Simmler Queen Jadwiga's oath.jpg
King of Poland
Reign 30th August, 1382 - 30th August 1399
Predecessor John I
Successor Wladyslaw II
Born 5th July, 1356
Esztergom, Hungary
Died 30th August, 1399
Krakow, Poland
Spouse Jogaila, (Wladyslaw II)
Issue Jadvyga

Wladyslaw III

House Bezier
Father John I
Mother Catherine of Bosnia

Jadwiga, Hedwig, was the first woman elected 'King'† of Poland. Her rule would see the beginnings of the Polish union with Lithuania.

Her father, John I, had inherited Poland from Casimir III by right of his mother, adding it to already considerable Hungarian territories. His rule had strengthened Poland's borders to the north where Gothenland and the Teutonic Knights pressed and to the east where still-pagan Lithuania lay. The nobles were generally happy though were much disturbed by the death of John's only son Charles of Buda in 1375. And when John himself died in 1382 it left his two daughters to inherit his territories. The nobles effectively had a choice between Adelaide, the elder daughter who was married to Wencelsaus of Bohemia, or Jadwiga.

The Polish nobles considered their options and offered Adelaide and her husband the throne, on the express condition they made Krakow their capital. They had little interest in this, but assumed they would gain the throne anyway by right. Jadwiga meanwhile had lived in Krakow for several years and when Adelaide rejected their offer they simply elected Jadwiga as their King.

This of course resulted in an immediate reaction from Hungary and Bohemia. Wenceslaus invaded in early 1383 hoping that those nobles who did not support Jadwiga would quickly come to his side. However Jadwiga had made friends with several states hostile to the Luxembourg family, and with Danish, Sorbian and the Teutonic Knights as allies, Wenceslaus would be defeated at Trzebnica and Jezierzyca River. Wenceslaus would barely escape death at the latter battle and peace was made with Jadwiga soon after.

With the threat of invasion shrugged off for now the matter of Jadwiga's marriage soon pre-occupied the Polish Sejm. She had been groomed for a marriage with Austria as a young princess and in 1384 Albert (IV) of Upper Austria came to claim her hand. He was sent packing however and a hand closer to home was found. Later that year Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania came to Krakow and the pair were wed. Jogaila were rebaptised in Catholicism as Wladyslaw.

Jadwiga had grown up in the cultured capital of Hungary, Buda, and had received the finest education available at the time. Fluent in Latin, Hungarian, Serbian, Polish and German she bestowed a air of culture on the slightly isolated country. Her actual rule over the country has been much debated, and it is generally agreed government was split between her husband and a council of her nobles. She and her husband would have three children; Jadvyga, who was betrothed to the future Eric VI of Denmark, Elizabeth, and Wladyslaw III.

Jadwiga would die in 1399 having reigned for exactly seventeen years. Her only son, Wladyslaw, was recognized as rightful heir (as much as that meant in a kingdom that had never really embraced primogeniture), but as he was only three years old it would be his father, the ex-pagan Jogaila, who would rule Poland.

The title was deliberately kept as 'King' rather than 'Queen' to show Jadwiga ruled not by marriage but in her own right

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