Jadwiga of Poland

Jadwiga of Poland

Infobox Monarch
title=King of Poland

caption=A 15th century portrait.
date of birth=between October 3, 1373 and February 18, 1374 [S. A. Sroka, "Genealogia Andegawenów węgierskich" (Genealogy of Hungarian Angevins), Kraków 1999, page 54-55.]
place of birth=Buda, Hungary
date of death=July 17, 1399
place of death=Kraków, Poland
place of burial=Wawel Cathedral, Kraków
coronation=November 16, 1384 in the Wawel Cathedral, Kraków
royal house=Angevin
father=Louis I of Hungary
mother=Elisabeth of Bosnia
issue=Elizabeth Bonifacia

Jadwiga of Anjou (1373/4 – July 17, 1399) was King of Poland from 1384 to her death. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou and the daughter of King Louis I of Hungary and Elisabeth of Bosnia. She is known in Polish as "Jadwiga", in English and German as "Hedwig", in Lithuanian as "Jadvyga", in Hungarian as "Hedvig", and in Latin as "Hedvigis".

She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig (Jadwiga) the Queen. Jadwiga is the patron saint of queens, and of United Europe.

Royal titles

* Royal titles in Latin: "Hedvigis dei gracia Regina Polonie, necnon terrarum Cracovie, Sandomirie, Syradie, Lancicie, Cuyavie, Pomeranieque domina et heres."

* English translation: "Jadwiga by the grace of God Queen of Poland [She was crowned King of Poland — "Hedvigis Rex Polonie": M. Barański, S. Ciara, M. Kunicki-Goldfinger, "Poczet królów i książąt polskich", Warszawa 1997, also Teresa Dunin-Wąsowicz, " [http://historia_kobiet.w.interia.pl/teksty/d-jad.htm Dwie Jadwigi] "] , lady and inheritor of the land of Kraków, Sandomierz, Sieradz, Łęczyca, Kuyavia, Pomerania (Pomerelia)."



Jadwiga was the youngest daughter of Louis I of Hungary and of Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga could claim descent from the House of Piast, the ancient native Polish dynasty on both her mother's and her father's side. Her paternal grandmother Elisabeth of Cuyavia was the daughter of King Władysław I the Elbow-high, who had reunited Poland in 1320.

Jadwiga was brought up at the royal court in Buda and Visegrád, Hungary. In 1378, she was betrothed "(sponsalia de futuro)" to Habsburg scion William of Austria, and spent about a year at the imperial court in Vienna, Austria. Jadwiga's father Louis had, in 1364 in Kraków, during festivities known as the "Days of Kraków," also made an arrangement with his former father-in-law Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV to inter-marry their future children:Charles' son and future Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg was engaged and married, as a child, to Louis' daughter and future Queen Mary. One of Louis' original plans had been to leave the kingdom of Poland to Mary, whose marriage with Sigismund was more relevant to this end as Sigismund was an heir in his own right to Poland and was intended to inherit Brandenburg, nearer to Poland than to Hungary. Jadwiga's destiny as Austrian consort was to fit better for Hungary, an immediate neighbor of Austria.

Jadwiga was well-educated and a polyglot, speaking Latin, Bosnian, Hungarian, Serbian, Polish, German, interested in the arts, music, science, and court life. She was also known for her piety and her admiration for Saints Mary, Martha, and Bridget of Sweden, as well as her patron saint, Hedwig of Andechs.


Until 1370, Poland had been ruled by the native Piast Dynasty. Its last king, Casimir III, had left no legitimate son and considered his male grandchildren either unsuited or too young to reign. He therefore decided that his surviving sister Elizabeth of Poland and her son, Louis I of Hungary, should succeed him. Louis was proclaimed king, while Elizabeth held much of the practical power until her death in 1380.

When Louis died in 1382, the Hungarian throne was inherited by his eldest surviving daughter Mary, under the regency of their Bosnian mother. In Poland, however, the lords of Lesser Poland (Poland's virtual rulers) did not want to continue the personal union with Hungary, nor to accept Mary's fiancé Sigismund as regent, whom they expelled from the country. They therefore chose as their new monarch Mary's younger sister, Jadwiga. After two years' negotiations with Jadwiga's mother, Elizabeth of Bosnia, who was regent of Hungary, and a civil war in Greater Poland (1383), Jadwiga finally came to Kraków and at the age of ten, on November 16, 1384, was crowned King of Poland — "Hedvig Rex Poloniæ", not "Hedvig Regina Poloniæ". The masculine gender of her title was meant to emphasize that she was monarch in her own right, not a queen consort.

