Casimir IV, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, was born 30 November 1427 in Kraków, Poland to Wladyslaw II Jagiellon (c1362-1434) and Sophia of Halshany (c1405-1451) and died 7 June 1492 Old Grodno Castle Grodno, Belarus of unspecified causes. Alfred the Great (849-899)/s, Charlemagne (747-814)/s, Rollo of Normandy (860-932)/s.

Casimir IV (Polish: Kazimierz IV Jagiellończyk [kaˈʑimi̯ɛʒ jaɡi̯ɛlˈlɔɲt͡ʃɨk] ( listen); Lithuanian: Kazimieras IV Jogailaitis; 30 November 1427 – 7 June 1492) of the House of Jagiellon was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440, and King of Poland from 1447, until his death.

Casimir was the second son of King Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila), and the younger brother of Władysław III of Varna.

Grand Duke of Lithuania

Kazimierz IV by Jan Matejko

The sudden death of Sigismund Kęstutaitis left the office of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania empty. The Voivode of Trakai, Jonas Goštautas, and other magnates of Lithuania, supported Casimir as a pretender to the throne. However many Polish noblemen hoped that the thirteen year old boy would become a Vice-regent for the Polish King in Lithuania.[1] Casimir was invited by the Lithuanian magnates to Lithuania, and when Casimir arrived in Vilnius in 1440, he was proclaimed as the Grand Duke of Lithuania on 29 June 1440 by the Council of Lords, contrary to the wishes of the Polish noble lords—an act supported and coordinated by Jonas Goštautas.[1] This act could have been understood as dissolution of the fragile personal union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. When the news arrived in the Kingdom of Poland concerning the proclamation of Casimir as the Grand Duke of Lithuania, it was met with hostility, even to the point of military threats against Lithuania.[1] Since the young Grand Duke was underaged, the supreme control over the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was in the hands of the Council of Lords, presided by Jonas Goštautas. Casimir had been taught the language and customs of Lithuania by appointed court officials.[2]

15 century portrait of Casimir IV

During Casimir's rule the rights of the Lithuanian nobility—dukes, magnates and boyars (lesser nobles), irrespective of their religion and ethnicity—were put on an equal footing to those of the Polish szlachta. Additionally, Casimir promised to protect the Grand Duchy's borders and not to appoint persons from the Polish Kingdom to the offices of the Grand Duchy. He accepted that decisions on matters concerning the Grand Duchy would not be made without the Council of Lords' consent. He also granted the subject region of Samogitia the right to elect its own elder. Casimir was the first ruler of Lithuania baptised at birth, becoming the first natively Roman Catholic Grand Duke.

King of Poland

Tomb of Casimir IV in the Wawel Cathedral, late Gothic masterpice by Veit Stoss.

Casimir succeeded his brother Władysław III (killed at the Battle of Varna in 1444) as King of Poland after a three-year interregnum on 25 June 1447. In 1454, he married Elisabeth of Austria, daughter of the late King of the Romans Albert II of Habsburg by his late wife Elisabeth of Bohemia. Her distant relative Frederick of Habsburg became Holy Roman Emperor and reigned as Frederick III until after Casimir's own death. The marriage strengthened the ties between the house of Jagiello and the sovereigns of Hungary-Bohemia and put Casimir at odds with the Holy Roman Emperor through internal Habsburg rivalry.

Polish knights during the wars of Casimir IV

That same year, Casimir was approached by the Prussian Confederation for aid against the Teutonic Order, which he promised, by making the separatist Prussian regions a protectorate of the Polish Kingdom. However, when the insurgent cities of the Teutonic Monastic State of Prussia rebelled against the Order, it resisted with greater strength than expected, and the Thirteen Years' War (1454–1466) ensued. Casimir and the Prussian Confederation defeated the Teutonic Order, taking over its capital at Marienburg (Malbork Castle). In the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), the Order recognized Polish sovereignty over the seceded western Prussian regions, therefore then called Royal Prussia, and the Polish crown's overlordship over the remaining Teutonic Monastic State of Prussia, transformed in 1525 into a duchy, thus consistently called Ducal Prussia.

Elisabeth's only brother Ladislas, king of Bohemia and Hungary, died in 1457, and after that Casimir and Elisabeth's dynastic interests were directed also towards her brother's former kingdoms.


Offspring of Casimir IV of Poland and Elisabeth von Habsburg (1437-1505)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Wladyslaw II Jagiellon (1456-1516) 1 March 1456 Kraków 13 March 1516 Buda Barbara von Brandenburg (1464-1515) Beatrix di Napoli (1457-1508) Barbara von Brandenburg (1464-1515) Beatrix di Napoli (1457-1508) Anne de Foix (1484-1506)
Hedwig Jagiellon (1457-1502) 21 September 1457 Kraków, Poland 18 February 1502 Burghausen, Bavaria, Germany Georg von Bayern-Landshut (1455-1503)
Kasimir Jagiellon (1458-1484)
Jan I Olbracht Jagiellon (1459-1501) 27 December 1459 17 June 1501
Alexander Jagiellon (1461-1506) 5 August 1461 Kraków, Poland 19 August 1506 Vilnius, Lithuania Elena Ivanovna of Moscow (1476-1513)
Sofia of Poland (1464-1512) 6 May 1464 Kraków, Poland 5 October 1512 Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany Friedrich II. von Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach (1460-1536)
Elisabeth Jagiellon (1465-1466)
Sigismund Jagiellon (1467-1548) 1 January 1467 1 April 1548 Barbara Zápolya (1495-1515) Bona Sforza (1494-1557) Barbara Zápolya (1495-1515) Bona Sforza (1494-1557) Katarzyna Telniczenka (-1528)
Friedrich Jagiellon (1468-1503)
Elisabeth Jagiellon (1472-1480)
Anna Jagiellon (1476-1503) 1476 1503 Bogislaw X. von Pommern (1454-1523)
Barbara of Poland (1478-1534) 15 July 1478 Sandomierz, Poland 15 February 1534 Leipzig, Germany Georg der Bärtige von Sachsen (1471-1539)
Elisabeth Jagiellon (1483-1517)

See also

  • History of Poland (1385-1569)
  • History of Lithuania
  • Nieszawa Statutes


  1. ^ a b c J. Kiaupienë Valdžios krizës pabaiga ir Kazimieras Jogailaitis. Gimtoji istorija 2: Nuo 7 iki 12 klasės (Lietuvos istorijos vadovėlis). CD. (2003). Elektroninės leidybos namai: Vilnius.
  2. ^ Lietuvių kalba ir literatūros istorija
Preceded by
Sigismund Kestutian
Grand Duke of Lithuania
29 June 1440 - 7 June 1492
Succeeded by
Alexander Jagiellon
Preceded by
Władysław III
King of Poland
25 June 1447 – 7 June 1492
Succeeded by
John I Albert

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General