Jan II Kazimierz

Jan II Kazimierz

The last Polish king of the Vasa dynasty
Date of Birth: 22.03.1609
Country: Poland

  1. Last Polish King from the Vasa Dynasty
  2. Country in the Process of Disintegration
  3. Abdication

Last Polish King from the Vasa Dynasty

Jan II Casimir was the last Polish king from the Vasa dynasty, ruling from 1648 to 1668. Prior to ascending the throne, he traveled and participated in the Thirty Years' War. In 1648, a rebellion of Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky began. From 1654 to 1667, a war between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia ensued after Ukraine's annexation to Russia in 1654. Russian forces broke through the Lithuanian defenses in 1654-1655 and occupied a significant part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Cossack Hetmanate became even more belligerent, and the Swedes occupied a large part of Poland, including the capital Warsaw. The king was forced to flee to Silesia. In 1657, Poland relinquished its sovereign rights over Eastern Prussia. As a result of unsuccessful wars with Russia, Poland lost Kiev and all areas east of the Dnieper River through the Treaty of Andrusovo in 1667.

Country in the Process of Disintegration

The country began to disintegrate as magnates, in pursuit of their own goals, formed alliances with neighboring states. The rebellion of Prince Jerzy Lubomirski shook the foundations of the monarchy. The nobility continued its suicidal defense of its own "freedoms." Since 1652, they had been abusing the destructive practice of the "liberum veto," which allowed any deputy to block any decision he disagreed with, demand the dissolution of the Sejm (parliament), and propose any measures that would be considered in the next session. Taking advantage of this, neighboring powers repeatedly sabotaged the implementation of decisions that were unfavorable to them through bribery and other means. Religious decisions also contributed to the chaos. Under the influence of Nikolai Tsykhovsky, an edict was passed in 1658 for the expulsion of the Arians for their collaboration with the Swedes.


King Jan Casimir was broken and abdicated the Polish throne in 1668, during the peak of internal anarchy and discord.