May 20, 2012

1 - The Swedish-Polish Heritage

Sigismund’s column and Royal castle at Warsaw

The Swedish Fleet mastered on the Baltic Sea and the Polish Cavalry did the same all over the Steppe when Sweden and Poland had been truly empires in 1600s.

Meanwhile, Muscovite Russia was a rich but weak Duchy in civil war after the House of Rurik extinction. Tartars and Ottomans Turks ravaged Russian border. Germany did not exist at all, rather a Prussian Duchy (it was only East Prussia) ruled by the Marquis of Brandenburg. The Habsburgs’ Holy Roman Empire was huge but de-centralized and submersed in religion struggle and their rich Spanish Colonial Empire was very far across the Atlantic Ocean. Yet there was no UK at all (England suffered under the Tudors’ tyrannical rule and Scotland was an independent Kingdom). The magnificent Kingdom of France had known the horrors of the Religion struggles (let us remember the Saint Bartholomew’s night…) North America was Amerindian land that had been reaching only by Dutch and English adventurers.

Years 1600s were times of Religion and Dynastic wars. There was no such thing as Patriotism, Democracy or People’s Civil Rights, but strong commitment to the Monarch and the Church. Legitimacy and True Faith were the most important matters. This is the picture to have remembered as background while reading this summary.Sigismund’s statue on top the column

Our ancestors had arrived from the Kingdom of Sweden to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth mostly between 1587 and 1659, under the rule of the House of Vasa over both countries. Roughly, they were military in the Polish-Swedish wars between the Protestant and Catholic branches of the Vasas.

There’s a second group of Swedes, rather minor than the first, which had arrived to Poland later, between 1702 and 1709, in times of King Stanislaw I Leszczynski and his ally King Charles XII of Sweden. In addition, of course, there were lonely Swedes who had arrived to Poland at any time for personal reasons. There is also something about them at the end of this summary.

There are several Polish surnames showing clearly a Swedish origin, like Szwed, Szwec, Szwen and their derivatives (root + ending) like Szwedski, Szwecki and Szwenderski, just for example. There is a long list of Swedish-Polish surnames like these, already published in this place.

1. Szwed (the largely used), which means Swedish or Swede in Polish language.

2. Szwec comes from Szwecja, which is Sweden in Polish and is a derivative of the Germanic “Schwetz” too (meaning Sweden). Polish Szwec and German Schwetz are similar pronunciations.

3. There are also Swen and Swend; Szwen and Szwend; Śwend and Swęd. They come from Sven and Svend, the popular Scandinavian names (nicknames to any Swede).Swedish Polish royal family (John III of Sweden, Catherine of Poland and child) House of Vasa, pl Wazowie, sv Vasaatten

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the union of the Kingdom of Poland (which had included Ukraine and Latvia) with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (which had included Belarus and the Russian Land of Smolensk). This large country was rule by one elected Monarch and only one Parliament but had two own separate Administrations (Privy Councils).

The first Swedes to have arrived there (as a group) in 1587, were men of King Sigismund’s retinue as Crown Prince of Sweden. After 1599, when the usurper Duke Charles (later Charles IX) and his hard-wing Protestants took him out of his throne, some Loyalist Swedes (Catholics and Lutherans altogether) must go away with their Rightful King and had settled in Poland.

When the King of Sweden John III Vasa died in 1592, his son Sigismund had acceded to the Swedish throne. He was the elected King of Poland since 1587; his mother was Polish Princess Catherine, younger sister of the last Polish-Lithuanian monarch of the House of Jagiellon. Duke Charles, John’s brother, did not approve the accession of his nephew, a devout Catholic, to the government of a realm that could as well be his (according to him). King Sigismund had appointed the Swedish Senate (or Privy Council) to rule in his name when he was out of Sweden, but with cunning, the Duke managed to get the support of the Parliament becoming the Regent of Sweden. He had claimed to be the Protestant cause champion and the Kingdom defender against foreign interference. Against the King’s will, a Synod summoned by Duke Charles drew up an anti-Catholic agenda and the Augsburg Confession was officially adopted (the Evangelical Lutheran Church confession of faith). Duke Charles was able to assume control over the main powerful castles in the country and in this manner achieved control over almost all the Realm.Sigismund III, by the grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia, and also  King of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals, claimant King of Jerusalem

King Sigismund could not accept Duke Charles’s rebel actions and decided to use force. In February 1598, he had assembled a Polish army to curb the Rebels. This army was small because the King expected Swedish Loyalist forces to join him. The King had support from the strong Swedish army in Finland where the Swedish Nobility and Gentry was loyal to him and more help from different parts of Estonia and Sweden proper. The Polish-Lithuanian Army had been to get transport from Gdansk to Kalmar on Swedish ships, but the Swedish Parliament refused the Fleet to transport foreign forces. King Sigismund had to gather a hundred ships by his own, before beginning his travel to Kalmar. Due to bad winds, the journey across the sea took a long time and the coordinated attack by the Swedish Army in Finland and the Polish Army could not be undertaken.

