the largest educational and research center in Poland, which was founded in 1816 in Warsaw as the Aleksandrovskii University by decree of the Russian tsar Alexander I (charter approved in 1818).
Originally the university included the following departments: law, medicine, fine arts, natural sciences and mathematics, and theology. After the suppression of the Polish November Uprising of 1830-31, the university was closed (1831). In 1862 it resumed its activity under the name “The Main School” and played an important role in the development of Polish culture and scholarship. Its alumni included the writers H. Sienkiewicz and B. Prus, the linguist Baudouin de Courtenay, and the historian of mathematics S. Diksztajn. In 1869 this school was abolished, and in its place a university was founded that conducted classes in Russian. During the German occupation of 1915-18 it was a German university in form; in 1917 it became a Polish university. Between 1918 and 1939 the prominent mathematicians who created the Warsaw school of mathematics, including professors W. Sierpiński, Z. Janiszewski, and S. Mazurkiewicz taught there; also the philosopher T. Ko-tarbiński (for many years the president of the Polish Academy of Sciences) and L. Krzywicki, a sociologist and public figure and one of the first propagandists of Marxism in Poland. During the period of the fascist occupation of Poland (1939-45), Warsaw University was closed. Nevertheless, under difficult underground conditions 300 faculty members continued to provide instruction clandestinely to approximately 4,000 students. After the country’s liberation in 1945 the university resumed its activity.
In the academic year 1969-70, Warsaw University in- cluded the following 11 departments: law, history, philology (two), social sciences, psychology and education, chemistry, geology, biology, physics, and mathematics. Approximately 21,000 students were enrolled in the university, and more than 1,300 faculty members were teaching there. The univer- sity library, founded in 1817, contained more than 1.6 million volumes in 1970.