Jadwiga (Poland) (Hungarian: Hedvig; German: Hedwig; c. 1374–1399; Ruled 1384–1399)

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JADWIGA (POLAND) (Hungarian: Hedvig; German: Hedwig; c. 13741399; ruled 13841399)

JADWIGA (POLAND) (Hungarian: Hedvig; German: Hedwig; c. 13741399; ruled 13841399), queen of Poland, wife of Władysław II Jagiełło. The youngest daughter of Louis of Anjou, king of Hungary and Poland, and Elizabeth of Bosnia, Jadwiga was betrothed as early as 1378 to William of Habsburg. When the Polish lords rejected the candidacy of Jadwiga's elder sister, Maria, for the Polish crown (because she had ascended the Hungarian throne in 1382), Elizabeth decided that Jadwiga would be queen of Poland. Jadwiga arrived in Poland in 1384 and was crowned on 16 October of that same year. Her engagement to William, disliked by the Poles, was annulled (1385) and on 15 February 1386, on the initiative of the lords of Little Poland, she was married to the Lithuanian grand duke Jogaila, known after his baptism as Władysław Jagiełło. Their marriage fulfilled a condition of Poland's union with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, concluded at Krewo in 1385.

The position of Jadwiga, heiress to the Polish throne (as great-granddaughter of Władysław I the Short) was equal to that of Jagiełło (who was elected king), but because of her young age she did not play an independent political role for a long time and was mainly a symbol for the supporters of the Polish-Lithuanian union. In 1387 Jadwiga accompanied the troops that took over Red Ruthenia from Hungary. Probably influenced by the lords who surrounded her, she was an advocate of a peaceful solution to the conflict with the Order of Teutonic Knights, and in 13971398 she conducted unsuccessful negotiations with the grand master of the Order, Konrad von Jungingen, in an attempt to recover the duchy of Dobrzyñ. She also mediated in Jagiełło's diplomatic talks with the Lithuanian princes.

A well-educated woman, Jadwiga was surrounded by scholars. It was also said that she had an aura of saintliness. In her last will (1399) she bequeathed some of her jewels to Cracow Academy (later the Jagiellonian University), which made possible its renovation in 1400. She died giving birth to a daughter, who also died. Her death weakened Jagiełło's position as king of Poland and left the question of succession open. Jadwiga was buried in the cathedral on Wawel Hill in Cracow. Her cult began to grow soon after her death, and she was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 8 June 1997.

See also Poland to 1569 ; Władysław II Jagiełło .


Halecki, Oskar. Jadwiga of Anjou and the rise of East Central Europe. Edited by Thaddeus V. Gromada. Boulder, Colo., and Highland Lakes, N.J., 1991.

Wyrozumski, Jerzy. Królowa Jadwiga: Między epoką piastowską i jagiellońską. Cracow, 1997.

Marcin Kamler