Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 41 (2020): Aspects of Southeast Baltic Social History: The 14th to the 18th Centuries = Baltijos pietrytinės pakrantės socialinės istorijos aspektai XIV–XVIII amžiais, pp. 165–188
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Žemaitija (Samogitia) was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, known for the especially harsh political and military conflicts that afflicted the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at that time. The hegemony of the Sapieha magnate family, established in Lithuania in the 1680s, was not in the interest of the other most influential magnate families. On the eve of the Great Northern War (1700–1721), the internal struggle between different magnate factions in Lithuania was taking extremely radical forms, which overstepped the framework of routine political competition. Open violence was increasingly resorted to, especially during sessions of the sejmiks (local parliaments). This article aims to show the reasons for the active involvement of the Žemaitijan nobility in the anti-Sapieha movement. The author attempts to find answers to the questions why Žemaitija became an arena for the exceptionally active struggle between magnate factions, and whether the supporters of the anti-Sapieha movement actually prevailed in Žemaitija at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries.