Poland's Recorded History
Written and recorded by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

The Founding of the Piast Dynasty:

The Rise of the Mongols:

"They were fierce Mongol people. They drank horse's milk mixed with blood, ate raw meat, and on this rancid diet, they could travel fast and endure surprising extremes of climate. European armies were no match" (Brezezinski).They overran, burned, and killed the Rus, then divided and ravaged Poland and Hungary. The Mongols sacked Kracow and burned it down on Easter Day, then rode on to Silesia. These raids depopulated the eastern and southern areas of Poland.

The Death of Jadwiga:

  • 1243 - Death of St. Jadwiga/Hedwig
    (1179-1243). Wife of HenryK "the Bearded" Prince of Silesia.

  • 1257, August 5: Death of St Hyacinth of Cracow (1185-1257)

  • 1308 Seizure of Gdansk by Teutonic Knights

  • 1320 Coronation of Lokietek

  • 1333-1370 Reign of Kazimierz III (Casimir the Great)

  • 1335 Cession of Silesia to Bohemia

  • 1340 Polish conquest of Red Ruthenia begins

  • 1364 Congress of Kracow, Foundation of Stadium Generale

  • Krakow Academy (later Jagiellon University) is founded.

  • 1370 Death of Casimir the Great(reigned from 1333-70)

  • 1370-1385 Union of Poland and Hungary under Louis of Anjou.

The Rise of the Jagiellon Dynasty:

  • 1370-1572 was called the Jagiellon Period in Poland's history: Personal union of Poland and Lithuania.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) held lands that stretched from the Baltic almost to the Black Sea, and from the Holy Roman Empire to the gates of Moscow.

"The kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were governed by a single body called the Seym. Their territories were divided into:

  • the wojewodztwa (palatines), each governed by a
  • wojewodztwa (voivode).
  • Ziemie (lands),
  • powiaty (districts), fortresses, and towns were governed by a castellan or by a
  • starosta (elder)(Brezinski 6).

The Lithuanians prided themselves on being the last pagan people in Europe. In the 13th and 14th century, they remained un-Christianized. By 1370, when Louis of Anjou reigned in Poland and Hungary, Lithuania already rivalled the Angevin Empire. Their capital was Vilnius, in the north, and was run by the pagan warrior elite. East Slavs were devoted to the Orthodox faith (Old Bylorussian).

The Union of Poland:

    The union of Poland and Lithuania in the Jagiellonian Period (1385-1572) made the following divisions with the estates:

  1. The clergy

  2. The nobility
    (szlachta)under which there were:
    (a) the knights (wtodyki)
    (b) the yeoman (panosze)

    The noble families of Poland were: Pieniayek, Teczhski, Tarnowski, *Odrowaz, Gorka, Firlej, Szamotulski, Melsztynski, and others.

    The nobles also elected the starasta (royal sheriff) who supervised and protected people in royal areas.

  3. The Burghers

  4. The Jews.
    Jagiellonian kings established a Jewish charter in 1264. Many Jewish entrepenuers were established, such as Isaak Brodawka of Brest, Eleazor Abramovitch of Tykocin, and Aron Izrealovitch of Grodno.

  5. The peasantry.

The Union of Krewo:

  • 1385 Union of Krewo: Betrothal of Jagwiga and Jagiel~l~o

Jadwiga, daughter of Louis of Anjou (Ludwig of Hungary), (c 1351-1434), came to the Throne of Lithuania at age 26 and lived to age 83. Casimir the Great of Poland had his Grand Master, Winrich von Kniprode (1352-1382) take Lithuania in the defeat at Rudau in 1370. In 1339, the Pope gave him license to convert the Lithuanians to Christianity.

In 1385, Lithuanian matchmakers posed a conjugal and political union between Jagiello and Jadwiga. For her hand her world would be baptised in the Christian Church. On February 1386 the Polish barons and nobility elected Jagaila (Jagietto) as their king. Jadwiga was only thirteen years old and was coronated on Wawel Hill on October 15, 1384, after her February 18, 1384 marriage. Her Hapsburg Prince's engagement was annulled.

Jagaila was made Christian and thus named Wladyslaw-Jagietto.

