Second Northern War

The Second Northern War (1655–60), also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1655–60), the Tsardom of Russia (1656–58), Brandenburg-Prussia (1657–60), the Habsburg Monarchy (1657–60) and Denmark–Norway (1657–58 and 1658–60). The Dutch Republic often intervened against Sweden in an informal trade war but was not a recognized part of the Polish–Danish alliance.

Second Northern War
Part of Northern Wars

March Across the Belts
Date1655–1660
Location
Result

Swedish victory against Denmark-Norway
Dutch victory in North America
Swedish invasion of Poland-Lithuania unsuccessful

Territorial
changes
Belligerents
Swedish Empire
Brandenburg-Prussia (1656–57)
Principality of Transylvania
Ukrainian Cossacks (1657)[1]
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
 Wallachia
 Moldavia
Poland
(Poland-Lithuania)
Denmark–Norway (1657-60)
 Habsburg Monarchy
Tsardom of Russia (1656–58)
Crimean Khanate
Brandenburg-Prussia (1655–56, 1657–60)
Duchy of Courland (1656–58)
 Dutch Republic
Commanders and leaders
Charles X Gustav
Arvid Wittenberg
Magnus de la Gardie
Carl Gustaf Wrangel
Gustaf Otto Stenbock
Per Brahe the Younger
Frederick William I
George II Rákóczi
Col. Anton Zhdanovich
John II Casimir
Stanisław Rewera Potocki
Stanisław Lanckoroński
Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski
Stefan Czarniecki
Paweł Jan Sapieha
Wincenty Korwin Gosiewski
Frederick III
Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve
Anders Bille 
Iver Krabbe
Jørgen Bjelke
Alexis of Russia
Matvey Sheremetev 
Frederick William I
Raimondo Montecuccoli
Jean-Louis Raduit de Souches
Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam
Michiel de Ruyter
Casualties and losses
70,000 Swedish dead[2] (mercenaries not included)

In 1655, Charles X Gustav of Sweden invaded and occupied western Poland–Lithuania, the eastern half of which was already occupied by Russia. The rapid Swedish advance became known in Poland as the Swedish Deluge. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania became a Swedish fief, the Polish–Lithuanian regular armies surrendered and the Polish king John II Casimir Vasa fled to the Habsburgs. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia initially supported the estates in Royal Prussia, but allied with Sweden in return for receiving the Duchy of Prussia as a Swedish fief. Exploiting the hurt religious feelings of the Roman Catholic population under Protestant occupation and organizing Polish–Lithuanian military leaders in the Tyszowce Confederation, John II Casimir Vasa managed to regain ground in 1656. Russia took advantage of the Swedish setback, declared war on Sweden and pushed into Lithuania and Swedish Livonia.

Charles X Gustav then granted Frederick William full sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia in return for military aid, and in the Treaty of Radnot allied himself with the Transylvanian George II Rákóczi who invaded Poland–Lithuania from the southeast. John II Vasa found an ally in Leopold I of Habsburg, whose armies crossed into Poland–Lithuania from the southwest. This triggered Frederick III of Denmark's invasion of the Swedish mainland in early 1657, in an attempt to settle old scores from the Torstenson War while Sweden was busy elsewhere. Brandenburg left the alliance with Sweden when granted full sovereignty in the Duchy of Prussia by the Polish king in the treaties of Wehlau and Bromberg.

Frederick III's war on Sweden gave Charles X Gustav a reason to abandon the Polish–Lithuanian deadlock and fight Denmark instead. After marching his army to the west and making a dangerous crossing of the frozen straits in the winter of 1657/58, he surprised the unprepared Frederick III on the Danish isles and forced him into surrender. In the Treaty of Roskilde, Denmark had to abandon all Danish provinces in what is now Southern Sweden. The anti-Swedish allies meanwhile neutralized the Transylvanian army and Polish forces ravaged Swedish Pomerania.

In 1658 Charles X Gustav decided that instead of returning to the remaining Swedish strongholds in Poland–Lithuania, he would rather attack Denmark again. This time, Denmark withstood the attack and the anti-Swedish allies pursued Charles X Gustav to Jutland and Swedish Pomerania. Throughout 1659, Sweden was defending her strongholds in Denmark and on the southern Baltic shore, while little was gained by the allies and a peace was negotiated. When Charles X Gustav died in February 1660, his successor settled for the Treaty of Oliva with Poland–Lithuania, the Habsburgs and Brandenburg in April and the Treaty of Copenhagen with Denmark in May. Sweden was to keep most of her gains from Roskilde, the Duchy of Prussia became a sovereign state, and otherwise, the parties largely returned to the status quo ante bellum. Sweden had already concluded a truce with Russia in 1658, which gave way to a final settlement in the Treaty of Cardis in 1661.