Aktywność gospodarcza Polaków na Syberii w XIX i na początku XX wieku.

Władysłw Masiarz


From the end of the 17th centuru until 1914, Poles were being sent into exile to Siberia, first as prosoners of war, then as political prisoners of the Tsar's Russia for fighting for indepedence. After serving their sentences, few of the prosoners were allowed to go back to Poland. Wowever, most of them weredirected to free settlements where they had to take care of their own maintenance. Those who carried out scientific research brought fame to Poles by continuing it after regaitin freedom. Someof the prisoners started families and settled down enlarging Polish colonies. They also had to look for means of supporting themselves. All Poles in Siberia took actively participated in work, economy, trade, craft, services, culture, education, and arts.

Poles who took up farming, crafts, and trade constituted only a small pecentage of the Polish diaspora in Siberia. The researchers managed to document some more important eonomic activity of 27 out of a few thousend Poles who were sent to exile in the years 1832-1860. The greatest number of economically and socially active Poles was among the exiles sent to Siberia after the January Uprising. It was related with the fact that about 28 thousand Polish patiots were sent to exile, although the official Russian data tells about 18,6 thousand. It can be assumed that a few thousand from among so many Poles could operate a busines. However operation of 79 people who dealt with trade, crafts, and soap and candle production was documented. They ran small hotels, restaurants, bars, canteens, hamand sausage stores, inns, bakeries, tanneries,salt-works, and shops. They worked as tailors, shoemakers, bookbinders, tinsmiths, coopersmiths, farmers and traders.

A seperate group consisted of 156 exiled grouped in the years 1866-1880 in Tunka, 250 im to the south of irkutsk, who created. To avoid poverty they created an artel-a partnership and a shop that they ran on their own. They also created an agricultural company a pharmacy and a club. Some of them farmed leased lands, some were traders, and many became craftsmen.

During the last 20 years of the 19th century and first 20 tears of the 20th century,apart the exexiles, a new category of Poles appeared in Siberia, primarly peasants and workers who migrated there voluntarily to earn money, make carerrs, and get lands that were granted by the Tsar to speed up colonization of Siberia. According to the first general general registry in Russia from 1897, around 30 thousand Poles inhabited Siberia, 10 thousand of whom (53%) worked on farms. the  remauning Poles were active  in all fields of economy. Until now, a more important economic career of 69 Poles was documented including 20 who owned gold mines.

Summing up, it needs to be emphasized that the majority of Poles who settled down in Siberia, either voluntarily or not, undertook economic, financial and social activity if possible. 400 surnames have been examined and established so far from the period between 1832 and 1917. Thanks to their activity, those Poles obtained considerable properties and contributed to the economic and social development of Siberia.

Słowa kluczowe

Syberia, Polacy, wygnańcy, ekonomia

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