1669 Polish–Lithuanian royal election

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1669 Polish-Lithuanian Free election
Herb Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodow.svg
 1648May 1, 1669 (1669-05-01) - June 19, 1669 (1669-06-19) 1674  
  Michal Karybut Visniaviecki. Mikhal Karybut Vishniavetski (D. Schultz, 1670).jpg Louis, Grand Conde.PNG
Candidate Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé
PartyPiast FactionPro-French Faction

King before election

John II Casimir

Elected King

Michael I

Election of Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki. Election Wisniowiecki.jpg
Election of Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki.
Plan of the elective camp. Elekcja1.jpg
Plan of the elective camp.

On 16 September 1668, King John II Casimir abdicated the Polish–Lithuanian throne. He left for France and joined the Jesuits where he became Abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey in Paris which resulted in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth being left without a monarch, making it necessary for a free election.

Royal elections in Poland individual elections of kings in Poland

Royal elections in Poland was the election of individual kings, rather than of dynasties, to the Polish throne. Based on traditions dating to the very beginning of the Polish statehood, strengthened during the Piast and Jagiellon dynasties, they reached their final form in the period of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1572 and 1791. The "free election" was abolished by the Constitution of 3 May 1791, which established a constitutional monarchy.


The pro-French faction, which was backed by Michal Prazmowski and Crown Hetman Jan Sobieski, was strong. During the Convocation, several Sejm members of the szlachta urged the election of a native Piast king instead. There were widespread rumors that supporters of foreign candidates had been bribed. Under the circumstances, the Bishop of Chełmno, Andrzej Olszowski, suggested that instead of a foreigner, a Pole should be elected. Olszowski suggested the candidacy of Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, who was the son of legendary Ruthenian magnate, Jeremi Wiśniowiecki. Michał Korybut was an exceptional individual, but the Szlachta who were afraid of growing French influences, decided to back him. Local sejmiks urged the nobility to come to Warsaw as pospolite ruszenie.


Hetman is a political title from Central and Eastern Europe, historically assigned to military commanders.


A convocation is a group of people formally assembled for a special purpose, mostly ecclesiastical or academic.

<i>Sejm</i> lower house of the parliament of Poland

The Sejm of the Republic of Poland is the larger, more powerful lower house of the Polish parliament. It consists of 460 deputies elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the "Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland". In the Kingdom of Poland, "Sejm" referred to the entire two-chamber parliament of Poland, comprising the Chamber of Envoys, the Senate and the King. It was thus a three-estate parliament. Since the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939), "Sejm" has referred only to the larger house of the parliament; the upper house is called the Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej.

The free election, which took place in May and June 1669 in Wola, near Warsaw, is regarded as the epitome of szlachta anarchy (see Golden Liberty). After heated arguments on June 6, a crowd of nobility electors forced senators to void the candidacy of Louis, Grand Condé. Some senators tried to oppose, but most gave way to the threats and eventually supported the Bishop of Kujawy, Florian Czartoryski, who stated: “The voice of the people is the voice of God”.[ This quote needs a citation ]

Wola Warsaw District in Masovian, Poland

Wola is a district in western Warsaw, Poland, formerly the village of Wielka Wola, incorporated into Warsaw in 1916. An industrial area with traditions reaching back to the early 19th century, it is slowly changing into an office and residential district. Several museums are located in Wola.

Golden Liberty

Golden Liberty, sometimes referred to as Golden Freedoms, Nobles' Democracy or Nobles' Commonwealth was a political system in the Kingdom of Poland and, after the Union of Lublin (1569), in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under that system, all nobles (szlachta), regardless of rank or economic status, were considered to have equal legal status and enjoyed extensive legal rights and privileges. The nobility controlled the legislature and the Commonwealth's elected king.

Louis, Grand Condé Prince of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon, French general and famous military leader

Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé was a French general and the most famous representative of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. Prior to his father's death in 1646, he was styled the Duc d'Enghien. For his military prowess he was known as le Grand Condé.

On June 17, some districts of Warsaw burned in a fire and rumors soon spread that the fire was intentionally set. Szlachta surrounded the wooden shed in which the senators convened, accusing them of treason and conspiring with foreign envoys. Shots were fired and, as Jan Chryzostom Pasek later wrote in his diaries, “bishops and senators hid themselves under chairs, emerging only after the situation had been defused.”[ This quote needs a citation ]

Jan Chryzostom Pasek Polish noble

Jan Chryzostom Pasek was a Polish nobleman and writer during the times of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He is best remembered for his memoirs (Pamiętniki), which are a valuable historical source about Baroque sarmatian culture and events in the Commonwealth.

Two days later, on June 19, Wiśniowiecki was elected the new king. A Polish nobleman, Jan Antoni Chrapowicki, who participated in the free election, wrote later: “There were different factions: some wanted the Neuburgian, others supported the Lotharingian. Since neither side wanted to resign their candidacy, it was decided that in order to avoid commotion, a Piast will be elected, who turned out to be Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki. Primate Prazmowski, who was hesitant at the choice, was eventually forced to sing the Te Deum hymn”.[ This quote needs a citation ]

Philip William, Elector Palatine German nobleman

Philip William of Neuburg, Elector Palatine was Count Palatine of Neuburg from 1653 to 1690, Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1653 to 1679 and Elector of the Palatinate from 1685 to 1690. He was the son of Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg and Magdalene of Bavaria.

Te Deum early Christian hymn of praise

The Te Deum is a Latin Christian hymn composed in the 4th century. It is one of the core hymns of the Ambrosian hymnal, which spread throughout the Latin Church with the Milanese Rite in the 6th to 8th centuries, and is sometimes known as "the Ambrosian Hymn", even though authorship by Saint Ambrose is unlikely.

Even though Wisniowiecki won the support of the majority of electors, a faction led by Prazmowski and Sobieski continued to oppose him. The Crowning by the Sejm, which took place in Kraków, was dismissed. The Commonwealth, which suffered from continuous Crimean Tatar raids, was on the brink of civil war. Outbreak of the Polish–Ottoman War (1672–76) changed this situation, ending internal conflicts.

Kraków City in Lesser Poland, Poland

Kraków, also spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Crimean Tatars Ethnic group

Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group, who are indigenous people of Crimea and formed in the Crimean Peninsula during the 13th–17th centuries, primarily from Cumans that appeared in Crimea in the 10th century, with strong contributions from all the peoples who ever inhabited Crimea. Since 2014 Crimean Tatars have been officially recognized as an indigenous people of Ukraine. Crimean Tatars are also listed among the indigenous peoples of Russia.

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