Nikifor Chernigovsky

Nikifor Chernigovsky
Nikifor Chernigovsky
Coat of arms Jaxa
Born early 17th century
Cherniakhiv (UTS) then Volhynia, Poland
Died Jaxa (state) now Albazin
1674 or 1675

Nikifor Chernigovsky (pol.Nicefor Jaxa-Czernichowski) was a Polish noble who was exiled to Siberia in the course of the Polish-Russian war. In 1656 in an act of revenge he murdered the voyevoda of Ilimsk and fled to the Amur where he reoccupied the ruins of Albazin and gathered a band of supporters.[1]



He became Russian prisoner in 1633 during the battle near Novhorod-Siverskyi (most likely together with his father Roman); his name was mentioned in Russian chronicle "Razriad". In August 1633 he was exiled to Vologda. Due to conditions of peace treaty ending Polish-Russian war in 1634 he was entitled to be liberated. As he married Moscow women, he initially intended to stay in Muscovy; he sworn loyalty to Tsar and in 1635 he converted to orthodox rite. Later he changed his mind and in the company of 7 companions he headed towards Polish border. It might be that he was unaware that he is no longer entitled to return to his homeland (at least in the eyes of Tsar). On July 3, 1636 he was captured, later exiled to Yeniseysk, where he came in 1637. His wife accompany him during the exile. In 1649 he was sent furthe away to Ilimsk, then to Ust-Kut and Kirensk. His family has grown to 3 sons and 2 daughters. In 1656 he become leader of cossacs. His address to Tsar to restore noble status was left with no answer in 1657. In 1664 voyevoda of Ilimsk Lawrentij Obuhov raped daughter of Nikifor - Pelagia, wife of pop Foma Kirylow. In the act of revange Nikifor murdered Obuhov (1665). Now Nikifor was outlawed; he organised group of 84 cossacs, including orthodox monk Hermogenes and traveled towards Amur river on the border with China, where he settled on the ruins of Albazin.

State of Jaxa

Qing troops besieging Albazin in 1686
The former site of Albazin marked (as Yaxa) on an early 18th-century French map
Jaxa Coat of Arms

Nikifor found petty kingdom among local Daur people. He achieved recognition of his rule down the river to mouth of Zeya River, 500 km from Albazin. The state was called Jaxa - derived from Nikifor's coat of arm. Monk Hermogenes wrote down Code of Law. From the beginning Nikifors international position was peculiar - his state was not recognised by Russia nor China. Manpower of the state was 500 people. After initial struggles with Russia, he unilaterally recognised overlordship of Tsar in 1669. In 1670 he defended his state against a Chinese expedition. In 1672 Tsar issued death sentence against Nikifor that was followed in 2 days by act of mercy. In 1674 Nikifor was eventually nominated on the position of voivod in charge of Albazin. In 1675 he was called by Daur people that were resettled to Manchuria by Chinese and wanted to return back to Jaxa state. Most likely he died during the expedition to Manjuria. The Jaxa state that was internationally recognised i.e. visited by diplomats of France and Netherlands (Nicolaes Witsen).

External Links


  1. ^ (Polish) Zygmunt Łukawski, "Historia Syberii" Wyd. Ossolineum, Wrocław 1981.

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