Forteca w Kopysi nad Dnieprem w latach wojny Rzeczypospolitej z Moskwą 1654-1667
The fortress in Kopyś on Dniepr River during the war between Poland and Muscovy (1654-1667)
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The town Kopyś and a castle, situated there, were located on the easterly bank in the upper reaches of Dniepr River, in Orsza district (powiat orszański). It was situated on the important communication route, which was Dniepr, and what’s more – on the main trade and war road, from Lithuania to Muscovy, through Smoleńsk Gate. Hence the big importance of that town in history of struggles between Poland and Russia. The role of Kopyś decreased, when the boarder of Poland moved in an easterly direction at the beginning of the 17th century. For Radziwiłł family from Birże, who ruled that town in the 17th century, it had a significant meaning also as a centre of their properties in that region. Kopyś went back as a military centre with an invasion of Russian army in 1654. In the winter of 1655 the castle was regained by the Lithuanians, and then, again, took back by the Russians. Then they rebuilt the castle and its fortification. But a crew of the castle surrendered it to the Lithuanians, without a fight, in June 1660. Till the end of that war in 1667 Kopyś belonged to the Duke Bogusław Radziwiłł. He kept here a garrison (100-200 people). A commander ruled them, and a starost was in civil power. In the years 1660-1667 Kopyś was one of the typical garrison towns near a front (like Dzisna, Druja, Siebież, Orsza, Mohylew, Homel). But in this case we dispose a lot of source documents, that enables to recognize internal relations in the town like this one. Thanks to that, it was possible to get to know tense relationship between a startost and a commander, between them and burghers, as well as between burghers and soldiers. It is important also to understand behaviours, motives and goals of duke’s officers and an attitude of many of Orthodox civilians during the destructive conflict. Kopyś is also a good example of the Duke Bogusław’s policy towards his property.
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