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Treaty of Stuhmsdorf, wall painting from Kielce castle. Visible: bishop and chancellor Jakub Zadzik, Polish king Władysław IV Waza and hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski.

The Treaty of Stuhmsdorf (Swedish language: Stilleståndet i Stuhmsdorf ) or Sztumska Wieś (Polish language: Rozejm w Sztumskiej Wsi ) was a treaty signed on 12 September 1635 between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden in the village of Stuhmsdorf (Sztumska Wieś), Royal Prussia, just south of Stuhm (Sztum).

The treaty introduced a truce for 26 and a half years. Sweden, weakened by its involvement in the Thirty Years' War, agreed to the terms that were mostly favourable to the Commonwealth in terms of territorial concessions. The commonwealth regained many of the territories it had lost in the past decades of the Polish–Swedish War, but the treaty was also beneficial to Sweden and her allies (France, England and the Dutch Republic), which wanted Sweden to be able to concentrate on the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, without the need to worry about possible conflict with the Commonwealth.

The truce lasted until 1655, when Sweden invaded Poland–Lithuania in the Second Northern War.[1]

Sides and motivations[]

Commemorative medal made in Poland after the Treaty

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth[]

The Polish side was not unified. King Władysław IV Vasa of Poland, from the Swedish House of Vasa, wanted to regain the Swedish crown, which had been held and then lost by his father Sigismund III Vasa. As this was a daunting task, his less ambitious motivations were to gain fame and strengthen his position in the commonwealth, where Golden Liberties made the king's position among the weakest in Europe. He hoped these goals would be achievable during the war and argued that the commonwealth could gain more by warring with Sweden; however, he was also not averse to peaceful resolution if it were to give him what he wanted. He thought the negotiations gave him the opportunity to trade his right to the Swedish crown for a hereditary claim to one of the regained lands (he was supported by the primate of Poland, Jan Wężyk), and entrusted this matter to the Prussian mediators.

The szlachta (Polish nobility) advisors to Władysław, representing the Polish legislature (Sejm), were not convinced that the war would be beneficial, although many (like Chancellor and Bishop Jakub Zadzik, Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski, and Royal Secretary and Voivode Stanisław Lubomirski) agreed that the Swedes had to leave Poland—by negotiations, if possible, by war, if necessary. Few, however, wished the war to continue for the sake of helping Władysław regain the Swedish crown, and, as usual, there was much disagreement between allies of the king, who wanted to strengthen his power, and those who feared that any victory for the king would mean loss for the nobility.[2]


After the recent setbacks that Sweden and its allies suffered in Germany, such as the Battle of Nördlingen and the defection of the Electorate of Saxony, Sweden's negotiating position was somewhat weakened. Nonetheless, the Swedes realised that their recent gains in Germany were much less easy to defend than the territories they captured from the commonwealth in Prussia and Livonia, and so they were more ready to give up German than Prussian territories. They were, however, willing to give up their conquests in Prussia if Władysław would renounce his claim to the Swedish crown and they would retain their conquests in Livonia.

Sweden's position was also weakened by the disagreements within its government, as there was a power struggle between Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna and his opponents in the Swedish Riksdag. Some of these struggles led to leaks which gave leverage to the Polish side.[3]

International involvement[]

Many European powers were interested in the outcome of the negotiations, and they were also named as mediators by the 1629 Truce of Altmark, giving them ample opportunity to influence the outcome of the Polish–Swedish negotiations.

France, England and the Netherlands[]

The peace between Poland and Sweden was also supported by French Cardinal Richelieu,[4][5] who wanted to weaken the Holy Roman Empire, using Sweden and German Protestants as a tool to keep Germany divided and embroiled in conflict. To this end, he needed Sweden to continue to take part in the Thirty Years' War and to ensure Poland's neutrality.[6] Richelieu had no wish to see Poland open a second front in Prussia, and thus he dispatched Claude d'Avaux,[7] one of his trusted negotiators.

