East Central Europe 1789 CE
Much of Central Europe is now divided between Austria and Prussia.
What is happening in East Central Europe in 1789CE
Wars with its neighbours to north and east, coupled by internal revolt, devastated Poland-Lithuania. In the north, the ruler of a German state, Brandenburg, was able to win recognition as the independent duke of Prussia, no longer holding it as a fief of the Polish crown. This territory has formed a major element within the emerging kingdom of Prussia, which itself now poses a direct threat to Poland’s security. Poland is now ruled by Stanislaw II Augustus (1764-95), under whom the neighbouring powers of Prussia, Russia and Austria have taken large chunks of the kingdom in a move known as “The First Partition of Poland” (1772). The Partition has shocked the Polish ruling class out of its complacency and, under Stanislaw, a raft of political, administrative and educational reforms are being carried through, as well as far-reaching economic measures.
The Ottoman empire has posed a grave threat in central Europe, but failed twice to capture the Hapsburg capital of Vienna (1529 and 1683). The failure of the second siege put the Ottomans on the defensive, and by 1699 the Hapsburgs had cleared the Turks from Hungary. Transylvania was reabsorbed into the newly liberated Hungary.
Maria-Theresa ascended the Hapsburg throne in 1740 and was immediately engulfed by the War of Austrian Succession (1740-8). Except for Silesia, however, which was captured by Prussia, she managed to hold on to her lands. Her son, Joseph II (1780-90), has enacted a series of far-reaching reforms, which threaten the privileges of entrenched groups and stir up a hornets’ nest of hostility. Joseph is forced to repeal many of his reforms before his death.