The Second Northern War (1655–60, also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1655–60), the Moscow Tsardom (1656–58), Brandenburg-Prussia (1657–60), the Habsburg Monarchy (1657–60) and Denmark–Norway (1657–58 and 1658–60). The Dutch Republic often intervened against Sweden.
In 1655, Charles X Gustav of Sweden invaded and occupied western Poland–Lithuania, the eastern half of which was already occupied by Russia. The rapid Swedish advance became known in Poland as the Swedish Deluge. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania became a Swedish fief, the Polish–Lithuanian regular armies surrendered and the Polish king John II Casimir Vasa fled to the Habsburgs. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia initially supported the estates in Royal Prussia, but allied with Sweden in return for receiving the Duchy of Prussia as a Swedish fief. Exploiting the hurt religious feelings of the Roman Catholic population under Protestant occupation and organizing Polish–Lithuanian military leaders in the Tyszowce Confederation, John II Casimir Vasa managed to regain ground in 1656. Russia took advantage of the Swedish setback, declared war on Sweden and pushed into Lithuania and Swedish Livonia.
Charles X Gustav then granted Frederick William full sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia in return for military aid, and in the Treaty of Radnot allied himself with the Transylvanian George II Rákóczi who invaded Poland–Lithuania from the southeast. John II Vasa found an ally in Leopold I of Habsburg, whose armies crossed into Poland–Lithuania from the southwest. This triggered Frederick III of Denmark's invasion of the Swedish mainland in the spring of 1657, in an attempt to settle old scores from the Torstenson War while Sweden was busy elsewhere. Brandenburg left the alliance with Sweden when granted full sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia by the Polish king in the treaties of Wehlau and Bromberg.
Frederick III's war on Sweden gave Charles X Gustav a reason to abandon the Polish–Lithuanian deadlock and fight Denmark instead. After marching his army to the west and making a dangerous crossing of the frozen straits in the winter of 1657/58, he surprised the unprepared Frederick III on the Danish isles and forced him into surrender. In the Treaty of Roskilde, Denmark had to abandon all Danish provinces in what is now Southern Sweden. The anti-Swedish allies meanwhile neutralized the Transylvanian army and Polish forces ravaged Swedish Pomerania.
In 1658 Charles X Gustav decided that instead of returning to the remaining Swedish strongholds in Poland–Lithuania, he would rather attack Denmark again. This time, Denmark withstood the attack and the anti-Swedish allies pursued Charles X Gustav to Jutland and Swedish Pomerania. Throughout 1659, Sweden was defending her strongholds in Denmark and on the southern Baltic shore, while little was gained by the allies and a peace was negotiated. When Charles X Gustav died in February 1660, his successor settled for the Treaty of Oliva with Poland–Lithuania, the Habsburgs and Brandenburg in April and the Treaty of Copenhagen with Denmark in May. Sweden was to keep most of her gains from Roskilde, the Duchy of Prussia became a sovereign state, and otherwise the parties largely returned to the status quo ante bellum. Sweden had already concluded a truce with Russia in 1658, which gave way to a final settlement in the Treaty of Cardis in 1661.
|Second Northern War|
|Part of Northern Wars|
March Across the Belts
Principality of Transylvania
Ukrainian Cossacks (1657)
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Moscow Tsardom (1656–58)
Brandenburg-Prussia (1655–56, 1657–60)
Duchy of Courland (1656–58)
|Commanders and leaders|
Charles X Gustav |
Magnus de la Gardie
Carl Gustaf Wrangel
Gustaf Otto Stenbock
Per Brahe the Younger
Frederick William I
George II Rákóczi
Col. Anton Zhdanovich
John II Casimir |
Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve
Anders Bille †
Alexis of Russia
Matvey Sheremetev †
Frederick William I
Jean-Louis Raduit de Souches
|Casualties and losses|
|70,000 Swedish dead (mercenaries not included)|
In English language, German, Russian and Scandinavian historiography, these conflicts were traditionally referred to as First Northern War. The term "Second Northern War", coined in Polish historiography (Druga Wojna Północna), has lately been increasingly adopted by German and English language historiography. Another ambiguous term referring to the Second Northern War is the Little Northern War, which however might also refer to the 1741-43 war. In Poland, the term "The Deluge" is also ambiguous, as it is sometimes used for a broader series of wars against Sweden, Brandenburg, Russia, Transylvania and the Cossacks.
In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia had ended the Thirty Years' War, during which the Swedish Empire emerged as a major European power. In the Torstenson War, a theater of the Thirty Years' War, Sweden had defeated the former Baltic great power Denmark. Sweden had been at peace with Russia since the Treaty of Stolbovo had ended the Ingrian War in 1617. Sweden had remained in a state of war with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth since the Polish–Swedish War (1626–29), which was concluded by the repeatedly renewed truce (Altmark, Stuhmsdorf). In 1651, an unsuccessful congress was organised in Lübeck to mediate peace talks between Sweden and Poland.
On the other hand, the Commonwealth, under king John II Casimir Vasa since 1648, experienced a crisis resulting both from the Cossack Khmelnytsky Uprising in the southeast and from the paralysis of the administration due to the internal quarrels of the nobility, including feuds between the king and the Lithuanian hetman Janusz Radziwiłł and feuds among disagreeing sejmiks who had been able to stall each other's ambitions with the liberum veto since 1652. As a consequence, the Commonwealth lacked a sufficient defense.
