Queen Anna in her coronation robes (1576 painting by Martin Kober)
| Queen of Poland |
Grand Duchess of Lithuania
|Reign||15 December 1575 – 18 September 1587|
|Coronation||1 May 1576 in Kraków|
|Predecessor||Henry de Valois|
|Successor||Sigismund III Vasa|
|Born||18 October 1523|
Kraków, Kingdom of Poland
|Died||9 September 1596 72) (aged|
Warsaw, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
|Burial||12 November 1596|
(m. 1576;died 1586)
|Father||Sigismund I the Old|
Anna Jagiellon (Polish : Anna Jagiellonka, Lithuanian : Ona Jogailaitė; 18 October 1523 – 12 November 1596) was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania from 1575 to 1586.
Daughter of Polish King Sigismund I the Old and Italian duchess Bona Sforza, Anna received multiple proposals, but remained unmarried until the age of 52. After the death of King Sigismund II Augustus, her brother and the last male member of the Jagiellonian dynasty, her hand was sought by pretenders to the Polish throne to maintain the dynastic tradition. Along with her then-fiancé Stephen Báthory, Anna was elected as co-ruler in the 1576 royal election of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Their marriage was a formal arrangement and distant.
While Báthory was preoccupied with the Livonian War, Anna spent her time on local administrative matters and several construction projects, including the city wall Stara Prochownia to protect Sigismund Augustus Bridge. After her husband's death in December 1586, Anna had the opportunity to claim the throne again, but instead promoted her nephew Sigismund III Vasa as the next ruler and established the House of Vasa on the Polish throne for the next eighty years (1587–1668).
Anna Jagiellon was born on 18 October 1523 in Kraków, Kingdom of Poland. Her parents were the Polish King and Queen, Sigismund I the Old and Bona Sforza. She spent most of her childhood in Kraków with her sisters Sophia and Catherine. From June 1533 to November 1536 and from April 1540 to June 1542, the younger sisters were left alone in Kraków while the rest of the family was in Lithuania. That meant that the three sisters grew closer, but were more distant from their elder brother Sigismund Augustus.
Like all her siblings, Anna received a good education. She was well-versed in architecture and finances, as well as fluent in Italian and Latin.In her free time, she embroidered and sewed beautiful tapestries (many of her works survived to this day), played chess and dice, and was involved in works of charity.
The issue of marriage of the youngest three Jagiellon sisters was neglected by both their parents.Only after their father's death in 1548, the first serious candidate to husband emerged – Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, but he was a Hohenzollern and a Protestant, had debts and a bad temper. In summer 1548, after a conflict with King Sigismund II Augustus over his secret marriage with Barbara Radziwiłł, Queen Mother Bona and her unmarried daughters moved to Mazovia, mainly Warsaw and Ujazdów Castle. In 1550, Bona attempted to negotiate marriage with Charles Victor or Philip, sons of Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, or Prince Ernest of Bavaria. After a family meeting in May 1552 in Płock, Sigismund II Augustus considered marrying his sisters to King Gustav I of Sweden, Dukes John Frederick II and Johann Wilhelm of Saxony, and Duke John Albert I of Mecklenburg, but lacked resolve and consistency. In January 1556, Bona managed to arrange a marriage for Sophia. A month later, Bona departed to her native Italy, leaving her two unmarried daughters alone in Warsaw.
