Potocki, Mikołaj

Potocki, Mikołaj, b ca. 1594, d 20 November 1651 in Khmilnyk, Podilia. Polish magnate and military leader in Ukraine. He was captured by the Turks during the 1620 Battle of Cecora but was released in 1621. A colonel from 1624, he commanded Polish troops in battles with the Crimean Tatars, the Zaporozhian Cossacks (eg, the 1625 Battle of Kurukove, the 1630 Battle of Pereiaslav), and, in 1626–9, the Swedes. He was appointed general of the Polish forces in Podilia, starosta of Liatychiv, and full crown secretary in 1633; starosta of Nizhyn and voivode of Bratslav voivodeship in 1636; field hetman (deputy commander in chief) of the Polish royal army in 1637; starosta of Oster after 1642; starosta of Cherkasy before 1643; and starosta of Bar, castellan of Cracow, and grand hetman (commander in chief) of the Polish royal army in 1646. He commanded the Polish army that fought and suppressed the Cossack-peasant uprisings led by Pavlo Pavliuk, Karpo Skydan, Dmytro Hunia, and Yakiv Ostrianyn in 1637–8. For his achievements the king awarded him with huge latifundia in Ukraine. During the Cossack-Polish War of 1648 Potocki's army was defeated at the Battle of Korsun, and he was captured by the Cossacks. Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky handed him over to the Crimean khan, who released him in 1650. In 1651 Potocki commanded the Polish army during the Battle of Berestechko and negotiated the Treaty of Bila Tserkva with Khmelnytsky. He died soon afterward.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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