In January 1654, the anti-Polish alliance of Pereiaslav was concluded between the rebellious Cossack Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Alexis of Russia, who was in control of a well-equipped army that was undergoing modernization. In 1654, when Charles X Gustav succeeded his cousin Christina on the Swedish throne, Russian forces were advancing into the unprotected Commonwealth, and by focusing on the northeast these drew close to the Swedish sphere of interest at the Baltic coast. Seeing the great success on the Russian side, Sweden also decided to intervene, among other reasons using the explanation that it was to protect the Protestant population in Poland. Having a close relationship with the Prince of Transylvania, Sweden had intentions to defeat Catholic Poland. Sweden also drew the rising Cossack Hetmanate to its side that stood in strong opposition to the Polish government and promised military support if the Cossacks would break with the Russians. Bohdan Khmelnytsky sent an expedition headed by the Kiev colonel to Halychyna which soon turned back due to mutiny within its ranks. The leader of Hetmanate did not participate in the actions due to poor health conditions.
Sweden, at that time an expansionist empire with an army designed to be maintained by the revenues of occupied territory, was conscious that a direct attack on her main adversary Russia could well result in a Dano-Polish–Russian alliance. Also, Sweden was prevented from forming a Swedish–Polish alliance by the refusal of John II Casimir to drop his claims to the Swedish crown and the unwillingness of the Polish–Lithuanian nobility to make the territorial and political concessions an alliance with Sweden would eventually cost, final negotiations in Lübeck during February 1655 ended without a result. Thus, Sweden opted for a preemptive attack on the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to occupy its yet available territories before the Russians.
Swedish forces entered Poland–Lithuania from Swedish Pomerania in the west, and Livonia in the north. The division on the western flank consisted of 13,650 men and 72 artillery pieces commanded by Arvid Wittenberg who entered Poland on 21 July 1655 and another 12,700 to 15,000 commanded by Charles X Gustav who followed in August, while the division on the northern flank consisted of 7,200 men commanded by Magnus De la Gardie who had already seized Dünaburg with them on 12 July.
On the western front, Wittenberg was opposed by a Polish levy of 13,000 and an additional 1,400 peasant infantry. Aware of the military superiority of the well-trained Swedish army, the nobles of Greater Poland surrendered to Wittenberg on 25 July in Ujście after the Battle of Ujście, and then pledged loyalty to the Swedish king. Wittenberg established a garrison in Poznań (Posen).
On the northern front, Prince Janusz Radziwiłł signed the Treaty of Kėdainiai with Sweden on 17 August 1655, placing the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under Swedish protection. Though Radziwiłł had been negotiating with Sweden before, during his dispute with the Polish king, Kėdainiai provided a clause stipulating that the two parts of the Commonwealth, Poland and Lithuania, need not fight each other. Part of the Lithuanian army opposed the treaty however, forming a confederation led by the magnate and Polish–Lithuanian hetman Paweł Jan Sapieha at Wierzbołów.
On 24 August, Charles X Gustav joined Wittenberg's forces. The Polish king John II Casimir left Warsaw the same month to confront the Swedish army in the west, but after some skirmishes with the Swedish vanguard retreated southwards to Kraków. On 8 September Charles X Gustav occupied Warsaw, then turned south to confront the retreating Polish king. The kings met at the Battle of Żarnów on 16 September, which like the next encounter at the Battle of Wojnicz on 3 October was a victory for Sweden. John II Casimir was exiled to Silesia while Kraków surrendered to Charles X Gustav on 19 October.
On 20 October, a second treaty was ratified at Kėdainiai in the north. The Union of Kėdainiai unified Lithuania with Sweden, with Radziwiłł recognizing Charles X Gustav as Grand Duke of Lithuania. Over the following days, most of the Polish army surrendered to Sweden: on 26 October Koniecpolski surrendered with 5,385 men near Kraków, on 28 October Field Crown Hetman Stanisław Lanckoroński and Great Crown Hetman Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki surrendered with 10,000 men, and on 31 October the levy of Mazovia surrendered after the Battle of Nowy Dwór.
Meanwhile, Russian and Cossack forces had occupied the east of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as far as Lublin, with only Lwow (Lviv, Lemberg) remaining under Polish–Lithuanian control. In late October, Charles X Gustav headed northwards and left Wittenberg in Kraków with a mobile force of 3,000 Swedish and 2,000 Polish troops, and an additional number scattered in garrisons, to control the southern part of the Swedish-occupied commonwealth.
In the north, the Royal Prussian nobles concluded a defensive alliance with the Electorate of Brandenburg on 12 November in the Treaty of Rinsk, permitting Brandenburgian garrisons. Danzig (Gdansk), Thorn (Torun) and Elbing (Elblag) had not participated in the treaty, with Thorn and Elbing surrendering to Sweden. In the Treaty of Königsberg on 17 January 1656, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, took the Duchy of Prussia, formerly a Polish fief, as a fief from Charles X Gustav. The Brandenburgian garrisons in Royal Prussia were withdrawn, and when Marienburg (Malbork) surrendered in March, Danzig remained the only town not under Swedish control.
