Norblin Hanging of traitors in effigie
266px-Vasili Stepanovich Popov

Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine -

Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder -

The Targowica Confederation (Polish: konfederacja targowicka, IPA: [kɔnfɛdɛˈrat͡sja tarɡɔˈvit͡ska], Lithuanian: Targovicos konfederacija) was a confederation established by Polish and Lithuanian magnates on 27 April 1792, in Saint Petersburg, with the backing of the Russian Empress Catherine II. The confederation opposed the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, which had been adopted by the Great Sejm, especially the provisions limiting the privileges of the nobility. The text of the founding act of the confederation was written by the Russian general Vasili Stepanovich Popov, Chief of Staff of Prince Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin. Its purpose was proclaimed in the small town of Targowica (now in Kirovohrad Oblast, Ukraine) on May 14, 1792. Four days later two Russian armies invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth without a formal declaration of war.

The forces of the Targowica Confederation defeated the forces loyal to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Sejm and King Stanisław August Poniatowski in the Polish–Russian War of 1792. As a result, the King, Poniatowski, formally joined the Confederation. Their victory precipitated the Second Partition of Poland and set the stage for the Third Partition and the final dissolution of the Commonwealth in 1795.This outcome came as a surprise to most of the Confederates, who had wished only to restore the status quo ante and had expected that the overthrow of the May 3rd Constitution would achieve that end.[1]

The term targowiczanin, describing the members and supporters of this confederation, became a synonym to traitors and targowica to treason acts in the Polish language, and is still used up to the modern day.


  • 1 Leading members
  • 2 See also
  • 4 References

Leading members

  • Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki: Marshal (head) of the Confederation.

Sentenced to death, but never apprehended. Instead, on September 29, 1794, his portrait was hanged (see illustration). In 1795 he was rewarded by Catherine the Great with the Russian Order of Alexander Nevsky and the rank of Général en chef. Other magnate members:

  • Franciszek Ksawery Branicki: Sentenced to death during the Kościuszko Uprising but never apprehended. Emigrated to Russia, died at Biała Cerkiew, 1819.
  • Szymon Marcin Kossakowski: Hanged April 25, 1794, in Wilno during the Kościuszko Uprising.
  • Józef Kazimierz Kossakowski: Bishop. Hanged May 9, 1794, in Warsaw during the Kościuszko Uprising.
  • Ignacy Jakub Massalski: Bishop. Hanged June 28, 1794, in Warsaw during the Kościuszko Uprising.
  • Seweryn Rzewuski.


    • From the Establishing Act of the Targowica Condeferation:[7]
    • One of the founders of the Targowica Confederation, Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki:
    • After Stanisław Poniatowski's abdication and the destruction of the Commonwealth, Szczęsny Potocki said:
  1. "About past Poland and Poles [I don't want to talk anymore]. Gone is

this country, and this name, as many others have perished in the world's history. I am now a Russian forever."

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