Lyubech hundred of Chernihiv regiment: to the question formation

The problem of the formation of the Lyubetska Sotnia of the the Chernigiv Regiment is a disputable issue in a contemporary historiography which requires some additional reasoning. Both the significance of the Castle of Lyubech as a border outpost and the availability of the neighboring nobility clarify Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s interest in the area as well as the Lyubech nobility. Surely there was a part of this stratum which did not accept new political conditions and took the side of the Republic of Poland. By 1648 the Cossack rebellion had spread over the region. In the end of the summer the rebels took Lyubech. Probably at that very time Loyevska and apparently Lyubetska Cossack Sotnias were established on the territory of the Loyevsk and Lyubech elderships. But soon Lyubech was taken by the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Besides the majority of the local nobility became Cossacks only in 1649. It was the local nobility who played a considerable part in the formation of the Cossack starshyna of the Chernigiv regiment. It was not until 1651 that the Lyubetskaya Sotnia became a fully-fledged military-administrative unit.

The question of time and circumstances of forming of Lyubech hundred of Chernihiv Regiment in historiography remains one of the most disputed and requires additional arguments. There is a necessity for further searches in the definition of number of hundreds as Chernihiv as well as other regiments of Hetmanate because even the number of regiments in the early decades of existence of Hetmanate ranged from 20 to 35. Among them were regiments with military and administrative units as well as military units formed to perform specific combat missions.

The purpose of this study is an attempt to resolve the issue of time of forming of Lyubech hundred of Chernihiv Regiment.

On the eve of the Khmelnytsky period (1646) Lyubech and Loyiv foremen were able to put 600 riders armed «as сossacks». Considering that one rider exhibited from 5-6 persons the number of troops in the region was about 3000 – 3500 people. Indisputably, that the flow of polish nobility and fight against magnate tyranny led Lyubech gentry to «сossack bread» and caused participation of substantial part in the National revolution of Ukrainian people in the middle of seventeenth century. However, part of this layer did not take the new political realities and was on the side of the Rich Pospolita.

Value of Lyubech castle as border outpost and the presence of neighboring nobility – professional army, explain interest of Bohdan Khmelnytsky as to the region and to Lyubech gentry. At the same time Khmelnytsky and his colleagues actually managed to split noble layer so far as hetman authority accepted nobles to cossack ranks with guarantee of preservation of their rights and estates. In May 1648 B. Khmelnytsky appealed to cossacks with the ban on execution of Ukrainian nobility, in July issued a decree with a ban on doing harm to estates of «Lithuanian» gentry. In fact, one could argue that the Ukrainian nobility was taken under the personal protection of hetman.

During June – August in 1648 cossack troops took control of almost the whole territory of Chernihiv-Sivershchyna by taking Chernihiv, Novgorod-Siversky, Starodub and other cities. In july, they captured Gomel, Loyiv, Bragin, initiating the formation of Bragyn and Rechytsa cossack regiments. In august Loyiv and Lyubech were taken. Probably at the same time on the territory of former Lyubech and Loyiv foremen were formed Loyiv and apparently Lyubech cossack hundreds.

However, by the register in 1649 Lyubech hundred in Chernihiv regiment is not fixed – in its composition was regimental Chernihiv, Borzna, Bakhmatch, Baturin, Konotop, Sosnytsia and Ivanhorod. In the summer of 1649 Loyiv hundred existed, but at the time of drafting of registry was not, because Loyiv went to the Great Lithuanian Principality. Similarly Lyubech in 1649 was captured by the army of Radziwill. In winter in 1649 hetman Radziwill managed to force out the part of cossack troops from the region, but in the spring of 1649 under Bragyn cossacks were grouped again and cossack garrison returned to Loyiv.

There is also no evidence that all Lyubech gentry unquestioningly supported rebels, it is obvious that at this time most of it took neutral position. The nobility refused to join the army and Yarema Vyshnevetsky. It is likely that at the beginning of its existence Lyubech hundred mainly consisted of Lubech lower middle class citizens and petty boyars.

Real transition of Lyubech gentry to the cossacks began in 1649. Many of its representatives were cossacks from Nizhyn, Kiev and Chernihiv regiments. «Noble» component played a major role in the formation of cossack starshyna of Chernihiv regiment. Thus, the scribe in Chernihiv regiment by Martyn Nebaba was Lyubech nobleman Ivan Kraskovskyy (1649 – 1651). Chernihiv regimental captain (sotnyk) in 1650 was Ivan Ihrovetskyy that in 1651 participated in the siege of Lyubech by cossacks.

The new political realities were not accepted unreservedly by all representatives of Lyubech gentry. Before them, as well as before all Ukrainian gentry, there was a problem of internal struggle between «ethnic rusin» and «polish political». And this split divided on hostile camps not only Lyubech nobility as a whole but also the individual families. About pro-polish position of the part of Ukrainian nobility affirmed decisions of noble bodies of territorial government of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Volyn provinces. Its representatives continued to receive royal privileges on their estates.

In winter of 1648-1649 counteroffensive of army of Great Principality of Lithuanian led by J. Radziwill began. To secure from army of Great Principality of Lithuanian, Khmelnitsky sent three thousand soldiers to Loyiv starostvo headed by colonel Ilya Golota. In further military actions in summer of 1649 Loyiv and Lyubech played an important role in central defense of Chernihiv-Sivershchyna from lithuanian troops, although in the documents did not mention the existence of Lyubech hundred.

Thus, considering the logic of events and the fact that Lyubech and Loyiv starostvo were single complex, time of appearance of Lyubech hundred must be synchronous with the time of appearance of Loyiv hundred. Is impossible to exclude that at the beginning of the rebellion majority of members of lyubech nobility (except part of petty boyars) took neutral holding position. This was facilitated by the general anti noble mood of peasant and lower middle class stratum. Accordingly, founded in 1648 Lyubech hundred probably consisted of local lower middle class citizens and part of petty lyubech boyars and hardly was a serious military unit. Only after moving of professional army to the side of Khmelnytsky (this process becomes widespread in 1649), Lyubech hundred becomes complete fighting unit of Chernihiv regiment.

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