The Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648-57) was a Cossack rebellion in Ukraine, which turned into a war for freedom against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The uprising saw the end of Polish influence over the Ukrainians, but soon saw them under the influence of the Russians. The Uprising was also part of the Deluge, a period which saw the golden age of the Commonwealth come to an end. Bohdan Khmelnytsky , who lead the uprising, was born to a noble family and was generally well respected among the Cossacks. But, when Aleksander Koniecpolski, heir to the Hetman’s magnate estate attempted to seize his land and the Polish authorities did not help him, he had to turn to his fellow Cossacks for help. When he tried to gather support throughout Ukraine he raised the suspicions of the Polish authorities and eventually he was arrested. However, Polkovnyk (Colonel) Mykhalio Krychevsky helped him in his escape. The Cossacks were already close to uprising, as plans to fight the Ottomans had been been cancelled by Sejm (The lower house of the Polish parliament). The Cossacks had been unable to carry out lucrative raids on the Ottomans, due to treaties between the Commonwealth and Ottoman Empire.The plans to fight the Ottomans would have allowed the Cossacks to raid once again, but learning that they could still not due to the Polish Sejm must have angered them a lot.
For the uprising Khmelnytsky , allied with the Khan of Crimea to help him overcome the powerful Polish. On the 25th January 1648 Khmelnytsky arrived at Zaporizhian Sich. He quickly took out the guards and repelled the Commonwealth attempt to retake it, as the Commonwealth tried to retake it more recruits joined him in his cause. The Cossack Rada ( a general Cossack meeting, often military in nature) elected Khmelnytsky Hetman by the end of the month. From this point onward he gained great victories at the Battle of Zhovti Vody, where much of the enemy defected to his cause, and at the Battle of Korsun, at which the Commonwealth's armies were routed. What made matters worse was that the Polish had lost King Władysław IV Vasa, when he died in 1648. Khmelnytsky made demands to the Polish due to his success. However, peasant uprisings turned his uprising into a fight for a autonomous state. However, John II Casimir, was elected King of Poland and he sent a letter to Khmelnytsky granting privileges to the Cossacks and all those of the Orthodox faith. In return, Khmelnytsky was to stop his campaign. However, the hostilities soon resumed and the Cossacks suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Berestechko in 1651 (it was also the largest land battle of the century). However, they won a battle, at the Battle of Batoh, a year later. However, the loss of so many casualties at Berestechko was so devastating Khmelnytsky was forced to stay under the Commonwealth's influence or make an alliance with the Russians. In 1654 the Treaty of Pereyslav was signed , which allied the Cossacks with the Russians. The Polish influence had ended, but as time went the Cossacks became more and more intergrated into Russia.