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1587-1588 Poland's War with Austria


David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010  #1
In the next election there was a conflict between the rebellious Zborowski family and the powerful Chancellor Jan Zamojski. The Zborowski's attempted to take matters into their own hands and urged Archduke Maximillian to take the crown. In September 1587, together with an army, Maximillian entered Poland but was repulsed at Krakow by Zamojski. The following year in January the Chancellor, with 3,700 cavalry and 2,300 infantry, crushed the Austrian forces, of 2,600 cavalry, 2,900 infantry and 8 cannon, at Byczyna (24 January 1588) capturing the Archduke. He was not released until Austria abandoned all claims to the Polish throne.

jasinski.co.uk/wojna/conflicts/conf03.htm

I really wonder how the Austrian Archduke felt when he lost against a polish nobleman.
Would be something else to loose against a country, but a against 1 nobleman...

Interesting though how much power the polish magnates had.
Zajec - | 11
24 Jun 2010  #2
Polish magnates had a lot of power. Today we call this legal system 'noble democracy' for a reason. The magnates employed their own armies. Holding one or more winged hussar regiments was like having a brand new Carrera GT nowadays - lots of prestige among nobility. Because those guys were really, really expensive.

It also kinda sucked because if the government wanted to imply some new law and a magnate didn't like it, he could just say 'I don't care. I have my army. Come and tell me to obey'. Things were pretty much about interests of the magnates.

The war with Austria was caused by the fact that a part of nobility wanted to elect the Austrian archduke wearing gay clothes, and the other part wanted the prince of Siedmiogród (Hungarian Transylvania), Batory - a very big guy who could lay down a horse to the ground. Archduke was elected, but Zamoyski was unhappy with the decision. He went to engage Austrians and put Batory in the throne.

And in overall, Batory was a very good king.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010  #3
It also kinda sucked because if the government wanted to imply some new law and a magnate didn't like it, he could just say 'I don't care. I have my army. Come and tell me to obey'. Things were pretty much about interests of the magnates.

Not in XIV-XV century, at this time patriotism and obedience were still strong enough that the vast majority of magnates served the country.

I really wonder how the Austrian Archduke felt when he lost against a polish nobleman.
Would be something else to loose against a country, but a against 1 nobleman...

Zamoyski wasnt just any nobleman, he was the most powerfull noble of the most powerfull country in Europe at the time, the guy treated with kings as equals since the amount of leverage he held in internal politics was enormous.
Zajec - | 11
24 Jun 2010  #4
Not in XIV-XV century, at this time patriotism and obedience were still strong enough that the vast majority of magnates served the country.

Well, we're talking about a conflict which took place in 1587-1588.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010  #5
Which is still the golden period of Poland with strong (albeit elected) kings, thriving economy etc, to illustrate how effectively Polands magnates served her in that period, by year 1587 Poland had not lost a single war for 247 years and lost only a single battle (battle of Varna).

At the time there were: 5 wars against Teutonic Order, 2 wars against Swedish, a war against Muscovites and a war against Turkey and 27 smaller conflicts, not a single one lost and many of them fought by Polands magnates, while later on the noble democracy did fail for over a century it worked just peachy.

It was a progressive and enlightened system which had one weakness, it relied on the willingness to serve ones country entirely, there was little duty by law so when Polish society transformed from the most advanced to one of the most backwards in Europe the system collapsed completely.
OP David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010  #6
most backwards in Europe the system collapsed completely.

What about The Constitution of May 3? Atleast something good came out of it in the end.

But then then the Russians/Austrians/Prussians had to ruin all the fun!!!
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010  #7
What about The Constitution of May 3? Atleast something good came out of it in the end.

Poland was never destined to stay backwards but in the end the Constitution while an enlightened act of patriotism where the priveliged part of the nation sacrificed their priveliges for the freedoms of other was too late.

But then then the Russians/Austrians/Prussians had to ruin all the fun!!!

Which from their point of view was a logical, if malevolent move they had everything to gain from weak Poland or no Poland at all, especially Prussians.
OP David_18 68 | 982
25 Jun 2010  #8
Which from their point of view was a logical, if malevolent move they had everything to gain from weak Poland or no Poland at all, especially Prussians.

Blood suckers!!!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
26 Jun 2010  #9
Poles really examine the totality of factors that make them how they are now. Gotta admire that circumspection.

As for the war with Austria, well, I wasn't there so I don't know :)
Mr Grunwald 19 | 1,542
27 Jun 2010  #10
Gotta admire that circumspection.

^^

But then then the Russians/Austrians/Prussians had to ruin all the fun!!!

Russia had problems with Turkey they needed land and a deal with Prussia/Austria (idk how much with Prussia, didn't come a real real real power until later) also the last constitution was a threat to the stability in Russia (what if the Russian people started to like Polish ideas he?)

