Hedwig Jagiellon, Electress of Brandenburg

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Hedwig Jagiellon
Jadwiga Jagiellonka.jpg
Electress consort of Brandenburg
Tenure 1535–1571
Born 15 March 1513
Died 7 February 1573(1573-02-07) (aged 59)
Spouse Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg
Elisabeth Magdalena, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Sigismund, Bishop of Magdeburg
Hedwig, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Sophia, Countess of Rosenberg
House House of Jagiellon (by birth)
House of Hohenzollern (by marriage)
Father Sigismund I the Old
Mother Barbara Zápolya

Hedwig Jagiellon (Lithuanian : Jadvyga Jogailaitė, Polish : Jadwiga Jagiellonka, German : Hedwig Jagiellonica; 15 March 1513 – 7 February 1573) was an Electress of Brandenburg by marriage to Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg.

Lithuanian language language spoken in Lithuania

Lithuanian is a Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.9 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200,000 abroad.

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.


Early life

Hedwig was born on March 15, 1513 in Poznań. She was the eldest daughter of King Sigismund I the Old of Poland and his first wife, Hungarian Countess Barbara Zápolya, sister of the later King John I of Hungary. Her only full sibling, Anna, died at age 5. Her father remarried and had six children with his second wife. Although she grew up with her half brothers and sisters, she had personal tutors, and in the court she received the nickname of "reginula". [1]

Poznań Place in Greater Poland, Poland

Poznań is a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region and is the fifth-largest city in Poland. It is best known for its renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs such as Saint John's Fair, traditional Saint Martin's croissants and a local dialect.

Sigismund I the Old King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania

Sigismund I of Poland, of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548. Earlier, Sigismund had been invested as Duke of Silesia. A successful monarch and a great patron of arts, he established Polish suzerainty over Ducal Prussia and incorporated the duchy of Mazovia into the Polish state, securing the nation's wealth, culture and power.

Barbara Zápolya Queen consort of Poland, grandduchess consort of Lithuania

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.

Hedwig was described by Olaus Magnus, who met her in 1528, as a "very beautiful, wise maiden [...] finer than all the riches I have just mentioned, and worthy of a glorious realm." [2]

Olaus Magnus was a Swedish writer and Catholic ecclesiastic.

Her hand was first sought by King Gustav I of Sweden, who was determined to make her his first queen. In 1526, Johannes Magnus was sent to Poland by the King of Sweden to negotiate the marriage. Despite the suitor's decision to moderate the religious reforms in his kingdom, Hedwig's father declined Gustav's offer after hearing about Gustav's ill relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and the opportunity to become Queen of Sweden perished (only to be presented later to Hedwig's half-sister Catherine). [3] [4]

Gustav I of Sweden 16th century king of Sweden

Gustav I, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known as Gustav Vasa, was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death in 1560, previously self-recognised Protector of the Realm (Riksföreståndare) from 1521, during the ongoing Swedish War of Liberation against King Christian II of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Initially of low standing, Gustav rose to lead the rebel movement following the Stockholm Bloodbath, in which his father perished. Gustav's election as King on 6 June 1523 and his triumphant entry into Stockholm eleven days later marked Sweden's final secession from the Kalmar Union.

Johannes Magnus Roman Catholic archbishop

Johannes Magnus was the last functioning Catholic Archbishop in Sweden, and also a theologian, genealogist, and historian.

Catherine Jagiellon Queen of Sweden

Catherine Jagiellon was a Polish princess and the wife of John III of Sweden. As such, she was Duchess of Finland (1562–83), Queen of Sweden (1569–83) and Grand Princess of Finland (1581–83). 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.

Electress consort of Brandenburg

The next suitor was from Brandenburg. The intensely Catholic Georg von Blumenthal, Bishop of Lebus, was sent to negotiate the marriage. On 29 August or 1 September 1535 Hedwig married Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg. The wedding was held in Kraków. As the Jagiellon dynasty was Catholic, Joachim II promised Sigismund he would not make Hedwig change her religion and gave her as a dower the county of Ruppin as well as the cities Alt Ruppin and Neuruppin. The marriage contract, signed on 21 March 1535, stipulated that Hedwig would be allowed to bring a Polish priest with her and always be free in the exercise of Catholic prayers. [5]

Georg von Blumenthal Prince-bishop

Georg von Blumenthal was a German Prince-Bishop of Ratzeburg and Bishop of Lebus. He also served as a Privy Councillor of the Margraviate of Brandenburg and Chancellor of the University of Frankfurt (Oder), commonly called the Viadrina.

Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg Elector of Brandenburg (1535-1571)

Joachim II was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1535–1571), the sixth member of the House of Hohenzollern. Joachim II was the eldest son of Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg and his wife Elizabeth of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. He received the cognomen Hector after the Trojan prince and warrior for his athel qualities and prowess.

Kraków Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Kraków, also spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The marriage did not satisfy Hedwig's mother-in-law, Elizabeth of Denmark, a devout Protestant, for Catholic services were held for Hedwig in her private chapel. The Dowager Electress was also unhappy because Hedwig could not speak German. [6]

After breaking her thigh and hurting her back in the collapse of a floor at a hunting lodge, Hedwig spent the last 22 years of her life crippled. The accident signified the collapse of her marriage, which was already damaged by differences in religion and language. Hedwig was replaced by her husband's mistress, Anna Sydow, whom Joachim treated as his wife and who was recognized publicly. [6]

Hedwig died in Neuruppin on 7 February 1573, two years after her husband.

She is one of the characters on the famous painting by Jan Matejko, Prussian Homage .


Hedwig and Joachim had six children:


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  1. Dr. Veress, Endre (1901). Izabella kiralyne. Budapest. Magyar Tudomanyos Akademia.
  2. Magnus, Olaus (1998). Foote, P. G., ed. A Description of the Northern Peoples. Translated by P. Fisher; H. Higgens. London: The Hakluyt Society. p. 660. ISBN   0-904180-58-1.
  3. Roberts, Michael (1986). The Early Vasas: a History of Sweden 1523–1611. CUP Archive. p. 93. ISBN   0-521-31182-9 . Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  4. Deppermann, Klaus; Drewery, Benjamin (1987). Melchior Hoffman: social unrest and apocalyptic visions in the Age of Reformation. T. & T. Clark. p. 90. ISBN   0-567-09338-7 . Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  5. Fay, Sidney Bradshaw (October 1916 – July 1917). "The Hohenzollern Household and Administration in the Sixteenth Century". Smith College Studies in History. Smith College. 2: 20. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  6. 1 2 Chadwick, Owen (2003). The Early Reformation on the Continent. Oxford University Press. p. 179. ISBN   0-19-926578-X . Retrieved August 30, 2009.
Hedwig Jagiellon, Electress of Brandenburg
Born: March 15 1513 Died: 7 February 1573
German nobility
Title last held by
Elizabeth of Denmark
Electress consort of Brandenburg
August 29/September 1, 1535 – January 3, 1571
Succeeded by
Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach