According to plus-size-tips.com, the “deluge” that had been unleashed on Poland was coming to an end. The republic emerged shaken and exhausted, but with the honor of arms. The highest spirit of sacrifice had redeemed the unbridled selfishness of the troubled years. In reality, the inevitable territorial losses were not very serious and did not threaten the integrity of the state at all: with the Peace of Oliva (1660) most of Livonia was ceded to Sweden, while in the Andruszów armistice (1667) Poland had to to comply with a partition of Ukraine with Russia which retained all the territories beyond the Dnieper, and also the city of Kiev. More serious had been the agreements with the elector of Brandenburg (Wehlau and Bydgoszcz, 1657) who, in a particularly delicate moment for the Polish state, he had obtained full sovereignty over East Prussia. But the real evil that ravaged Poland and which hardly appeared in all its gravity was the internal dissolution of the noble republic. The bargaining of the magnates began with foreign powers that did not hesitate to resort to the effective system of corruption; the spirit of religious tolerance was replaced by the fury against dissidents which culminated in the expulsion of the Socinians (1658); the rule of unanimity in the decisions of the diet resulted in the abuse ofliberum veto which allowed any deputy to break the diet, preventing it from functioning; the “golden freedom” of all and of each thus degenerated into license and ended up denying and destroying itself. The king’s timid attempts, not always dictated by a patriotically altruistic spirit, to put a stop to this state of affairs (the ambitious Luisa Maria Gonzaga, widow of King Vladislao and wife of Giovanni Casimiro, wished to ensure succession to the living throne regeto the Duke of Enghien, sponsored by Mazarin) instead of producing some salutary effect, led to the “confederation” of a large part of the army, and to the civil war, in which the leader of the rebels Lubomirski defeated the few troops who remained loyal to the king (1666). Disappointed and discouraged, the king abdicated (1668) and retired to the abbey of Nevers, where he died in 1672.
Meanwhile, the nobility against the desire of the magnates who would have wanted a foreign prince on the Polish throne, imposed the election of the inept Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki (1669-1673), son of the famous prince Jeremiah who had covered himself with glory in the fight against the Cossacks however, partly also caused by his uncompromising attitude. His short reign is characterized by the violent resumption of the Turkish offensive and its Tatar and Cossack allies, which threatened at first (loss of the Kamenec-Podol′sk fortress and the dishonoring peace of Buczacz of 1672, not ratified by the diet, however). then resolved in favor of Poland with the splendid victory of Jan Sobieski under Chocim (1673), which was followed by other military successes, when the following year
In Sobieski the szlachta saw above all the man capable of liberating the eastern territories occupied by the Turks. It thus showed little understanding for its daring plans to recapture East Prussia with the help of an alliance with France. Thus it was that Sobieski, also disappointed by the fluctuating policy of Louis XIV, abandoned his plan of a coalition against the elector of Brandenburg and concluded with Leopold I a treaty of mutual assistance against the Turks. A few months later, faithful to his commitments, he moved with 30,000 men to help Vienna, besieged by Qara Mustafa. Taking command in chief of the armies rushed to defend the Austrian capital, Sobieski resolutely attacked the Turkish troops and completely defeated them in the memorable battle of September 12, 1683. He then pursued, with varying fortune, the Turks in their retreat through Hungary and in 1684 concluded the “holy league” with the emperor, the pope and Venice, which, however, did not bring Poland any advantage: Sobieski consumed his strength and time in the vain attempts to take over Moldavia and in the face of Russia he had to recognize, in 1686, the conditions created by the Andruszów armistice. Sobieski’s policy and the victory under the walls of Vienna thus benefited those three states – Prussia, Austria and Russia – which due to their increased power and the internal and external weakness of Poland would reduce the republic in the first half of ‘700 to a state of semi-independence, to then divide it between them in the last decades of the century. XVIII.
Not only was the stubborn intransigence of the nobility against any form of strong government ruining Poland, but also the increasingly evident impossibility of contracting useful and lasting alliances, and the threatening economic decline, with the consequent worsening of social conditions. The incessant wars had in fact devastated vast Polish territories, the peasants were increasingly subjected to landowners, and the cities, exhausted by repeated bounties and taxes, no longer found their ancient, albeit relative, well-being. The transit trade, already very flourishing, almost completely disappeared; in that of export all the favors were for the nobility and, inevitably, for Gdansk, which of all the Polish cities was the only one to save itself from the hasty cataclysms of the second half of the century. XVII.
Even in the cultural field, conditions were far from those of a century earlier. Only the fine arts, especially architecture – due to the need to carry out numerous reconstructions, the ostentatious luxury of the magnate families and the increased devotion (baroque churches sprang up everywhere) – were saved from general decay. During the whole ‘600, the affirmation of new values in the literary field was scarce; and more than literature in Poland is concerned with the vigorous expansion of Polish literary culture into Russia, Moldavia and Wallachia.