Poland c. 1680

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Map Code: Ax02075

In 1672–76, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lost control of Podolia (in modern Ukraine) to the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1683, after the Ottomans seized Vienna in Austria, the Commonwealth joined forces with the Austrian-led Holy Roman Empire to form a ‘Christian Coalition’ against the Islamic ‘threat’. The Polish king, John III Sobieski (r. 1629–1696), was heralded as the saviour of Christendom, having triumphed over the Turks in the Austro-Commonwealth Battle of Vienna (1683), but his lack of territorial gains from the Ottoman wars, and status as junior partner in the Holy Roman coalition, led to unpopularity at home. The Turks, age old adversaries, were thwarted after a succession of wars (1683–1699), which ended in Coalition victory and Holy Roman ownership of Ottoman Hungary and the Balkans. Poland had Podolia returned to her. Destabilized by constant fighting (with little perceived gain) Poland ended the 17th century on the brink of civil war.

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