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Securing Poland's Borders

Poland in 1569, at the time of the union with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was a major power, much larger and more easterly than it is today. Its eastern lands, the Ukraine, were conquered and then defended from Russians, Cossacks, Tartars and Turks by armies led by powerful magnate families. They were richly rewarded with vast estates which became the foundation of their influence.

Prominent among them were the Potockis, involved for example in the capture of Moscow in 1611-12 and the relief of Vienna from Turkish forces in 1683. They contributed a record five Hetman or Commanders-in-Chief including Stanislaw Revera Potocki (right). Potocki power was born on the battlefield and their standard, the Pilawa two and a half cross, became their coat of arms.

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