French efforts were supported by the Dutch and English ambassadors at the conference, and expedited by a lavish flow of money.[8] England sent the former military commander Sir George Douglas[9] with instructions to support Władysław, especially as at that time there were negotiations between the commonwealth and England regarding the possible marriage between Władysław and an English princess (eventually futile). Dutch envoys included Rochus van den Honaert, Andries Bicker and Joachim Andraee.


George William, Duke of Prussia and Prince-elector of Brandenburg, was interested in a peaceful resolution of the Polish–Swedish conflict, as he did not want his lands to be affected by a new round of warfare. Because the Duchy of Prussia failed to fulfill its feudal obligations as a vassal of Poland by not lending it military support, George William's rule in Prussia was suspended and he was replaced by the Polish king by a viceroy, Jerzy Ossoliński.

Brandenburger mediators included Andreas Kreutz, Johan Georg Saucken and Peter Bergmann.[2]

Early negotiations[]

The negotiations started on 24 January 1635 in the Prussian village of Preussisch Holland (Pasłek). Polish negotiators were led by Bishop and Chancellor Jakub Zadzik, and included Hetman Krzysztof Radziwiłł, Voivode of Bełsk Rafał Leszczyński, Crown referendarz Remigian Zaleski, Starost of Dorpat, Ernest Denhoff and Starost of Stężyce, Abraham Gołuchowski. Swedish negotiators were led by Per Brahe (the younger) and included the governor of Prussia, Herman Wrangel, and advisors Sten Bielke, Achacy Axelson and Johan Nicodemi.[2]

The early negotiations were unsuccessful, as both sides played delaying tactics, disputing the titles of their monarchs, and awaiting most of the international mediators (only Brandenburg was present). Although the Swedes expected that the delay would be to their benefit, Władysław played their refusal to negotiate to the Sejm, and, with the support of some magnates, like Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł (who advocated the expansion of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Navy), the Sejm was convinced to vote for new, significant taxes. Even before the vote was passed Władysław gathered a new army of about 21,000 soldiers, sent Jerzy Ossoliński to gather Polish allies in non-occupied Prussia, and with the help of Danzig (Gdańsk) merchant Georg Hewel (Jerzy), bought ten ships to be converted into warships, and established the 'Sea Commission' (Komisja Morska) led by Gerard Denhoff.

Later negotiations[]

Poland at the time of the negotiations, in 1635

A monument in modern Poland commemorating the Treaty.

Between the few months dividing Pr. Holland and Stuhmsdorf negotiations, the military and political situation of Sweden further worsened, with more defeats in the field, and more allies defecting to the Holy Roman Empire. The Swedes were more willing to discuss their retreat from Prussia, and were more wary of the war with Poland. By the end of March they were ready to accept most of the Polish terms.[2]

On 24 May, the negotiations began in Stuhmsdorf, although the Polish negotiators had their quarters in nearby Jonasdorf (Jankowiec) and Swedes in Marienwerder (Kwidzyń). Foreign mediators arrived and Swedish negotiators were joined by Jacob De la Gardie, while on the Polish side Krzysztof Radziwłł was replaced by Jakub Sobieski.[2]

After the first month and a half, the idea of a peace was discarded, and Swedes proposed to retreat from all Prussia for a 50-year truce if Władysław renounced his claims to the Swedish crown.

Both the Polish magnates and the delegates of the petty nobility from local sejmiks saw no reason to fight when Sweden was offering them favourable concessions without any need for bloodshed and trade losses, which would surely occur if they pressed for war. This was in consideration of the expenses of the recent Smolensk War against Russia and the Polish–Ottoman War (1633–1634), coupled with the unrest in the south-east provinces, where occasional Tatar raids, supported by the Ottomans, required a significant presence of the Polish forces.[2] Władysław, who had managed to gather significant forces on the border and twelve ships at sea, was disappointed to realize that he now had almost no support among the szlachta for the war—Krzysztof Radziwiłł was among the few left—even though he himself had gained almost nothing from the treaty. Nonetheless, he was eventually convinced by his advisors to sign the treaty without gaining almost anything for himself.

