Portrait of John III Sobieski (1629-1696), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1674-1696)
John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski, Król Polski; Lithuanian: Jonas III Sobieskis; Latin: Ioannes III Sobiscius; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death. Born into Polish nobility, Sobieski was educated at the Jagiellonian University and toured western Europe in his youth. As a soldier and later commander, he fought in the Khmelnytsky Uprising, the Russo-Polish War and during the Swedish invasion known as the Deluge. Sobieski demonstrated his military prowess during the war against the Ottoman Empire and established himself as a leading figure in Poland and Lithuania. In 1674, he was elected monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of previous conflicts. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military leader, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. After his victories over them, the Ottomans called him the "Lion of Lechistan"; and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom. Suffering from poor health and obesity in later life, Sobieski died in 1696 and was buried at Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. He was succeeded by Augustus II. John Sobieski was born on 17 August 1629, in Olesko, now Ukraine, then part of the Ruthenian Voivodeship in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to a renowned noble family de Sobieszyn Sobieski of Janina coat of arms. His father, Jakub Sobieski, was the Voivode of Ruthenia and Castellan of Kraków; his mother, Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz was a granddaughter of Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski. John Sobieski spent his childhood in Żółkiew. After graduating from the Nowodworski College in Kraków in 1643, young John Sobieski then graduated from the philosophical faculty of the Jagiellonian University in 1646. After finishing his studies, John and his brother Marek Sobieski left for western Europe, where he spent more than two years travelling.They visited Leipzig, Antwerp, Paris, London, Leiden, and The Hague. During that time, he met influential contemporary figures such as Louis II de Bourbon, Charles II of England and William II, Prince of Orange, and learned French, German, and Italian, in addition to Latin.
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