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United Kingdom of Poland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kingdom of Poland
Królestwo Polskie (Polish)
Regnum Poloniae (Latin)
Poland between 1333 and 1370.
Poland between 1333 and 1370.
StatusPersonal union with Kingdom of Hungary (1370–1384)
Personal union with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1385–1386)
Official languagesPolish
Roman Catholicism
Armenian Apostolic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Slavic paganism
GovernmentHereditary monarchy
• 1320–1333
Władysław I Łokietek
• 1384–1386
Jadwiga of Poland
Historical eraHigh Middle Ages
• Unification of the Polish duchies
20 January 1320
14 August 1385
• Beining of the personal union with Kingdom of Hungary
17 November 1370
10 September 1384
• Corronation of Władysław II Jagiełło
4 March 1386
1370270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi)
• 1370
2.5 million
CurrencyKraków grosz
Prague groschen (area under the Magdeburg Law)
ISO 3166 codePL
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Poland
Crown of the Kingdom of Poland
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The United Kingdom of Poland,[a] at the time known as the Kingdom of Poland,[b] was a kingdom in Central Europe. Its capital was Kraków. The state was formed on 20 January 1320, with the coronation of Władysław I Łokietek, from the confederal Kingdom of Poland, that consisted of various duchies. It existed until 1386, when, following the Union of Krewo of 1385 and the subsequent coronation of Władysław II Jagiełło on 4 March, it entered into a personal union with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and was reformed as the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1370, it had an area of 270 000 km² (104 247.6 square miles) and a population of around 2.5 million people.


In 1320, Greater Poland, became the first king of Poland crowned in Kraków's Wawel Cathedral instead of Gniezno. The coronation was hesitantly agreed to by Pope John XXII in spite of the opposition of King John of Bohemia, who had also claimed the Polish crown. John undertook an expedition aimed at Kraków in 1327, which he was compelled to abort; in 1328, he waged a crusade against Lithuania, during which he formalized an alliance with the Teutonic Order. The Order was in a state of war with Poland from 1327 to 1332 (see Battle of Płowce). As a result, the Knights captured Dobrzyń Land and Kujawy. Władysław was helped by his alliances with Hungary (his daughter Elizabeth was married to King Charles I in 1320) and Lithuania (in a pact of 1325 against the Teutonic State and the marriage of Władysław's son Casimir to Aldona, daughter of the Lithuanian ruler Gediminas).[1] After 1329, a peace agreement with Brandenburg also assisted his efforts. A lasting achievement of King John of Bohemia (and a great loss to Poland) was his success in forcing most of the Piast Silesian principalities, often ambivalent about their loyalties, into allegiance between 1327 and 1329.[2][3]

After the death of Władysław I, the old monarch's 23-year-old son became King Casimir III, later known as Casimir the Great (r. 1333–1370). Unlike his father, the new king demonstrated no attraction for the hardships of military life. Casimir's contemporaries did not give him much of a chance of overcoming the country's mounting difficulties or succeeding as a ruler. But from the beginning, Casimir acted prudently, and in 1335, he purchased the claims of King John of Bohemia to the Polish throne. In 1343, Casimir settled several high-level arbitration disputes with the Teutonic Order by a territorial compromise that culminated in the Treaty of Kalisz of 1343. Dobrzyń Land and Kuyavia were recovered by Casimir. At that time, Poland started to expand to the east and through a series of military campaigns between 1340 and 1366, Casimir annexed the HalychVolodymyr area of Rus'. The town of Lviv there attracted newcomers of several nationalities, was granted municipal rights in 1356, and had thus begun its career as Lwów, the main Polish centre in the midst of a Rus' Orthodox population. Supported by Hungary, the Polish king in 1338 promised the Hungarian ruling house the Polish throne in the event he dies without male heirs.[4][5]

Casimir, who formally gave up his rights to several Silesian principalities in 1339, unsuccessfully tried to recover the region by conducting military activities against the House of Luxembourg (the rulers of Bohemia) between 1343 and 1348, but then blocked the attempted separation of Silesia from the Gniezno Archdiocese by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Later, until his death, he pursued the Polish claim to Silesia legally by petitioning the pope; his successors did not continue his efforts.[5]