The "deluge" and religious differences between the primarily Protestant Swedes and the primarily Catholic Poles, resulting in cases of maltreatment and murder of Catholic clergy and monks as well as cases of looting of Catholic churches and monasteries, gave rise to some partisan movements in the Swedish-occupied territory. A guerilla force attacked a small Swedish garrison at Koscian in October 1655 and killed Frederick of Hesse, brother-in-law of the Swedish king. The Pauline monastery Jasna Góra in Częstochowa successfully resisted a Swedish siege throughout November 1655 to January 1656. On 20 November a manifesto was issued in Opole (Oppeln) calling for public resistance and the return of John II Casimir, and in December a peasant force took Nowy Sącz. On 29 December, the partisan Tyszowce Confederation was constituted under participation of Lanckoroński and Potocki, and on 1 January 1656 John II Casimir returned from exile. Later in January, Stefan Czarniecki joined in, and by February most Polish soldiers who were in Swedish service since October 1655, had switched sides to that of the confederation.
Charles X Gustav, with a force of 11,000 horse, reacted by pursuing Czarniecki's force of 2,400 men, confronting and defeating him in the Battle of Gołąb in February 1656. Charles X Gustav then intended to take Lwow, but his advance was halted in the Battle of Zamość, when he was nearly encircled by the growing Polish–Lithuanian armies under Sapieha and Czarniecki, and barely escaped on 5 and 6 April breaking through Sapieha's lines during the Battle of Sandomierz at the cost of his artillery and baggage. A Swedish relief force under Frederick of Baden was destroyed by Czarniecki on 7 April in the Battle of Warka. In the same month, John II Casimir with the Lwów Oath proclaimed Virgin Mary queen of Poland, and promised to lift the burdens inflicted on the peasantry if he regained control.
On 25 June 1656, Charles X Gustav signed an alliance with Brandenburg: the Treaty of Marienburg granted Greater Poland to Frederick William in return for military aid. While the Brandenburgian elector was free of Swedish vassalage in Greater Poland, he remained a Swedish vassal for the Duchy of Prussia. Brandenburgian garrisons then replaced the Swedish ones in Greater Poland, who went to reinforce Charles X Gustav's army. On 29 June however, Warsaw was stormed by John II Casimir, who had drawn up to Charles X Gustav with a force of 28,500 regulars and a noble levy of 18,000 to 20,000. Thereupon, Brandenburg actively participated in the war on the Swedish side, prompting John II Casimir Vasa to state that while his Tartars already had the Swedes for breakfast, he would now take Frederick William into custody, where neither sun nor moon would shine.
Already in May 1656, Alexis of Russia had declared war on Sweden, taking advantage of Charles being tied up in Poland, and Livonia, Estonia and Ingria secured only by a Livonian army of 2,200 infantry and 400 dragoons, Magnus de la Gardie's 7,000 men in Prussia, and 6,933 men dispersed in garrisons along the Eastern Baltic coast. Alexis invaded Livonia in July with 35,000 men and took Dünaburg.
In late July, Danzig was re-inforced by a Dutch garrison, and a combined Danish and Dutch fleet broke the naval blockage imposed on Danzig by Charles X Gustav. On 28–30 July, a combined Brandenburgian-Swedish army was able to defeat the Polish–Lithuanian army in the Battle of Warsaw, forcing John II Casimir to retreat to Lublin. In August, Alexis' army took Livonian Kokenhausen (Koknese), laid siege to Riga and Dorpat (Tartu) and raided Estonia, Ingria and Kexholm.
On 4 October, John II Casimir stormed Łęczyca in Greater Poland before heading for Royal Prussia, and on 8 October, Wincenty Korwin Gosiewski with 12,000 to 13,000 Lithuanian and Crimean Tartar cavalry overran a Brandenburgian-Swedish force in the Battle of Prostken in Ducal Prussia. Gosiewski then ravaged Ducal Prussia, burning 13 towns and 250 villages, in a campaign that entered folklore because of the high death toll and the high number of captives deported to the Crimea.
On 22 October, Gosiewski was defeated by Swedish forces in the Battle of Filipów and turned to Lithuania. Also on 22 October, besieged Dorpat surrendered to Alexis, while the Russian siege of Swedish-held Riga was lifted. John II Casimir meanwhile took Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) and Konitz in Royal Prussia, and from 15 November 1656 until February 1657 stayed in Danzig, where a Swedish siege had to be lifted due to Dutch intervention, just 55 kilometers away from Charles X Gustav's quarters in Elbing.
In the Treaty of Labiau on 20 November, Charles X Gustav of Sweden granted Frederick William of Brandenburg full sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia in return for a more active participation in the war. In the Treaty of Radnot on 6 December, Charles X Gustav promised to accept George II Rákóczi of Transylvania as king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in return for his entrance into the war. Rákóczi entered the war in January 1657, crossing into the commonwealth with a force of 25,000 Transylvanian-Wallachian-Moldavian men and 20,000 Cossacks who broke the Polish siege of Kraków before they met with Charles X Gustav, who had led a Swedish-Brandenburgian army southwards. The following month saw the Swedish-Brandenburg-Transylvanian-Romanian-Cossack forces play cat and mouse with the Polish–Lithuanian forces, moving about all of the commonwealth without any major engagements, except the capture of Brest by Charles X Gustav in May, and the sack of Warsaw by Rákóczi and Gustaf Otto Stenbock on 17 June.
Due to internal conflicts within the Cossacks there was practically no participation of the Cossack Hetmanate in that war. Worn out from previous campaigns and requesting Bohdan Khmelnytsky to break with Sweden, Alexis of Russia eventually signed the Truce of Vilna or Niemież with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and did not engage the Swedish army in any major battle throughout 1657 even though he still reinforced his armies in Livonia. On 18 June, a Swedish force defeated a Russian army of 8,000 men commanded by Matvey V. Sheremetev in the Battle of Walk. In early 1658, Sweden and Russia agreed on a truce, resulting in the Treaty of Valiesar (Vallisaare, 1658) and the Treaty of Kardis (Kärde, 1661). The Russian war with Poland–Lithuania on the other hand resumed in 1658.
