Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Jadwiga of Poland

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Predecessor  Louis
Issue  Elizabeth Bonifacia
Role  Monarch
Successor  Wladyslaw II Jagiello
Name  Jadwiga Poland
Full name  Jadwiga
Jadwiga of Poland Jadwiga of Poland Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
Reign  16 October 1384 – 17 July 1399
Coronation  16 October 1384Wawel Cathedral, Krakow
House  Capetian House of Anjou
Died  July 17, 1399, Krakow, Poland
Spouse  Wladyslaw II Jagiello (m. 1386–1399)
Children  Elizabeth Bonifacia of Poland
Parents  Elizabeth of Bosnia, Louis I of Hungary
Similar People  Wladyslaw II Jagiello, Louis I of Hungary, Casimir III the Great, Casimir IV Jagiellon, Wladyslaw III of Poland

King Jadwiga of Poland - mysimpleshow

Jadwiga ([jadˈvʲiɡa]), also known as Hedwig (Hungarian: Hedvig; 1373/4 – 17 July 1399), reigned as the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland from 1384 to her death. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, but she was even more closely related to the native Piast dynasty of Poland through her ancestors. She was Canonized in 1997.


Jadwiga of Poland FileSimmler Queen Jadwiga39s oathpng Wikimedia Commons

Her marriage to William of Habsburg was arranged in 1375. She lived in Austria between 1378 and 1380. Jadwiga and William were allegedly regarded her father's successors in Hungary after her eldest sister's death in 1379, because the Polish noblemen paid homage to Louis's second daughter, Mary, and Mary's fiance, Sigismund of Luxemburg in the same year. However, Louis died and Mary was crowned "King of Hungary" on the demand of her mother in 1382. Sigismund of Luxemburg tried to seize Poland, but the Polish noblemen stated that they would only obey the daughter of King Louis who would settle in their country. Queen Elizabeth nominated Jadwiga to reign in Poland, but did not send her to Krakow to be crowned. During the interregnum, Siemowit IV, Duke of Masovia, became a candidate to the throne. The nobles from Greater Poland especially favored him, proposing him to marry Jadwiga. However, the noblemen of Lesser Poland hindered his election and persuaded Queen Elizabeth to send Jadwiga to Poland.

Jadwiga of Poland Polish Queen Jadwiga vintage historic prints 1880

Jadwiga was crowned "king" in Krakow on 16 October 1384. Her title either reflected the Polish lords' attempt to hinder her future husband from adopting the same title without further act or only emphasized that she was a queen regnant. With her mother's consent, her advisors opened negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was more than 30 years old and still a pagan, about his marriage with Jadwiga. Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo, promising to convert to Roman Catholicism and to promote his pagan subjects' conversion. William of Habsburg hurried to Krakow to demand the consummation of his pre-arranged marriage with Jadwiga, but the Polish lords expelled him in late August 1385. Jogaila, who received the baptismal name Wladyslaw, married Jadwiga on 15 February 1386. Legend says that she had only agreed to marry him after long prayers, seeking divine inspiration.

Jadwiga of Poland httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons66

Wladyslaw-Jogaila was crowned king on 4 March. As his co-ruler, Jadwiga closely cooperated with her husband. After rebellious lords imprisoned her mother and sister, she marched to Ruthenia, which had been under Hungarian rule, persuaded most local inhabitants to submit themselves to the Polish Crown without resistance. She acted as mediator between her husband's quarreling kinsmen, or between Poland and the Teutonic Knights. After her sister, Mary died in 1395, Jadwiga and Wladyslaw-Jogaila laid claim to Hungary against the widowed Sigismund of Luxemburg, but the Hungarian lords did not support them.

Jadwiga of Poland

Childhood (1373 or 1374–1382)

Jadwiga was the youngest (third) daughter of Louis I, King of Hungary and Poland, and his second wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Her grandmothers were Polish princesses, connecting her to the native Piast dynasty of Poland. Historian Oscar Halecki concluded that Jadwiga's "genealogical tree clearly shows that [she] had more Polish blood than any other". She was born in Buda.

The date of her birth is unknown. She was probably born after 3 October 1373; on this day, her father issued a charter which listed her two older sisters, Catherine and Mary, without mentioning Jadwiga. Her name was first recorded in her father's instructions for his envoys to France on 17 April 1384. If Jadwiga had reached twelve (the minimum age prescribed by canon law for girls) by the time of her marriage, she must have been born before 18 February 1374. She was named after her distant ancestor, Saint Hedwig of Silesia who was especially venerated in the Hungarian royal court at the time of her birth.

