Act of the Tyszowce Confederation

Historical context

The year 1655 was one of the most tragic moments in the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The civil war with the Cossacks had been waged for seven years with changing fortune, and beginning with 1654 it was also waged against Russia, which was on the Cossacks’ side. The war ruined the eastern provinces of the Commonwealth. Commenced in July 1655, the Swedish invasion of the northern and western territories could have been the beginning of the end of the Commonwealth. Devoid of the support of the mercenaries, who were engaged in the east, the universal conscription units assembled to fight against the Swedes were surrendering one after another. Greater Poland, Mazovia, and a substantial portion of Lesser Poland came under the Swedish rule. Cracow and Warsaw, the old and the new capital of the Commonwealth, fell.

Defeated by the Swedes in combat, Jan Kasimir fled to Silesia, to the terrains under the Habsburg rule. The nobility and the royal clerks recognized the king of Sweden as the king of Poland in return for a guarantee of rights. At the same time Great Hetman of Lithuania Janusz Radziwiłł surrendered the Great Duchy of Lithuania to Sweden. With time, however, the Swedes began to treat the captured territory in an increasingly harsh way. They started to transport valuables and works of art out of the Commonwealth. They also accepted the fact that their soldiers were robbing peasants. To make the renegade king’s contact with the country more difficult the Swedes began to capture towns and fortresses on the border with Silesia. That was when they came to the foothill of the fortified cloister called Luminous Mount (Jasna Góra), the most important Marian sanctuary in the Crown. Their attempt to capture it, combined with other Swedish misdeeds, outraged the nobility, which turned back to Jan Kasimir. Under those circumstances, in December 1655 hetmans of the Crown with the army, representatives of the disappointed nobility, and the Lithuanian troops which had turned against Radziwiłł assembled in Tyszowce. They decided to establish a confederation, that is, an armed union of citizens formed to defend their violated rights. The Confederates declared their subordination to Jan Kasimir, promised to fight against the Swedes, and announced universal conscription. The Confederation of Tyszowce is regarded as the symbolic turning point in the Polish-Swedish War, which transformed from the invaders’ triumphant march into a bloody and difficult war, which came to an end in 1660 with the signing of the Treaty of Oliva and the Swedes’ retreat.

Document text

jPaginate.js - Demo