As child monarch of Poland, Jadwiga had at least one relative in Poland (all her immediate family having remained in Hungary): her mother's childless uncle, Władysław of Kujawy (d. 1388), Prince of Gniewkowo.

Soon after Jadwiga's coronation, new suitors for Jadwiga's hand appeared: Duke Siemowit IV of Masovia and Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania, the latter supported by the lords of Lesser Poland. In 1385 (when Jadwiga was eleven years old) William of Austria came to Kraków to consummate the marriage and present the lords with a "fait accompli". His plan, however, failed and William was expelled from Poland while Jadwiga declared her "sponsalia" invalid. William later married Jadwiga's cousin and rival, Joan II of Naples. That same year (1385), Jogaila and the lords of Lesser Poland signed the Union of Krewo whereby Jogaila pledged to adopt Western Christianity and unite Lithuania with Poland in exchange for Jadwiga's hand and the Polish crown. Twelve-year-old Jadwiga and 26-year-old Jogaila — who had earlier been baptized Władysław — wed in March 1385 at Kraków. This was followed by Jogaila's coronation as King of Poland, although Jadwiga retained her royal rights. In 1386, Jadwiga's mother Elizabeth and her sister Queen Maria of Hungary were kidnapped, probably on the order of Maria's husband and consort Sigismund.

In January 1387, Elizabeth was strangled, while Maria was released in July of the same year, by the effort of future Frankopan family and Jadwiga's adopted maternal uncle King Tvrtko of Bosnia. Maria, heavily pregnant, died in 1395 under suspicious circumstances.

As a monarch, young Jadwiga probably had little actual power. Nevertheless, she was actively engaged in her kingdom's political, diplomatic and cultural life and acted as the guarantor of Władysław's promises to reclaim Poland's lost territories. In 1387, Jadwiga led two successful military expeditions to reclaim the province of Halych in Red Ruthenia, which had been retained by Hungary in a dynastic dispute at her accession. As she was an heiress to Louis I of Hungary herself, the expeditions were for the most part peaceful and resulted in Petru I of Moldavia paying homage to the Polish monarchs in September 1387.pl icon cite book | author =Paweł Jasienica | title =Polska Jagiellonów | year =1988 | pages =80-146 | chapter =Władysław Jagiełło | publisher =Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy | location =Warsaw | id =ISBN 83-06-01796-X ] In 1390 she began a correspondence with the Teutonic Knights, followed by personal meetings in which she opened diplomatic negotiations herself.

Most political responsibilities, however, were probably in Władysław's hands, with Jadwiga attending to cultural and charitable activities. She sponsored writers and artists and donated much of her personal wealth, including her royal insignia, to charity, for purposes including the founding of hospitals. She financed a scholarship for twenty Lithuanians to study at Charles University in Prague to help strengthen Christianity in their country, to which purpose she also founded a bishopric in Vilnius. Among her most notable cultural legacies was the restoration of the Cracow Academy, which in 1817 was renamed Jagiellonian University in honour of the couple.en icon cite web | author=Stanisław Waltos | title=The Past and the Present | publisher=Jagiellonian University | year=2004 | work=Jagiellonian University's web page | url=http://www.uj.edu.pl/dispatch.jsp?item=uniwersytet/historia/historiatxt.jsp&lang=en#narodziny | accessdate=2006-08-04 ]

Death and inheritance

On June 22, 1399 Jadwiga gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia. Within a month, both the girl and her mother had died from birth complications. They were buried together in Wawel Cathedral. Jadwiga's death undermined Jogaila's position as King of Poland, but he managed to retain the throne until his death 35 years later.

It is not easy to state who was Jadwiga's heir in line of Poland, or Poland's rightful heir, since Poland had not used primogeniture, but kings had ascended by some sort of election. There were descendants of superseded daughters of Casimir III of Poland (d. 1370), such as his youngest daughter Anna, Countess of Celje (d. 1425 without surviving issue), and her daughter Anna of Celje (1380–1416) whom Władysław II Jagiełło married next,who had a daughter Jadwiga of Lithuania born in 1408. Jadwiga died in 1431, reputedly poisoned by Sophia, Wladislaw's last wife, after a faction of Polish nobles supported Jadwiga against Sophia's sons. Emperor Sigismund himself was an heir of Casimir III, as eldest son of his mother Elisabeth of Pomerania, who was since 1377 the only surviving child of Elisabeth of Poland, herself daughter of Casimir III from his first marriage with Gediminaitis Aldona of Lithuania. The family possession of the principality of Kuyavia belonged to Sigismund, who was the heir with the strongest hereditary claims. However, the leaders of the country wanted to avoid Sigismund and any personal union with Hungary.

