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History Galicia and Lodomeria, Zakarpacie, Podole, Wołyń, Kresy.
Famous people from the history of Kresy
By Pogranicze Galicja
Published: 25.01.2009

Bolesław the Bold 
- he wanted to create a state surrounded by friendly rulers. Therefore,
    He got involved into the matters in Rus. The fact that he was a son of the Kievan princess Dobronega, and that a Ruthenian woman whose name we do not know was his wife enabled him to go for armed excursions to
Kiev in 1069 and 1077 in order to secure the throne for his uncle Izjasław. For a price for his support, he appointed Red Ruthenia and loots from the rich Kiev
   However, Bolesław wanted to dominate Izjasław and when he asked the Polish prince “to come out to meet him and give a kiss of peace  in order to show the respect for his nation” Bolesław agreed demanding gold for every step made by his horse. Instead of the kiss, Bolesław the Bold was pulling Izjasław’s beard before the eyes of his subjects. The incident did not destroy the alliance with the Ruthenian ruler.

Casimir the Great
- born in 1310, died in 1370
- reigned in 1333-1370, a famous saying about a king who found Poland in wood, and left in brick is connected with him
    The annexation of lands with main centers in Sanok, Lvov, Halych and Przemyśl and gaining a superior authority over the region of Podolia and the Volhynia region remaining in the hands of Lithuanian dukes, were the result of the Polish king’s endeavors to conquer Rus in 1340-1366. In 1340, the prince of the Kingdom of Galicia-Vladimir
, Boleslaw-Yuri Trojden, died bequeathing his principality to Casimir. The Polish king immediately set out to Rus. However, also the Tatars with whom part of the Ruthenian boyars allied, started to fight for Rus. Also the Lithuanians turned out to be the enemies. A war, in which Casimir was supported by the Hungarians, was led with intervals until 1366.
   As a result of this war, Poland received Halicz and part of the Kingdom of Vladimir

Konstanty Ostrogski
- (1460 - 1530) own coat of arms.
   Lithuanian Grand Hetman from 11 September 1497 until his death on 10 August 1530
   Konstanty Ostrogski was a confessor of the Orthodox Church and every day he used Old Belarusian language, even though King Alexander wrote to him letters in Polish, so he had to know this language too.
    Already during the times of King John Olbracht, he fought with the Tatars, and later with Moscow. As a reward for destroying the Tatars’ detachment commanded by Mehmed Giray in a battle of Ochakiv he received the first title of Lithuanian Grand Hetman. On 14 June, 1500, during the war with Moscow, he was captured after the lost battle of Wiedrosza. He remained in captivity for three years, he gained confidence of people from Moscow and was allowed to move freely around the country, which he used in order to escape. He escaped alone with his old servant, and he hid from soldiers who chased him in Orthodox churches. King Sigismund the Old acknowledged his deed, brought him back into the hetman’s position and gave him back his former districts. With the help of Hetman of the Crown, Mikołaj Firlej, he continued the war with Moscow. In 1525, together with Grand Hetman of the Crown, Mikołaj Kamieniecki, he defeated the Tatars in the battle of Wiśniowiec, in which he commanded a flank of Volhynians. They were the most subject to the Tatars’ attacks but, due to Ostrogski’s courage and determination, they survived until the flank with Kamieniecki joined them. In 1514, he fought with Moscow again; in this war he commanded the joined Polish and Lithuanian forces with around 35 thousand of soldiers. Jerzy Radziwiłł, a future Field Hetman and a Grand Lithuanian Hetman, Janusz Świerczkowski and Witold Sampoliński commanding the Crown’s wards were the hetman’s subalterns. A future Grand Hetman of the Crown, Jan Tarnowksi, also took part in the campaign. A battle of Orsza in which Ostrogski masterfully commanded stunningly winning over the Russians (and there were probably as much as 80 thousand of them) was the culmination of the campaign (8 September 1514). The Ukrainian prince, Iwan Czeladin, who commanded the Russians, was captured by the Poles. Chroniclers emphasize that Ostrogski won this battle thanks to good reconnaissance of the enemy and of the area, and thanks to the use of cannons hidden in a due time in a forest. For this victory the king allowed Ostrogski and his descendants to use a red wax in their stamp, and he also allowed him to build two Orthodox churches in Vilna, which was forbidden since the times of Vladislaus Jagiełło. In 1519, hetman Konstanty commanded a part of the forces in a battle of Sokal, but he was not the perpetrator of a defeat - he and his Lithuanians came to lend the Poles a hand when crossing the river and helped to protect the withdrawing wards. Hetman died in 1533, leaving great goods in Volhynia and Ukraine
, and leaving a successor - his son Konstanty Wasyl. He was buried in Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