King Louis who did not father sons wanted to ensure his daughters' right to inherit his realms. Therefore, European royals regarded his three daughters as especially attractive brides. Leopold III, Duke of Austria proposed his eldest son, William, to Jadwiga already on 18 August 1374. The envoys of the Polish nobles acknowledged that one of Louis's daughters would succeed him in Poland after he confirmed and extended their liberities in the Privilege of Koszyce on 17 September 1374. They took an oath of loyalty to Catherine on Louis's demand.

Louis agreed to give Jadwiga in marriage to William of Austria on 4 March 1375. The two children's sponsalia de futuro, or "provisional marriage", was celebrated at Hainburg on 15 June 1378. The ceremony established the legal framework for the consummation of the marriage without any further ecclesiastical act as soon as they both reached the age of maturity. Duke Leopold agreed that Jadwiga would only receive Treviso, a town which was to be conquered from the Republic of Venice, as dowry from her father. After the ceremony, Jadwiga stayed in Austria for almost two years; she mainly lived in Vienna.

Catherine died in late 1378. Louis persuaded the most influential Polish lords to swear an oath of loyalty to her younger sister, Mary, in September 1379. She was betrothed to Sigismund of Luxemburg, a great-grandson of Casimir the Great, who had been Louis's predecessor on the Polish throne. The "provisional marriage" of Jadwiga and William was confirmed at their fathers' meeting in Zolyom (now Zvolen in Slovakia) on 12 February 1380. Hungarian lords also approved the document, implying that Jadwiga and William were regarded as her father's successors in Hungary.

Louis suffered from a serious skin disease during his last years. A delegation of the Polish lords and clergy paid a formal homage to Sigismund of Luxemburg as their future king on 25 July 1382. The Poles believed that he planned to also persuade the Hungarian lords and prelates to accept Jadwiga and William of Austria as his heirs in Hungary. However, he died on 11 September 1382. Jadwiga was present at her father's death bed.

Towards coronation (1382–1384)

Jadwiga's sister, Mary, was crowned "king" of Hungary five days after their father's death. With the ceremony, their ambitious mother secured the right to govern Hungary on her twelve-year-old daughter's behalf instead of Mary's fiance, Sigismund. Sigismund could not be present at Mary's coronation, because Louis had sent him to Poland to crush a rebellion. After he learnt of Louis's death, he adopted the title "Lord of the Kingdom of Poland", demanding oaths of loyalty from the towns in Lesser Poland. On 25 November, the nobles of Greater Poland assembled at Radomsko and decided to obey nobody but the daughter of the late king who would settle in Poland. On their initiative, the noblemen of Lesser Poland passed a similar decision in Wislica on 12 December. Queen Elizabeth sent her envoys to the assembled lords and forbade them to swear an oath of loyalty to anyone other than one of her daughters, thus invalidating the oath of loyalty that the Polish noblemen had sworn to Sigismund on King Louis's demand.

However, her both daughters had been engaged to foreign princes (Sigismund and William, respectively) who were unpopular in Poland. Polish lords who were opposed to a foreign monarch regarded the members of the Piast dynasty as possible candidates to the Polish throne. Queen Elizabeth's uncle, Wladyslaw the White had already attempted to seize Poland during Louis's reign. However, he had taken monastic vows and settled in a Benedictine abbey in Dijon in Burgundy. Antipope Clement VII, whom King Louis had refused to recognize against Pope Urban VI, released Wladyslaw from his vows, but he did not leave the monastery. Siemowit IV, Duke of Masovia, was a more ambitious candidate. He was especially popular among the nobility and townspeople of Greater Poland.

Queen Elizabeth's representatives released the Poles from the oaths of fidelity that their representatives had sworen to Mary at an assembly in Sieradz in February 1383. The envoys also announced that she was willing to send Jadwiga to be crowned in Poland, but she was to return to Buda after her Coronation to be live there until her twelfth birthday. The Polish lords accepted the proposal, but they soon realized that thereby they actually extended the interregnum by three years. At a new meeting in Sieradz, most noblemen were ready to elect Siemowit of Masovia king on 28 March. They proposed that Siemowit should marry Jadwiga. A member of the influential Teczynski family, Jan, convinced them to postpone Siemowit's election. The noblemen agreed to wait for Jadwiga until 10 May, stipulating that she was to live in Poland after her coronation. They also demanded that Dobrzyn and Gniewkow (two fiefs which her father had granted to Vladislaus II of Opole), and "Ruthenia" (that had passed to Hungary in accordance with a previous treaty) be restored to the Polish Crown.

