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

The Fourth Hall Annotation. The first period of the Great Northern war (1700-1708)

At the beginning of the war the Swedish King Charles XII was only 18 years old. He was fond of mathematics, economy and tourism. But when the war was declared the young King had to become a man and defend his country. He headed the army of his father and started victorious war by destruction of Denmark (August 1700) and the army of Peter I not far from Narva (November 18, 1700). In spring of 1701 Charles XII entered with his armies into Polish proprietorship of Saxon Elector August II — that caused entry of Polish-Lithuanian state into the war (1704) and dual power in Poland — Charles XII achieved Stanislav Leshchynskiy became the King of Poland. After Swedes occupied the Saxon state (1706) the King August II capitulated and threw down his crown. After the brilliant triumph of Polish company Charles XII reached the highlight of his power and in 1707 he started his crusade to Moscow. But on his way to Moscow Charles XII found only destroyed territories of modern Belarus and in autumn of 1708 he had to turn back home stopping Moscow crusade.

In 1700 Peter I was a mature man of 28 years. He wanted to research as many profession fields as it was possible to turn his state into a real European country.

While Charles XII got stuck in Poland, Peter I concentrated his attention upon Baltic provinces of Sweden. Being much stronger at 1704 he captured whole Ingria and placed here the European fort-post of his country — St. Petersburg city; later this city became a new capital of Russia.

As the Kolomak Articles fulfillment, Ivan Mazepa helped Peter I army from the beginning of this war. One of the most famous figures was the colonel D. Apostol from Myrhorod — Mazepa very often used his help leading Cossacks. Actually, Ukraine not only took part in the war, but also had economic losses and had to send workers for such building projects of Peter I as Ladoga channel, St.Peterburg city and Pechersk fortress. All these increased anti-Moscow moods in Ukrainian society and negative attitude to Peter I policy in Ukraine. That time D. Apostol applied to I. Mazepa: «Our eyes filled with Hope are turned to you. And God forbid your death! Or we will stay in such slavery, that even the chickens would rake up us».

The last point, pushed Mazepa to resist Peter I, was movement of Charles XII army to Ukraine in autumn of 1708. And this caused realization of «Zhovkivskiy plan of scorched earth» by Moscow — the plan against Swedes on their way to Russia.

The main reasons of Hetman I. Mazepa jump to the side of Swedish King Charles XII was centralized policy of Peter I: he suppressed Cossack rights and freedoms, limited the Ukrainian administration rights, created tax and economic pressure, intended to liquidate the regimental organization in Ukraine and to reorganize Cossack forces into regular army.

Charles XII entered Ukraine with hope to find there winter flats and food for his army. He planned to continue his crusade to Moscow in spring of 1709.

There are portraits of the main figures of the war presented in this Hall collection — Charles XII, Peter I, August II and Stanislav Leshchynskiy. Also the exposition shows D. Apostol and Ukrainian Cossacks participation in this war. There are presented materials touching the Baltic coast development by Peter I, weapon, maps and schemes of the war first period.

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