Like Sweden, John II Casimir was also looking for allies to break the deadlock of the war. On 1 December 1656, he signed an alliance with Ferdinand III of Habsburg in Vienna, essentially a declaration of Ferdinand III's intend to mediate a peace rather than provide military aid, which did not come into effect until Ferdinand's death on 2 April 1657. The treaty was however renewed and amended on 27 May by Ferdinand's successor Leopold I of Habsburg, who agreed in Vienna to provide John II Casimir with 12,000 troops maintained at Polish expense; in return, Leopold received Kraków and Posen in pawn. Receiving the news, Frederick III of Denmark promptly declared war on Sweden, and by June the Austrian army entered the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from the south, immediately stabilizing the situation in southern Poland, while Denmark attacked Swedish Bremen-Verden and turned to Jämtland and Västergötland in July.
When Charles X Gustav left the Commonwealth and headed westwards for an anti-Danish counterstrike, the Swedish–Brandenburgian–Transylvanian alliance broke apart. Rákóczi of Transylvania was unable to withstand the combined Austrian and Polish–Lithuanian forces without Swedish support, and after a pursuit into Ukraine he was encircled and forced to capitulate, with the rest of the Transylvanian army defeated by the Tartars.
Brandenburg changed sides in return for Polish withdrawal of claims to Ducal Prussia, declaring Frederick William the sole sovereign in the Duchy with the treaties of Wehlau on 19 September and Bromberg on 6 November. In addition, the aforementioned treaties secured Brandenburg the Lands of Lauenburg and Bütow at the border of Brandenburgian Pomerania, while the Bishopric of Ermeland was returned to Poland.
The attack of Frederick III of Denmark in June 1657, aimed at regaining the territories lost in 1645, provided an opportunity for Charles X Gustav to abandon the unfortunate Polish–Lithuanian battlefields. With 9,950 horse and 2,800 foot, he marched through Pomerania and Mecklenburg. In Holstein, the Swedish force was split with Carl Gustaf Wrangel heading west to clear Bremen-Verden and Charles X Gustav heading north to clear Jutland. When these aims were achieved, Charles X Gustav in September moved to the Swedish port of Wismar and ordered his navy into the inconclusive Battle of Møn.
Meanwhile, Polish forces led by general Stefan Czarniecki ravaged southern Swedish Pomerania, and destroyed and plundered Pasewalk, Gartz (Oder) and Penkun. The Habsburg and Brandenburg allies however were reluctant to join Czarniecki, and against John II Casimir's wish decided against taking the war to the Holy Roman Empire fearing the start of a new Thirty Years' War.
The harsh winter of 1657/58 had forced the Dano-Norwegian fleet to stay in port, and the Great and Little Belts separating the Danish isles from the mainland were frozen. After entering Jutland from the south, a Swedish army of 7,000 veterans undertook the March across the Belts; on 9 February 1658, the Little Belt was crossed and the island Funen (Fyn) captured within a few days, and soon thereafter Langeland, Lolland and Falster. On 25 February, the Swedish army continued across the Great Belt to Zealand where the Danish capital Copenhagen is located. Although only 5,000 men made it across the belts, the Swedish attack was completely unexpected; Frederick III was compelled to surrender and signed the disadvantageous Treaty of Roskilde on 26 February 1658.
Sweden had won its most prestigious victory, and Denmark had suffered its most costly defeat. Denmark was forced to yield the provinces of Scania, Halland, Blekinge and the island of Bornholm. Halland had already been under Swedish control since the signing of the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645, but they now became Swedish territory indefinitely. Denmark also had to surrender the Norwegian province Trøndelag to Sweden.
Yet, Swedish-held territory in Poland had been reduced to some towns in Royal Prussia, most notably Elbing, Marienburg and Thorn. With Transylvania neutralized and Brandenburg defected, Charles X Gustav's position in the region was not strong enough to force his stated aim, the permanent gain of Royal Prussia. He was further pressed militarily when an Austro-Polish army laid siege to Thorn in July 1658, and diplomatically when he was urged by France to settle. France was unwilling to intervene militarily, and Sweden could not afford to violate the Peace of Westphalia by attacking the Habsburg and Brandenburgian possessions in the Holy Roman Empire, which would likely have driven several Germans into the anti-Swedish alliance. Thus, Charles X Gustav opted to instead attack Denmark again.
When the Danes stalled and prolonged the fulfillment of some provisions of the Treaty of Roskilde by postponing payments and not blocking foreign fleets from access to the Baltic Sea, and with half of the 2,000 Danish soldiers that were obliged by Roskilde to enter Swedish service deserting, the Swedish king embarked from Kiel with a force of 10,000 men on 16 August. While everyone expected him to head for Royal Prussia, he disembarked on Zealand on 17 August, and headed for Copenhagen, which was defended by 10,650 Danes and 2,000 Dutch. This time however, the town did not surrender, and a long siege ensued. When Swedish forces took Kronborg in September, they controlled both sides of the Øresund, yet in November a Dutch fleet broke the Swedish naval blockade of Copenhagen in the Battle of the Sound.
