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Galicia–Volhynia Wars

Galicia–Volhynia Wars
Date 14th century
Location Central Europe (today West Ukraine)
Result The title passed to the Piast dynasty
Expansion of Poland and Lithuania at expense of Rus'
Kingdom of Poland
local factions
Kingdom of Hungary
Duchy of Masovia
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Golden Horde
local factions
Duchy of Lodomeria
Commanders and leaders
Casimir III of Poland
Louis I of Hungary
Dmytro Dedko
The Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia (1245–1349).
Map of Kingdom of Poland (1333–1370). Note territorial expansion into southeast (light pink).

Galicia–Volhynia Wars were several succession wars, fought in the years 1340–1392 and concerning the succession over the Principality of Galicia–Volhynia (in modern Poland and Ukraine). After Boleslaw-Yuri II was poisoned by local nobles in 1340, both Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland advanced claims over the principality. After a prolonged conflict, Galicia–Volhynia was divided between Poland (Galicia) and Lithuania (Volhynia) and the principality ceased to exist as an independent state. Poland acquired a territory of approximately 52,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) with 200,000 inhabitants.[1]


  • Background 1
  • Conflicts 2
    • First stage 2.1
    • Second stage 2.2
    • Third stage 2.3
  • References 3


Brothers Andrew and Lev II died ca. 1322, leaving no male successor in Galicia–Volhynia. Instead of promoting his son Liubartas (who was married to Andrew's daughter) and causing a war with Poland, Gediminas of Lithuania compromised with Władysław I of Poland.[2] Both parties agreed to install fourteen-year-old Boleslaw-Yuri II, nephew of Leo and Andrew. Boleslaw-Yuri was a son of Trojden I of Masovia from the Piast dynasty, a cousin of Władysław I and nephew of Gediminas' son-in-law Wenceslaus of Płock.[2] To strengthen the compromise, Boleslaw was betrothed to Eufemija, daughter of Gediminas. Boleslaw was poisoned in April 1340 by local nobles who resented growing Polish and Bohemian influence in the court.[3] Boleslaw did not have an heir and his death upset fragile power balance in the region.


First stage

Within days of Boleslaw's murder, Casimir III of Poland invaded the principality to save Polish merchants and Catholic residents from attacks in Lviv.[3] In June 1340, Casimir returned with a larger army. After four weeks he reached an agreement with local nobles and their leader Dmytro Dedko: in return for their services, local nobles would enjoy protection from the Polish king.[3] However, the agreement was short-lived. The data is sparse, but it seems that Galicia–Volhynia was divided between the Lithuanians (Liubartas ruled in Volhynia and its chief city Volodymyr-Volynskyi) and local nobles (Detko ruled Galicia).[3] During the winter 1340–1341, the Golden Horde (probably with Lithuanian help) attacked Poland and reached Lublin as a result of diminished tribute from the principality to the Mongol khan.[3] The raid weakened Polish influence in the principality. Eufemija, Boleslaw's widow, was drowned in the Vistula in winter 1342 to keep her out of the succession disputes.[3] Detko, who managed to play Poles, Lithuanians, and Mongols against each other, disappeared from written sources in 1344. The same year direct conflict between Poland and Lithuania renewed, but soon a peace treaty was signed: Volhynia was assigned to Liubartas and Galicia to Casimir.[4]

Second stage

After the Lithuanians were defeated in the pagan Lithuanians with a special permission from Pope Innocent VI.[4] After the campaign did not achieve the desired results, Casimir contemplated an alliance with the Lithuanians.

In 1366, Casimir, allied with Siemowit III of Masovia and nephews of Liubartas, resumed the war. As Algirdas was involved in conflicts in the east and Kęstutis fought with the Teutonic Knights, Liubartas had to defend alone and was defeated.[4] In fall 1366, a treaty was signed: Liubartas retained only eastern Volhynia with Lutsk and became somewhat dependent on Poland (he had to retain neutrality in case Poland attacked Lithuania).[4] Casimir awarded his allies: Yuri, son of Karijotas, received Chełm, his brother Alexander received Volodymyr-Volynskyi, and Yuri, son of Narimantas, continued to rule Belz.[4]

Third stage

In 1370 Liubartas took advantage of Casimir's death and captured all of Volhynia, including Volodymyr-Volynskyi.[8] Between 1370 and 1387 Galicia was ruled by the Hungarian crown.[9] Louis of Hungary appointed Władysław Opolczyk as his regent in the region. In 1376 the war resumed: Liubartas, Kęstutis, and Yuri of Belz attacked Sandomierz and Tarnów, reaching as far as Kraków and taking many prisoners.[4] After retaliation by Louis, Liubartas had to swear loyalty to Hungary as his sons were taken hostage.[4] Liubartas could expect little help from Lithuania as his brother Algirdas died in 1377. In 1378 Louis attached Galicia directly to the Kingdom of Hungary. After Louis death in 1382, Liubartas captured castles ruled by Hungarians (including Kremenets and Przemyśl),[7] but did not renew a full-scale war.[4] At the time Lithuania, Poland, and Hungary, all three main contenders for the former Galicia–Volhynia, were engulfed in dynastic succession disputes. Polish nobles crowned Hungarian Jadwiga of Poland as their king and invited Lithuanian Jogaila to become her husband. Jadwiga and Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo in 1385, creating a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. In 1387 Jadwiga attached Galicia to Poland for good.[1]

Liubartas died ca. 1384 and his throne was inherited by his son Fëdor. Jogaila started limiting Fëdor's sovereignty in Volhynia. Jogaila, hoping to reconcile with his cousin Vytautas after the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–1384) even promised Lutsk and Volodymyr-Volynskyi to Vytautas.[10] However, that did not appease Vytautas, who sought to regain his patrimony in Trakai and gain power in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and he started the Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392). The civil war ended with the Ostrów Agreement of 1392, which settled Galician–Volhynian issue for good: Poland took Galicia adopting title Dei gratia rex Polonie et Russie, nec non Cracovie, Sandomirie, Siradie, Lancicie, Cuiavie, et Pomeranieque Terrarum et Ducatuum Dominus et Heres, while Lithuania controlled Volhynia.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k (Lithuanian)
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  7. ^ a b
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