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Žyhimont III Vaza (1566-1632), Grand Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) and king of Poland (1587-1632). Son of the king of Sweden and of Catherine, the sister of Žyhimont Aŭhust. He was opposed in the election to the Polish throne by the Austrian candidate. To gain support among the Lithuanian magnates, Žyhimont (Sigismund) III confirmed the 1588 Code of the GDL, which guaranteed the separate status of the duchy within the Commonwealth. After the death of his father (1592), he inherited the Swedish throne and until the end of his life fought unsuccessfully to regain it, thus entangling the Commonwealth in wars with Sweden. As an ardent Catholic, he supported the Religious Union of Bieraście (1596), but barred Uniate bishops from membership in the Senate. His attempts to introduce an absolutist monarchy provoked a revolt of the gentry (1606), who demanded religious tolerance and a reorientation of foreign policy. Žyhimont, who needed allies in his foreign policy ventures, had to concede to an elected monarch and oversight of his actions by the Senate. He also encouraged decisions by the Sojm (1609, 1618, and 1631) granting rights to Orthodox subjects. Supported by a group of magnates, including Leŭ Sapieha, King Žyhimont fought Russia (1609-1618) and attempted to interfere in the chaotic situation in Moscow, where a group of boyars elected (1611) his son, Władysław, as tsar of Russia. Eventually, Žyhimont himself tried to be accepted as tsar. Polish-Lithuanian troops entered Moscow in 1611 and defended themselves in the Kremlin for over two years. After an exhausting struggle, an armistice was concluded without any gains for Žyhimont. His policies contributed to the decline of the Commonwealth and the loss of the important role this state played in European affairs during the reign of the two previous rulers.

Historical Dictionary of Belarus   Historical Dictionary of Belarus
Галоўная старонка   Галоўная старонка
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