The princes Jerzy and Krzysztof Zbaraski towards the problems of South-Eastern borderlands of Polish Republic in second and third decade of 17th century

Przegląd Nauk Historycznych. 2016;15(2) DOI 10.18778/1644-857X.15.02.05


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Journal Title: Przegląd Nauk Historycznych

ISSN: 1644-857X (Print); 2450-7660 (Online)

Publisher: Lodz University Press

Society/Institution:  Instytut Historii Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of Poland | History (General) and history of Europe: History (General)

Country of publisher: Poland

Language of fulltext: English, Polish

Full-text formats available: PDF



Zbigniew Anusik (Uniwersytet Łódzki, Wydział Filozoficzno-Historyczny, Instytut Historii, Katedra Historii Nowożytnej)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

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Time From Submission to Publication: 19 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The princes Jerzy and Krzysztof Zbaraski were descendants of the old and very wealthy magnates family. Their education, wealth and mental qualities predestined them to play an important role in the political arena. Reluctance on the part of Sigismund III made, however, that the two brothers found themselves in the ranks of the opposition. As owners of large estates in the South-Eastern borderlands, the princes have to be interested in both the situation in Ukraine, as well as relations with neighboring countries in this region of the Polish Republic. In the middle of the second decade of the seventeenth century, they fell into conflict with the hetman Stanislaw Żółkiewski. They believed that the policy of hetman in borderlands leads to war with Turkey. Zbaraski brothers advocated the maintenance of peace with the Sultan. Their relation to the Ottoman Empire did not change until the end of their lives. Maintaining peaceful relations with Turkey they regarded as one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Polish Republic. On the issue of relations with the Crimean Khanate the princes Zbaraski looked through the prism of Turkish politics. They regarded rulers of Crimea as performers of the policy of Istanbul and sultan tool to exert pressure on the Polish Republic. They were in favor of not to provoke Tartars. But both of them took an active part in the fight against Tartar s invasions. In the fight against the Tatars they were ready to use the help of the Cossacks. In the years 1624–1628 the Zbaraski brothers supported the idea of intervention in the internal affairs of the Crimean Khanate. They believed that fueling the civil war in the Crimea will be in every way beneficial to the interests of the Polish Republic. Very interesting was also the attitude of Zbaraski brothers to the Cossacks. Both princes believed Cossacks as the rebels, destroyers of internal order and adventurers provoking conflicts with Turkey. They do not accept the policy of tolerance towards Cossacks in the period before Cecora. After Khotyn war they urged Cossacks to stop their trips to the Black Sea. The both brothers quickly recognized the danger posed by an alliance of Orthodox bishops and the Cossacks. They found it as a serious threat to the interests of the Polish Republic in Ukraine. The princes Zbaraski referred to the Cossacks with a sense of superiority and contempt. Appreciated, however, their military force. The Zbaraski brothers advocated a policy of hard hand against the Cossacks. Prince Jerzy has repeatedly stated that the Cossacks do not need any committee, but a sword. However, the princes of Zbaraż feel awe in front of a large and valiant Cossacks army. They feared the destruction of their landed estates. After the conclusion of the Treaty of Kurukove they opted, however, for strict compliance with its terms. Relatively little attention devoted Zbaraski brothers to the situation in the Danubian principalities – Moldavia and Wallachia. But both brothers carefully watched the actions of the ruler of Transylvania – Bethlen Gabor. The paradox seems the fact that after the death of Krzysztof, when he was the most powerful magnate in the South-Eastern borderlands of the Republic, Jerzy Zbaraski was much less interested in the situation in that region. His attention was absorbed at that time by completely different problems. It is in this context to note that even earlier the issue of the problems of the South-Eastern borderlands of Polish Republic were not the main subject of the interest of the Zbaraski brothers. Both princes were politicians who tried to influence the whole, as well internal and foreign policy of the state. Because of that reason they followed and commented all the most important events that have taken place in the Central and Eastern Europe in the second and third decade of the seventeenth century.