Second Mongol invasion of Poland

The second Mongol invasion of Poland was carried out by General Boroldai (Burundai) of the Golden Horde in 1259–1260. During this invasion the cities of Sandomierz, Kraków, Lublin, Zawichost, and Bytom were sacked by the Mongols for the second time.[4][5]

Second Mongol invasion of Poland
Part of the Mongol invasion of Europe

Martyrdom of Sadok and 48 Dominican martyrs of Sandomierz during the Second Mongol invasion of Poland.
Datelate 1259-early 1260
Parts of southern and eastern Poland
Result Mongol victory
Golden Horde

Polish duchies:

Commanders and leaders
Bolesław V the Chaste
various others


  • 6,000 infantry
  • 3,000 cavalry
Casualties and losses
Light Heavy



The invasion began in late 1259, after a powerful Mongol army had been sent to the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia in order to punish King Daniel of Galicia for his independent actions. King Daniel had to comply to Mongol demands, and in 1258, his forces joined the Mongols in the raid on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. To weaken Daniel's position, the Golden Horde decided to attack his allies, Hungarian King Béla IV, and Duke of Kraków, Bolesław V the Chaste.[citation needed]

The purpose of the invasion was to loot the divided Kingdom of Poland (see Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty), and to weaken Duke of Kraków Bolesław V the Chaste, whose province, Lesser Poland, began a process of fast development. According to the Mongol plan, the invaders were to enter Lesser Poland east of Lublin, and head towards Zawichost. After crossing the Vistula, the Mongol army was to break into two columns, operating north and south of the Holy Cross Mountains. The columns were to unite near Chęciny, and then head southwards, to Kraków. Altogether, Mongol forces under Boroldai were 30,000 strong, with Ruthenian units of King Daniel of Galicia, his brother Vasilko Romanovich, Kipchaks and probably Lithuanians or Yotvingians.[citation needed]

The events that took place in the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia echoed in Lesser Poland, and in late 1258, preparations for the defence of Kraków began. The work was quickly abandoned, and Piast dynasty dukes returned to their internal quarrels. In October 1259, right before the invasion, Duke of Greater Poland Bolesław the Pious allied himself with Duke Bolesław V the Chaste and Duke of Mazovia Siemowit I, in order to attack Duke of Kujawy, Casimir I of Kuyavia. A few weeks later, Lesser Poland was invaded by the Mongol hordes.[citation needed]

The Mongolian army concentrated near Chełm, and after capturing Polish towns east of the Vistula, the invaders appeared at Sandomierz (early December 1259). Boroldai ordered Ruthenian auxiliary units to besiege and capture the city, while main Mongol forces marched westwards toward the Holy Cross Mountains. Their march was marked by an orgy of destruction; among others, ancient abbeys of Koprzywnica and Wąchock were looted (most probably, they failed to capture the Łysa Góra Benedictine Abbey). The Mongols limited their advance to Radom in the north and Sulejów in the west, and did not enter other Polish provinces. The two columns of the invading army joined forces near Kielce and Chęciny, in mid-January 1260.[citation needed]

At the same time, the siege of Sandomierz continued. Defenders of the city fiercely resisted all attacks of the Mongol and Ruthenian forces. After several weeks, Mongol leaders began negotiations with the Poles, who were commanded by a man named Piotr of Krepa. Ruthenian princes, which took part in the siege, advised Piotr of Krepa to accept Mongol offers, and abandon Sandomierz, in exchange of safe passage for all residents of the city. Finally, facing hunger and epidemics, the Poles left Sandomierz on February 2, 1260; the Mongols broke their promise and massacred the civilians and the defenders. The city itself was looted and burned to the ground.[citation needed]

On February 5, main Mongol forces abandoned Sandomierz. All units joined forces on February 10–12, and entered densely populated southern Lesser Poland. After looting the abbeys at Jędrzejów, Mogiła, Szczyrzyc and Miechów, the invaders flooded the region in an orgy of murder and destruction. In the second half of February, the Mongols reached Kraków, quickly capturing the city, but without the Wawel Hill, which was fortified and defended. To prevent Silesian Piast dukes from sending their support to Lesser Poland, Boroldai sent some units to the area of Bytom. Duke Bolesław V the Chaste himself fled to Sieradz, with his wife Kinga of Poland.[citation needed]

In late March 1260, the Mongols left Lesser Poland eastward along the Carpathian foothills.[citation needed]



Lesser Poland was devastated by the invasion, with the Mongols acquiring much rich loot from their expedition. Some 10,000 Poles were taken with the Mongol invaders as slaves. Through this invasion, the Golden Horde successfully managed to destroy Bolesław’s anti-Mongol alliance and fully subjugate the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Trawinski, A. (2017). The Clash of Civilizations. Page Publishing Inc. ISBN 9781635687125.
  2. ^ Florin Curta (2019). "Catastrophe, Pax Mongolica, and Globalization". Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages (500-1300) (2 vols). pp. 699–717. doi:10.1163/9789004395190_033. ISBN 9789004342576. S2CID 203312568.
  3. ^ Stanisław Krakowski, Polska w walce z najazdami tatarskimi w XIII wieku, MON, 1956, pp. 181-201
  4. ^ Aleksander Gieysztor; Stefan Kieniewicz; Emanuel Rostworowski (1979). History of Poland (2 ed.). PWN, Polish Scientific Publishers. p. 93. ISBN 978-83-01-00392-0.
  5. ^ Laurențiu Rădvan (2010). At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities. BRILL. p. 34. ISBN 978-90-04-18010-9.