After about a year, Sigismund II Augustus brought his sisters to Vilnius where they became close to his third wife, Catherine of Austria.Even though Anna was already in her mid-thirties, Sigismund investigated marriage proposals. Widowed Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, didn't want to remarry; his unmarried son Charles II (born 1540) was too young; Tsar Ivan the Terrible wasn't deemed beneficial for Poland–Lithuania; and John Frederick, Duke of Pomerania didn't want an alliance with Poland as it would have drawn the Duchy of Pomerania into the Livonian War. King Eric XIV of Sweden was personally more interested in pursuing marriage with Queen Elizabeth I of England, but sought an alliance with Poland and suggested his half-brother John, Duke of Finland. John agreed, but asked for Catherine. It was against custom for a younger sister to marry first, therefore their wedding was postponed. Three more grooms were proposed for Anna: Danish prince Magnus was supposed to become a Lutheran bishop which would be unacceptable marriage for the Catholic Poles; the last Master of the Livonian Order Gotthard Kettler wasn't of royal blood and his control of Livonia was tenuous; John's younger brother, Magnus, Duke of Östergötland. Sigismund II Augustus agreed to the double Polish–Swedish alliance, but only John arrived to the wedding in Vilnius. The court demanded that John married Anna, but he insisted on Catherine. Needing Swedish troops and money in the Livonian War, Sigismund II Augustus relented if Anna didn't protest. Though it must have been humiliating, Anna agreed and Catherine married John on 4 October 1562.
As Vilnius wasn't safe due to the Livonian War, Anna moved to the Royal Castle in Warsaw and lived there for about ten years with a court of about 70 people. She spent her time playing games, embroidering, praying, and corresponding with her sisters. Her brother visited her annually when he attended sessions of the general sejm ("Parliament") in Warsaw.Even though Anna was already in her forties, marriage proposals continued to come in. In 1564, Reichard, Count Palatine of Simmern-Sponheim, proposed but perhaps was deterred by her relatively small dowry of 32,000 Polish red złoty. In 1568, her sister Sophia proposed Eberhard, eldest son of Christoph, Duke of Württemberg, but he died the same year. In 1569, a project emerged to marry Anna to Barnim X, Duke of Pomerania, who demanded that she would bring eight border territories as her dowry, which was unacceptable to Poland. In 1572, Sophia proposed Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia, but Sigismund II Augustus refused.
In July 1572, her brother Sigismund II Augustus died, leaving the throne to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth vacant. His death changed Anna's status from a neglected spinster to the heiress of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sigismund left all the wealth of the Jagiellon dynasty to his three sisters, but Polish nobles didn't allow a private person to inherit royal possessions.Thus, Anna received only a small portion of her inheritance, but still became her a very rich woman. She left Warsaw and traveled to Piaseczno, Płock, Łomża.
Jean de Monluc, Bishop of Valence, offered the French Prince Henry de Valois to the electors of the Commonwealth as the next King. Among other things, Montluc promised the electors that Henry would marry the heiress of the Jagiellons to maintain the dynastic tradition.Although Polish nobles sought to keep her out of the political arena, Anna learned of Henry's offer in spring 1573 and became his strong supporter, flattered that he "cared for her and not only for the Kingdom". With her support, he was elected as King of Poland on 11 May 1573 and officially crowned on 21 February 1574. However, due to an oversight (whether intentional or unintentional), Henrician Articles (Henry's pre-election treaty) didn't include the promise to marry the Jagiellon heiress and so he delayed. When it became apparent that Henry wouldn't marry her, Anna was humiliated. In June 1574, he left Poland to assume his new duties as King of France and by May 1575 the Parliament of the Commonwealth had removed him as their monarch.
During the second interregnum, Anna assumed the unprecedented but politically important title of Infanta, mirroring the Spanish custom and highlighting her dynastic status.Poland didn't recognize the status of crown prince since, technically, the monarchy wasn't hereditary but elective between the native noble families and foreign royalty. Despite this, she still referred to herself as "Anna, by the Grace of God, Infanta of the Kingdom of Poland" (Latin: "Anna Dei Gratia Infans Regni Poloniae"). She wanted to marry and become Queen of Poland, but deceived by the French, she was a lot more careful and didn't voice her support publicly. She was skeptical of marriage proposals by Archduke Ernest of Austria, Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Frederick IV of Liegnitz. In December 1575, diplomat Jan Zamoyski proposed to elect Anna. As ancient laws didn't allow an unmarried woman rule, Stephen Báthory, Voivode of Transylvania, was proposed as her husband. On 15 December 1575, in Wola near Warsaw, Anna and Báthory were elected as co-rulers of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, the Lithuanian delegation didn't participate in the election and didn't recognize its results. Only on 29 June 1576, already after the coronation ceremony, Lithuanian nobility agreed to recognize the couple.