Meanwhile, the anti-Swedish alliance had deployed an army to Denmark, to confront Charles X Gustav with a force of 14,500 Brandenburgers commanded by Frederick William, 10,600 Austrians commanded by Raimondo Montecuccoli, and 4,500 Poles commanded by Czarniecki. By January 1659, the allied forces stood at Fredriksodde, Kolding and Als. Charles X Gustav then tried a decisive assault on Copenhagen on 21 and 22 February, but was repelled.
In 1659, the war was characterized by Swedish forces defending their strongholds on the southern Baltic coast against allied assaults. A combined force of 17,000 Austrians and 13,000 Brandenburgers led by general Jean-Louis Raduit de Souches invaded Swedish Pomerania, took and burned Greifenhagen, took Wollin island and Damm, besieged Stettin and Greifswald without success, but took Demmin on 9 November. Counterattacks were mounted by general Müller von der Lühnen, who lifted the siege laid on Greifswald by the Brandenburgian prince elector, and major general Paul Wirtz, who from besieged Stettin managed to capture the Brandenburgian ammunition depot at Curau and took it to Stralsund. The Brandenburgians withdrew ravaging the countryside while retreating.
In the occupied and annexed Danish provinces, guerilla movements pressed Swedish garrisons. After an uprising, Norwegians took Trondheim in late 1658. In Scania and Zealand, the "snaphaner" led by Lorenz Tuxen and Svend Poulsen ("Gøngehøvdingen") ambushed Swedish forces. The Swedish garrison of Bornholm was forced to surrender to Danish insurgents, with the commander killed.
In Royal Prussia (Eastern Pomerania in contemporary Poland), Thorn had fallen already in December 1658, but Elbing and Marienwerder withstood. On 24 November, Sweden had to abandon Funen and Langeland after the defeat in the Battle of Nyborg. In January 1660, Sweden lost the Livonian fortress Mitau.
Meanwhile, conflicts arose within the anti-Swedish alliance between the Habsburgs and Poland–Lithuania when the Habsburgs demanded ever more contributions while not showing the war efforts Poland–Lithuania had expected. With the Russo-Polish War ongoing, most Polish–Lithuanian forces were tied up in Ukraine. England, France and the Dutch Republic had agreed on a petition in the First Concert of the Hague, urging Sweden to settle for peace with Denmark on the terms of Roskilde, and peace talks mediated by France were taking place throughout 1659.
In New Sweden, in May 1654, the Dutch Fort Casimir was captured by soldiers from the New Sweden colony led by governor Johan Risingh. Fort Casimir was renamed Fort Trinity (in Swedish, Trefaldigheten). Soon after Sweden opened the Second Northern War in the Baltic by attacking the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Dutch moved to take advantage and an armed squadron of ships under the direction of Director-General Peter Stuyvesant seized New Sweden. The Dutch moved an army to the Delaware River in the summer of 1655, easily capturing Fort Trinity and Fort Christina. The Swedish settlement was incorporated into Dutch New Netherland on September 15, 1655. At first the Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to enjoy local autonomy. They kept their own militia, religion, court, and lands.
Charles X Gustav fell ill in early 1660 and died on 23 February of that year. With his death, one of the major obstacles to peace was gone and the Treaty of Oliva was signed on 23 April. Sweden was accepted as sovereign in Swedish Livonia, Brandenburg was accepted as sovereign in Ducal Prussia, and John II Casimir withdrew his claims to the Swedish throne, though he was to retain the title for life. All occupied territories were restored to their pre-war sovereigns.
However, Denmark was not keen on peace after their recent successes and witnessing the weakness of the Swedish efforts. The Netherlands withdrew their blockade, but were soon convinced by Denmark to support them again. France and England intervened for Sweden and the situation was again teetering on the edge of a major conflict. However, the Danish statesman Hannibal Sehested negotiated a peace treaty without any direct involvement by foreign powers. The conflict was resolved with the Treaty of Copenhagen (1660). Sweden returned Bornholm and Trøndelag to Denmark. The treaty of 1660 established political borders between Denmark, Sweden and Norway which have lasted to the present day, and secured the Swedish dominium maris baltici.
The assault on Copenhagen on 11 February 1659 was a major battle during the Second Northern War, taking place during the siege of Copenhagen by the Swedish army.Battle of Grudziądz (1659)
The 1659 Battle of Grudziądz took place in the Polish town of Grudziądz (German: Graudenz) during the Swedish Deluge (Polish: Potop szwedzki), around 29–30 August 1659. Polish forces were commanded either by hetman Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski or general Krzysztof Grodzicki (sources vary). The battle ended with the Polish victory, after a week-long siege; however much of the city was destroyed in a fire.Dano-Swedish War (1657–58)
The Dano-Swedish War of 1657–58 was a conflict between Sweden and Denmark–Norway during the Second Northern War. In 1657, Charles X of Sweden and his Swedish army were bogged down in Poland. Frederick III of Denmark saw an opportunity to recover the territories lost in 1645 and attacked Sweden. The outbreak of war with Denmark provided Charles with an excuse to withdraw from the Polish campaign and move against Denmark.
A harsh winter had forced the Dano-Norwegian fleet into port, and frozen the Great Belt and Little Belt straits. After entering Jutland from the south, a Swedish army of 7,000 battle-hardened veterans marched across the icy Little Belt onto the Danish island of Funen on 30 January 1658. The Swedes captured the island of Funen within a few days and then sent on to capture the islands of Langeland, Lolland, and Falster. The Swedish army continued to Zealand, threatening the Danish capital of Copenhagen. The rapid Swedish attack across the frozen Belts was completely unexpected; Frederick III considered meeting the Swedish army in battle, but his advisors thought this was too risky and instead Denmark signed the very harsh Treaty of Roskilde on 26 February 1658.
