Wiśniowiecki, Jeremi

Image - A portrait of Jeremi Wisniowiecki.

Wiśniowiecki, Jeremi, b 1612, d 20 August 1651 near Pavoloch. (Portrait: Jeremi Wiśniowiecki.) Polish magnate, descendant of the Ukrainian Vyshnevetsky family, starosta of Ovruch, and voivode of Rus’ voivodeship (from 1646); father of Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki. He studied in Rome, Padua, Bologna, and the Netherlands. He colonized large estates in the Lubny region and neighboring territories in Left-Bank Ukraine. The region, including 50 cities, towns, and villages, became known as Vyshnevechchyna. In 1640 it had 7,630 homesteads; by 1645 it had a population of 230,000 and 38,000 parcels of land and supported a garrison of 12,000 soldiers. In the 1630s Wiśniowiecki gained notoriety for persecuting the Ukrainian Orthodox population, and in 1637 he suppressed a Cossack rebellion. In 1648, in the early stages of the Cossack-Polish War, he was expelled from Vyshnevechchyna. In the course of the war against Bohdan Khmelnytsky he fled with his forces from the Battle of Pyliavtsi and was assigned to defend Lviv. He fled again to Zamość in 1648 and was one of the commanders of the defense of Zbarazh in 1649. He opposed the chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński and attempted to impede the signing of the Treaty of Zboriv. He distinguished himself in the Battle of Berestechko (1651). He opposed any negotiations with the Cossacks and supported harsh reprisals against insurrectionists. His unprecedented cruelty was particularly felt in Volhynia. In general, Polish histories have portrayed Wiśniowiecki as a hero, and he was depicted as such by Henryk Sienkiewicz in the novel Ogniem i mieczem (With Fire and Sword, 1884). But 20th-century historiographers have taken a more critical view of him.

Tomkiewicz, W. Jeremi Wiśniowiecki, 1612–1651 (Warsaw 1933)
Widacki, J. Kniaź Jarema, 2nd edn (Katowice 1988)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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