Jan Teczynski and his allies, including Sedziwoj Paluka, seems to have started negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Siemowit's supporters tried to enter Krakow in the retinue of Bodzanta, Archbishop of Gniezno, in May, but the townspeople closed the gates of the city before their arrival. Jadwiga did not come to Poland by the stipulated date (10 May). Her mother's envoys stated that the spring floods had hindered Jadwiga from crossing the Carpathian Mountains.

Siemowit of Mazovia took up arms and advanced as far as Kalisz. His supporters assembled in Sieradz in August to elect him king, but Archbishop Bodzanta refused to perform his coronation. In a meeting in Kassa, Queen Elizabeth promised to the delegates of the Polish provinces to send Jadwiga to Poland before November. The queen mother and the Poles also agreed that if either Jadwiga or Mary died childless, her kingdom was to pass to her surviving sister. After Siemowit laid siege to Kalisz, Queen Elizabeth sent Sigismund of Luxemburg at the head of an "improvised army" to Lesser Poland. Siemowit could not take Kalisz, but news about the behavior of Sigismund's soldiers increased Sigismund's unpopularity in Poland. Sedziwoj Paluka, who was the castellan of Kalisz and starosta of Krakow, led a delegation to Zadar in Croatia to negotiate with Queen Elizabeth, but she had him imprisoned. She sent Hungarian soldiers to Poland to garrison them in the Wawel Castle in Krakow, but Paluka escaped and hindered her soldiers to enter the castle.

At a general assembly in Radomsko in early March, the delegates of all Polish provinces and towns decided to elect Siemowit king if Jadwiga did not come to Poland within two months. They set up a provisional government, stating that only the "community of lords and citizens" had the authority to administer Poland during the interregnum. Queen Elizabeth, who was only informed of the decision through an informal message, realized that she could not postpone Jadwiga's coronation any more and sent her to Poland. The exact date of Jadwiga's arrival is unknown, because main source of the history of Poland during this period – Jan of Czarnkow's chronicle – was finished before this event.

First years (1384–1386)

The interregnum that followed Louis's death and caused internal strifes finished with Jadwiga's arrival. A large crowd of clerics, noblemen and burghers gathered at Krakow "to greet her with a display of affection", according to the 15th-century Polish historian, Jan Dlugosz. Nobody protested when Archbishop Bodzenta crowned her on 16 October 1384. According to the traditional scholary consensus, Jadwiga was crowned "king". Thereby, as Robert W. Knoll proposes, the Polish lords prevented her eventual spouse from adopting the same title without their consent. Stephen C. Rowell, who says that sources that contradict the traditional view outnumber those verifying it, suggests that sporadic contemporaneous references to Jadwiga as "king" only reflected that she was not a queen consort, but a queen regnant.

Bodzanta, Archbishop of Gniezno, Jan Radlica, Bishop of Krakow, Dobrogost of Nowy Dwor, Bishop of Poznan, and Duke Vladislaus II of Opole were Jadwiga's most trusted advisors during the first years of her reign. According to a widely accepted scholarly theory, Jadwiga, who was still a minor, was "a mere tool" to her advisors. Halecki refutes this view, stating that Jadwiga matured quickly and her personality (especially her charm and kindness) strengthened her position. She intervened on Duke Vladislaus's behalf to reconcile him with her mother's favorite, Nicholas Garai, already in late 1384.

The Polish lords did not want to accept Jadwiga's fourteen-year-old fiance, William of Habsburg, as their sovereign. They thought that the inexperienced William and his Austrian kinsmen could not safeguard Poland's interests against its powerful neighbors, especially the Luxemburgs who controlled Bohemia and Brandenburg, and had a strong claim to Hungary. According to Halecki, the lords of Lesser Poland were the first to suggest that Jadwiga should marry the pagan Jogaila of Lithuania.

