Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Although Poland does not have the land border with Sweden, one might hear the fraze that it is indeed one of Polish neighbours, across the Baltic Sea. And although nowadays many could not say a word on political relations between Poland and Sweden (as they are not that intense), the two countries share violent history that goes back to 17th century. The year of 1655 was one of the most dreadful years in Polish history, however, it was only the follow-up of the wars that our country had led with Sweden for years.
The war between Sweden and Poland had its roots in the conflict over Swedish reign, that Polish king – Zygmunt III Waza – hoped to gain. He was indeed the king of Sweden by inheritance, but did not win support of the Swedes. It happened mostly because of his strong Catholic believes, in the country where Protestantism became very popular. Zygmunt III Waza, as well as his 2 sons who also were kings of Poland, did not want to give up the title of King of Sweden (although officially already the first one of them was detronized by Swedish nation).
Apart from this Sweden had just finished the important war that lasted for 30 years. It made the country stronger and more powerful among the countries situated at the Baltic coast but it also caues financial losses that made the Swedes look for new and easy ways of gaining financial sources for its soldiers. As Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was at that time very week (because of the wars it led) it appeared to be an easy target. As Sweden was already very influencial when taking into consideration the trade at the Baltic Coast, making the Baltic See their internal see would enable to increase that influence.
The Swedish Deluge had a great impact on Polish culture and heritage. During that event most of the castles were ruined and the national possessions were taken away. Now the ruins are tourist attractions that maybe even owe its popularity to the fact how and when they were destroyed. The abandoned castles boast of specific atmosphere.