Stephen Báthory
   Born on 27 September, 1533, in Somlyó (nowadays Simleu), died on 12 December, 1586 in Grodno; the son of Stephen, the voivode of Transylvania, and Katarzyna Telegdi; from 1571 the prince of Transylvania, and from 1576 the king of Poland
    He took part in the fights of a claimant to the Hungarian throne, John Sigismund Zápolya and his mother, Izabela Jagiellonka, against the Habsburgs. He headed a peace legation which was to lead to the end of the civil war in Hungary. During negotiations, he was imprisoned and interned in Vienna by Emperor Maximilian II. After regaining freedom, he was appointed the prince of Transylvania, but he was also forced to accept feudal dependence to Turkey and the Habsburgs. The pressure of the empire and threat on the part of Turkey forced him to look for the support in Poland
; after the escape of Henry of Valois he was a candidate to the Polish throne; supported by the Zborowski family, by primate Karnkowski and by Jan Zamoyski, he agreed to marry Anna Jagiellonka.
   On 15 December 1575, he was proclaimed the King by the nobility, against the will of the majority of the senate and despite the proclamation of Maximilian II as the King of Poland three days earlier. After a coronation in Cracow and after taking the reign, he forced the Habsburgian party into submission; he also overcame the resistance of Gdańsk
. He tried to strengthen the royal power, shifting between middle nobility and nobility. Wanting to win the nobility for his Eastern policy, he relinquished a part of his court authorizations, passing the highest appellate court to the Crown Tribunal (1578) and the Lithuanian Tribunal (1581). With a view to become independent from taxes resolved by the nobility, in 1578 he formed piechota wybraniecka (lit. chosen infantry) composed of peasants from the royal goods.
   At the expense of huge outlay, he organized an army and led three successful campaigns against Moscow (1579, 1580, and 1581). He conquered Polotsk, Velikiye Luki and besieged Pskov. The war with Russia ended with a armistice in Jam Zapolski strengthened the domination of Rzeczpospolita in the Duchy of Livonia and broadened the Lithuanian border.

Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski
- the first university in Volhynia, was open in 1576-1640 in Ostroh.
    It was founded and supported by Konstanty Wasal Ostrogski, the most prominent representative of the family, the son of the Lithuanian Grand Hetman. He was a thoroughly educated person and, at the same time, one of the richest magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Aiming at strengthening his position, similarly to other magnates in Rzeczpospolita, he founded the Academy. It was to serve various functions, and the most important one was to raise the intellectual level of the confessors of the Orthodox Church, and to educate polemicists who would be able to compete with followers of the Roman Catholic Church.

Stanisław Żółkiewski
- 1588/1618 - Field Hetman of the Crown
- 1618 - Grand Hetman of the Crown
    A chancellor, one of the most prominent commanders in the history of Rzeczpospolita.
   In 1577, he took part in a war with Gdańsk, and then he fought in Báthory’s campaigns with Moscow (1579-81).

   Awarded with a function of Field Hetman of the Crown, he supported Zamoyski in a conflict with the Zborowski family.
   In 1596 and in 1600, he set out with Zamoyski to war with Moldavia and Wallachia
to call to order hospodars who favored Rzeczpospolita.
   In 1596, he bloodily suppressed the Cossacks’ uprising of Nalyvaiko, even though he himself opted for agreement with the Cossacks.
   He protected South East Kresy against the attacks of Tatars, whom he defeated in 1606 under Udycz. He was against supporting False Dmitriy and against the war with Russia
, but he took the command and in 1610 under Klushino he defeated a three times stronger Russian-Swedish army.
Next, he conquered Moscow
and took into captivity czar Vasili Shuisky.

Khmelnytsky Bohdan Zenobi
(around 1595-1657)
- a nobleman, a hetman of Cossacks, an initiator of the Ukrainian uprising for national independence aimed against Rzeczpospolita (1648).
    In February 1648, he forced the so called Registered Cossacks to retreat from Sich and with the help of the Crimean Tatars he raised an uprising against Rzeczpospolita. He defeated the Polish army under Zhovti Vody, Korsun and Pyliavtsi, he came near
Lvov and Zamość. From 10 July to 22 August 1649, he unsuccessfully besieged Zbarazh. In August 1649, defeated under Zboriv, he signed with King John II Casimir the Treaty of Zboriv according to which he seized the power over the regions: Kiev, Bratslav and Chernihiw.

   Unsatisfied with conditions of the agreement, he continued the fight against Rzeczpospolita. In 1651, after the lost Battle of Berestechko, he concluded peace in Bila Tserkva (1653) and after besieging the Polish army under Żwaniec - he signed a treaty with King John II Casimir. In the same year, after he had broken the alliance with the Tatars, he strove to join Ukraine to Russia
and to gain the czar’s help.
   In 1654, he signed in Pereyaslav a treaty about joining Ukraine to Russia, which became the reason for the Polish-Muscovite war. In 1655, together with the Russian army, he fought a pending battle of Okhmativ with Poles. The war endedin 1656 with signing a treaty in Niemieża. During the Swedish Deluge, he supported the Moscow
’s military action and the military actions of George II Rákóczi and Charles X Gustav against Rzeczpospolita.