Jogaila sent his envoys – including his brother, Skirgaila, and a German burgher from Riga, Hanul – to Krakow to request for Jadwiga's hand in January 1385. Jadwiga refused to answer, stating that only her mother could decide. Jogaila's two envoys left for Hungary and met Queen Elizabeth. She informed them that "she will allow whatever is advantageous to Poland and insists that her daughter and the prelates and nobles of the Kingdom must do what they consider will benefit Christianity and their kingdom", according to Jan Dlugosz's chronicle. The nobles from Krakow, Sandomierz and Greater Poland assembled in Krakow in June or July and the "majority of the more sensible" voted for the acceptance of Jogaila's proposal.

William's father, Leopold III hurried to Buda in late July 1385, demanding the consummation of the marriage of William and Jadwiga before 16 August. Queen Elizabeth confirmed the previous agreements about the marriage, ordering Vladislaus II of Opole to make preparations for the ceremony. According to canon law, Jadwiga's marriage could only be completed before her twelfth birthday if the competent prelate testified her precocious maturity. Demetrius, Archbishop of Esztergom, issued the necessary document. William went to Krakow in the first half of August, but his entry to the Wawel Castle was forbidden. Dlugosz stated that Jadwiga and William could only meet in the nearby Franciscan convent.

Contemperaneous or nearly contemporaneous records of the completion of the marriage of William and Jadwiga are contradictory and unclear. The official accounts of the municipal authorities of Krakow recorded that on 23 August 1385 an amnesty was granted to the prisoners in the city jail on the occasion of the consummation of the queen's marriage. On the other hand, a contemporaneous Austrian chronicle, the Continuatio Claustroneubuzgis stated that the Poles tried to murder William before he slept with Jadwiga. In the next century, Dlugosz stated that William was "removed in a shameful and offensive manner and driven from the castle" after he entered "the Queen's bedchamber"; but the same chronicler also mentioned that Jadwiga was well aware that "many people knew that ... she had for a fortnight shared her bed with Duke William and that there had been physical consummation".

On the night when William entered the queen's bedchamber, a group of Polish noblemen broke into the castle, forcing William to flee, according to Dlugosz. After this humiliation, Dlugosz continued, Jadwiga decided to leave the Wawel to join William, but the gate of the castle was closed. She called for "an axe and [tried] to break it open", but Dymitr of Goraj convinced her to return to the castle. Oscar Halecki says that Dlugosz's narration "cannot be dismissed as a romantic legend"; Robert Frost writes, it is a "tale, almost certainly apocryphal". There is no doubt, however, that William of Austria was forced to leave Poland.

Meanwhile, Jogaila had signed the Union of Krewo, promising to Queen Elizabeth's representatives and the Polish lords' envoys to convert to Catholicism, together with his pagan kinsmen and subjects, if Jadwiga married him. He also pledged to pay 200,000 florins to William of Habsburg as compensation (William never accepted it). Two days after the Union of Krewo, the Teutonic Knights invaded Lithuania.

The Aeltere Hochmeisterchronik and other chronicles written in the Knights' territory accused the Polish prelates and lords of forcing Jadwiga to accept Jogaila's offer. According to a Polish legend, Jadwiga agreed to marry Jogaila due to divine inspiration during her long prayers before a crucifix in the Wawel Cathedral. Siemowit IV of Mazovia resigned his claim to Poland in December.

The Polish lords' envoys informed Jogaila that they would obey to him if he married Jadwiga on 11 January 1386. Jogaila went to Lublin where a general assembly unanimously declared him "king and lord of Poland" in early February. Jogaila went to Krakow where he was baptized, receiving the Christian name Wladyslaw, in the Wawel Cathedral on 15 February. Three days later, the 35-year-old Wladyslaw-Jogaila married the 12-year-old Jadwiga. Wladyslaw-Jogaila styled himself as dominus et tutor regni Poloniae ("lord and guardian of the Kingdom of Poland") in his first charter issued after the marriage.

Decisive years (1386–1393)

Archbishop Bodzanta crowned Wladyslaw-Jogaila king on 4 March 1386. Poland transformed into a diarchy – a kingdom, ruled by two crowned sovereigns. Jadwiga and her husband did not speak a common language, but they closely cooperated from their marriage. She accompanied him to Greater Poland to appease the local lords who were still hostile to him. The royal visit caused damages to the peasants who lived in the local prelates' domains, but Jadwiga persuaded her husband to compensate them, stating that "We have, indeed, returned the peasants' cattle, but who can repair their tears?", according to Dlugosz's chronicle. A court record of her order to the judges in favor of a peasant also shows that she protected the poor.