Allied with Denmark and Western Pomerania (Gdańsk Pomerania was granted to the Order as an "eternal charity"), Casimir was able to impose some corrections on the western border. In 1365, Drezdenko and Santok became Poland's fiefs, while the Wałcz district was taken outright in 1368. The latter action severed the land connection between Brandenburg and the Teutonic state and connected Poland with Farther Pomerania.[5]

Casimir the Great considerably solidified the country's position in both foreign and domestic affairs. Domestically, he integrated and centralized the reunited Polish state and helped develop what was considered the "Crown of the Polish Kingdom": the state within its actual boundaries, as well as past or potential boundaries. Casimir established or strengthened kingdom-wide institutions (such as the powerful state treasury) independent of the regional, class, or royal court-related interests. Internationally, the Polish king was very active diplomatically; he cultivated close contacts with other European rulers and was a staunch defender of the interests of the Polish state. In 1364, he sponsored the Congress of Kraków, in which a number of monarchs participated, which was concerned with the promotion of peaceful cooperation and political balance in Central Europe.[5]

Immediately after Casimir's death in 1370, the heirless king's nephew Louis of Hungary of the Capetian House of Anjou assumed the Polish throne. As Casimir's actual commitment to the Anjou succession seemed problematic from the beginning (in 1368 the Polish king adopted his grandson, Casimir of Słupsk), Louis engaged in succession negotiations with Polish knights and nobility starting in 1351. They supported him, exacting in return further guarantees and privileges for themselves; the formal act was negotiated in Buda in 1355. After his coronation, Louis returned to Hungary; he left his mother and Casimir's sister Elizabeth in Poland as regents.[6]

With the death of Casimir the Great, the period of hereditary (Piast) monarchy in Poland came to an end. The land owners and nobles did not want a strong monarchy; a constitutional monarchy was established between 1370 and 1493 that included the beginning of the general sejm, the dominant bicameral parliament of the future.[6]

During the reign of Louis I, Poland formed a Polish-Hungarian union. In the pact of 1374 (the Privilege of Koszyce), the Polish nobility was granted extensive concessions and agreed to extend the Anjou succession to Louis's daughters, as Louis had no sons. Louis's neglect of Polish affairs resulted in the loss of Casimir's territorial gains, including Halych Rus', which was recovered by Queen Jadwiga in 1387.[6][7]

The Hungarian-Polish union lasted for twelve years and ended in war. After Louis's death in 1382 and a power struggle that resulted in the Greater Poland Civil War, the Polish nobility decided that Jadwiga, Louis's youngest daughter, should become the next "King of Poland"; Jadwiga arrived in 1384 and was crowned at the age of eleven. The failure of the union of Poland and Hungary paved the way for the union of Lithuania and Poland.[6]


The state was subdivided into the voivodeships, which were then subdivided into lands and then counties.


The country held control over various fiefdoms. It included duchies of Łęczyca, Sieradz, Brześć Kujawski, Inowrocław, Bydgoszcz and Wyszogród, Gniewkowo, Dobrzyń, Wieluń, Warsaw, Rawa, Czersk, Płock, Wizna, Belz, Chełm and Volodymyr.

List of rulers


  1. ^ Polish: Zjednoczone Królestwo Polskie
  2. ^ Polish: Królestwo Polskie; Latin: Regnum Poloniae


  1. ^ Ed. Andrzej Chwalba, Kalendarium dziejów Polski, pp. 74–75, Krzysztof Stopka
  2. ^ Jerzy Wyrozumski, Historia Polski do roku 1505, pp. 155–160
  3. ^ Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki, A Concise History of Poland, pp. 14–26
  4. ^ Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki, A Concise History of Poland, pp. 26–34
  5. ^ a b c d Jerzy Wyrozumski, Historia Polski do roku 1505 (History of Poland until 1505), pp. 160–171
  6. ^ a b c d Jerzy Wyrozumski, Historia Polski do roku 1505, pp. 169–173
  7. ^ Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki, A Concise History of Poland, pp. 42–44
This page was last edited on 17 September 2021, at 16:49
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