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Partitions – a gradual, political annexation of the whole area made by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1772, 1793 and 1795. This led to the disappearance of Poland from the map of Europe. Part of the area of the annihilated Polish state was under Austrian rule as the new province of the monarchy, called Galicia and Lodomeria. Its definitive boundaries, after the Napoleonic wars for more than 100 years, determined the founding of the Vienna Congress in 1815. Within these borders were currently Małopolskie and Podkarpackie voivodeships and the pre-war Lwowskie, Stanisławowskie and Tarnopolskie voivodships, currently known as Western Ukraine. Nowadays, „Galicia” is more of a cultural and historical-administrative rather than a geographical concept. The awareness of young Poles about the origin of the so-called „Galicia” is so small today. There are almost no people born here before 1918 and remembering the political affiliation of their place of birth. The geographic concept of Galicia after the Second World War was condemned to oblivion. The division of Galicia after 1945 between People’s Poland and the Ukrainian Soviet Republic also did not favor the further functioning of its historical nomenclature in the official languages. Before 1975, in the former krakowski and rzeszowwskie voivodships, the name „Galicia” was still in common language and in the memory of generations born at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Reminiscences of this memory renewed after 1989, when the fall of communism took place. It was a friendly memory, devoid of negative emotions or even hostility to the invaders. That was in the case of the former Congress Kingdom over Russia, or in Wielkopolska and Pomerania in relation to Bismarck Germany. This is an interesting situation because the Poles struggle for independence, political and geographical changes, passing of time and the birth of another generations should affect the disappearance of the concept of „galicia”, as happened with the concept of „kongresówka”. In the south of Poland, in many habitats, there is a specific sense of regional separateness. The sources of these feelings should be sought in belonging to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Essential was the multi-nationality of the territory. Historical aspect  was the most important. Between 19th and 20th century, due to the liberal policy of Austro-Hungarian society, syndromes of Polishness in Galicia,  did not threaten Germanization or Russification – as in other partitions. Numerous material traces of the intense development of Galician towns remind of the long years of the reign of Francis Joseph I of Habsburg, who died in 1916, the Austrian emperor from 1848 and the „apostolic king of Hungary” from 1867. In recent years, the quality of „The Most Venerable Lord” has been re-valued; in the media the term „Galicia” is often quoted and referring in a good tone. The terms „Galicia”, „Galician” refer to positive associations. For the inhabitants of southern and south-eastern Poland „Galicia”, „Galicianism” are synonyms of homeliness, proximity. There is a fashion for „Galicianism” in spite of historical facts and varied assessments.

 

Permanent exhibition „Galicia on the map”

An exhibition presented at the Town Hall of Galicia. It was created to present the historical geography of Galicia. Exposure is mainly composed of copies of historical maps. It allows for a timeless look into the area of ancient Galicia. In the middle of one layout are two maps from the beginning of the twentieth century. Lower presents Austro-Hungarian, upper Galicia, on a larger scale. The map of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1771 on left shows the territorial size of pre-partition Poland. You can see here the size of lands that we called „Galicia and Lodomeria” as a result of the first partition. On the right hand side, a map of Poland reborn after years of captivity (issued in 1925) with marked area of Galicia before 1918, within the boundaries of the interwar voivodeship: krakowskiw, lwowskie, stanisławowskie and tarnopolskie.  Over the map are the emblems (historical replicas) that show symbolism of statehood or provincial autonomy. In addition, you can see portraits of selected historical figures related to Poland, Austria-Hungary and Galicia. Among them are Karol I. Habsburg, the last emperor of Austro-Hungary, nephew of his old predecessor, titular king of Galicia and Lodomery, died young in exile in 1922, included in the blessing of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II, as well as Agenor Gołuchowski, polish aristocrat from the eastern borderlands, the first imperial governor of Galicia, one of the creators of the dualistic state reform and the federal constitutional monarchy of Austria and Hungary from 1867. (thanks to him, in Galicia, which had a great autonomy at that time, polish was introduced in schools and offices, in Krakow the Academy of Skills was established, and in Lviv – a new university, Polytechnic). Three maps on the opposite wall of the town hall show Galicia across Europe: at the end of the nineteenth century, when Poland was not an independent country, mid-twentieth century, when the so-called People’s Poland and Ukraine were de facto under Soviet occupation, finally, at the beginning of the 21st century, after the accession of Central and Eastern European countries to the European Union.

 

Galicia as part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, circa 1907