July 15, 2011

Kingdom of Poland

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts the Kingdom of Poland, located in part of present-day Poland, and bordered by Prussia to the northwest and the Austrian Empire to the south. Poland lost its independence in the late 18th century, when its territory was partitioned, in three successive stages, by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. In 1815, at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna established the Kingdom of Poland, which was linked to the Russian Empire in a personal union through the person of the Russian tsar. Warsaw, the capital of the kingdom, is situated on the Vistula (Wisła, in Polish) River. The card indicates that the distance from Warsaw to St. Petersburg was 1,303 versts, and from Warsaw to Moscow, 1,253¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Courland Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Courland Province , located in part of present-day Latvia, and bordered by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. Russia acquired the territory of Courland Province after the third partition of Poland, in 1795. Mitau (now Jelgava) was the administrative center of the province. The card indicates that the distance from Mitau to St. Petersburg was 597½ versts, and from Mitau to Moscow, 1,107¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Tomsk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Tomsk Province, located in the south-central part of the empire. Tomsk, the administrative center of the province, is situated on the Tom' River above its confluence with the Ob'. It was built in 1604 as a fortress by Tsar Boris Godunov. The card indicates that the distance from Tomsk to St. Petersburg was 4,339½ versts, and from Tomsk to Moscow, 3,823¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Lifland Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Lifland Province, located in the western part of the empire, and bordered by the Gulf of Riga to the west and Lake Chudskoe to the east. Riga, situated on the Dvina River, was the administrative center of the province, and is the capital of present-day Latvia. The card indicates that the distance from Riga to St. Petersburg was 555½ versts, and from Riga to Moscow, 1,065¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Vitebsk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Vitebsk Province, part of present-day Belarus. Russia acquired the territory of Vitebsk Province after the first partition of Poland in 1772. Vitebsk (Vitsyebsk, in Belarusian), the administrative center of the province, is situated on the Dvina (Dzvina, in Belarusian) River. The card indicates that the distance from Vitebsk to St. Petersburg was 625¾ versts, and from Vitebsk to Moscow, 577¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Minsk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Minsk Province, located in the western part of the empire. In the south, the Pripiat (Prypyats’, in Belarusian) River, a tributary of the Dnieper (Dnyapro, in Belarusian) River, flows eastward across the province. The province was acquired by Russia in 1793, after the second partition of Poland. Minsk was the administrative center of the province, and is the capital of present-day Belarus. The card indicates that the distance from Minsk to St. Petersburg was 909¾ versts, and from Minsk to Moscow, 691¼ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.