The treaty eventually proved to be a partial disappointment to Oxenstierna and a partial victory of his opponents in the Riksdag,[10] but Oxensierna, who was hoping Sweden would not be forced into so many concessions, succeeded in keeping Sweden involved in the German war despite many calls from the Riksdag for complete withdrawal of Swedish forces from that area.[5]

George William's desire for a settlement giving him undisturbed possession of Ducal Prussia prevailed over the imperialist policy which, by Adam von Schwarzenberg's advice, he had followed in acceding to the Peace of Prague. The Treaty of Stuhmsdorf left Brandenburg in full possession of Ducal Prussia; however, by freeing the Swedish troops under Lennart Torstenson which had been occupying Prussia and Livonia,[11] it placed both Mecklenburg and Pomerania in the power of Sweden. The treaty also jeopardised the prospect of the acquisition of Pomerania by the House of Hohenzollern on the death, then imminent, of Duke Bogislaw XIV, and seriously threatened the security of the County of Mark.[8] Therefore the treaty could be seen as a political mistake by George William, whose gains in the short-term were outweighed by his losses in the long-term.[7]

Provisions of the treaty[]

The treaty signed on September 12 introduced an truce for 26 and a half years. The truce was an extension of the Truce of Altmark. The Swedes retained the Duchy of Livonia north of the Daugava River and the town of Riga, but had to guarantee the Catholics inhabiting that area the right to worship. Further, they had to return to the commonwealth the territories they occupied in Baltic Prussia (ports of Elbing (Elbląg), Memel (Klaipėda) and Pillau (Baltiysk), the latter two returning to George William) and withdraw their garrisons from them. They also ceded the right to collect tariffs (3.5%) from the Polish trade through the Baltic Sea passing through Danzig, which had been a sore spot to the szlachta, for whom the grain trade through Danzig was a major source of income. The Swedes also were to return the ships of the Commonwealth Navy they seized in the past years; however, the Commonwealth Navy was forbidden from supporting enemies of Sweden.[12]


  1. Press, Volker (1991) (in German). Kriege und Krisen. Deutschland 1600-1715. Neue deutsche Geschichte. 5. Munich: Beck. p. 401. ISBN 3-406-30817-1. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 (Polish) Władysław Czapliński (1974). Władysław IV i jego czasy. Wiedza Powszechna. OCLC 3717361. 
  3. Roberts, Michael (2003). From Oxenstierna to Charles XII: Four Studies. Cambridge University Press. p. 19. ISBN 0-521-52861-5. 
  4. Crane, Stephen (2005). Great Battles of the World. Kessinger Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 0-7661-9356-X. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Garstein, Oskar (1992). The age of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden. 3. BRILL. p. 45. ISBN 90-04-09395-8. 
  6. Kotilaine, Jarmo; Marshall Poe (2004). Modernizing Muscovy: reform and social change in seventeenth-century Russia. Routledge. p. 211. ISBN 0-415-30751-1. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Smith Williams, Henry (1909). The Historians' History of the World: A Comprehensive Narrative of the Rise and Development of Nations as Recorded by Over Two Thousand of the Great Writers of All Ages. 15. Hooper & Jackson, Ltd.. p. 126. OCLC 1636478. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ward, A. W. (1907). "The Later Years of Thirty Years' War". In Ernest Alfred Benians. The Cambridge modern history. 4. University Press. OCLC 6253478. 
  9. Murdoch, Steve (2001). Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648. BRILL. p. 48. ISBN 90-04-12086-6. 
  10. Nisbet Bain, Robert (1908). Slavonic Europe: a political history of Poland and Russia from 1447 to 1796. Cambridge University Press. p. 199. OCLC 3243405. 
  11. Bonney, Richard (2002). The Thirty Years' War 1618-1648. Osprey Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 1-84176-378-0. 
  12. Roberts, Michael (1984). The Swedish Imperial Experience 1560-1718. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-521-27889-9. 

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