Khotyn, Battle of

Khotyn, Battle of [Хотинська битва; Khotynska bytva]. A battle in 1621 during which joint Cossack and Polish forces defeated their Turkish enemy after 26 days of fighting near Khotyn in northern Bessarabia. This compelled Ottoman Sultan Osman II to put an end to the Turkish-Polish War, which had begun with the Turkish victory at the Battle of Cecora in 1620. The sultan had planned to conquer Ukraine, Poland, and eventually all of central Europe, and his army of 150,000 Turks and Crimean Tatars marched on Moldavia, which had allied with Poland. Unable to muster more than 30,000 soldiers to fight the Turks, the Polish government turned to the Ukrainian Cossacks for help. The Cossack council held on 15–17 June 1621 at Sukha Dibrova in the Cherkasy region decided to come to Poland’s aid and sent a delegation headed by Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny to Warsaw to petition for increased privileges for the Cossacks and recognition of the Orthodox hierarchy in Ukraine. Not waiting for the results, the Cossacks began attacking Turkish and Crimean Tatar coastal towns. A 40,000-man Cossack army commanded by the Zaporozhian hetman Yatsko Borodavka (Nerodych) crossed the Dnister River into Moldavia and during August succeeded in slowing down the Turkish forces heading towards the Polish encampment near Khotyn. Distrusting the Poles, Borodavka refused to advance further until the Polish army began fighting the Turks. After Sahaidachny returned from Warsaw and informed the Cossack council near Mohyliv-Podilskyi that the Sejm had agreed to their demands, the Cossacks deposed Borodavka and elected Sahaidachny hetman. On 1 September the Cossack forces broke through the Turkish lines and joined the Poles at Khotyn. Bearing the brunt of fierce battles from 2 to 28 September 1621, the Cossacks were instrumental in saving the Polish forces from destruction and repelling the sultan’s army. Osman was forced to call a halt to the fighting and his expansionist plans and to negotiate the Peace Treaty of Khotyn.

Vasylenko, H. Khotyns'ka Viina (Kyiv 1960)
Meysztowicz, J. Pod Cecorą i Chocimiem, 1620–1621 (Warsaw 1974)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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