Prussia was still quite small (compared to nowadays Germany for instance) so it needed population and lands and cash $$$

While Austria stood at the side, they weren't overall happy to annex/invade/occupy Poland as it was mainly catholic in office places (although there was a veriaty of Jews and such so not sure)

But as later on atleast they were more into German blood and so on and their know for their anti-slavic feelings. But most of all they didn't let Russia grab too much, and let them have something for themselves :)

I I would say that everyone of the countries had logical motives BUT if I were Tsar of Russia I would ally myself with the Polish people and use them as a shield. THat was a fatal mistake (that they didn't do it I mean)
Borrka 37 | 594
27 Jun 2010  #11
if I were Tsar of Russia I would ally myself with the Polish people

Too much German blood in their veins and starting from Catherine II technically (genetically) czars were 90% German with German princess imported every generation what kept them even mentally Germanic.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
27 Jun 2010  #12
History could have turned out for the better if the Archduke had been elected

(although there was a veriaty of Jews and such so not sure

What has this BS anything to do with the main topic.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
27 Jun 2010  #13
History could have turned out for the better if the Archduke had been elected

Most idiotic statement ever, Archduke was a weak and inefective ruler.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
27 Jun 2010  #14
You should not take my teaching you a lesson over the Ukraine personally, BTW were is the acknowledgement that i was right? Austria was the most powerful Germanic state at the time, if Poland allied itself with Austria at the time as an equal partner it would have one foot in West European politics, and it would dominate central and eastern politics.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
27 Jun 2010  #15
You should not take my teaching you a lesson over the Ukraine personally

I'm not calling you an idiot you're a smart creature but the statement about Austria was silly because:

Austria was the most powerful Germanic state at the time,

At the time Poland was more powerfull then all the Germanic states combined together, Austria was about as strong as a single Polish province, Poland had no business in letting third rate european powers run it.

if Poland allied itself with Austria at the time as an equal partner

Its like proposing USA ally itself with Nigeria as equal partners, Poland alone could and did excersize more leverage then any of its neighbours of any two of its neighbours combined.

Poland had absolutely nothing to gain from an alliance with Austria.

would have one foot in West European politics

In 1587 Poland had a huge number of political proxies and whenever it needed it just dictated various countries of HRE what to do, besides Poland at the time was still busily developing and colonising the East and the entire national effort was directed there, Germany was viewed as a poor, relatively barbaric (due to religious hassles) region and generally avoided as political grounds, there was no need or desire to expand into Germany and enough military and economic leverage/german proxy states to excersize any kind of policy.

and it would dominate central and eastern politics.

It dominated central and eastern politics anyway, you're basically postulating that Poland ally itself with a weak little country to gain something it already had without it.

No one in the region did anything without asking Poland, if Poland wasnt asked it was war and as noted Poland by that time did not lose a war for 247 years and it would be another 63 years before the collapse of polish power.

To sum it up Poland didnt dominate the eastern and central politics, it dominated the entire european politics, its immidiate neighbours were completely out of their league in every department and powers that potentially could compete like France or Spain were dependent on polish grain, salt, shipbuilding materials, cattle, meat etc.

If something was too far for Poland to beat the living crap out of it could still be ambargoed into submission so treating Austria as an equal is completely unrealistic, it was not Polands equal and had absolutely nothing to offer Poland on any level.

Too much German blood in their veins

Actually for centuries Germans chose Poland as their motherland over Germany, Duchy of Courland for example.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
27 Jun 2010  #16
3,700 cavalry and 2,300 infantry, crushed the Austrian forces, of 2,600 cavalry, 2,900 infantry and 8 cannon

So it was 1100 horses against 600 infantry, hmm... I thought it would be the other way around : )

I really wonder how the Austrian Archduke felt when he lost against a polish nobleman.

Interesting question. Let's take a look who actually fought in this village-against-village conflict:

In 1587 Maximilian stood as a candidate for the throne of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, following the death of the previous king, Stefan Batory. A portion of the Polish nobility elected Maximilian king

His cause had considerable support in Poland, but fewer Poles flocked to his army than to that of his rival

Rudolf II of Austria (July 18, 1552 – January 20, 1612), Holy Roman Emperor as Rudolf II (1576–1612), King of Hungary and Croatia, as Rudolf (1572–1608), King of Bohemia as Rudolf II (1575-1608/1611) and Archduke of Austria as Rudolf V (1576–1608). He was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Notice the period when Rudolf ll was an Archduke of Austria!
But who was Maximillian then who lost in the 1588 Village skirmish at Zadebowki powiat?

From 1593 to 1595 Maximilian served as regent for his young cousin, Ferdinand, Archduke of Inner Austria

Oups! So he was a REGENT for his young COUSIN who was to become archduke of ....Inner Austria. (Inner Austria was just a tiny piece of Austria proper) Quite a "War" with Austria! :)
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
28 Jun 2010  #17
it was not Polands equal and had absolutely nothing to offer Poland on any level

Yes it was not, and yes Poland dominated in its region, but the fact remains that it had little impact in western Europe. Despite its huge strength, Poland was not very well known in western Europe. France and Spain were virtually the only players in town in western Europe. By allying itself with Austria, it could potentially allow Austria to take the brunt of any potential mistakes, whist profiting from any success. Furthermore in terms of cultural impact, Poland absorbed a lot from the west but even with a few notable philosophers it wasn't able to export much in the cultural realm.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
28 Jun 2010  #18
but the fact remains that it had little impact in western Europe.

