Konflikt hetmana Krzysztofa Radziwiłła „Pioruna” z Zygmuntem III Wazą i jego wpływ na sytuację polityczną Rzeczypospolitej w latach 1587–1600
The conflict between Krzysztof Mikołaj “the Thunderbolt” Radziwiłł and Sigismund III Vasa and its influence on the political situation of the Rzeczpospolita in the years 1587–1600
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Krzysztof Radziwiłł, otherwise know as “the Thunderbolt" (1547–1603) belonged to the leading Lithuanian magnates of the second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century. He ended his political career as the voivode of Vilnius (the highest secular office in the senate within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) and the Grand Hetman of Lithuania. After the death of his father – Mikołaj “the Red” Radziwiłł – in 1584, “the Thunderbolt” was the head of one of the most powerful families in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the whole Rzeczpospolita. Continuing his father’s policy, he aimed to maintain a leading role among the Lithuanian magnates, aspiring to be their informal leader. Moreover, he tried to fight all attempts to increase the integration of Lithuania with the Crown, emphasising the importance of the particular interests of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, his firm political stance exacerbated conflict with Sigismund III Vasa, which affected the internal situation of the Rzeczpospolita. The conflict between Krzysztof Radziwiłł and Sigismund III Vasa was caused mainly by the disparity of their political interests. At the beginning of his rule, the King chose a policy which rejected the system created during the reign of Stephen Báthory. The monarch quickly started to build his own political faction, in which Krzysztof Radziwiłł played a secondary role. As a consequence, it led to many conflicts which paralysed the functioning of the state. An additional element which adversely affected relations with Radziwiłł (the informal leader of the Lithuanian protestants) was the religious policy of the King, who supported the development of the Counter-Reformation in the Rzeczpospolita. The last and most crucial problem was the issue regarding the position of the bishop of Vilnius, which affected the relations between the King and “the Thunderbolt”.
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