On 28 February 1576, Anna entered Kraków as the officially elected queen. Báthory joined her on 23 April.On 1 May, they were married and crowned at Wawel Cathedral. The Queen spent most of her time in Warsaw and Ujazdów Castle.
Although she was forced to surrender the inheritance from her brother after her coronation; in return Anna received some of his properties for her lifetime, Mazovian properties that once belonged to her mother, the treasury kept at Tykocin, a one-time payment of 60,000 gold coins,income from Wieliczka Salt Mine, and interest on her mother's loan to King Philip II of Spain (the loan was never fully repaid and is known as Neapolitan sums). Anna was supposed to share that interest with her sister Catherine, but apparently never did.
Receiving substantial income, Anna sponsored and supervised several constructions projects. She completed reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Ujazdów Castle, and the Sigismund Augustus Bridge over Vistula River, the longest wooden bridge in Europe at the time at 500 meters in length. She built the city wall Stara Prochownia, known as the Bridge Gate, to protect the wooden bridge from fire; the tomb monument of her brother in the Sigismund's Chapel from to 1574 to 1575 and 1584 with the help of architect Santi Gucci;and the tomb of her mother in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari from 1589 to 1595. Around the same time, she built her own tomb in the Sigismund's Chapel.
Although there were rumors that Anna hadn't had her menopause and thus could still conceive, her marriage was a formal affair.The couple were distant and would see each other only a few weeks a year when Báthory, generally preoccupied with the Livonian War, attended general sejm in Warsaw. She supported her husband with money for weapons, but was visibly upset because she sought a closer personal relationship and greater political influence. This was also Báthory's loss as he failed to gain a valuable political ally. There were rumors that he might seek a divorce so he could marry a younger woman and father an heir, which further alienated Anna, who even approached anti-Báthory groups and opposed his Livonian campaign. She refused to allow her husband's burial in the Sigismund's Chapel; perhaps it was her retribution for the distant marriage as traditions dictated that husband and wife shouldn't be separated in death. Stephen Báthory was buried in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, though his wife did order his tomb monument in 1589.
After her husband's death in December 1586, Anna had the opportunity to claim the political power in the Commonwealth for herself as she was an elected queen,but instead resolved to promote her niece Anna Vasa or her nephew Sigismund Vasa, the only children of her beloved sister Catherine and King John III of Sweden. Her initial plan, formulated while her husband was still alive, was to wed Anna Vasa to one of the nephews of Stephen Báthory and promote the couple to the throne. However, this plan didn't gain support among the nobility and she then planned to sponsor Sigismund Vasa to the throne. As a back up plan, she pursued marriage between Anna Vasa and Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria, the other likely candidate to the throne. Initially, King John III didn't want to let his only son and heir out of his sight, but Queen Anna managed to convince him. In her campaigns, she wrote numerous letters and used her wealth to gain crucial support from Zamoyski, who was married to Griselda Báthory and held his own ambitions for the throne. Sigismund Vasa was elected king on 19 August 1587. He and his sister Anna arrived to Poland in October 1587.
After the coronation and the brief War of the Polish Succession, Anna and her niece settled in Warsaw while Sigismund spent most of his time in Kraków. She became attached to her nephew,participating in his wedding with Anne of Austria and the baptism of their firstborn, Anna Maria. After his father's death in November 1592, Sigismund Vasa spent about a year in Sweden. During that time, his newborn daughter was entrusted to the Polish Infanta's care. In July 1595, she was the godmother of Władysław Vasa, the future King of Poland. A happier Anna died in Warsaw on 9 September 1596 at the age of 72 as the last Jagiellon.
Sigismund II Augustus was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548. He was the first ruler of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the last male monarch from the Jagiellonian dynasty.
