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Hedwig Jagiellon, Electress of Brandenburg

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Hedwig Jagiellon
Electress consort of Brandenburg
Reign1535–1571
SpouseJoachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg
Issue
Elisabeth Magdalena, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Sigismund, Bishop of Magdeburg
Hedwig, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Sophia, Countess of Rosenberg
HouseHouse of Hohenzollern
Jagiellon
FatherSigismund I the Old
MotherBarbara Zápolya
Born15 March 1513
Died7 February 1573
Neuruppin

Hedwig Jagiellon (Lithuanian: Jadvyga Jogailaitė, Polish: Jadwiga Jagiellonka, German: Hedwig Jagiellonica; 15 March 1513– 7 February 1573) was a member of the Jagiellon dynasty and a German electress.

Contents

Early life and proposals

Hedwig was born on 15 March 1513. She was the eldest daughter of King Sigismund I the Old of Poland and his first wife, Hungarian noblewoman Barbara Zápolya. Her only full sibling, Anna, died aged 5. Her father remarried and had six children with his second wife.

Hedwig was described by Olaus Magnus, who met her in 1528, as a "very beautiful, wise maiden [...] finer than all the riches I have just mentioned, and worthy of a glorious realm".[1]

Her hand was first sought by King Gustav I of Sweden, who was determined to make her his second queen. In 1526, Johannes Magnus was sent to Poland by the King of Sweden to negotiate the marriage. Despite the suitor's decision to moderate the religious reforms in his kingdom, Hedwig's father declined Gustav's offer after hearing about Gustav's ill relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and the opportunity to become Queen of Sweden perished (only to be later presented to Jadwiga's half-sister Catherine).[2][2]

Marriage

On 29 August or 1 September 1535 Hedwig married Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg. The wedding was held in Kraków. As the Jagiellon dynasty was Catholic, Joachim II promised Sigismund he would not make Hedwig change her religion and gave her as a dower county of Ruppin as well as the cities Alt Ruppin and Neuruppin. The marriage contract, signed on 21 March 1535, stipulated that Hedwig would be allowed to bring a Polish priest with her and always be free in the exercise of the Catholic prayers.[3]

The marriage did not satisfy her mother-in-law, Elizabeth of Denmark, for Catholic services were held for Hedwig in her private chapel. The Dowager Electress was also unhappy because Hedwig could not speak German.[4]

After breaking her thigh and hurting her back in the collapse of a floor at a hunting lodge, Hedwig spent the last 22 years of her life crippled. The accident signified the collapse of her marriage, which was already damaged by differences in religion and language barrier. Hedwig was replaced by her husband's mistress, Anna Sydow, whom Joachim treated as his wife and who was recognized publicly.[4]

Hedwig died in Neuruppin on 7 February 1573, two years after her husband.

Children

Hedwig and Joachim had six children:

  • Elisabeth Magdalena (September 6, 1537 – August 22, 1595), wife of Francis Otto, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg,
  • Sigismund (December 2, 1538 – September 14, 1566), bishop of Magdeburg and Halberstadt,
  • Hedwig (March 2, 1540 – October 21, 1602), wife of Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg,
  • Sophia (December 14, 1541 – June 27, 1564), wife of Wiliam of Rosenberg,
  • Joachim (1543 – March 23, 1544),
  • unknown daughter, born and died 1545.

Ancestors

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jogaila
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Casimir IV Jagiellon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sophia of Halshany
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sigismund I the Old
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Albert II of Germany
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elisabeth of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elisabeth of Bohemia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hedwig Jagiellon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
László Zápolya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stephen Zápolya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dorothea
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Barbara Zápolya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Przemyslaus II, Duke of Cieszyn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hedwig of Cieszyn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anna of Warsaw
 
 
 
 
 
 

References

  1. Magnus, Olaus; P. Fisher & H. Higgens (trans.); P. G. Foote (ed.) (1998). A Description of the Northern Peoples. London: The Hakluyt Society. pp. 660. ISBN 0904180581. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roberts, Michael (1986). The early Vasas: a history of Sweden 1523-1611. CUP Archive. ISBN 0521311829. http://books.google.com/books?id=x243AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA93&dq=Hedwig+daughter+Sigismund+I&lr=lang_en&as_brr=0#v=onepage&q=Hedwig%20daughter%20Sigismund%20I&f=false. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  3. Smith College. Dept. of History (1916). Smith College studies in history, Volume 2. Smith College. http://books.google.com/books?lr=&id=GC8NAAAAIAAJ&dq=Hedwig+Catholic+Brandenburg&q=%22always+be+free+in+the+exercise+of+the+Catholic+%22. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chadwick, Owen (2003). The Early Reformation on the Continent. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019926578X. http://books.google.com/books?id=VR1yNW8mgoEC&pg=PA179&dq=Hedwig+Electress+of+Bradenburg&lr=lang_en&as_brr=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
German nobility
Preceded by
Elizabeth of Denmark
Electress consort of Brandenburg
1535–1571
Succeeded by
Sabine of Brandenburg-Ansbach

 

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