From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Koliyivshchyna rebellion
Part of Bar Confederation and Haidamaky
Camp of haidamakas.PNG
Camp of Haidamakas by Juliusz Kossak
Date 6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1768[1] — June 1769
Location Right-bank Ukraine, (Kiev and Braclaw voivodeships) Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Result Polish-Russian victory
Substantial civilian casualties
Rebels were punished and executed
Herb Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodow.svg Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Russia Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Mikhail Krechetnikov
Jan Klemens Branicki
Melkhisedek Znachko-Yavorsky
Maksym Zalizniak
Ivan Gonta
Part of a series on
"Zaporozhian Cossacks write to the Sultan of Turkey" by Ilya Repin (1844–1930)
Cossack hosts
Other groups
Cossack terms
Monument of Gonta and Zalizniak in Uman, Ukraine

Koliyivshchyna (Ukrainian: Коліївщина, Polish: koliszczyzna) was a major haidamaka rebellion that broke out in Right-bank Ukraine in June 1768,[1] caused by the social and national-religious oppression of Ukrainians by the Polish administration and nobility.[2] The uprising resulted in a mass murder of noblemen (szlachta) and other Polish[dubious ] population, Jews, and Uniate, and Catholic priests across the part of the country west of the Dnieper river.


The origin of the word is not certain. Itself the word similar to Ukrainian word which means "impaling".

On the other hand, it could be an adaptation of the Polish words "kolej", "kolejno", "po kolei", which implies "służba kolejna" so called Cossack militia on a service of aristocrats (magnate).


It was simultaneous to the Confederation of Bar which originated out of the adjacent region in the city of Bar (historical Podolia) and was a de facto civil war in Poland.

The rebellion was fueled by the circulation of a fictitious proclamation of support and call to arms by Russia's Empress Catherine II, the so called "Golden Charter".[3] Mostly based on rumors, the charter however had a real foundation and was connected with the Catherinian rescript that in 1765 she issued it to Archimandrite Melkhisedek and obligated the Russian ambassador in Warsaw to facilitate assertion of rights and privileges of the Right-bank Ukraine Orthodox confession.[4] It should be noted that in 1764, on territory of the Zaporizhian Host of Right-bank Ukraine and along the southern borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire created New Russia Governorate in place of previously existing New Serbia province and was intensively militarised.[5]

Preparation to uprising and the initial raid of the Cossack detachment of Maksym Zalizniak started at the Motrynine Saint Trinity Monastery (today a covenant in Chyhyryn Raion), a hegumen of which was Archimandrite Melkhisedek (Znachko-Yavorsky) who also served as the director of all Orthodox monasteries and churches in the Right-bank Ukraine (in 1761-1768).[1]

The peasant rebellion quickly gained momentum and spread over the territory from the right bank of the Dnieper River to the river Syan. At Uman it led to a big massacre. Poles, Jews and Uniates were herded into their churches and synagogues and killed in cold blood.[citation needed] In three weeks of unbridled violence the rebels slaughtered 20,000 people, according to numerous Polish sources.[citation needed] The leaders of the uprising were Cossacks Maksym Zalizniak and Ivan Gonta. While being the commander of the Potocki's private Uman city Cossack militia garrison, the latter joined Zalizniak at Uman after being despatched by Polish Count Franciszek Salezy Potocki to protect it.

Eventually the uprising was crushed by Russian troops, aided by Polish army. Both its leaders were arrested by the Russian troops on 7 July 1768.[1] Ivan Gonta was handed over to Polish authorities who tortured him to death, while Maksym Zalizniak was exiled to Siberia.[2] The rebellion was suppressed by the joint forces of Polish and Russian armies, with numerous hangings, decapitations, quarterings and impalings.[6]


According to numerous Polish sources, the total number of casualties of the Koliyivshchyna 1768 on the right-bank Ukraine is estimated at 200,000 murdered people, mainly Poles and Jews.[6]

Koliyivshchyna in popular culture[edit]

Taras Shevchenko's epic poem Haidamaky (The Haidamakas) chronicles the events of the Koliyivshchnyna. The event also inspired recent artwork during the latest Ukrainian unrest.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Koliyivshchyna at Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine
  2. ^ a b "Koliivshchyna rebellion". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. 
  3. ^ Golden Charter at Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  4. ^ Catherinian Golden Edict at Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine
  5. ^ First New Russia Governorate at Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine
  6. ^ a b Norman Davis (1982). God's playground. A history of Poland, vol 1. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05350-9.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Davies" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).

Further reading[edit]