimes 25%, of zinc. The tin ores of Olkusz are still more important, and were extensively wrought as early as the 16th century. Brown iron ores, appearing in the neighbourhood of Bendzin as lenticular masses 55 ft. thick, and containing 25 to 33% of iron, accompany the zinc ores. Spherosiderites and brown iron ores are plentiful also in the “Keuper formation.” Sulphur is wrought in the district of Pińczow; the deposits, which contain 25% of sulphur, reach a thickness of 7 to 70 ft. Coal occurs in south-west Poland over an area of 200 sq. m. in the districts of Bendzin and Olkusz. Brown coal, or lignite, which appears in the Olkusz district in beds 3 to 7 ft. thick, has been worked out. The output of coal is 4,000,000 to 6,000,000 tons in the year, the number of hands employed being 18,000 to 20,000. The yield of lignite is less than 100,000 tons annually; of zinc 10,000 to 12,000 tons, of copper and lead small. The production of iron and steel increased from 13,000 tons in 1862 to about 500,000 tons in 1905. Of other mineral produce, chalk, exported from Lublin, a few quarries of marble and many of building stones, are worthy of notice. Mineral waters are used medicinally at Ciechocinek in Plock and Nalęczow in Lublin.
Communications.—The railways of Poland have an aggregate lengtth of 1300 m. A line of great importance, connecting Vienna with St Petersburg, crosses the country from south-west to north-east, passing through the mining district and through Warsaw, and sending a short branch to Lodz. Another important line, connecting Danzig with Odessa, crosses Poland from north-west to south-east. A branch line, parallel to this last, connects Skierniewice with Thorn and Bromberg; while a military railway connects the fortresses of Warsaw and Ivangorod with Brest-Litovsk, via Siedlce and Lukow. The line from Berlin to St Petersburg traverses the north of Suwalki for 54 m. between Eydtkunen and Kovno.
Commerce.—The general trade of Poland is merged in that of Russia, under which heading it is treated. With the extension of the railways the fairs have lost much of their importance, but their aggregate yearly returns are still estimated at £3,000,000. The principal fairs are held at Warsaw (wool, hemp, hops), Lęczyca in Kalisz, Skaryszew in Radom, Ciechanoviec in Lomza, and Lowicz in Warsaw.
Administration.—The entire administration of Poland is under the governor-general residing at Warsaw. He is at the same time the commander of the military forces of the “Warsaw military district.” Justice is represented by the gmina tribunals, which correspond to those of the mir in Russia; the justices of the peace (nominated by government); the syezd, or “court” of the justices of the peace; the district tribunals (assizes) in each government; and the Warsaw courts of appeal and cassation. Poland has had no separate budget since 1867; its income and expenditure are included in those of the empire.
After the insurrection of 1863 all towns with less than 2000 inhabitants were deprived of their municipal rights, and were included, under the designation of posads, in the gminas. Viewed with suspicion by the Russian government, the Polish towns received no self-government like the villages. The elective municipal councils, which enjoyed de jure very large rights, including that of maintaining their own police, although in reality they were under the rule of the nobility, were practically abolished, and Russian officials were nominated in their place and entrusted with all their rights. The municipal councils were, however, maintained to carry out the orders of the military chiefs. The new municipal law of 1870, first introduced at Warsaw, reduced the functions of the municipal council almost to nothing. The burgomaster is entirely dependent upon the police and the chief of the district, and has to discharge all sorts of functions (bailiff, policeman, &c.) which have nothing to do with municipal affairs. In all official communications the Russian language is obligatory, and a gradual elimination of Poles from the administration has been effected.
Defence.—Poland contains the first line of defence of the Russian empire on its western frontier. The marshy lowlands, covered with forests on the western bank of the Vistula, are a natural defence against an army advancing from the west, and they are strengthened by the fortresses on that river. The centre of these latter is Warsaw, with Novogeorgievsk, formerly Modlin, in the north, at the mouth of the Bug, and Ivangorod, formerly Demblin, in the south, at the mouth of the Wieprz. Novogeorgievsk is a strongly fortified camp which requires a garrison of 12,000 men, and may shelter an army of 50,000 men. The town of Sierock, at the confluence of the Bug and the Narew, is fortified to protect the rear of Novogeorgievsk. The Vistula line of fortresses labours, however, under the great disadvantage of being easily turned from the rear by armies advancing from East Prussia or Galicia. Brest-Litovsk, at the western issue from the marshes of the Pripet, the towns of Dubno, Lutsk and Bobruisk constitute the second line of defence.
Religion and Education.—The prevalent religion is the Roman Catholic, to which over 75% of the total population belong. Protestants (mostly Lutherans) amount to 6%, while about 5% are members of the Orthodox Greek Church. After the insurrection of 1863, measures were taken to reduce the numbers of the Roman Catholic clergy in Poland. One diocese (Podlasie) was abolished, and a new one established at Kielce, while several bishops were sent out of the country. Poland is now divided into four dioceses—Warsaw, Sedomierz, Lublin and Plock.
The educational institutions of Poland are represented by a university at Warsaw, with 1500 students. Teaching has been carried on in Russian since 1873. There are excellent technical schools, an institute of agriculture and forestry at Nowa-Alexandrya, and several seminaries for teachers. At Warsaw there is a good musical conservatory. The Jewish children are mostly sent to the Jewish schools, but they receive almost no instruction at all. Although there has been a decided increase in the number of both the primary and the secondary schools, nevertheless the school accommodation has in neither category of school kept pace with the growth of the population. The proportion of primary schools has in fact been steadily decreasing, and the applications for admission to the secondary schools and colleges are on the average twice as great as the number of vacancies. Al the same, Poland compares very favourably with Russia in the general level of education, for whereas those able to read and write in 1897 amounted in Poland to 30.5% of the population (only 9.3% in 1862), in Russia it was 19.8%.