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Maria of Hungary (1371–1395)

Maria of Hungary (1371–1395)

Queen of Hungary and Bohemia . Name variations: Maria of Anjou; Mary of Anjou. Born in 1371 in Hungary (some sources cite 1370); died on May 17, 1395, in Hungary (some sources cite 1392); daughter of Louis I the Great, king of Hungary (r. 1342–1382), king of Poland (r. 1370–1382), and Elizabeth of Bosnia (c. 1345–1387); sister of Jadwiga (1374–1399), queen of Poland (r. 1384–1399); became first wife of Sigismund I (1368–1437), margrave of Brandenburg, king of Bohemia (r. 1419–1437), duke of Luxemburg (1419–1437), king of Hungary (r. 1387–1437), and Holy Roman emperor (r. 1410–1437), in October 1385.

Maria of Hungary was born in 1371, the daughter of King Louis I the Great of Poland and Hungary, and Queen Elizabeth of Bosnia . Louis conquered the kingdom of Naples for his young relative, Charles of Durazzo, but reserved his major holdings for his two daughters, Maria and Jadwiga . When Louis died in 1382, Jadwiga became queen of Poland, while Maria inherited Hungary at age 17. She married the German noble Sigismund (I), margrave of Brandenburg, who soon became king of Germany and Bohemia (he later was crowned Holy Roman emperor). This put Maria and Sigismund in control of most of Central and Eastern Europe, from the French border across almost to the Black Sea.

The emperor and empress ruled well together; both were ambitious and politically astute, making important alliances and preserving their empire for 12 years. Their powerful positions also led them into numerous wars and engagements; at one time, Maria was captured by enemy forces within Hungary and imprisoned. Sigismund had to pay a huge ransom and make large land concessions to her captors in order to gain her release. Empress Maria of Hungary died suddenly after a fall from her horse at the young age of 29; her unborn child died with her. She was greatly mourned by her husband and subjects.

sources:

Anderson, Bonnie S., and Judith P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own. Vol. I. NY: Harper & Row, 1988.

Opfell, Olga. Queens, Empresses, Grand Duchesses, and Regents. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1989.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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