After had taken Kalmar and Stockholm with Polish and Swedish Loyalist forces, the Rebel Duke’s army was defeated in the Battle of Stegeborg. Nevertheless, Duke Charles prevented the Loyalist army of Finland to join the Polish forces. He had managed to surround and defeat the King’s army in the Battle of Linkoping and had made King Sigismund his prisoner. The King could return to Poland at the end and never abdicated to his rightful throne, but the civil war in Sweden was lost. This situation had started the Dynastic war of 1600–1629 (which was interrupted by periods of truce) and was followed by the large conflict of 1655–1660 known as The Swedish Deluge.

The Realm of Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Ingria (where is Saint Petersburg nowadays) was already largely a Lutheran country, but Catholics had remained and many people, yet “officially” Protestants, had sympathies towards the Church of Rome. (Former King John III, Sigismund’s father, had showed clear Catholic sympathies inspired by his Polish consort and had reintroduced several Catholic customs in the Church of Sweden).

Duke Charles had been clearly a usurper to many people in Sweden, yet between Ladislaus IV Vasa King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, etc., Grand Duke of Moscow and rightful hereditary King of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals hard-wing Lutherans as the Archbishop of Uppsala, the Primate of Sweden. Princess Anna Vasa, the Protestant younger sister of King Sigismund was very close to her brother; exiled in Poland, she had became the King's advisor and District-Governor of Brodnica and Golub. She had acted as protector for the exiled Swedish Loyalists. Swedish admiral Gyllenstierna had become Admiral of Poland and his son became the Castle-Commander of Gdansk and Polish Senator (yet, they were both Protestants). The Nobility and Gentry of South Sweden was mostly Loyalist. In Central Sweden, the District-Governor of Dalarna had raised the people against the rebel Duke (the Neaf Campaign). However, Finland was the very stronghold of King Sigismund’s followers. As part of his large power struggle against his nephew, Duke Charles had supported a big Finnish Peasants uprising against the Governor-General of Finland, the Swedish landowners and military (the Cudgel War). In Estonia, the Castle-Commanders showed sympathies towards Sigismund.

After the victory over the Polish and Swedish-Loyalist Army at the Battle of Stangebro and dethronement of his nephew, the Duke had began a persecution against those who had supported the King which worst event was the Linkoping Bloodbath, in 1600. Many of the Loyalists were the head cut off including five Senators (i.e. High Lords), much more had been condemned to exile (usually they traveled to Poland) and many people were jailed. The consequences for the remaining Catholic elements of Swedish society had been devastating.

Between 1600 and 1629, there had been several attacks against Sigismund’s Realm. When Charles IX (and Gustav II Adolf later), had sent their troops to Poland some underground loyalist militaries took the opportunity to change sides. For example, in 1627, after the battle of Czarne (also Hamersztyn) Swedish officers and soldiers prisoners of Polish High-Commander Koniecpolski changed to the Polish side. This incident has been specifically remark in the annals of this battle. John II Casimir Vasa King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, etc., and rightful hereditary King of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals

King Sigismund had desired to instigate a revolt in Sweden using the exiled Swedes that lived in Poland, but this never happened.

In addition, after a peace of 25 years during Vladislas IV rule of Poland, (Sigismund’s elder son), more Swedish military had arrived during the war between King Charles X Gustav of Sweden and John II Casimir of Poland, (Sigismund’s younger son), known as The Swedish Deluge (1655–1660). The cousin and heir of Queen Christina (she returned to Catholicism after abdicating), had decided to attack again, in order to finish the dynastic mater for good.

Those militaries may have arrived during the Swedish Deluge as real enemies at first, but after the war ended a few of them decided to stay. Using foreign troops was usual in 17th century warfare and become a mercenary soldier was considered a good way to get honor, fame and profit. Former enemy prisoners had become commonly members of the Royal Army or the Magnates (High Lords) private armies; because fine soldiers had been always welcome, (there were no such thing as National Armies at this time). Polish-Lithuanian Monarchs had been at war during 250 years, outside against its neighbors and inside against rebel Cossacks and the easy-upraising Nobility. Meanwhile, as the Spanish Conquistadores had done in America, the Magnates expanded the Commonwealth border conquering Moscow to the North and clashing with the Habsburgs and the Ottomans for domination over Moldavia (nowadays Romania) to the South.Princess Anna Vasa, Sigismund’s sister at Polish exile

Sweden had only one million of inhabitants, but a financial system able to keep a permanent trained army due to its centralized government and Obligatory Draft that had including Free Peasants. The Swedish Army was composed mainly by Infantry (pikemen and arquebusiers), backed by good Artillery and Light-Cavalry (sword and pistol armed), all transported and cannon-backed by a strong Fleet if necessary.

