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Striking 17th century view of the City of Riga and environs, showing the Siege of 1656.

Siege of Riga

The Siege of Riga by the Russian Army under Czar Alexei Mikhailovich was a major battle of the Russo-Swedish War.

In 1652, the Swedes had started construction of a new wall around Riga with 12 bastions around suburbs, but by 1656 the work had not been completed. The Russian advance forces included the Vladimir v. Vizin reiters, Daniel Krafert infantry and Iunkmann dragoons, approached Riga on August 20 and drove back the Swedes into the city. The Swedish commander Von Thurn was either killed, or captured in the action.

The Swedes evacuated the suburbs and withdrew to the old town. A few days later, the main army under Czar Mikhailovich arrived on the ships on the Duna River, and laid siege to Riga. The Russian army occupied three camps, two on the east bank of the Duna in Riga's suburbs, and a Corps under Ordyn-Nashokin on the west bank of the Duna, opposite the Kobrun entrenchment.

As Russia had no full-fledged navy to intercept reinforcements coming to the Swedish garrison across the Baltic, Riga managed to hold out until October, when foreign officers commanding a small Russian flotilla defected to the other side and the Russians had to lift the siege. In the aftermath of this reverse, the Swedes recaptured much of Ingria, took the Pskov Monastery of the Caves and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Russian general Matvey Sheremetev at Valga in 1657.