Sigismund I the Old was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until his death in 1548. Sigismund I was a member of the Jagiellonian dynasty, the son of Casimir IV and younger brother of kings John I Albert and Alexander I Jagiellon. He was nicknamed "the Old" in later historiography to distinguish him from his son and successor, Sigismund II Augustus.
Bona Sforza d’Aragona was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania as the second wife of Sigismund I the Old, and Duchess of Bari and Rossano by her own right. She was a surviving member of the powerful House of Sforza, which ruled the Duchy of Milan since 1447.
Catherine Jagiellon was a Polish princess and Queen of Sweden as the first wife of King John III. As such, she was also Duchess of Finland (1562–1583) and Grand Princess of Finland (1581–1583). Catherine had significant influence over state affairs during the reign of her spouse and negotiated with the pope to introduce a counter-reformation in Sweden. She was the mother of the future Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland.
Barbara Radziwiłł was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania as consort of Sigismund II Augustus, the last male monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty. Barbara, a great beauty and already widowed, became a royal mistress most likely in 1543 and they married in secret in July or August 1547. The marriage caused a scandal; it was vehemently opposed by Polish nobles, including Queen mother Bona Sforza. Sigismund Augustus, assisted by Barbara's cousin Mikołaj "the Black" Radziwiłł and brother Mikołaj "the Red" Radziwiłł, worked tirelessly to gain recognition of their marriage and to crown Barbara as Queen of Poland. They succeeded and Barbara's coronation was held on 7 December 1550 at Wawel Cathedral. However, her health was already failing and she died just five months later. Even though it was brief, her reign propelled the Radziwiłł family to new heights of political power and influence.
Isabella Jagiellon was the oldest child of Polish King Sigismund I the Old, the Grand Duke of Lithuania and his Italian wife Bona Sforza. In 1539, she married John Zápolya, Voivode of Transylvania and King of Hungary, becoming Queen consort of Hungary. At the time Hungary was contested between Archduke Ferdinand of Austria who wanted to add it to the Habsburg domains, local nobles who wanted to keep Hungary independent, and Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who saw it as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. While Isabella's marriage lasted only a year and a half, it did produce a male heir – John Sigismund Zápolya born just two weeks before his father's death in July 1540. She spent the rest of her life embroiled in succession disputes on behalf of her son. Her husband's death sparked renewed hostilities but Sultan Suleiman established her as a regent of the eastern regions of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary on behalf of her infant son. The region developed as a semi-independent buffer state noted for its freedom of religion. Ferdinand, however, never renounced his claims to reunite Hungary and conspired with Bishop George Martinuzzi who forced Isabella to abdicate in 1551. She returned to her native Poland to live with her family. Sultan Suleiman retaliated and threatened to invade Hungary in 1555–56 forcing nobles to invite Isabella back to Transylvania. She returned in October 1556 and ruled as her son's regent until her death in September 1559.
Elizabeth of Austria was the wife of King Casimir IV of Poland and thus Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania. Orphaned at an early age, she spent her childhood in the court of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III. As one of the three surviving grandchildren of Emperor Sigismund, she had a strong claim to the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia. That made her an attractive bride for a Polish prince. The Polish nobility, seeking to increase Polish influence in Hungary and Bohemia, pursued marriage with Elizabeth since she was born and finally succeeded in 1454. Her marriage to Casimir was one of the most successful royal marriages in Poland. She gave birth to thirteen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. Four of her sons were crowned as kings.
Hedwig Jagiellon was a Polish and Lithuanian princess, and a member of the Jagiellon dynasty. For most of her life she, as the only child of Wladyslaw Jagiello, was considered to be heiress of the Polish and Lithuanian thrones. After the birth of Jagiello's sons in 1424 and 1427, Hedwig had some support for her claims to the throne. She died in 1431 amidst rumors that she was poisoned by her stepmother Sophia of Halshany.