Poland-Lithuania had ten million of inhabitants, but a de-centralized financial system, (all taxes had to be agreeing upon all the Nobility at the Great Parliament and the Regional Parliaments). Obligatory Draft was only to Nobility (because peasants were mostly Serfs) and there was only a small privateer Navy. The Royal Army had been well train but not large and composed mainly by Heavy-Cavalry (the famous “winged hussars” - armored lance-armed knights that used sword and pistol rather as complementary weapons). Artillery was modern and very well provided, but Infantry was small in number (mostly composed by mercenary pikemen and arquebusiers). This army was nearly undefeated in battle for over a hundred years; nevertheless, it was a small permanent army. The Draft of the Nobility (mainly gathered in a more simple kind of Heavy-Cavalry) was large because Polish Nobility was the ten per cent of the population, but was called up in wartime only and disbanded in peacetime. This had made it impossible to get well training. Besides, in wartime, large cities raised Burgher militias or mercenary companies and Free Peasants may have joined the army (because it was the way to ennoblement).

Therefore, after the Peace of Oliwa (1660) which ended the Dynastic matter and the Polish-Swedish wars, the exiled Swedish Loyalist and the former Swedish prisoners who decided to stay in Poland, (now as Polish military), were very helpful and welcome. They had fight in the different wars in which Poland-Lithuania involved and their descendants settled all around the country. Already in 1659, King John II Casimir had entitled as Polish Nobles the exiled Swedish Nobles who had lost all at Scandinavia standing by the Polish Vasas. Prince Charles Ferdinand Vasa, Bishop of Wroclaw and Plock, Duke of Opole and Nysa

There are many places in nowadays Poland (and there were more in ancient Poland) whose names remember Swedish presence, like Szwederowo (now an airport close to Bydgoszcz), Szwedzki Ostrow (a small village south-west of Gdansk) or Szwendrowy Most (a village north of Warsaw), for example.

Nevertheless (and for a new reason), is Szwedy, a village north of Rzeszow (South-East Poland) which keeps the attention.

Szwedy (formerly had known also as Szwedów), was a place to settle former Swedish prisoners also, but this time in early 18th century, according to the Geographic Encyclopedia of the Kingdom of Poland.

In this case, they were men of Charles XII of Sweden who had been a young warrior king supporter of King Stanislaw I Leszczinski of Poland. Stanislaw had been at war against his rival Augustus II the Strong (Elector of Saxony), backed by the tyrannical Emperor Peter the Great of Russia.

There were more villages founded with the same name and destiny in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, like Szwedy near Wilejka, nowadays Belarus, for example. Those militaries had participated in a Polish civil war (1702-1709), so they were seeing (by the Poles) as enemies of an unloved king but supporters of a beloved one. For that reason, they had been welcome to settle (yet living in Belarus, they not became Ruthenians, but Poles).

They were the ancestors of the second (and minor) group of Swedish-Polish families, being the first group (and largely bigger in number) those of the times of Vasas rule. Anyway, the members of both groups, married Polish women in time, and their descendants integrated themselves to the people of Poland, but they proudly remembered their origin in their surnames.

In addition, there were lonely Swedes who had arrived to Poland at any time for personal reasons.

A remarkable case had been Count Lars von Engeström (also d’ Engeström), (1751-1826), Swedish prominent public official and diplomat. He served as the Chief of the Council for Foreign Affairs from 1809 to 1824, and as the Chancellor of Lund University from 1810 to 1824. He had been elect member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1810.Prince John Albert Vasa, Cardinal, Bishop of Cracow and Prince-Bishop of Warmia

Count Lars von Engeström was the son of Lutheran Bishop of Lund and Vice-Chancellor of the Lund University, Johannes Engeström. His son was ennobled "for his father's merits," by king Adolf Frederick of Sweden and took the surname “von Engeström”, according to Swedish Nobility style.

His political career began under King Gustav III of Sweden in 1773. In 1787, he had accredited as Swedish ambassador in Poland. For the years 1790-1792, he served as a member of the Polish Royal Court. Lars von Engeström married Rozalia Drya-Chlapowska and bought an estate at Jankowice. His political activism characterized by anti-Russian attitude, which led him to establish relationships with the elite of the Patriots. In June 22, 1791, Stanislaus II Augustus Poniatowski, King of Poland, entitled him to Polish Nobility also, to “Engeström coat of arms” (according to Polish Nobility style) and Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislaus.

After 1795, he fulfilled diplomatic duties, and toured, on behalf of the King of Sweden to London, Vienna, Berlin and Paris. After retirement of Swedish diplomatic and political live, he was often on transit between Sweden and Poland where he lived on his property at Jankowice.

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