Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki

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Michael I
Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki
Michał Karybut Višniaviecki. Міхал Карыбут Вішнявецкі.jpg
King Michael
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign June 19, 1669 – November 10, 1673
Coronation September 29, 1669
Predecessor John II Casimir Vasa
Successor John III Sobieski
Spouse Eleonora Maria of Austria
House Wiśniowiecki
Father Jeremi Wiśniowiecki
Mother Gryzelda Konstancja Zamoyska
Born (1640-05-31)May 31, 1640
Biały Kamień, Poland (now Ukraine)
Died November 10, 1673(1673-11-10) (aged 33)
Lwów, Poland (now Ukraine)
Burial Wawel Cathedral (buried on January 31, 1676)

Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki or Michael I (Polish: Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, Lithuanian: Mykolas I Kaributas Višnioveckis; May 31,[1] 1640 – November 10, 1673), son of Jeremi Wiśniowiecki and his wife Gryzelda Konstancja Zamoyska, was ruler of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from September 29, 1669, to his death in 1673.[2]

In 1670 he was married to Eleonora Maria of Austria (1653-1697), daughter of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, by his third wife Eleonora Gonzaga.

Royal titles[edit]

  • Official Latin version: Michael I, Dei Gratia rex Poloniae, magnus dux Lithuaniae, Russiae, Prussiae, Masoviae, Samogitiae, Livoniae, Smolensciae, Kijoviae, Volhyniae, Podoliae, Podlachiae, Severiae, Czernichoviaeque, etc.

(citation from one contemporary document: "Michael primvs, Dei gratia rex Poloniae, magnus dvx Lituaniae, Russiae, Prussiae, Masouiae, Samogitiae, Kiiouiae, Volhyniae, Podlachiae, Podoliae, Liuoniae, Smolensciae, Seueriae Czernihouiaeque etc")


Parents of the future king probably met each other in September 1637 in Warsaw, during crowning of Cecilia Renata of Austria, the Queen of Poland and consort to Wladyslaw IV Waza. His mother, Gryzelda Konstancja Zamoyska, and his father, Jeremi Wisniowiecki, got engaged on February 13, 1638, over a month after the death of Gryzelda’s father, Tomasz Zamoyski.

Coat of Arms of Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki as king of Poland.svg

The wedding took place in Zamosc on February 27, 1639, and over a year later, on May 31, 1640, Michal Korybut was born in a village of Bialy Kamien. The infant was then taken to Zamosc, where he spent first two years of his life, under care of his grandmother Katarzyna Zamoyska (née Ostrogska). Some time probably in 1642, Michal was taken by his mother to Lubny. During the Khmelnytsky Uprising, he had to flee Left-bank Ukraine with his family, settling first in Wisniowiec, Volhynia, and then in Zamosc (since autumn 1648).

Jeremi Wisniowiecki died in 1651, when most of his enormous estate remained under Cossack or Russian control. In 1651 - 1655, young Michal was under care of Bishop of Wroclaw and Plock, Karol Ferdynand Vasa. The boy stayed at the residence of Bishops of Plock, in the town of Brok. Probably after the death of Bishop Vasa (May 9, 1655), he was taken by his rich uncle, the Voivode of Sandomierz Jan Zamoyski, who funded his education. Some time in mid-1655, Michal found himself at the court of King Jan Kazimierz Waza.

Following Swedish invasion of Poland, Michal, together with royal court, fled to Glogowek in Upper Silesia. On November 18, 1655, following the request of the king, he went to Nysa, to study at the Jesuit College Carolinum, staying there probably until March 1656.

In mid-1656, thanks to support of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga, Korybut began studies at Charles University in Prague. He returned to Poland probably in June 1660, but soon afterwards, headed to Dresden and Vienna, meeting Empress Eleonora Gonzaga, and probably seeing for the first time his future wife Eleanor of Austria, who was a child at that time. Furthermore, Wisniowiecki improved his knowledge of languages; he spoke Latin, German, Italian, French, also probably Tatar and Turkish.

In 1663, Michal took plart in the Russo-Polish War, and during the Lubomirski's Rokosz, he supported the king.


On 16 September 1668, John II Casimir abdicated the Polish–Lithuanian throne, and went to France. New election was necessary, and Bishop of Chelmno Andrzej Olszowski suggested that Michal Korybut should be listed as one of candidates for the throne. Wisniowiecki was supported by the szlachta, who sensed that a poor and inexperienced prince would not pose a threat to the golden liberty.

The Free election, 1669 took place in May and June of that year. Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki was elected King of Poland-Lithuania on June 19. Most of the gathered nobility voted for him, choosing a native, Polish candidate (the so-called Piast), over foreigners. Wisniowiecki gained 11 271 popular votes, and was crowned on September 29, 1669 in Krakow.

His election was immediately opposed by the pro-French camp, with Primate of Poland Mikolaj Prazmowski and Crown Hetman Jan Sobieski.

On February 27, 1670, Wisniowiecki married Austrian princess Eleanor, and the ceremony was celebrated by Papal Nuncio, Cardinal Galeazzo Marescotti, as Primate Prazmowski refused to attend. The reception took place at a Denhoff Palace in Kruszyna.

