Monday, November 7, 2022

1654–1667-First Northern War

The First Northern War also called The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667, and Thirteen Years' War. First Northern War (1654–1667) was a major conflict between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The war was one of a series of wars that engulfed Poland-Lithuania in the middle of the seventeenth century. First was a Cossack revolt in the Ukraine. In 1648 the Cossacks rebelled against Polish rule (deterioration of the social status of Ukrainian peasants, pressure by Jesuit priests so that they turn from Orthodox faith to Catholic faith).

After initial military successes under Hetman Daniel Chmielnicki, a stalemate developed, with Western Ukraine in Polish hands, the eastern Zaporozhe Cossacks maintaining their independence.

The Cossacks made a series of appeals for Muscovite help, which eventually resulting in the Treaty of Pereiaslav (January 1654) which saw the creation of an anti-Polish coalition. Tsar Alexis Romanov saw a chance to regain the borderlands lost to Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth earlier in the century, an area which included Smolensk.

In July 1654 the Russian army of 41,000 (nominally under the Tsar, but in fact commanded by Princes Yakov Cherkassky, Nikita Odoevsky and Ivan Khovansky) captured the border forts of Bely and Dorogobuzh and laid siege to Smolensk. A Cossack army 20,000 strong invaded from the south.

In response Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth attempted to raise an army 50,000 strong. In previous wars with Muscovy the Cossacks had made up an important part of the Polish-Lithuanian forces, so their defection was a significant blow. Field Hetman Janusz Radziwill was only able to raise a force 6,000 strong with which to defend Lithuania against the Muscovite advance.

A long-term war between Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was taking place in Little Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia.

Alexis’s armies drove deep into Lithuania. In 1655 they occupied its capital, Wilno. For the first time in nearly two centuries, an enemy invasion had taken place, and, when it was followed by a Swedish aggression, a veritable “deluge” overtook the Commonwealth. The Peace of Oliva in 1660 ended the Swedish threat. Operations against Russia were resumed, Vilnius liberated, Russian-held Cudnow surrendered Nov. 1st 1660.

The Commonwealth initially suffered defeats, but it regained its ground and won several decisive battles. However, its plundered economy was not able to fund the long conflict.

The crisis was resolved in time to fight off a new Muscovite attack in 1664 (battle of Witebsk). Polish-Lithuanian armies even campaigned on Muscovite soil for the first time during the war. Peace negotiations soon began, and on 30 January 1667 the Truce of Andrusovo ended the war. Alexis gained all of the Ukraine on the left bank of the Dnieper as well as Kiev.
1654–1667-First Northern War

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