Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
When in 12th century one of Polish kings divided the kingdom among his sons, nobody expected what the division would bring. He hoped to prevent the country from fights over the rule. His idea was to leave piece of land to each of his sons, letting the eldest one from the family (called ‘senior’) to have supervision over all of the lands and all of the princes ruling it. As the princes started to fight to gain the power over the whole of Poland, the citizens of the country started to hope for the reunion.
Wladyslaw Lokietek (as his nickname says: the Short or the Elbow-high) was the prince of one of the provinces of divided country. Most probably nobody expected that he would be the very one who would lead to reuniting Polish lands. He tried to gain the rule over Krakow, that was at that time the seat of the ‘senior’ prince, and get crowned. Only due to his stubbornness he managed to defeat his opponents and win the support of the citizens of Krakow. Still during his struggle to rule Krakow there were other rulers who managed to get crowned and gain the title of king of Poland – Przemysl II and Waclaw IV. However, only for a short time. After the death of the latter (and his son) Wladyslaw entered the senior’s seat. He needed to have granted many privileges to Krakow citizens and merchants to get their respect and loyalty, but he managed.
In 1320 Ladislaus the Short was crowned in Krakow cathedral, as the first king to be crowned in the new capital of Poland. He was also the first one to be buried there (or at least whose grave was saved to the future nation). He managed to reunite some of the lands that used to be the part of the large country ruled by his ancestors. However, the act of the reunion began.
It is hard to access Ladislaus the Short as the ruler. For sure he was a stubborn man who managed to make his plans come true. He was also a lucky man, as he would probably not manage to get crowned as a king of Poland if not the quick and unexpected deaths of his predecessors. Although his newly born country was only about 1/3 of what it was in 12th century, he is still remembered as the one who reunited its most important lands. Further works of reunion were continued by his son, Casimir the Great, who was left already strong and loyal to its king country.