HOSTILITIES IN THE VICINITY OF CRACOW DURING THE WAR OF THE POLISH SUCCESSION 1733-1735 (Dzialania zbrojne w rejonie Krakowa w trakcie polskiej wojny sukcesyjnej 1733-1735)
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At the time of King Augustus II's death (1 February 1733) Cracow's defences were virtually nonexistent. The interregnum brought hardly any improvement, even though a relatively strong contingent of the Polish army was dispatched to the city. But as the country had to cope with a disputed succession, repeated royal elections and Russian military intervention, the troops moved on. In effect, in October 1733 Cracow became a demilitarized city. In November Kurfürst Friedrich August II of Saxony marched into Poland, and by the end of the year his troops entered Cracow. The seizure of the ancient capital enabled him to seal his election with a coronation ceremony, which made him Augustus III of Poland. In March 1734 virtually all of the Saxon troops in Malopolska received marching orders; they were to take part in the offensive against Gdansk. The depleted Cracow garrison was promptly attacked by Polish insurgents, who also managed to defeat a detachment of the Dietmar corps sent to relieve the beleaguered city. In spite of the losses they suffered at Golcza, the Saxons pushed their way through into the city, but eventually, plagued by diseases and food shortages, decided to withdraw. Like the rest of Malopolska Cracow fell into hands of the supporters of the French pretender Stanislaw Leszczynski. They, too, thought little of boosting Cracow's defenses. Meanwhile, the Russians made their appearance in the vicinity in Cracow in early 1735. Alarmed by the Russian advance, regiments loyal to Leszczynski returned hastily from Wielkopolska. Yet the Polish counteroffensive proved ill-fated: the Russians encircled the Poles and forced them to surrender. It was the loss of Malopolska that dashed any hopes of Stanislaw Leszczynski's comeback. The hostilities of the War of the Polish Succession did not cause any noteworthy damage in Cracow and its vicinity. The population of the Voivodeship of Cracow, on the other hand, did not away lightly from the conflict: the people had to bear the burden of taxes and levies imposed in turn by both parties.
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