Wladyslaw III of Varna, King

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Wladyslaw III of Varna, King

Polish: Władysław III Warneńczyk, król, Latin: Ladislau III of Varna, Dei gracia rex
Also Known As: "Henrique Alemao", "Wladislaus", "Dei gracia rex Polonie", "Hungarie", "Dalmacie", "Croacie", "Rascie", "Bulgarie", "Sclavonie", "nec non terrarum Cracovie", "Sandomirie", "Lancicie", "Syradie", "Cuyavie", "Lythuanie princeps suppremus", "Pomeranie", "Russieque dominus etc."
Birthplace: Kraków,Kraków,Poland
Death: Died in Varna, Bulgaria
Place of Burial: King of Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of Jogaila / Władysław II Jagiełło and Sophia of Halshany
Husband of Senhorinha Anes Colon of Portugal
Father of Bartholomew Columbus; Christopher "Columbus" and Diego Columbus
Brother of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk and Casimir IV Jagiellon
Half brother of Jadwiga Jagiellonka and Elżbieta Bonifacja Jagiellonka

Managed by: Dag Henrik Gösta Lundqvist
Last Updated:

About Wladyslaw III of Varna, King

Władysław was the first-born son of Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila) of Poland and Sophia of Halshany (Zofia Holszańska). He ascended the throne at the age of ten and was immediately surrounded by a group of advisors headed by Zbigniew Cardinal Oleśnicki, who wanted to continue to enjoy his high status at court. In spite of that, the young ruler and his ambitious mother were aware that there was opposition to them. Despite the agreements signed between Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish magnates to ensure the succession for his sons, the opposition wanted another candidate for the Polish throne - Friedrich of Brandenburg, who was betrothed to Jadwiga, Jagiełło's daughter by his second wife. However, the conspiracy was resolved by the death of the princess, rumoured to have been poisoned by Zofia Holszańska.

The young king's reign was difficult from the very outset. His coronation was interrupted by a hostile nobleman, Spytko of Melsztyn. On the next day, the customary homage of the townsfolk of Kraków did not take place due to a dispute between the temporal and spiritual lords of Mazovia over their place in the retinue. Neither did Wladyslaw have much to say later about matters of state, which were run by the powerful Zbigniew Oleśnicki. The situation did not change even after parliament gathered in Piotrków in 1438, and declared the fourteen-year-old king to have attained his majority.

This situation continued until 1440, when Władysław was offered the crown of Hungary. However, accepting it would have led to numerous problems. Hungary was under a growing threat from the Ottoman Empire, and some Polish magnates did not want to agree to the king of Poland also being the monarch of Hungary, while Elisabeth, widow of the deceased king of Hungary, Albert II Habsburg, attempted to keep the crown for her yet unborn child. Such inconveniences aside, Władysław finally took the Hungarian throne, having engaged in a two-year civil war against Elisabeth. He had received significant support from Pope Eugene IV, in exchange for his help in organising an anti-Turkish crusade. The eighteen-year-old king, although thus far a king solely by title, became deeply involved in the crusade, paying no heed to the interests of Poland and of the Jagiellonian dynasty.

The "bulwark of Christianity" and other slogans put forward by the papal envoy Giuliano Cesarini, together with an enticing promise of victory in a glorious crusade for God, persuaded Władysław to engage in a two-year war against the Ottoman Empire. He also accepted the argument that the ten-year truce signed in 1443 in Oradea was not valid since the infidel Turks could not be trusted to keep their word. Despite their significant military advantages, Władysław failed to recognise the serious threat which the Turkish Empire posed to Europe as a whole. Therefore, when the Battle of Varna began on 10 November 1444, the Polish king did not sense that this would be his final fight. He was killed during the charge on the ranks of the janissaries, who were protecting their sultan.

Władysław III had no children and did not get married (contemporary opinions, quoted by Jan Długosz, suggested that he was homosexual). He was succeeded in Poland by his younger brother Casimir IV Jagiellon in 1447 after a three-year interregnum. In Hungary he was succeeded by his former rival, the child Ladislaus Posthumus

According to Portuguese legend Władysław survived the Battle of Varna and after his journey to the Holy Land he settled on Madeira Island.[2] King Afonso V of Portugal granted him the lands in Cabo Girão district of the Madeira Islands, rent-free for the rest of his life.[2] He was known there as Henrique Alemão (Henry the German) and married Senhorinha Anes (the King of Portugal was his best man[3]), who gave him two sons. Later he become knight of Saint Catharine of Mount Sinai (O Cavaleiro de Santa Catarina) and established a church of Saint Catherine and Saint Mary Magdalene in Madalena do Mar (1471).[4][5] There he was portraited as Saint Joachim (São Joaquim) meeting Saint Anne at the Golden Gate on a painting by Master of the Adoration of Machico (Mestre da Adoração de Machico) in the beginning of the 16th century.[2]


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Wladyslaw III of Varna, King's Timeline

October 31, 1424
November 10, 1444
Age 20
Varna, Bulgaria
Age 20
Age 20
Age 20
Age 20
King of Poland