Kostka-Napierski Uprising 1651

[ 1651 ]

The Kostka Napierski Uprising was a peasant revolt in Poland in 1651.

It took place at the same time as the more important Khmelnytsky Uprising in the south-east part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and during the Swedish preparation to invade the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Aleksander Kostka Napierski was an adventurer and officer in the Polish army. During the revolt, he acted most likely as a spy for Bohdan Khmelnytsky or the Prince of Transylvania. He recruited his forces from among some rebellious highlanders in Podhale – a mountainous region in Lesser Poland. They attacked and captured the castle of Czorsztyn in Pieniny. Napierski called on every peasant in Poland to rise and overthrow the nobles and remove them from their positions of power. His attempts to spread the revolt were totally unsuccessful. Napierski and his rebel group remained isolated in the castle, which was soon recaptured by the forces of Piotr Gembicki, bishop of Kraków. Napierski and the other leaders of the revolt were impaled.

Research conducted by Polish historian Adam Kersten has shown that many facts about Napierski and his plans are either difficult or even impossible to bring to light. It is claimed that Napierski's attempt to lead a revolt by the peasants in Lesser Poland was aimed at disorganizing the Polish defence against the advancing armies of Chmielnicki. In fact, two thousand troops were sent by the king from Ukraine to crush the rebellion. Additionally, Napierski was executed before they even reached Czorsztyn. Even without these troops, the Polish army won a decisive victory in the battle of Berestechko.

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