Anna Wasa

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Anna Wasa

Anna Wasa (* May 17 or May 31, 1568 in Eskilstuna ; † February 26, 1625 in Brodnica , German Strasburg in West Prussia ) Princess of Sweden , was the daughter of the Swedish King John III. and sister of King Sigismund III. Wasa from Poland and Sweden.

As a child she was raised Catholic by her mother, the Polish Princess Katharina Jagiellonica , but at the age of about 17 she confessed to be Lutheran, which was serious for her whole life and even after her death. It is believed that she found her way to the Lutheran denomination under the influence of her young stepmother, Gunilla Bielke , who was almost the same age and with whom she was close friends . The question of whether she was Catholic or Protestant was still important in the 20th century.

Teenage years in Sweden

Anna's father Johann was crowned King of Sweden on July 10, 1569. As a child at the royal court she witnessed the quarrels between the Swedish evangelical supporters of King John III. and his strict Catholic wife Katharina Jagiellonica, who tried unsuccessfully to convert the Swedes back to the papacy with her courtiers and priests brought from Poland.

Anna and her older brother Sigismund were raised Catholic by their mother. They learned languages ​​(French, Italian, German, Latin), and at the royal court they spoke Swedish and Polish. Anna studied botany in a park set up for her mother and was interested in theology, history, philosophy and natural history. Because she was brave and tenacious, she sometimes resisted her mother and, among other things, was inclined to Lutheran teachings. At the age of 17 or 18, she finally declared herself publicly Protestant, which Catholics found outrageous and even repugnant.

In 1587 Anna went to Poland with her brother Sigismund, who had been elected king.

At the Polish royal court

In 1586 the Polish King Stephan Báthory died and Anna's brother Sigismund, nephew of Queen Anna Jagiellonica , was his successor. The King of Sweden, John III., Did not trust his son to cope with the confused situation in the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom , which was also an aristocratic republic (Latin Res Publica ), so he trusted him to a number of advisors, including his sister Anna , on. Sigismund was 21 years old at the time, Anna was two years younger than him. The fact that a woman, even a girl, was placed in such a position was outrageous and outrageous for contemporaries.

Sigismund arrived in Danzig on October 8, 1587, the citizens greeted him warmly and presented him with 2,000 gold coins as a gift. On October 26, 1587, both siblings arrived in Thorn , where they were warmly welcomed by the mayor Heinrich Stroband . In December Sigismund arrived in Krakow , where he was crowned on December 27, 1587. Anna traveled with her aunt, Queen Anna Jagiellonica, and did not reach Krakow until February 1, 1588.

Anna took an active part in the social events at court. In the next few years she traveled a lot, including to Sweden. Much trouble arose because she was Lutheran. Many denominations were present in Poland, but the Catholic one was seen as authoritative. That a member of the royal family should be a heretic was not acceptable to the local nobility; as a result, Anna was constantly insulted, slandered, and scoldedly urged to finally return to Catholicism . However, she was steadfast in her faith and remained Lutheran. When the father of the two siblings, King John III, died, Sigismund traveled to Sweden in 1593 with his sister Anna to take possession of the throne. The seafaring began in bad weather in Gdansk and the ships of the royal fleet stranded. On the second attempt to continue the voyage, the fleet reached Sweden with difficulty due to headwinds. Duke Karl, the brother of the deceased, was waiting for them there. Although Sigismund was crowned in 1594, he could not assert himself as King of Sweden and was after a military conflict with the uncle Charles IX. In 1598 forced to withdraw to Poland. Anna, now almost thirty and a dexterous and determined young lady, initially worked unsuccessfully to support Sigismund in Sweden, after which she also returned to Poland.

Anna's own yard

The Anna Wasa Palace in Brodnica

When Anna was over thirty, partly because of the unfavorable political situation of the Wasa dynasty and partly because of her stubbornness, she was still unmarried, in 1605 her brother King Sigismund, who wanted to get rid of the cheeky Protestant lady at the Catholic royal court, gave her the Starostei Brodnica assigned for use. It was then customary to assign a source of income to a deserving person in this way; the feudal lord benefited from the labor of the peasants who had settled in the royal estate. Although some nobles complained that it was nepotism , Anna proved herself to be a kind mistress through skillful administration. A few years later, Sigismund sacrificed another Golub district , also on the Drwęca , to his sister . Now she was materially secure. Both circles had their headquarters in old castles of the former Teutonic Order , which were renovated and expanded by Anna over the next few years, which can still be seen in part today, especially in Golub. Particularly important was the castle in Golub , which was expanded by the Landmeister of Prussia , Konrad von Sack , between 1306 and 1309 as a border guard on the Drewenz against the Lithuanians.

