Jadwiga of Poland Biography
(Former Queen of Poland (1384 - 1399))
Born In: Buda, Hungary
Jadwiga, also known as Hedwig, ruled the Kingdom of Poland for more than a decade, as its first female monarch. An Anjou princess and the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and queen consort Elizabeth of Bosnia, Jadwiga was betrothed to William of Austria. It is believed that Louis considered Jadwiga and William as the favored successors of Hungary after the Polish nobility pledged their homage to Louis’s second daughter, Mary, and her fiancé, Sigismund of Luxemburg, following the death of Louis’s first daughter, Catherine. However, following Louis’s death, Mary was crowned the “King of Hungary” on the insistence of Elizabeth. The latter selected Jadwiga to rule Poland after the Polish nobility countered the advances of Sigismund in taking control of Poland. Jadwiga was crowned the “King of Poland.” The Polish nobility then promoted Jadwiga’s marriage with the still-pagan Grand Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, who pledged to convert to Roman Catholicism and promote the conversion of his pagan subjects by signing the ‘Union of Krewo.’ William’s betrothal to Jadwiga was repudiated, and the subsequent marriage of Jadwiga and Jogaila (or Władysław Jagiełło) marked a centuries-long union of Poland and Lithuania. A patron of religion and scholarship and a skilled mediator, Jadwiga co-ruled closely with Jogaila, who became sole king of Poland upon her death.