Pope Urban VI sent his legate, Maffiolo Lampugnano, to Krakow to make an inquiry about the marriage of the royal couple. Lampugnano did not voice any objections, but the Teutonic Knights started a propaganda campaign in favor of William of Habsburg. Queen Elizabeth pledged to assist Wladyslaw-Jogaila against his enemies on 9 June 1386, but Hungary had sunken in anarchy. A group of Slavonian lords captured and imprisoned Jadwiga's mother and sister on 25 July. The rebels murdered Queen Elizabeth in January 1387. A month later, Jadwiga marched at the head of Polish troops to Ruthenia where all but one governors submitted her without opposition.

Duke Vladislaus of Opole who also claimed Ruthenia could not convince Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, to intervene on his behalf. Jadwiga confirmed the privileges of the local inhabitants and promised that Ruthenia would never be again separated from the Polish Crown. After the reinforcements that Wladyslaw-Jogaila sent from Lithuania arrived in August, Halych, the only fortress to resist, also surrendered. Wladyslaw-Jogaila also came to Ruthenia in September. Petru Musat, Voivode of Moldavia, visited the royal couple and did homage to them in Lviv on 26 September. Wladyslaw-Jogaila confirmed the privileges that Jadwiga had granted to Ruthenians in October. She also instructed her subject to show the same respect for her husband as for her: in a letter addressed to the burghers of Krakow in late 1387, she stated that her husband was their "natural lord".

On William of Habsburg's demand, Pope Urban VI initiated a new investigation about the marriage of Jadwiga and Wladyslaw-Jogaila. They sent Bishop Dobrogost of Poznan to Rome to inform the pope of the Christianization of Lithuania. In his letter to Bishop Dobrogost, Pope Urban jointly mentioned the royal couple in March 1388, which implied that he had already acknowledged the legality of their marriage. However, Gniewosz of Dalewice, who had been William of Habsburg's supporter, spread rumours about secret meetings of William and Jadwiga in the royal castle. Jadwiga took a solemn oath before Jan Teczynski, stating that she had only had marital relations with Wladyslaw-Jogaila. After all witnesses confirmed her oath, Dalewice confessed that he had lied. She did not take vengeance of him.

Jadwiga's brother-in-law, Sigismund, who had been crowned King of Hungary, started negotiations with the Teutonic Knights about the partition of Poland in early 1392. She met her sister, Mary of Hungary, in Stara Lubovna in May and returned to Krakow only in early July. She most probably accompanied her husband to Lithuania, according to Oscar Halecki, because she was far from Krakow till the end of August. On 4 August, Wladyslaw-Jogaila's cousin, Vytautas, who had earlier fled from Lithuania to the Teutonic Knights, did homage to Wladyslaw-Jogaila near Lida in Lithuania on 4 August.

Negotiations between Sigismund of Hungary and the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Konrad von Wallenrode, continued with the mediation of Vladislaus of Opole. However, Hungary's southern border was exposed to Ottoman incursions, preventing Sigismund from military actions against Poland. Wallenrode died on 25 July 1393. His successor, Konrad von Jungingen, opened negotiations with the Poles. During the discussion, Pope Boniface IX's legate, John of Messina, supported the Poles.

Last years (1393–1399)

Jadwiga was a skilful mediator, famed for her impartiality and intelligence. She went to Lithuania to reconcile her brother-in-law, Skirgaila, with Vytautas in October 1393. Relations between Poland and Hungary remained tense. Sigismund of Hungary invaded Moldavia, forcing Stephen I of Moldavia to accept his suzerainty in 1394. Soon after the Hungarian troops left Moldavia, Stephen sent his envoys to Wladyslaw-Jogaila, promising to assist Poland against Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and the Teutonic Knights.

