Tale of five empires

Mar 2015
950
Europe
In 17th century, there were 5 empires in Eastern Europe.
Sweden, Poland, Russia, Austria, Turkey.

In a period 1683-1709, only 2 and a half empires of the 5 remained.

But back in 17th century, all 5 were serious empires.
All 5 had similar military technologies. Minor use of navy, so army included cavalry, infantry with muskets, cannon and fortress garrison and walls.

In contrast with their western neighbours - Denmark, Prussia, United Provinces, England, France, Spain, Venice - all 5 were somewhat short of ready cash. They had some, and kept some soldiers paid i cash - but most needed to seek arrangements to have some soldiers supported directly by land.

Yet the social arrangements of the 5 empires were drastically different. Like, the status of monarch (elective or absolute), land tenure (hereditary property entitlement or freedom of government to take away), status (hereditary, or promoted out of low status slaves).

And those 5 were in close contact. The upper classes knew something about foreign countries. As soldiers with military training, they had a prospect to actually meet people from other empires as invaders - and wind up inside another system as captives, defectors or emigrants, and gain position there as trained professionals. During and in the end of the period, large parts of the region were actually conquered by another empire, and more had to consider the possibility that they might get conquered. And in those empires, internal reforms were considered during the period - several actually happened and more were serious prospects.

The elites of the 5 Empires could not take their system for granted. They had occasions to consider alternatives and possibilities for change.

How did all 5 remain functional till at least 1683?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dorgedrogt

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,214
Canary Islands-Spain
I think this is an interesting question to keep alive

One of the causes of the crisis of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, for example, was the lesser trade of grain to the west.

During the 15-16-17th centuries, Western Europe was deficitiary of grain, which was imported from the Baltic ports. This enriched Poland and other neighbour countries

However, the introduction of maize and potatoe reduced this import, thence crippling the inflow of cash to Poland and other states
 
Feb 2017
526
Latin America
All 5 had similar military technologies. Minor use of navy, so army included cavalry, infantry with muskets, cannon and fortress garrison and walls.
I don't think we can say Sweden had a minor use of navy. The Ottoman Empire as well in the 16th century, albeit there was a significant diminution in the importance of the navy after Lepanto. Sweden invaded the continent through its ships and colonised land in the Americas. Russia was not a naval power during this period, but it initiated its life as a naval conquest by Swedish Vikings who managed to extent their rule into the Black Sea and raid Byzantine territory.

Also, talking from the perspective of a colonised country, I have never considered the PLC a great power, much less an empire. It was somewhat massive in size, but it never rivalled Spain, France, Sweden, Russia or even Denmark-Norway, England and Portugal. Scotland is comparable to the PLC for crying out loud. Their only true high point was defeating the Ottomans at Vienna, after they had been exhausted fighting the Habsburgs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist
Mar 2015
950
Europe
I don't think we can say Sweden had a minor use of navy. The Ottoman Empire as well in the 16th century, albeit there was a significant diminution in the importance of the navy after Lepanto.
Osman navy stayed in Mediterranean. Black Sea was Osman lake, but for that very reason, the navy was not usable against Poland or Russia.
Sweden invaded the continent through its ships
Was Sweden able to keep a sea blockade to deny Poland cash from grain exports?
Also, talking from the perspective of a colonised country, I have never considered the PLC a great power, much less an empire. It was somewhat massive in size, but it never rivalled Spain, France, Sweden, Russia or even Denmark-Norway, England and Portugal. Scotland is comparable to the PLC for crying out loud. Their only true high point was defeating the Ottomans at Vienna, after they had been exhausted fighting the Habsburgs.
Poland and Lithuania WERE the major rival for Sweden and for Russia above all. And their true high point was holding Moscow for two years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
I think this is an interesting question to keep alive

One of the causes of the crisis of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, for example, was the lesser trade of grain to the west.

During the 15-16-17th centuries, Western Europe was deficitiary of grain, which was imported from the Baltic ports. This enriched Poland and other neighbour countries

However, the introduction of maize and potatoe reduced this import, thence crippling the inflow of cash to Poland and other states
So, without the Discovery of the New World (the Americas) and the new crops that it subsequently introduced to Europe, the PLC would have remained economically well-off for a longer time period?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
I don't think we can say Sweden had a minor use of navy. The Ottoman Empire as well in the 16th century, albeit there was a significant diminution in the importance of the navy after Lepanto. Sweden invaded the continent through its ships and colonised land in the Americas. Russia was not a naval power during this period, but it initiated its life as a naval conquest by Swedish Vikings who managed to extent their rule into the Black Sea and raid Byzantine territory.

Also, talking from the perspective of a colonised country, I have never considered the PLC a great power, much less an empire. It was somewhat massive in size, but it never rivalled Spain, France, Sweden, Russia or even Denmark-Norway, England and Portugal. Scotland is comparable to the PLC for crying out loud. Their only true high point was defeating the Ottomans at Vienna, after they had been exhausted fighting the Habsburgs.
The PLC had much more people than Scotland had, no? Also, it's worth noting that the PLC did have its proud moments--such as helping to stop the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683. Ironically, maybe the lack of a hereditary monarchy hurt the PLC since there was no stability in the succession there and thus this might have increased the intrigues and influence of the PLC's nobility.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,068
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
In 17th century, there were 5 empires in Eastern Europe.
Sweden, Poland, Russia, Austria, Turkey.

In a period 1683-1709, only 2 and a half empires of the 5 remained.

But back in 17th century, all 5 were serious empires.
All 5 had similar military technologies. Minor use of navy, so army included cavalry, infantry with muskets, cannon and fortress garrison and walls.

In contrast with their western neighbours - Denmark, Prussia, United Provinces, England, France, Spain, Venice - all 5 were somewhat short of ready cash. They had some, and kept some soldiers paid i cash - but most needed to seek arrangements to have some soldiers supported directly by land.

Yet the social arrangements of the 5 empires were drastically different. Like, the status of monarch (elective or absolute), land tenure (hereditary property entitlement or freedom of government to take away), status (hereditary, or promoted out of low status slaves).

And those 5 were in close contact. The upper classes knew something about foreign countries. As soldiers with military training, they had a prospect to actually meet people from other empires as invaders - and wind up inside another system as captives, defectors or emigrants, and gain position there as trained professionals. During and in the end of the period, large parts of the region were actually conquered by another empire, and more had to consider the possibility that they might get conquered. And in those empires, internal reforms were considered during the period - several actually happened and more were serious prospects.

The elites of the 5 Empires could not take their system for granted. They had occasions to consider alternatives and possibilities for change.

How did all 5 remain functional till at least 1683?
Some people might claim that there was only one empire in Eastern, central, or western Europe during the 17th century, the Holy Roman Empire, because the Roman Empire is THE EMPIRE, the only empire that can exist, and the Holy Roman Empire was the only state that even claimed to be the Roman Empire.
 
Mar 2015
950
Europe
Some people might claim that there was only one empire in Eastern, central, or western Europe during the 17th century, the Holy Roman Empire, because the Roman Empire is THE EMPIRE, the only empire that can exist, and the Holy Roman Empire was the only state that even claimed to be the Roman Empire.
Osman sultan claimed to be Sultan of Rum. And Czar of Russia claimed to be Czar of Third Rome.