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Bar, Confederation of

Bar, Confederation of, union formed in 1768 at Bar, in Podolia (now in W Ukraine), by a number of Polish nobles to oppose the interference of Catherine II of Russia in Polish affairs. Headed by the Pulaski family and supported by the Roman Catholic clergy, it sought to defend Polish independence, the Polish constitution, the rights of the landed gentry, and Roman Catholicism. Further, it endeavored to impose Roman Catholicism, as opposed to Orthodox Eastern beliefs, on the serfs of right-bank Ukraine (W of the Dnieper), which was then under Polish rule. Working against the confederation's policies was the Polish king, Stanislaus II, whose election (1764) had been sponsored by Catherine and who at her request had conceded to non-Catholics the rights of freedom of worship and participation in the Polish government. Incensed by the confederation's hostile intentions toward them, the right-bank Ukrainians rose up (1768) in the rebellion of the Koliyivshchyna (see Ukraine). Catherine sent Russian forces to suppress the rebellion, however, in the fear that it might spread among serfs under her control. In 1770 the confederation declared King Stanislaus deposed. Supported to a minor degree by France and more effectively by the Ottoman Empire, which declared war on Catherine, the confederation fought a bitter war against Russia until 1772, when its effective resistance was ended by the first partition of Poland (see Poland, partitions of).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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