Sweden had won its most prestigious victory, and Denmark-Norway had suffered its most costly defeat. Denmark-Norway yielded the Danish provinces of Scania, Halland, Blekinge and the island of Bornholm and the Norwegian provinces Bohuslen and Trondhjem len (Trøndelag and Nordmøre) to Sweden. Halland had already been under Swedish control since the signing of the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645, but it now became Swedish territory permanently.Great Northern War
The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony–Poland–Lithuania. Frederick IV and Augustus II were defeated by Sweden, under Charles XII, and forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 respectively, but rejoined it in 1709 after the defeat of Charles XII at the Battle of Poltava. George I of Great Britain and of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, and Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715.
Charles XII led the Swedish army. Swedish allies included Holstein-Gottorp, several Polish magnates under Stanisław I Leszczyński (1704–1710) and Cossacks under the Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1708–1710). The Ottoman Empire temporarily hosted Charles XII of Sweden and intervened against Peter I.
The war began when an alliance of Denmark–Norway, Saxony, Poland and Russia, sensing an opportunity as Sweden was ruled by the young Charles XII, declared war on the Swedish Empire and launched a threefold attack on Swedish Holstein-Gottorp, Swedish Livonia, and Swedish Ingria. Sweden parried the Danish and Russian attacks at Travendal (August 1700) and Narva (November 1700) respectively, and in a counter-offensive pushed Augustus II's forces through the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to Saxony, dethroning Augustus on the way (September 1706) and forcing him to acknowledge defeat in the Treaty of Altranstädt (October 1706). The treaty also secured the extradition and execution of Johann Reinhold Patkul, architect of the alliance seven years earlier. Meanwhile, the forces of Peter I had recovered from defeat at Narva and gained ground in Sweden's Baltic provinces, where they cemented Russian access to the Baltic Sea by founding Saint Petersburg in 1703. Charles XII moved from Saxony into Russia to confront Peter, but the campaign ended in 1709 with the destruction of the main Swedish army at the decisive Battle of Poltava (in present-day Ukraine) and Charles' exile in the Ottoman town of Bender. The Ottoman Empire defeated the Russian-Moldavian army in the Pruth River Campaign, but that peace treaty was in the end without great consequence to Russia's position.
After Poltava, the anti-Swedish coalition revived and subsequently Hanover and Prussia joined it. The remaining Swedish forces in plague-stricken areas south and east of the Baltic Sea were evicted, with the last city, Riga, falling in 1710. The coalition members partitioned most of the Swedish dominions among themselves, destroying the Swedish dominium maris baltici. Sweden proper was invaded from the west by Denmark–Norway and from the east by Russia, which had occupied Finland by 1714. Sweden defeated the Danish invaders at the Battle of Helsingborg (1710). Charles XII opened up a Norwegian front but was killed in Fredriksten in 1718.
The war ended with the defeat of Sweden, leaving Russia as the new dominant power in the Baltic region and as a new major force in European politics. The Western powers, Great Britain and France, became caught up in the separate War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1715), which broke out over the Bourbon Philip of Anjou's succession to the Spanish throne and a possible joining of France and Spain. The formal conclusion of the Great Northern War came with the Swedish-Hanoverian and Swedish-Prussian Treaties of Stockholm (1719), the Dano-Swedish Treaty of Frederiksborg (1720), and the Russo-Swedish Treaty of Nystad (1721). By these treaties Sweden ceded her exemption from the Sound Dues and lost the Baltic provinces and the southern part of Swedish Pomerania. The peace treaties also ended her alliance with Holstein-Gottorp. Hanover gained Bremen-Verden, Brandenburg-Prussia incorporated the Oder estuary (Stettin Lagoons), Russia secured the Baltic Provinces, and Denmark strengthened her position in Schleswig-Holstein. In Sweden, the absolute monarchy had come to an end with the death of Charles XII, and Sweden's Age of Liberty began.March Across the Belts
The March Across the Belts was a campaign between 30 January and 8 February 1658 during the Second Northern War where King Charles X Gustav of Sweden led the Swedish army from Jutland across the ice of the Little Belt to Funen and the Great Belt to reach Zealand. The risky but vastly successful crossing was a crushing blow to Denmark, and led to the Treaty of Roskilde later that year, which handed Scania to Sweden.Northern Wars
"Northern Wars" is a term used for a series of wars fought in northern and northeastern Europe in the 16th and 17th century. An internationally agreed nomenclature for these wars has not yet been devised. While the Great Northern War is generally considered to be the last of the Northern Wars, there are different scholarly opinions on which war constitutes the First Northern War.Depending upon what date is chosen for the starting point, the Northern Wars comprise:
The Russo-Swedish War (1554–1557), "First Northern War" according to Arvo Viljanti
The Livonian War (1558–1583), "First Northern War" according to Klaus Zernack
The Northern Seven Years' War (1562–1570), "First Northern War" according to some Polish historians
The Russo-Polish or Thirteen Years' War (1654–1667), "First Northern War" according to some Russian historians
The Second Northern War (1655–1660), "First Northern War" according to traditional Anglo-Saxon, German, Russian and Scandinavian historiography
The Scanian War (1674–1679), also called "Swedish-Brandenburgian War" by German historians
The Great Northern War (1700–1721), also "Third Northern War" or "Second Northern War"Peach Tree War
The Peach Tree War, also known as the Peach War, was a large-scale attack by the Susquehannock Nation and allied Native Americans on several New Netherland settlements along the Hudson River (then called the North River), centered on New Amsterdam and Pavonia on September 15, 1655.
