Battle of Poltava

Alexander Mikaberidze

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI:
Battle of Poltava

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The battle of Poltava was the defining engagement of the Great Northern War (1700–1721), the prolonged conflict between Russia and Sweden over supremacy in the northern regions of central and eastern Europe. The war erupted in 1700 when a coalition of Russia (led by Tsar Peter I), Denmark-Norway (under King Frederick IV), and Saxony-Poland-Lithuania (ruled by King Augustus II the Strong of Poland) challenged the hegemony that Sweden had exercised on the Baltic littoral since the mid-17th century. However, Charles (Karl) XII, the young and maverick Swedish ruler, quickly demonstrated his military expertise as he forced Denmark to leave the alliance, defeated Tsar Peter’s numerically superior army at Narva in 1700, and dethroned King Augustus, thus extending Swedish influence to much of Poland-Lithuania. Tsar Peter’s success in Ingria prompted Charles XII to invade Russia nine years later. The Swedish and Russian armies clashed on 27 June 1709 along the River Vorskla, not far from the Ukrainian city of Poltava. The battle ended in a shattering defeat for the Swedes, whose army was almost entirely destroyed. Charles XII was forced to flee to the Ottoman Empire. The myth of his invincibility having been destroyed, his enemies closed in, and Charles was shot dead in a battle while defending his western borders in 1718. Although the war continued until 1721, the defeat suffered at Poltava marked the end of Sweden as a great power and the birth of the Russian Empire.

Article.  6339 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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