Internal Conflicts[edit]

Poland-Lithuania as a fief of the Ottoman Empire between 1672 and 1676

Following the 1669 election, the Commonwealth was divided between two camps - pro-French, and royal. The pro-French camp had several influential members, including Primate Prazmowski, Hetman Sobieski, Andrzej Morsztyn, Voivode of Krakow Aleksander Michal Lubomirski, Voivode of Ruthenia Stanislaw Jan Jablonowski, Voivode of Poznan Krzysztof Grzymultowski, and Bishop of Krakow Andrzej Trzebicki.

In November 1669, the French camp broke the Coronation Sejm, hoping to dethrone Wisniowiecki and elect Count Charles-Paris d'Orléans-Longueville. In 1670, the internal struggle moved to the local sejmiks, during which the nobility demanded to bring a Sejm lawsuit against Hetman Sobieski. To defend their commander, soldiers of the army formed a Confederation near Trembowla.

To make matters worse, the divided Commonwealth was under constant Turkish threat. In 1671, the king supported a rebellion of a unit of Stanislaw Wyzycki, who, against the explicit order of Sobieski, abandoned Volhynia, leaving this province defenceless. Michal Korybut ordered Wyzycki and his men to spent the winter of 1671/72 in the rich starostwo of Sambor, and paid them their salaries. Sobieski and his soldiers did not receive any money.

In 1672, the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Commonwealth, and the Polish–Ottoman War (1672–76) began. Despite this, the situation in the Polish Crown was still chaotic, with the danger of a civil war. The szlachta formed a confederation near Golab, demanding removal of Primate Prazmowski. Its members looted real estate of Sobieski and his family. On November 22, 1672, Lithuanian soldiers formed their own confederation in Kobryn, declaring their support for the Golag confederation. In response, soldiers under Sobieski formed a confederation in Szczebrzeszyn. Jan Sobieski, together with his troops, headed to Lowicz, to meet Primate Prazmowski.

Negotiations between the two factions were carried out by Papal Nuncio Francesco Buonvisi and Bishop of Krakow Andrzej Trzebicki. Furthermore, Sultan Mehmed IV sent an offensive letter to Warsaw, demanding complete subordination of the Commonwealth. This enraged Poles and Lithuanians, and in March 1673 in Warsaw, both sides of the conflict reached an agreement.

War with the Ottoman Empire[edit]

In June 1672, a 100,000-strong Ottoman army, under Mehmed IV, besieged Kamieniec Podolski, which capitulated after 26 days. The invaders then approached Lwow, which paid a ransom. Mounted Crimean Tatar units penetrated as far as Hrubieszow, Jaslo and Biecz.

In October 1672, Jan Sobieski, upon request of the senators, tried to stop the invaders, defeating them in the Battle of Niemirów, Battle of Komarno, and Battle of Petranka. Meanwhile, the Treaty of Buchach was signed on October 18, in which the king ceded Podolia to the Ottomans and agreed to pay a yearly tribute. The Commonwealth became a Turkish vassal.

Soon afterwards, Wisniowiecki began preparation for a new military campaign against the Ottomans. On October 8, 1673 at Skwarzawa near Zloczow, some 40,000 Polish soldiers concentrated, with 50 cannons. Due to sickness, the king handed command of the army to Sobieski, and the Poles marched southwards, to Chocim (see Battle of Khotyn (1673)).

Death and Funeral[edit]

Tomb of King Michael inside Wawel Cathedral

King Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki died in the Palace of the Archbishops of Lwow, on November 10, 1673, due to food poisoning. On May 19, 1674, Jan Sobieski was elected new monarch (see Free election, 1674).

After the funeral, the heart of the king was buried at a Camedule Monastery in Warsaw’s district of Bielany. The bowels were placed in a wall of the Latin Cathedral in Lwow, while the body was buried in Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, on January 31, 1676, the day of coronation of Jan Sobieski.

Michał Wiśniowiecki's reign was less than successful. His father's military fame notwithstanding, Michał lost a war against the Turks, who occupied Podolia (see Polish–Ottoman War (1672–1676))[3] He was unable to cope with his responsibilities and with Poland's quarreling factions. After his death, John Sobieski was elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and crowned as John III.



Michał Wiśniowiecki
Michał Wiśniowiecki
Halszka Zenowiczówna
Jeremi Wiśniowiecki
Ieremia Movilă
Regina Mohyła
Elżbieta Csomortány
Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki
Jan Zamoyski
Tomasz Zamoyski
Barbara Tarnowska
Gryzelda Konstancja Zamoyska
Aleksander Ostrogski
Katarzyna Ostrogska
Anna Kostka

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ilona Czamańska, Wiśniowieccy. Monografia rodu, Poznań 2007, p .249,
  2. ^ Lerski Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945 1996 -p654 "In the seventeenth century, members of the family held the most important posts in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,* and Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki* was elected King of Poland"
  3. ^ Poczet.com, Michał Korybut Wisniowiecki.
  4. ^ www.wladcy.myslenice.net, Michał I Tomasz Wiśniowiecki herbu Korybut.

External links[edit]

Media related to Michał Korybut Wisniowiecki at Wikimedia Commons

Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki
Born: 31 May 1640 Died: 10 November 1673
Regnal titles
Title last held by
John II Casimir Vasa
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania

Title next held by
John III Sobieski