Sophia of Halshany or Sonka Olshanskaya was a Grand Duchy of Lithuania princess of Halshany. As the fourth and last wife of Jogaila, King of Poland and Supreme Duke of Lithuania, she was Queen consort of Poland (1422–1434). As the mother of Władysław III, King of Poland and Hungary, and Casimir IV, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, she was the mother of the Jagiellon dynasty.
Anna of Cilli or Anne of Celje was Queen consort of Poland (1402–1416). She was the second wife of Jogaila, King of Poland and Supreme Duke of Lithuania. Their marriage was politically motivated to strengthen Jogaila's ties with the Piast dynasty and his claims to the Polish throne. Their marriage was rather distant and during fourteen years Anna bore only one daughter, Hedwig Jagiellon, who died without issue.
Anna Vasa of Sweden was a Polish and Swedish princess, starosta of Brodnica and Golub. She was the youngest child of King John III of Sweden and Catherine Jagiellon. She was close to her brother Sigismund Vasa, King of Poland (1587–1632) and King of Sweden (1592–99). Raised a Catholic, Anna converted to Lutheranism in 1584 which made her ineligible bride for many of Europe's Catholic royals and she remained unmarried.
Elizabeth of Austria was a Queen consort of Poland. She was the eldest of fifteen children of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, and his wife Anne of Bohemia and Hungary. A member of the House of Habsburg, she was married off to Sigismund II Augustus, who was already crowned as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania even though both of his parents were still alive and well. The marriage was short and unhappy. Elizabeth was of frail health, suffering from epileptic seizures, and died at age 18.
Catherine of Austria was one of the fifteen children of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. In 1553, she married Polish King Sigismund II Augustus and became Queen consort of Poland and Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania. Their marriage was not happy and they had no children together. After a likely miscarriage in 1554 and a bout of illness in 1558, Sigismund became increasingly distant. He tried but failed to obtain a divorce from the pope. In 1565, Catherine returned to Austria and lived in Linz until her death. Sigismund died just a few months after her bringing the Jagiellon dynasty to its end.
Elizabeth Granowska or Elisabeth Pilecki was Queen consort of Poland (1417–1420) as the third wife of Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila), Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland.
Barbara Zápolya (1495–1515) was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania as the first wife of King Sigismund I the Old. Marriage to Barbara represented an alliance between Sigismund and the House of Zápolya against the Habsburgs in succession disputes over the throne to the Kingdom of Hungary. The alliance was short-lived as the renewed Muscovite–Lithuanian War forced Sigismund to look for Habsburg allies. The marriage was loving, but short. Barbara was the mother of Hedwig, Electress of Bradenburg, but died soon after the birth of her second daughter Anna.
Sophia of Poland, was a princess, member of the Jagiellonian dynasty, great grand daughter of Emperor Sigismund and by marriage Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach.
Sophia Jagiellon of Poland, a member of the Jagiellonian dynasty, was a Polish princess and Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel from 1556 to 1568 by her marriage with Duke Henry V.
The Jagiellonian dynasty was a royal dynasty, founded by Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who in 1386 was baptized as Władysław, married Queen regnant Jadwiga of Poland, and was crowned King of Poland as Władysław II Jagiełło. The dynasty reigned in several Central European countries between the 14th and 16th centuries. Members of the dynasty were Kings of Poland (1386–1572), Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Kings of Hungary, and Kings of Bohemia (1471–1526).
The Neapolitan sums refers to a loan made in 1557 by Bona Sforza, dowager Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania, to Philip II of Spain. The debt was never repaid and continued to be disputed between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Kingdom of Spain up until the Third Partition in 1795. The phrase sumy neapolitańskie became synonymous in the Polish language with empty promises to repay debt.
In der Zeit des zweiten Interregnums trug sie den Titel „Anna Dei Gratia Infans Regni Poloniae".
Anna JagiellonBorn: 18 October 1523 Died: 9 September 1596
Title last held byHenry de Valois
| Queen of Poland |
Grand Duchess of Lithuania
with Stephen Báthory
Title next held bySigismund Vasa
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