  • 1386-1434 Reign of Wladyslaw Jagietto, King of Poland and Hungary

The Poles were never very zealous Crusaders. "Their participation in the general crusades to the Holy Lands was extremely limited" (Davies, Norman, God's Playground, A History of Poland, Vol 1.New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, 161). Only a few kings made it to the crusades. Wladyslaw III Jagiellon (1443) followed the prompting of Papal Nuncio, Guiliano Cesarini and rode out against the Ottoman Empire. Previously the Hungarians had difficulty with its campaigns with the Pasha of Serbia and against Dracula, Pasha of Wallachia,

Wladyslaw was beheaded by the Turks and his head impaled on a stake to terrify the infidels.

The Poles were more concerned about the Tartars. The Tartars carried their fahir or human booty to sell as slaves within the Moslem world.

  • 1400 Refounding of Jagiellonion University

The Battle of Grunwald:

1410 marked the beginning of the Battle of Grunwald, Poland, which was fought against the Order of the Teutonic Kinights

This battle was one of the largest and longest of the middle ages. It was also one of the bloodiest. Some 27,000 knights faced 39,000 Poles, Czechs, and Wallachians. By the end of the day, almost one-half of the Teutonic Knights were dead. The Grand Master, Ulrich Von Jungingen, was slain, and fourteen thousand prisoners were taken for ransom.

Wladyslaw-Jagietto resplendent in his silver armor on the crest of a hillock, received the standard of the Prussian Bishop of Pomeranian, and sent it as a trophy to Krakow. Wladyslaw's treaty was signed and it demanded only a thin strip of land to be ceded to Lithuania and nothing to Poland. Some have likened Poland's military role in Eastern Europe to that of Spain in the west with its seven-hundred-year Holy war against the Moors.

The Poles were never very zealous Crusaders (Davies 161).

  • 1434-1444 The Reign of Wladyslaw Warnenczyk, King of Poland and Hungary.

  • 1444-1492 Reign of Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk

  • 1454 Incorporation of Royal Prussia

  • 1474 Earliest printing press in Cracow

  • 1474 St. John of Kanty died.

    He was born in 1390 in the diocese of Kety, near Cracow, Poland. He was also a
    Professor at the Jagiellonian University.

  • 1482 Death of St. Casimir/Kazimierz

  • 1506-1548 Reign of Zygmunt I Stary (1467-1548) fifth son of Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk

  • 1543 Death of Copernicus

  • 1548-1572 Reign of Zygmunt II August (1520-1572), son of Zygmunt I and Bona Sforza.

  • 1564 Arrival of Jesuits in Poland.

  • 1568 Death of St Stanislas Kostka (1550-1568)

  • 1569 Transfer of the Ukraine to the Kingdom of Poland. Union of Lublin signed.

  • 1569-1795 Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) of Poland - Lithuania

  • 1573 Confederation of Warsaw.

  • 1576-1586 Reign of Stefan Bathory. Stefan Bathory (1533-1586) was Prince of Transylvania (1571-1586), and was a highly regarded Polish King (1576-1586)

  • 1587-1632 Reign of Zygmunt III Vasa (1566-1632), son of King Johan III of Sweden.

  • 1596 Union of Brest; creation of United Church

  • 1617-1629 First Swedish War

  • 1620-1621 First Turkish War: Cecora (1620), Chocim (1621)

  • 1623 St Josaphat is slain by Orthodox fanatics at Vitebsk. Josaphat Kuncewicz was born in Poland, of noble parents, in 1580, and was the first great leader of the Ruthenian Catholics, or Uniates. He was the Bishop of Polotsk in 1617.

  • 1632-1648 Reign of Wladyslaw IV Vasa (1595-1648), son of Zygmunt II and Anna of Habsburg.

  • 1634 Peace of Polanow with Muscovy

  • 1635 Peace of Stumsdorf with Sweden

  • 1648-1668 Reign of Jan Kasmierz Vasa (1609-1648), son of Zygmunt III and Constance of Austria.

  • 1655-1657 Swedish occupation of Poland (the Deluge)

  • 1648-1657 Chmielnick's revolt in the Ukraine

  • 1657 The Treaty of Wehlau: Independence of the Duchy of Prussia

  • 1661 Merkurivsy Polski - first Polish newspaper

  • 1674-1696 Reign of Jan Sobieski (1629-1696)

  • September 12, 1683 Seige of Vienna

  • 1696 Death of Sobieski


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