Gigmund II August (1520-1572) – How did the last Jacqueline rule?

Sigismund II Augustus descended as the last of the Zagielonians in Polish history, closing the golden age of the reign of this dynasty. The love story of Barbara Rotsivna has inspired the imagination of history buffs and many artists for centuries. Who was Jigmund August, how was his rule, and what achievements can be attributed to him?

Jigmund August was considered one of the best educated Polish kings. For many years, he was also included in the group of our best rulers. It must be acknowledged that the period of his reign was a golden age, the development of a strong economy, culture, science and art. All this favorably affected the image of the king. However, today historians are trying to downplay his value, emphasizing that his reign was very favorable and that his mistakes were undoubtedly not so obvious because this ruler did not have to deal with some difficult things. Poland.


Sigismund II Augustus was born on August 1, 1520 in Crago. He is of Jacqueline descent. His father was Jigmund Istory, and his grandfather Władysław Jagiełło. Sigismund Augustine’s mother was the second wife of Sigismund I, daughter of Italian Princess Bona Sproz, Duke of Milan, Gian Caliasso Sforza. Sigmund August was their only son.

Living Reege

Thanks to his mother’s efforts, Jigmund August was crowned King of Poland while his father was alive. He was then 10. In practice this state was still ruled by Jigmund I (since he received the nickname “old”), officially there were two kings in Poland. This is the first and only case in our history.


Jigmund II died August 7, 1572 in Nice. The body of the ruler was taken to Krakow with all due respect and buried in the Cathedral of Wawel. In the Sigismund Chapel, built by his father, Sister Anna Jagellen erected a tomb for him. The heart of Sigmund Augustine was in his loving city of Nice. However, over the years, the leak with the heart of the last Jacqueline was lost, and to this day it has not been discovered.

Taking fate

From 1544 to 1548, the young Sigmund August was Grand Duke of Lithuania. In 1548 his father Sigismund I the Old died. Jigmund August returned to Crago, where he officially reigned after the funeral of the deceased king. The biggest problem he had to face in those first years was the storm surrounding his marriage to Barbara Rodzivisna, which was considered a misconception by the nobility. Eventually, the king became determined and in 1550 led to the coronation of his chosen one.

Union of Lublin

The most important date for the reign of Sigmund Augustus was undoubtedly July 1, 1569. It was at Sezmil in Lublin that a real union was formed by uniting Poland and Lithuania. Since then, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania have been united under the common name of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The two countries followed a common foreign policy, with a common parliament and a common currency.

Religious issues

Compared to other rulers, Sigismund Augustus had a much freer approach to the issue of faith. These were reform periods and some aristocrats claimed to have built a national church following the example of England. Although these plans did not work, the king fully adhered to the Roman Catholic Church, which was not a devout one and differed by greater tolerance for other religions. he said: “I am not the king of your conscience. “His actions, including. A letter on non-judgment of anti-religious policy since 1570, contributed to the enactment of the Warsaw Confederation’s law guaranteeing religious tolerance after his death.

Culture and art

Jigmund August Loved music and literature. His library, in which he collected about 3,500 books, was one of the finest collections in Europe at the time. By order of the king, many palaces were rebuilt, e.g. In Nebosomis or Kaminic Podolski. However, the most valuable treasure we associate with this ruler is the rich collection of tapes brought from Brussels. Some of them have survived in the bat collection to this day.


The first wife of Sigismund Augustus was the daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I, Elipita Ne Habsburg, also known as Austria. The marriage was arranged by Sigismund I The Old, who wanted to prevent a deal between Moscow and Habsburgs. Queen Bona, Habsburg’s arch-rival, did not support the choice. The marriage took place on May 6, 1543. Elizabeth had to fight not only with her mother-in-law’s reluctance, but also with her own husband, who was further put off by the fact that she was suffering from epilepsy. The Habsburgian woman died two years after the marriage.


In 1547, Sigmund August secretly married Barbara Radzivna. Although she went down in history under her maiden name, she was actually the widow of Stanislaw Costosta, Draco’s vocalist. Everything indicates that Sigmund August started an affair with his first wife while she was still alive. The marriage, probably ended in love, caused a scandal. Although Barbara came from a noble family, she was not of the ruling family, so the king married her subject. In addition, there were rumors of his immoral behavior. Barbara died in 1551, and Sigmund August suffered the most. The spiritual endeavors of Barbara by Master Tverdowski have diminished in mythology.


Still counting a male heir, in 1553, Sigismund Augustus became the third sister of his first wife, Catherine of Habsburg, seventeen years old, recently widowed. This relationship was not successful, so a few years after the marriage, Sigismund II Augustus tried to annul it. However, the Pope did not agree. From 1562, the spouses were separated.

Polish Post

Sigismund II Augustus contributed to the establishment of the Polish Post Office. In 1558, the ruler issued an appropriate document in which he insisted that he serve not only the members of the court but also his citizens. The first post office was in Crago, providing contacts with Venice and Vilnius. The ambassadors who delivered the letters wore royal coat of arms.


Did Jigmund August have children? Based on generally known historical evidence, the answer is obvious, and the king even suspected infertility, in fact there are speculations that Sigmund Augustus had one or two illegitimate daughters. This does not change the fact that the lack of a descendant from the righteous lodge contributed to the end of the Jacqueline dynasty, which was captured by the first monarch elected by the throne after the Polish ruler – Henrik Wallace.

“See you tomorrow”

Many contemporaries considered Jigmund August to be lazy, and he was also paradoxically called “a nomad” because he delayed all important decisions in a timely manner and repeated them frequently. “We will wait until tomorrowHe was accused of not using his full potential, even though he could be firm and consistent once he thought about it.

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