The January Uprising (Polish: powstanie styczniowe; Lithuanian: 1863 metų sukilimas; Ukrainian: Січневе повстання; Russian: Польское восстание; Belarusian: Паўстанне 1863–1864 гадоў) was an insurrection principally in Russia's Kingdom of Poland that was aimed at the restoration of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It began on 22 January 1863 and continued until the last insurgents were captured by the Russian forces in 1864.

January Uprising
Part of the Polish-Russian wars

Poland - The Year 1863, by Jan Matejko, 1864, oil on canvas, 156 × 232 cm, National Museum, Kraków. Pictured is the aftermath of the failed January 1863 Uprising. Captives await transportation to Siberia. Russian officers and soldiers supervise a blacksmith placing shackles on a woman (Polonia). The blonde girl next to her represents Lithuania.
Date22 January 1863 – 18 June 1864
(1 year, 148 days)
Result Russian victory

Polish National Government

Garibaldi Legion
Foreign volunteers:

Supported by:
Land and Liberty
Dzyalynsky Committee

Russian Empire

Supported by:
 Kingdom of Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Stefan Bobrowski  
Romuald Traugutt  
Marian Langiewicz
Ludwik Mierosławski
Alexander II
Friedrich Berg
Mikhail Muravyov
around 200,000 over the course of the uprising. Around 20 men of the Garibaldi Legion. unknown
Casualties and losses
Polish estimates: 10,000 to 20,000
Russian estimates: 30,000[1] (22,000 killed and wounded, 7,000 captured[2])
Russian estimates: 4,500 killed, wounded and missing[3]
Polish estimates: 10,000 killed, wounded and missing
Administrative divisions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth within the partition borders of 1772 that were introduced by the National Government during the January Uprising in 1863

It was the longest-lasting insurgency in partitioned Poland. The conflict engaged all levels of society and arguably had profound repercussions on contemporary international relations and ultimately provoked a social and ideological paradigm shift in national events that went on to have a decisive influence on the subsequent development of Polish society.[4]

A confluence of factors rendered the uprising inevitable in early 1863. The Polish nobility and urban bourgeois circles longed for the semi-autonomous status they had enjoyed in Congress Poland before the previous insurgency, a generation earlier in 1830, and youth encouraged by the success of the Italian independence movement urgently desired the same outcome. Russia had been weakened by its Crimean adventure and had introduced a more liberal attitude in its internal politics which encouraged Poland's underground National Government to plan an organised strike against their Russian occupiers no earlier than the spring of 1863.[4] They had not reckoned with Aleksander Wielopolski, the pro-Russian archconservative head of the civil administration in the Russian partition, who had wind of the plans. Wielopolski was aware that his fellow countrymen's fervent desire for independence was coming to a head, something that he wanted to avoid at all costs. In an attempt to derail the Polish national movement, he brought forward to January the conscription of young Polish activists into the Imperial Russian Army for 20-year service. That decision is what triggered the January Uprising of 1863, the very outcome that Wielopolski had wanted to avoid.[5]

The rebellion by young Polish conscripts was soon joined by high-ranking Polish-Lithuanian officers and members of the political class. The insurrectionists, as yet ill-organised, were severely outnumbered and lacking sufficient foreign support and forced into hazardous guerrilla tactics. Reprisals were swift and ruthless. Public executions and deportations to Siberia eventually persuaded many Poles to abandon armed struggle. In addition, Tsar Alexander II hit the landed gentry hard and, as a result, the whole economy, with a sudden decision in 1864 for finally abolishing serfdom in Poland.[6] The ensuing breakup of estates and destitution of many peasants convinced educated Poles to turn instead to the idea of "organic work", economic and cultural self-improvement.[7]