Scientific Information Agency
12 January 2019

The Teutonic Order and the civil war between Vitautas and Skirgaila (1390–1392)

The Teutonic Order and the civil war between Vitautas and Skirgaila (1390–1392)

The present article is devoted to the research of the war, conducted Lithuanian Duke Vytautas against Duke Skirgaila from 1390 to 1392, and determining the role of the Teutonic Order in that conflict. The author considers that civil war in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1390—1392) possible to divide into three phases. The first phase of the conflict covers the period from January to April 1390. At that time, Vytautas does not own strategic initiative. He loses all his ownership in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, including his residence in the Grodno. The Polish garrisons posted to the castles of the Duchy by King of Poland. The second phase of the civil war covers the period from August 1390 until September 1391. At this stage, Vytautas began to use the military and diplomatic support of the Teutonic knights, West European cavaliers and Samogitians. He successfully attacked the castles and territory, controlled by Duke Skirgaila. The third phase lasts since the autumn of the 1391 to the summer of 1392. Vytautas obtains control over the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania between the Neman River and the border of the Teutonic Order, protected by four powerful castles. The strategic initiative fully transferred into his hands. At fact, Skirgaila and Jagiello lost the war against Duke Vytautas and forced to sue for peace, making concessions. August 8, 1392 in the Manor Ostrov near Lida the Duke Vytautas conceded suzerainty of the King of Poland. This act put an end to the bloody war for legacy of the Duke Kęstutis. Vytautas got in possession his father’s patrimony Trakai and his former ownership — Lutsk, Brest and Grodno, becoming, along with Skirgaila one of the vicegerents of the Polish king in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Ostrov’s agreement became the first step towards the final approach Vytautas and Jagiello. This alliance united the Polish Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the ensuing fight against the Teutonic Order and made possible to win this one of the largest medieval spiritual and chivalrous corporation.

Source: Gagua R. (2016). The Teutonic Order and the civil war between Vitautas and Skirgaila (1390–1392). Crusader. Vol.(3), Is. 1: 4-36

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