Absolutely it had no impact at all, Polands effort was turned almost completely eastwards, i'm not claiming it had impact, i'm claiming it had leverage.

Poland was not very well known in western Europe.

By the period discussed it wasvery well known in Germany, Italy, England and assorted Islands and France, it wasnt known well at all in Spain.

By allying itself with Austria, it could potentially allow Austria to take the brunt of any potential mistakes,

By allying itself with Austria it would almost ceirtanly be drawn into Hapsburg wars which held no benefits whatsoever for Poland, Austria with its 50.000 mobilisation strength and small territory was guaranteed to use polish power in the Balkans which would inevitably lead to a war with Turkey.

Furthermore in terms of cultural impact, Poland absorbed a lot from the west but even with a few notable philosophers it wasn't able to export much in the cultural realm.

Oh it was but again the problem is that all of it was done eastwards and Austria wasnt really the hub of arts and sciences, even if we accepted your point off the bat you're still letting a small and weak country with conflicting interests run your place and almost ceirtanly draw you into dangerous wars that dont benefit you at all.

Poland at the time had a series of very dangerous enemies, real or potential, Sweden, Turks, Moscow, Crimean Tartars, Austrian enemies were Turkey and France so polish soldiers would be used thousands of kilometers away from where they're needed.

@Nathan wikipedia is a poor source:)
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
28 Jun 2010  #19
Poland at the time had a series of very dangerous enemies, real or potential, Sweden, Turks, Moscow, Crimean Tartars, Austrian enemies were Turkey and France so polish soldiers would be used thousands of kilometers away from where they're needed.

That is all true, but if say Poland was allied to Austria, and Austria was in conflict with France. I think that the French at worst would Give the Austrians a thrashing, but i doubt if they would be bothered marching all the way to Poland, If they tried they would be exhausted by the time they would get there and would be constantly harried by the Cossacks, I would Definitely fancy Poland's chances. As for the wars with the Turks, there wouldn't be much change there, Poland constantly fought the Turks regardless, as you know they later saved Vienna even though they didn't have to and got nothing in return, it would have been different if they had been allies. And with Poland allied to Austria, the partitions would have been very hard to carry out later on.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
28 Jun 2010  #20
I think that the French at worst would Give the Austrians a thrashing, but i doubt if they would be bothered marching all the way to Poland,

The point is however that Austria would just march polish armies into whatever battlefield in Italy or Germany while Poland would get overrun by everyone in the absence of its soldiers.

for the wars with the Turks, there wouldn't be much change there, Poland constantly fought the Turks regardless

Yes but Poland won against Turks at Vienna or on its home soil, fighting Turks in the Balkans where they had their dependent states all too happy to provide 50.000 more men is another matter alltogether.

it would have been different if they had been allies.

How? Hapsburgs were interested in polish money and polish armies but they were completely ignorant in local affairs, the first thing they intended to do was mobilise Poles for a conflict with France which was why they never got the throne, marching 50.000+ soldiers out of Poland would mean its destruction.

At the same time Austria could not offer the same kind of help if Poland got into trouble and Spain, another Hapsburg run country was too far away.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
29 Jun 2010  #21
The point is however that Austria would just march polish armies into whatever battlefield in Italy or Germany while Poland would get overrun by everyone in the absence of its soldiers.

But would the Polish nobility agree to such an arrangement? Previous experience suggests that they would be very hesitant. Given the more democratic nature of Poland the king would have to compromise with the Polish nobility.

And later on when the 7 years war would come about, instead of Poland being simply used as a battlefield for foreign armies, with an alliance with Austria, Poland could finally take East Prussia for itself. I doubt if Prussia would be able to resist an alliance of Poland, Austria and Russia.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
29 Jun 2010  #22
But would the Polish nobility agree to such an arrangement?

At that time kings still had quite a bit of power, even if he didnt march the entire force out but only the royal army that'd still weaken Poland.

Previous experience suggests that they would be very hesitant.

Yeah but he'd still have access to royal lands, royal army and at least some nobles would follow the king.

And later on when the 7 years war would come about, instead of Poland being simply used as a battlefield for foreign armies

Poland was used as a battlefield only because its destruction in the Deluge and the lack of strong kings, Austria was unable to save Poland from former and unable to provide the latter.

Poland could finally take East Prussia for itself. I doubt if Prussia would be able to resist an alliance of Poland, Austria and Russia.

In the period of 1578 Poland was able to take East Prussia anyway, it did not for a variety of reasons but it could and Austria was again not needed here.


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