Jadwiga's sister, Mary of Hungary died after a riding accident on 17 May 1395. According to the 1383 agreement between their mother and the Polish lords, Jadwiga was her sister's heir in Hungary. Vlad I of Wallachia, whom the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I had placed on the throne of Wallachia, issued an act of submission on 28 May, acknowledging Jadwiga and her husband as the legitimate successors of Queen Mary. The widowed Sigismund's close supporter, Stibor of Stiboricz, expelled Vlad from Wallachia. Wladyslaw-Jogaila gathered his troops on the Polish-Hungarian border, but Eustache Jolsvai, Palatine of Hungary, and John Kanizsai, Archbishop of Esztergom, hindered his invasion of Hungary. Konrad von Jungingen reminded the prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire that the union of Poland, Lithuania and Hungary under Wladyslaw-Jogaila's rule would endanger Christendom in September 1395. However, most opponents of Sigismund, who were especially numerous in Croatia, supported the claim of Ladislaus of Naples (the last male member of the Capetian House of Anjou) to Hungary. On 8 September, the most influential Hungarian lords declared that they would not contribute to any change in government while Sigismund was far from Hungary to fight against the Ottoman Turks. Before the end of the year, peace negotiations between the representatives of Hungary and Poland ended with an agreement. Jadwiga adopted the title "heir to Hungary", but she and her husband took no further actions against Sigismund.

Relationship between Lithuania and the Teutonic Knights remained tense. Jadwiga and her Polish advisors invited the Grand Master, Konrad von Jungingen, to Poland to open new negotiations in June 1396. Conflicts with Vladislaus of Opole and Siemowit of Masovia, who had not given up their claims to parts of Ruthenia and Cuyavia, also intensified. To demonstrate that the territories were under Jadwiga's direct control, Wladyslaw-Jogaila granted the Duchy of Belz in Ruthenia and Cuyavia to her in early 1397. However, Jadwiga and her Polish advisors wanted to avoid a war with the Teutonic Order. In response, Wladyslaw-Jogaila replaced most Polish stratostas in Ruthenia with local Orthodox noblemen. According to German sources, Wladyslaw-Jogaila and Vytautas jointly asked Pope Boniface IX to sanction Vytautas coronation as king of Lithuania and Ruthenia.

Jadwiga and Jungingen met in Wloclawek in the middle of June, but they did not reach a compromise. The Teutonic Order entrusted Vladislaus of Opole with the task to represent their claims to Dobrzyn against Jadwiga. Jadwiga and her husband met Sigismund of Hungary, who had returned to Hungary after his catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Nicopolis, on 14 July. They seem to have reached a compromise, because Sigismund of Hungary offered to mediate between Poland, Lithuania and the Teutonic Knights. On Jadwiga's request, Wenceslaus of Bohemia, granted permission to the establishment of a college for Lithuanian students in Prague on 20 July 1397. Jadwiga, who had spent "many sleepless nights" thinking of this project, according to her own charter, issued her charter of establishment for the college on 10 November.

She opened new negotiations with the Teutonic Knights, but Konrad von Jungingen dispatched a simple knights to meet her in May 1398. Wladyslaw-Jogaila's cousin, Vytautas also entered into negotiations with the Teutonic Knights because he wanted to unit Lithuania and Ruthenia under his rule and to receive a royal crown from the Holy See. According to the chronicle of John of Posilge, who was an official of the Teutonic Order, Jadwiga sent an letter to Vytautas, reminding him to pay the annual tribute that Wladyslaw-Jogaila had granted her as his dowry. Offended by Jadwiga's demand, Vytautas sought the opinion of the Lithuanian and Ruthenian lords who refused Jadwiga's claim to tribute. On 12 October 1398, he signed a peace treaty with the Teutonic Knights, without referring to Wladyslaw-Jogaila's right to confirm it. Oscar Halecki says that Posilge's "sensational story" is either an invention based on gossips or a guess by the chronicler.

Jadwiga was childless for more than a decade, which caused conflicts between Jadwiga and her husband, according to chronicles written in the Teutonic Knights' lands. She got pregnant only in late 1398 or early 1399. Sigismund, King of Hungary, came to Krakow in early March to negotiate about a crusade against the Ottoman Turks to defend Wallachia. Vytautas decided to launch an expedition against Timur, who had subdued the Golden Horde, to expand his authority over the Rus' principalities. According to Jan Dlugosz's chronicle, Jadwiga warned the Polish noblemen not to join Vytautas's campaign because it would end in failure. Halecki says that the great number of Polish knights who joined Vytautas's expedition proves that Dlugosz's report is not reliable.

Most political responsibilities, however, were probably in Wladyslaw'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 Krakow Academy, which in 1817 was renamed Jagiellonian University in honour of the couple.

