Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
After the death of Polish and Hungarian king, Louis the Great, who died leaving no male off-springs to rule the country, it was his younger daughter who was chosen to become the king of Poland. She, however, needed a husband deriving from strong dynasty to share the throne and strengthen Poland. The choice was made and Poland gained Lithuanian king – Ladislaus Jagiello. That led to union of the two countries.
He was born as Jogaila around 1362 in Lithuania, where he ruled. The condition, under which the union of Poland and Lithuania was formed, was the baptism of his homeland. In 1386, during the baptism took the name Ladislau. His Lithuanian name, Jogaila, gave the name to one of the Europe’s strongest royal dynasties – Jagiellonian. Couple days after the baptism, Jagiello married Jadwiga and was crowned as a king of Poland.
Newly married wife of Ladislau was much younger than him. As a child she was engaged to Austrian prince, whom she was supposed (and wished) to marry. The legend says that Jadwiga was warned by her subjects about disgusting appearance of Jagiello, that proved not to be truth. She sacrificed her own happiness to the needs of Poland. However, Jadwiga and Ladislau formed a great marriage. She would advise her husband on political issues. Jagiello respected Jadwiga and let her reign as co-monarch. After soon death of Polish queen (deriving from old Polish Piast dynasty) jagiello was left with no make heir and therefore with no legitimate right to rule Poland. His next wise political move was to marry another princess, Anna of Celje, deriving from Piast dynasty. As the latter one also died without leaving male heir to Jagiello, the king needed to gain approval of Polish nobility to reign the country. He remarried still twice and the last wife, Sophia of Halshany, gave birth to two of his sons who afterwards became kings of Poland.
Ladislau Jagiello is always remembered as the one who united Poland and Lithuania as one kingdom. During his reign the country was strong and independent. It was also Jagiello who eventually managed to fight over the Teutonic Order during the battle by Grunwald. Not only did he become good Christian (and founded numerous churches) but also supported education by donating money to Krakow Academy (today’s Jagiellonian University). He is remembered as wise and strong king.