The attack was motivated by the Dutch conquest of New Sweden, a close trading partner and protectorate of the Susquehannock. The attack was a decisive victory for the Native Americans, and many outlying Dutch settlements were forced to temporarily garrison in Fort Amsterdam. Some of these settlements, such as the Staten Island colony, were completely abandoned; while others were soon repopulated (and equipped with better defenses), as Director-General Stuyvesant shortly repurchased the rights to settle the west bank of the North River from the Native Americans.Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658)
The Russo-Swedish War of 1656–1658 was fought by Russia and Sweden as a theater of the Second Northern War. It took place during a pause in the contemporary Russo-Polish War (1654-1667) as a consequence of the Truce of Vilna. Despite initial successes, Tsar Alexis of Russia failed to secure his principal objective—to revise the Treaty of Stolbovo, which had stripped Russia of the Baltic coast at the close of the Ingrian War.Second Northern War and Norway
In the Second Northern War from 1655 to 1660, during the reign of Charles X, Sweden was set on expansion. Through military action, Sweden rapidly became the strongest military power in the north.
Frederick III was suffering under the humiliating loss of traditional Danish provinces to Sweden in 1645. As Charles X appeared to be fully occupied in Poland, Frederick III judged the time appropriate for recapture of the other Danish-Norwegian provinces. The King’s Council agreed to war, a decision that led rapidly to ruin.
The Norwegian phase of the war went well. A Norwegian force of 2000 men recaptured Jæmtland and Herjedalen. A Norwegian force set out from Bohuslän to join the Danish force invading Sweden from Skåne.
Reacting swiftly, by forced marches Charles X brought his hardened armies from Prussia to Holstein. Surprising the Danes, he advanced rapidly against limited opposition, taking Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland. Taking advantage of the unusually cold winter which froze the ice, Charles marched his armies across the ice onto the island of Zealand, leaving the humiliated Danes with no choice but to sue for peace on any terms.
As a result, the Treaty of Roskilde was negotiated in 1658. The terms were brutal:
Denmark ceded the provinces of Skåne, Blekinge and Halland
Norway was forced to hand over Trøndelag and Båhuslen
Closing of the Sound to non-Swedish warshipsThen Charles X ignored the recently negotiated Treaty of Roskilde, when he invested Copenhagen in August 1658. The Norwegian army mobilized under the leadership of Jørgen Bjelke. His goal was to recapture Trøndelag and to defend the Norwegian border at Halden, which Charles X had demanded be turned over to Sweden as it provided both an excellent port for timber export from the newly acquired Bohuslän and a point from which further invasions could be launched. In September 1658 the new Swedish governor of Bohuslän invaded Norway with 1,500 men and attempted to invest Halden. The inhabitants put up a vigorous defense and the Swedes retreated to Bohuslän.
Five months later, in February 1659, the Swedes again attacked. Since the first attack, Bjelke had directed the garrison to be strengthened. Under the leadership of Tønne Huitfeldt, the Norwegians again repulsed the Swedish forces. Concurrently, Huitfeldt began construction of fortifications. Cretzenstein, later to be renamed Fredriksten, was the citadel of the fortification system.
In early January 1660, the Swedish forces again attacked Halden; it was to serve as the base for their advance on Akershus in Oslo. In response to a demand of surrender, Huitfeldt stated that the 2,100 man garrison would defend Halden to the last man. After the attempt to storm the fortifications was unsuccessful, the Swedes prepared a regular investment. Under heavy bombardment the inhabitants begged the commandant to surrender, but putting his faith in his garrison, Huitfeldt held on. On February 22, 1660 the Swedes again were forced to retreat to Bohuslän. There they learned that Charles X had died.
Peace negotiations were reopened. Although Sweden demanded that Norway vacate all land to the river Glomma, which was to serve as the new border, with the intercession of Hannibal Sehested, a separate Scandinavian treaty, the Treaty of Copenhagen, was negotiated which reaffirmed much of the Treaty of Roskilde, except that Trøndelag was returned to Norway and the island Bornholm to Denmark, and the clause closing the Sound was deleted.Siege of Danzig (1655–60)
The Siege of Danzig took place between 1655 and 1660 when a Swedish force tried to capture this important Baltic Sea port city from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Second Northern War. After 5 years of fighting around Danzig (Gdańsk), the Swedish force which has made little ground surrendered.Siege of Dyneburg
The Siege of Dyneburg by the Russian Army under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich was one of the first events of the Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658), a theater of the Second Northern War. The siege began on 18 July 1656. On 31 July Russian troops, during a half an hour night assault, entered the fortress and captured the stronghold, killing all of its defenders.
After capturing Dyneburg (Dünaburg, Daugavpils), Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich ordered the building of an Orthodox Church and the renaming of the city as Borisoglebsk. The capture of Dynaburg was followed by the capture of Kokenhusen.Siege of Zamość
Siege of Zamość was part of The Deluge.Storm of Kokenhusen
The Storm of Kokenhusen by the Russian Army under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich was one of the first events of the Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658), a theater of the Second Northern War. On 14 August 1656 Russian troops stormed and captured the well-fortified town of Kokenhusen (Koknese) in Swedish Livonia (present-day Latvia)
According to the Tsar, this town “was very strong, had a deep moat, like a small brother of the Kremlin's moat, and its fortress is like a son of Smolensk's fortress”.