Death and funeral (1399)

Jadwiga gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia, on 22 or 23 June 1399. Her infant daughter died on 13 July. Stanislaw of Skarbimierz expressed his hope that Jadwiga would survive, describing her as the spiritual mother of the poor, weak and ill in Poland in his Soloqium de transitu Hedvigis Reginae Poloniae. However, Jadwiga was dying. She advised her husband to marry Anna of Cilli, who was Casimir the Great's granddaughter, after her death. She died on 17 July. Jadwiga and her daughter were buried together in Wawel Cathedral on 24 August.


The following family tree presents Jadwiga's some relatives who are mentioned in the article (those who were Kings of Poland are colored blue).


Two leading historians, Oscar Halecki and S. Harrison Thomson, agreed that Jadwiga was one of the greatest rulers of Poland, comparable to Boleslaw the Brave and Casimir the Great. Her marriage to Wladyslaw-Jogaila enabled the union of Poland and Lithuania, establishing a large state in East Central Europe. Jadwiga's decision to marry the elderly Wladyslaw-Jogaila instead of her beloved fiance, William of Habsburg has often been described as a sacrifice for her country in Polish historiography. Her biographers emphasize Jadwiga's efforts to preserve the peace with the Teutonic Order, which enabled Poland to make preparations for a decisive war against the Knights. Jadwiga's childless death weakened Wladyslaw-Jogaila's position, because his claim to the Poland was based on their marriage. Six days after her funeral, Wladyslaw-Jogaila left Poland for Ruthenia, stating that he was to return to Lithuania after his wife's death. The Polish lords sent their envoys to Lviv to open negotiations with him. The delegates took new oaths of loyalty to him, confirming his position as king. On the lords' demand, he agreed to marry Anna of Cilli. Their wedding was celebrated on 29 January 1402.

Jadwiga's cultural and charitable activities were of exceptional value. She established new hospitals, schools and churches, and restored older ones. Jadwiga promoted the use of vernacular in church services, especially the singing of hymns in Polish. The Scriptures were translated into Polish on her order.

Casimir the Great had already in 1364 established the University of Krakow, but it did not survive his death. Wladyslaw-Jogaila and Jadwiga jointly asked Pope Boniface IX to sanction the establishment of a faculty of theology in Krakow. The pope granted their request on 11 January 1397. Jadwiga bought houses along a central street of Krakow for the university. However, the faculty was only set up a year after Jadwiga's death: Wladyslaw-Jogaila issued the charter for the reestablished university on 26 July 1400. In accordance with Jadwiga's last will, the restoration of the university was partially financed through the sale of her jewelry.


Oscar Halecki writes that Jadwiga transmitted to the nations of East Central Europe the "universal heritage of the respublica Christiana, which in the West was then waning, but in East Central Europe started flourishing and blending with the pre-Renaissance world". She was closely related to the saintly 13th-century princesses, venerated in Hungary and Poland, including Elizabeth of Hungary and her nieces, Kinga and Yolanda, and Salomea of Poland. She was born to a family famed for it religious zeal. She attended Mass every day. In accordance with her family's tradition, Jadwiga was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. An inscription engraved on her request on a precious chalice, which was placed in the Wawel Cathedral, asked Our Lady to place Poland under her protection.

Jadwiga was venerated in Poland soon after her death. Stanislaw of Skarbimierz stated that she had been "the most Christian queen" in his sermon composed for her funeral. Paul of Zator referred to the wax figures placed by her grave. Sermons written in the early 15th century emphasized that Jadwiga had been a representative of traditional virtues of holy women, such as mercy and benevolence. Jadwiga's contribution to the restoration of the University of Krakow was also mentioned by early 15th-century scholars.

Numerous legends about miracles were recounted to justify her 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. Because of this event, she is considered a medieval mystic. 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 king 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 Krakow's churches.

In yet another legend, Jadwiga was taking part in a Corpus Christi Day procession when a coppersmith's son drowned by falling into a river. Jadwiga threw her mantle over the boy's body, and he regained life.

On 8 June 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 8 August 1986. The Pope went on to canonize Jadwiga in Krakow on 8 June 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.

On 12 July 1949, her grave was again opened. This time she was reburied in a sarcophagus paid for by Karol Lanckoronski, which had been sculpted in white marble in 1902 by Antoni Madeyski. The female king 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 she had been buried – she had sold her jewels to finance the renovation of the Krakow Academy, known today as Jagiellonian University.


Jadwiga of Poland Wikipedia