Lithuanian Civil War (1700)

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Ruzhany Palace, the main residence of the senior branch of the Sapieha family, was ruined during the civil war of 1700.

Civil war in Lithuania refers to the conflict between several powerful magnate families in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The powerful Sapieha family, most powerful in the Grand Duchy, was opposed by the coalition of several other families: Radziwiłł, Wiśniowiecki, Pac and Ogiński.

In the late 17th century Sapiehas gained control of many offices of the Grand Duchy; in 1700 Jan Kazimierz Sapieha the Younger was the Lithuanian Grand Hetman, Aleksander Paweł Sapieha the Lithuanian Grand Marshal and Benedykt Paweł Sapieha, the Lithuanian Deputy Treasurer (podskarbi). The Sapieha family had much influence at the royal court, and was able to issue and execute decrees damaging the other families. This had led to the formation of anti-Sapieha coalition among the lesser magnates and the common nobles (szlachta).

1694. Sapieha, instead of paying his soldiers their wages, quarters them in the estates of Bishop of Wilno, Brzostowski. Brzostowski excommunicates him in response.

1697. The Sapiehas supported François Louis, Prince of Conti for the Polish throne while most of the Lithuanian nobility and the Oginski family supported Augustus II the Strong.

Oginski, together with Kociell convinces the nobility to rebel against the Sapiehas, but is beaten in battles of Brzesc and Jurbork. A compromise is signed in Warsaw but none of the parties are satisfied with it, which was Augustus' intention. Further rebellions. Treaty at Puzenice. Saxon troops in Lithuania.

The situation became inflamed again in early 1700. An anti-Sapieha noble, Sebastian Cedrowski fired a pistol at the carriage of Hetman Sapieha in February. Soon after Karol Radziwill was chosen as the Marshall of the 1700 Lithuanian Tribunal, which the Sapiehas took as a personal affront. The Sapiehas were defeated in the Battle of Olkieniki (near Valkininkai in modern Lithuania) on 18 November, and have lost their dominant position in the Duchy, never to regain it in the future.

In the aftermath of the civil war, the unrest in the Grand Duchy continued, as the lesser magnates vied for control of the offices and lands of the defeated Sapieha family. This led to the Grand Duchy weak position in the Great Northern War.