State Historical and Cultural Reserve The Field of the Great Poltava Battle
Ukr Rus Eng
1709 2009

The Second Hall Annotation. The Cossack state before the Great Northern War (1648-1700)

The second half of XVII century was very difficult for Ukraine. It was the independent state of Bohdan Khmelnytsky but later became the autonomous part of Moscow kingdom, right after getting Hetman mace by Ivan Mazepa.

Being the Cossack independent state of Khmelnytsky, Ukraine felt formation and developing of main state institutions. Cossack army of this Hetman won several brilliant victories in battles with troops of Polish-Lithuanian state.

The territory of the state got accurately determined regimental structure. As the Hetman of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, Khmelnytsky became the head of Ukrainian state with all its power attributes. This power sovereignty was confirmed by numerous political unions both with far Sweden king and neighbor states monarchs — Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire.

After the death of Bohdan Khmelnytsky the Hetman mace was given to Ivan Vyhovsky — the second and the last official head of the whole Cossack state; he was elected by free voters. At the same time the opposition to the new Hetman appeared. It was headed by Poltava colonel Martyn Pushkar and the commander of Zaporizhzhya Sich Cossack camp Jacob Barabash. The tug-of-war between the Hetman Vyhovsky troops and rebels took place under Poltava on 1st June, 1658. The battle was finished by the Hetman forces victory.

This event marked the beginning «Ruina» activity — the civil opposition in Ukraine. That time Ukraine policy constantly felt active interferences of Moscow kingdom, Polish-Lithuanian state and Ottoman Empire into internal affairs of the Hetman State. The attempt of Vyhovsky to earn understanding of Polish King with the help of Gadyachsky agreement had no success. Even the brilliant victory of Ukraine near Konotop in 1659 didn’t help the Hetman to keep the mace.

The period of Ukraine history, after the mace loss by Vyhovsky, is characterized by the state bipartition: the Left-bank and the Right-bank Ukraine parts appeared. The Left-bank Ukraine part was governed by such hetmans as Jury Khmelnytsky, Ivan Briukhovetsky and Demian Mnohohrishny — these pro-Russian hetmans were unpopular among Cossacks; they helped Moscow to suppress Cossacks rights and liberties. During this «Ruina» period there was fast degradation of the Cossack state discipline structures. This state turned into the area of military opposition of internal and external forces.

The period of partial stabilization of Hetman state passed during ruling of Hetman Ivan Samoylovych — brilliant pages of his activity in Ukraine were the Chyhyryn military trips which appeared to be unlucky attempt to renew the unity of Cossack state.

«Ruina» period was finished after Ivan Mazepa became a Hetman of Left-bank Ukraine (1687). Economical and cultural revival of Ukraine began. At the same time the Kolomak articles, signed by Mazepa, approved the autonomous status of Ukraine — from now Ukrainian army has to take part in all military affairs of Moscow kingdom.

At the beginning of Cossacks State establishment process the important role was played by Poltava regiments; they are: Prilutsky, Pereyaslavlsky, Myrhorodsky, Lubensky, Hadiachsky and Poltavsky. Poltavsky regiment was formed in 1648-1649. It took active part in Ukrainian national revolution and its territory had high economical value for the new state. As the Southern military and administrative point of the Hetman State, Poltavsky regiment also took part in fights against Turkish-Tatar world — Poltavsky regiment was devastated by oriental armies for many times but still was interested in trade with Crimean Khanate. This regiment Cossacks policy trended to Zaporizhska Sich democracy. But numerous infliction of foreign countries policy at Poltava colonels turned the regiment into the territory of permanent rebellions — for example the rebellion of Petryk (P. Ivanenko) at the beginning of Mazepa ruling (1691-1695).

Coevals often called Zaporizhska Sich as the Cossacks Christian Republic or the Knights order. Legendary military leader Ivan Sirko was the brightest embodiment of a Zaporizhsky Cossack image for Ukrainian people. He was elected for several times as a Cossack Army leader at Chertomlytska Sich (1652-1709). But very often Cossacks brought destruction at the State establishment process, as their own rights were at the first place for protection.

The Cossack period left memories about military actions, fights for the Cossacks state, the unique monuments of culture and mode of their life. The heart of Ukrainian cultural development was the historical Poltava province. That is why everyday life things, which were in use in Poltava province, are supposed now to be the typical Ukrainian things.

The exposition of the Hall is presented by the gallery of portraits — there are portraits of the Hetman mace owners in XVII century and the most outstanding people of Cossack period; also there are Cossack weapon, things of everyday life, Cossack regalia, documents of the Hetman state epoch, maps and different graphic material of the Ukrainian state development history in the second half of XVII century.

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The Field of the Great Poltava Battle