Sigismund II August

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King Sigismund II August of Poland (before 1572)

Sigismund II August ( Polish Zygmunt II August , Lithuanian Žygimantas Augustas ; born August 1, 1520 in Krakow , Poland , † July 7, 1572 in Knyszyn , Poland) was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1529 , King of Poland from 1530 and from 1548 , after the death of his father, sole ruler. From 1569 he was the first regent of the state of Poland-Lithuania .

The member of the Order of the Golden Fleece remained childless, which led to the extinction of the Jagiellonian dynasty . Then the elective monarchy was introduced and a French prince named Henry I was elected King and Grand Duke of Poland-Lithuania.

Family and marriages

Sigismund was the son of King Sigismund I and his second wife, Bona Sforza . He had been the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1529, but did not take responsibility for state affairs until 1544. In 1530, he was only reluctantly accepted by the Polish nobility, and during his father's lifetime he was crowned King of Poland by Vivente Rege , but did not assume the royal dignity until his death in 1548.

Sigismund II remained childless in his three marriages with Elisabeth (1526–1545), Barbara Radziwiłł (1520–1551) and Katharina (1533–1572). With his death, the royal family of the Jagiellonians died out in the male line, so the succession in the Lublin Union was regulated in 1569. The remains of Sigismund II August were buried in the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow .


While his father was still alive, Sigismund II was elected by the Polish nobility on August 1529 on the condition that he would do everything in his power to completely incorporate Lithuania and Prussia into the Polish crown. This resulted in conflicts with Russia and the Nordic countries, as well as threatening international entanglements. Like his father, he relied on cooperation with the Senate and magnates during his reign , but got into conflicts with the lower nobility .

In 1561 he acquired the territory of the Livonian Confederation and created the Duchy of Courland and Zemgale under Polish suzerainty. He guaranteed the German-Baltic nobility internal autonomy (German law, social status) and the Protestant denomination . During the Livonian War in 1563 he lost large parts of Livonia and Polatsk to Tsar Ivan IV of Russia.

At the beginning of his reign the Silesian Bernhard von Prittwitz was a great military helper in the fight against the Crimean Tatars until around 1550 . The political situation did not change until 1550.

In contrast to his father, the educated and tolerant ruler was interested and not opposed to the Reformation , although he remained a Catholic throughout his life. In 1549 the Geneva reformer Jean Calvin dedicated his commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews to him. He sent the court preacher and Italian reformer Francesco Lismanini to Western Europe from 1553 to 1556 to procure books for his library, which also included Protestant literature. In 1559 he allowed West Prussia to accept the Confessio Augustana . In 1570 the consensus of Sandomir took place under his rule , where Lutherans, Calvinists and Bohemian brothers came to an understanding and thus strengthened the evangelical position and presence in Poland.

Lublin Union

On July 1, 1569, the parliament convened by Sigismund II, the Sejm , decided the Lublin Union:

  • the transformation of the states of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and Royal Prussia, which were previously linked in a personal union, into a single state through a real union , the so-called Rzeczpospolita ;
  • uniform legislation, official language ( Polish and Latin ) and currency;
  • a parliament and a monarch;
  • Introduction of the elective monarchy;

See also


Web links

Commons : Sigismund II. August  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Lorenz Hein: Italian Protestants and their influence on the Reformation in Poland during the two decades before the Sandomir Consensus 1570 , Brill, Leiden 1974, ISBN 978-9-00403-893-6 , pp. 13 ff.
predecessor Office successor
Sigismund I./II. King of Poland
Heinrich I.
Sigismund I./II. Grand Duke of Lithuania
Heinrich I.