Other descendants of Władisław the Short (through Silesian dukes of Świdnica) included the then Emperor Wenceslas, king of Bohemia, who died without issue in 1419, as well as Silesian dukes of Opole and Sagan.

Male-line Piasts were represented most closely by Dukes of Masovia, one of whom had aspired to marry Jadwiga in 1385. Also various princes of Silesia were of Piast descent, but they had been largely pushed aside since the exile of Vladislas II, Duke of Cracow.

Jadwiga's husband Vladislav Jagiello kept the throne, mostly because no claimant with clearly better stature appeared. He was never ousted, not even after the death of his second wife, and eventually succeeded to found a dynasty in Poland by the sons of his last wife, who were not related to earlier Polish rulers.

Legends and veneration

Infobox Saint
name=Jadwiga of Poland
birth_date=between 3 October 1373 and 18 February 1374
death_date=17 July 1399
feast_day=July 17
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

caption=Jadwiga, Queen of Poland
death_place=Kraków, Poland
titles=King of Poland
beatified_date=August 8, 1986
beatified_place=Kraków, Poland
canonized_date=June 8, 1997
canonized_place=Kraków, Poland
attributes=Royal dress and shoes
patronage=Queens, united Europe
major_shrine=Wawel Cathedral, Kraków, Poland
From the time of her death, Jadwiga was in Poland widely venerated like a saint, even though she was only beatified in the 1980s, and canonized in 1997, by the Polish Pope John Paul II. Numerous legends about miracles were recounted to justify a desired sainthood. The two best-known are those of "Jadwiga's cross" and "Jadwiga's foot."

Jadwiga often prayed before a large black crucifix hanging in the north aisle of Wawel Cathedral. During one of these prayers, the Christ on the cross is said to have spoken to her. The crucifix, "Saint Jadwiga's cross", is still there, with her relics beneath it.

According to another legend, Jadwiga took a piece of jewelry from her foot and gave it to a poor stonemason who had begged for her help. When the queen left, he noticed her footprint in the plaster floor of his workplace, even though the plaster had already hardened before her visit. The supposed footprint, known as "Jadwiga's foot", can still be seen in one of Kraków's churches.

On June 8, 1979 Pope John Paul II prayed at her sarcophagus; and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments officially affirmed her beatification on August 8, 1986. The Pope canonized Jadwiga in Kraków on June 8, 1997.

Exhumations and sarcophagus

Jadwiga's body has been exhumed at least three times. The first time was in the 17th century, in connection with the construction of a bishop's sarcophagus next to Jadwiga's grave. The next exhumation took place in 1887. Jadwiga's complete skeleton was found, together with a mantle and hat. Jan Matejko made a sketch of Jadwiga's skull, which later helped him paint her portrait (see above).

On July 12, 1949, her grave was again opened. This time she was reburied in a sarcophagus paid for by Karol Lanckoroński, which had been sculpted in white marble in 1902 by Antoni Madeyski. The queen is depicted with a dog, a symbol of fidelity, at her feet. The sarcophagus is oriented with Jadwiga's feet pointing west, unlike all the other sarcophagi in the cathedral. On display next to the sarcophagus are the modest wooden orb and scepter with which the queen had been buried - she had sold her jewels to finance the renovation of the Cracow Academy, known today as Jagiellonian University.


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boxstyle_2=background-color: #bbb;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ddd;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #eee;
1= Jadwiga of Poland
2= Louis I of Hungary
3= Elisabeth of Bosnia
4= Charles I of Hungary
5= Elisabeth of Poland
6= Stephen II of Bosnia
7= Elisabeth of Kuyavia
8= Charles Martel of Anjou
9= Klementia of Habsburg
10=Władysław I the Elbow-high
11=Jadwiga Kaliska
12=Stephen I of Bosnia
13=Jelisaveta of Syrmia
14=Casimir III of Gniewkowo




*loc - [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/pltoc.html Poland] .

Further reading


ee also

* History of Poland (966-1385)
* History of Poland (1385-1569)
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armorial_de_la_maison_d%27Anjou-Sicile Armorial of the House Anjou-Sicily]
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%C3%A9gorie:Maison_d%27Anjou-Sicile House of Anjou-Sicily]

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