After capturing Kokenhusen, Russia gained control of the Daugava River and the way to Riga was opened.Treaty of Bromberg
The Treaty of Bromberg (German: Vertrag von Bromberg, Latin: Pacta Bydgostensia) or Treaty of Bydgoszcz was a treaty between John II Casimir of Poland and Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, ratified at Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) on 6 November 1657. The treaty consisted of several agreements, including the Treaty of Wehlau signed on 19 September 1657 by the Brandenburg-Prussian and Polish-Lithuanian envoys in Wehlau (Welawa, now Znamensk). Thus, the treaty of Bromberg is sometimes referred to as treaty of Wehlau-Bromberg or Treaty of Wehlau and Bromberg (Polish: traktat welawsko-bydgoski).
In exchange for military aid in the Second Northern War and the return of Ermland (Ermeland, Warmia) to Poland, the Polish king granted the Hohenzollern dynasty of Brandenburg hereditary sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia, pawned Draheim (Drahim) and Elbing (Elbląg) to Brandenburg, and handed over Lauenburg and Bütow Land to the Hohenzollerns as a hereditary fief.
The treaty was confirmed and internationally recognized in the Peace of Oliva in 1660. While Elbing was kept by Poland, Lauenburg and Bütow Land and Draheim were subsequently integrated into Brandenburg-Prussia. The sovereignty in Prussia constituted the basis for the later coronation of the Hohenzollern as Prussian kings. Wehlau-Bromberg remained in effect until it was superseded by the Treaty of Warsaw (18 September 1773) following the First Partition of Poland. The treaty is regarded as one of the biggest mistakes in Polish foreign policy towards Prussia and its consequences were fatal to Poland.Treaty of Copenhagen (1660)
The Treaty of Copenhagen was signed on 27 May 1660, and marked the conclusion of the Second Northern War between Sweden and the alliance of Denmark-Norway and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This treaty was a smaller follow-up treaty to that of the Treaty of Roskilde, which decisively delineated the mutually recognized boundaries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; boundaries which are almost exactly the same to this day.Treaty of Labiau
The Treaty of Labiau was a treaty signed between Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg and Charles X Gustav of Sweden on 10 November (O.S.) / 20 November (N.S.) 1656 in Labiau (now Polessk). With several concessions, the most important being the elevation of Frederick William I from a Swedish vassal to a full sovereign in the Duchy of Prussia and in Ermland (Ermeland, Warmia), Charles X Gustav strove to "buy Frederick William's support" in the ongoing Second Northern War.Treaty of Oliva
The Treaty or Peace of Oliva of 23 April (OS)/3 May (NS) 1660 (Polish: Pokój Oliwski, Swedish: Freden i Oliva, German: Vertrag von Oliva) was one of the peace treaties ending the Second Northern War (1655-1660). At Oliva (Oliwa, Royal Prussia), peace was made between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburgs and Brandenburg-Prussia.Sweden was accepted as sovereign in Swedish Livonia, Brandenburg was accepted as sovereign in Ducal Prussia, and John II Casimir Vasa withdrew his claims to the Swedish throne, though he was to retain the title of a hereditary Swedish king for life. All occupied territories were restored to their pre-war sovereigns. Catholics in Livonia and Prussia were granted religious freedom.The signatories were the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, Elector Frederick William I of Brandenburg and King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland. Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, head of the Swedish delegation and the minor regency, signed on behalf of his nephew, King Charles XI of Sweden, who was still a minor at the time.Treaty of Radnot
Treaty of Radnot was a treaty signed during the Second Northern War in Radnot in Transylvania (now Iernut in Romania) on 6 December 1656. The treaty divided the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth between the signing parties.
According to the treaty:
Charles X Gustav of Sweden was to receive Royal Prussia, Kujawy, northern Masovia, Samogitia, Courland and Inflanty
Bogusław Radziwiłł was to receive the Nowogródek Voivodeship
Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg was to receive Greater Poland
Bohdan Khmelnytsky was to receive south-eastern parts of the Kingdom of Poland (territories between Batoh and Novhorod-Siverskyi)
George II Rákóczi was to receive southern Polish territories, mostly Little Poland (including Kraków)One of the main results of the treaty was that George II Rákóczi invaded the Commonwealth in January 1657. Due to changed geopolitical situation the treaty was never fully implemented, as the Poland recovered and threw out the invaders. The treaty is seen as a precursor to the 18th-century partitions of Poland.Treaty of Roskilde
The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February (OS) or 8 March 1658 (NS) during the Second Northern War between Frederick III of Denmark–Norway and Charles X Gustav of Sweden in the Danish city of Roskilde. After a devastating defeat, Denmark-Norway was forced to give up a third of its territory to save the rest, the ceded lands comprising Blekinge, Bornholm, Bohuslän (Båhuslen), Scania (Skåne) and Trøndelag, as well as her claims to Halland.After the treaty entered into force, Swedish forces continued to campaign in the remainder of Denmark-Norway, but had to withdraw from the Danish isles and Trøndelag in face of a Danish-Norwegian-Dutch alliance. The Treaty of Copenhagen restored Bornholm to Denmark and Trøndelag to Norway in 1660, while the other provinces transferred in Roskilde remain Swedish.
Second Northern War
Treaties of the Second Northern War (1654–1660)
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