Portrait of John III Sobieski (1629-1696), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1674-1696), Great Crown Hetman of Poland (Hetman wielki koronny) from 1668-1676), 1683
John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski; Lithuanian: Jonas III Sobieskis; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696), was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death, and one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's military skill, demonstrated in wars against the Ottoman Empire, contributed to his prowess as King of Poland. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, 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 Poland"; and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom. 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. 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. On 5 February 1668 he achieved the rank of Grand Hetman of the Crown, the highest military rank in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and thereby the de facto commander-in-chief of the entire Polish Army. On 11 November 1673 Sobieski added a major victory to his list, this time defeating the Ottomans in the Battle of Khotyn and capturing the fortress located there.The news of the battle coincided with the death of King Michal the day before the battle.This made Sobieski one of the leading figures of the state, so on 19 May the following year, he was elected monarch of the Commonwealth. His candidacy was almost universally supported. In light of the war, requiring Sobieski to be on the front lines, the coronation ceremony was significantly delayed – he was crowned John III almost two years later, on 2 February 1676.
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