The history of agronomy in Puławy
In 1862, following a decision of Count Aleksander Wielopolski, the Agronomic Institute was relocated from Marymont near Warsaw to Puławy. Consequently, Polytechnic, Agriculture and Forestry Institute was created, However, furthering of education and science were not the main reasons for the foundation of the institution.
A preemptive move
The actual motivation for the relocation was the Russian government’s will to dissipate the youth feared to be planning an uprising in Warsaw. Moving part of the students to a place away from the former capital of Poland was meant to stifle such tendencies. The Institute was placed in a palace vacated by the Czartoryscy family. The teaching equipment was transported from Marymont, while locally many farms were operating, and thus it became possible to combine the scientific theory and practice. Among people who knew how to benefit from such conditions was professor Teofil Cichocki, who organized a modern laboratory in Puławy. The lab offered testing of fodder, soil, fertilizers. It also analyzed the spring waters from Nałęczów and Busk.
After the outbreak of January Uprising in 1863, the students left Puławy and the classrooms were empty. Still, research continued and a few years later lectures could start again. However, in order to stifle the independence movement, in 1869 the school was renamed the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry by Russian Tzar Alexander II. Lessons were now conducted in Russian and the school admitted young students from the whole Russian Empire.
What happened to the Institute
Fortunately, the government interference did not interrupt the development of the institution, which expanded its teaching facilities and initiated research in new fields. One example of such efforts was the first meteorological observatory on the former Polish territory, which was founded in 1871. Despite World Wars and other disruptions, the observatory has been functioning till this day.In 1893 the Institute regained full academic powers. Another milestone in the history of Puławy school was the foundation of the first Department of Soil Science in the world. After the war broke out in 1914, part of the Department’s staff and resources was moved to Kharkov. The Austrian authorities agreed that the remaining facilities be taken over by Agricultural Research Institute, but this institution did not educate students.