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Battle of Wilno
Part of the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667)
DateJuly 1655
LocationWilno
Result Russian victory
Six year occupation of the city
Belligerents
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Tsardom of Russia
Commanders and leaders
Janusz Radziwiłł
Wincenty Korwin Gosiewski
Alexis of Russia


The Battle of Vilnius,[1] battle of Wilno,[2] or battle of Vilna[3] was an attack by Russian and Cossack forces of Vilnius (Wilno), the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, that occurred between the 7 and 9 August 1655 (sources vary: Davies states 28 July,[4] Frost 8 August,[2] Black 9 August[3]), during the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667). The Polish-Lithuanian forces under the leadership of hetman Janusz Radziwiłł were defeated by the Russian army of Alexis of Russia.

It was the first time that a foreign power managed to capture the Vilnius Castle Complex.[5] Invading forces plundered the city for several days, and a fire consumed part of the city; in particular the Jewish quarter was burned by the Cossacks and many Jews were killed.[6] Davies gives an estimate of 20,000 inhabitants killed in "an indiscriminate slaughter".[4] Some scholars have suggested that certain relics, as well as the body of Vytautas the Great, were lost during the plundering of Vilnius Cathedral.[7] The six year Muscovite occupation that followed resulted in a major depopulation and a decline of the town for many years to come.[8]

Defeat at the battle of Vilnius was one of the reasons Janusz Radziwiłł and several other Lithuanian magnates surrendered the Grand Duchy to Sweden at the Union of Kėdainiai.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. David R. Stone. A military history of Russia. 2006 p.37 ISBN 0-275-98502-4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Robert I. Frost, After the Deluge: Poland-Lithuania and the Second Northern War, 1655-1660, Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-54402-5, Google Print, p.48
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jeremy Black, European warfare, 1494-1660, Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0-415-27531-8, Google Print, p.160
  4. 4.0 4.1 Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, Columbia University Press, 1982, ISBN 0-231-05351-7, Google Print, p.467
  5. (Lithuanian) Šapoka, Adolfas (1989). Lietuvos istorija. Vilnius. p. 326. ISBN 5-420-00631-6. 
  6. Abraham P. Bloch, One a day: an anthology of Jewish historical anniversaries for every day of the year, KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1987, ISBN 0-88125-108-9, Google Print, p.213
  7. Vilnius istorijos vingiuose. Retrieved on 2009-04-09
  8. Ochmański, Jerzy (1990) (in Polish). Historia Litwy. Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. p. 153. ISBN 83-04-03107-8. 

Coordinates: 54°41′N 25°17′E / 54.683°N 25.283°E / 54.683; 25.283

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