Even before Anna Wasa, the Starostenamt in Strasburg was held by the Protestant Dzialynski family. Anna Wasa was anxious to reconcile the denominations in Strasburg and in 1618 summoned the preacher Georgius Nebius from the Soldau area to visit Strasburg and recommended him to the Protestant community in Strasburg as a " preacher who knew German and Polish". In addition, the German-Protestant preacher Johann Borawski (Boravius) and the Polish-Protestant "Hoff preacher" Johann Babski (Balbatus) worked at their court. She also made the castle chapel available to the Protestants for the service, where both German and Polish prayer services took place from then on. Since 1598, the Protestant services were held in a room in the town hall. Since the population in Prussia was mainly Protestant, Anna, who looked after Protestant communities, soon found applause and respect among Protestants. She also supported the Swedish emigrants who were not satisfied with the state order in Sweden. Because her brother Sigismund continued to claim after his disempowerment by his uncle that he was the rightful Swedish king, she established resistance in Sweden against the rulers for his sake, which caused hostile clashes between Poland and Sweden.

According to her class, Anna had her own court. She supported artists and writers and was also in contact with the scholars of the Academy in Cracow . Anna has always been interested in botany, so she established botanical gardens in Brodnica and especially in Golub, where she grew many medicinal plants. She used them to make medicines herself, both for her own use and for her loved ones. Her interest in remedies is understandable as she had been seriously ill for years. With their help, the five volumes of the botanical atlas comprising around 765 plants on 1540 pages were published by Professor Simon Syrenius (called Szymon Syreński in Polish ), printed in 1613 by Bazyli Skalski in Krakow.

Death and funeral problems

Anna Wasa died on February 6, 1625 after a long and serious illness. Because of her Lutheran denomination, no state funeral could take place. Her brother Sigismund did not dare to defy the Catholic hierarchy and bury his sister as the king's daughter in Krakow. Anna was first buried in a mausoleum at the Protestant cemetery in Strasburg. It was only his son, King Władysław IV. Wasa , who had them buried eleven years later. The solemn burial took place in Thorn on July 16, 1636.


  • A. Saar-Kozłowska, Infantka Szwecji i Polski. Anna Wazówna 1568-1625. Legenda i rzeczywistość , Toruń 1995. (Polish biography of Anna Wasa ).
  • Grażyna Kurkowska: Anna Wazówna Polskie losy szwedzkiej królewny . Toruń 1995. (Polish biography of Anna Wasa ).
  • Gotfried Lengnich: History of the Prussian Lands / Royal Polish Antheils / since 1526 . Danzig 1722-1725.
  • Aleksander Przeździecki (Ed.): Listy Annibala z Kapui, nuncyusza w Polsce o bezkrólewiu w Polsce po Stefanie Batorym i pierwszych latach panowania Zygmunta Ill-go do wyjścia arcyxięcia Maksymiliana z niewoli. Warszawa 1852. (Polish letters from Nuncio Annibal of Capua in Poland… from the period 1586–1589).
  • Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz: Dzieje panowania Zygmunta III. Breslau 1836. (Polish history of the reign of King Sigismund III. )
  • FA Zermann: Chronicle of the city of Strasbourg in West Prussia. Strasbourg 1851, p. 18.
  • A. Theiner: Sweden a. his position on the holy see. Augsburg 1839, pp. 15-16.
  • Alicja Saar-Kozłowska: Śmierć i problemy pochówku Anny Wazówny w Brodnicy , Acta Universitatis Nicolai Copernici. Zabytkoznawstwo i Konserwatorstwo XXVII -Nauki Humanistyczno-Społeczne, Toruń 1996. (Polish death and problems about Anna Wasa's burial , extensive literature on this).
  • H. Bobińska, G. Ojcewicz, A. Saar-Kozłowska, Nie tylko brodnickie tajemnice Anny Wazówny , Szczytno 2018. (Polish biography of Anna Wasa ).

Individual evidence

  1. Your birthday is indicated differently, see Svenskt biografiskt Lexicon Volume 2. Stockholm 1919, p. 22.
  2. Rudolf Birkholz, The Strasburg District - History of a West Prussian Region - p. 172 u. 330
  3. Rudolf Birkholz, The Strasburg District - History of a West Prussian Region - p. 330

Web links

Commons : Anna Wasa  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files