John Casimir 
- he was born on 22 March 1609; he died on 16 December 1672
    The future King had a very colorful past. John Casimir, as the colonel of the czar’s army, took part in Thirty Years’ War. Accused of espionage by the French, he spent two years in prison (1638-1640).
   In 1643, he went to the Jesuits’ convent in Rome. After three years (1646) from the Pope’s hands he received the dignity of a cardinal. When it turned out that there is no appanage coming with the title, he soon relinquished the title and came back to Poland
   He succeeds to the throne in a moment which was very difficult for the country - the whole Ukraine was convulsed by the Khmelnytsky Uprising. After the election (20 November 1648) and coronation (17 January 1649), the new king faced the problem of solving the Cossacks issue. One war had not been ended yet, when Rzeczpospolita was attacked by Moscow
(1654), and then the Swedish Deluge began (1655).
   John Casimir was forced to abandon Rzeczpospolita for few months.

Jeremi Michał Wiśniowiecki
- born in 1612, he died on 20 August 1651,

- the prince in Vyshnivets (Wisniowiec), in Lubny and in Khorol, the vigorous leader of the Crown army, since 1646 the Ruthenian voivode.
    Father of the Polish King, Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki. In 1649, he defends Zbarazh. In 1651, he took part in the Battle of Berestechko.

   He is one of the most famous Polish historical figures of the 17th century, mainly due to a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz With Fire and Sword.
   An heir of the grand goods in the Ruthenian and Volhynian voivodships, and above all an heir of the goods in Łubniany in the Kiev
voivodship in Transdnieper (Zadnieprze). He intensely colonized Transdnieper. He had his own army, whose number ranged from 2000 to 6000 soldiers.
   He gained his military experience during succeeding campaigns: in the Smolensk War (1633-1634), in 1637-1638 while suppressing the Cossacks uprising of Hunia, in a war with the Tatars in 1640-1646, while suppressing the Khmelnytsky Uprising (164801651), the actual commander of the defense of Zbarazh (1649), he contributed to the victory over the Cossacks’ and the Tatar’s forces in the Battle of Berestechko (1651).

   His mummified corpse may be seen in a crypt of the Holy Cross Monastery.

John III Sobieski
- he was born on 17 August 1629 in a castle in Olesko, He died on 17 June 1696
    During Lubomirski’s Rokosz he supported King John Casimir. In 1655 he became the Grand Marshal of the Crown, and one year later he became the Field Crown Hetman. In 1668, he received the title of Grand Crown Hetman.
   He commanded the Polish army under Pidhaitsi (1667) and under Khotyn (1673). On 16 May 1674
, the nobility gathered during an election chose as their king a man, who according to them embodied all the advantages of a Sarmatian.
   In the first period of his reign, John III strove to regain the Duchy of Prussia and to conclude the peace with Turkey. The alliances aimed against Brandenburg concluded with France (the treaty in Yavoriv from 1675) and with Sweden (the treaty of Gdańsk
from 1677) were to serve this purpose.
   After the seem in 1678-1679, the change of orientation took place in the court. In 1683, Sobieski entered into a covenant with emperor Leopold I aimed against Turkey. Meeting his treaty obligations, the king at the head of the army went to rescue Vienna
. In 1684, Rzeczpospolita entered the Holy League - the anti-Turkish alliance.
   During Sobieski’s reign, the final peace with Russia
was concluded (1686). The times of Sobieski’s reign are considered to be the period of the greatest development of the Sarmatian culture.
   John III Sobieski was buried in the cathedral in Wawel.

Anna Dorota Chrzanowska 
   In these words an Early Romantic poet, Tymon Zaborowski, described the scene of a defense of Terebovl against the Turkish invasion in 1675  and the
figure of Anna Dorota Chrzanowska, the wife of the colonel of the Crown army, John Samuel, the commander of the citadel. For several days, until the succor of John III Sobieski, a crew of two hundred people manfully repulsed assaults of the hostile army. Dorota Chrzanowska, after having discovered a conspiracy of the part of the crew who wanted to surrender the castle, decided to actively take part in its defense, turned out to be a hero of the defense. In the most difficult moments of fight, she became famous due to her unusual courage. According to a legend, she had two knives and she threatened that she would kill herself with one of them, and that with the other one she would kill her husband, if he surrendered the castle to the unfaithful. As a result, one year later her husband, who descended from the middle class, was inducted into the noble class for his heroic deeds. A monument, of which not much remained till today, was raised for Dorota in the castle.
Worked out by Bohdan Zhukiewicz

translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz

History... photo...

Kamianets-Podilskyi - (photo zakapior)