Anna Jagiellon
Queen Anna in coronation robes on a 1576 painting by Martin Kober, oil on canvas
Holy Polish Empress
Queen of Poland
Grand Duchess of Lithuania
Reign 15 December 1575 – 18 September 1587
Coronation 1 May 1576 in Krakow
Predecessor Henry
Successor Interrex 1586–1587
Sigismund III Vasa 1587
Born 18 October 1523(1523-10-18)
Kraków, Poland
Died 9 September 1596 (aged 72)
Warsaw, Poland
Spouse Stephen Báthory
Dynasty Jagiellon (by birth)
Báthory family (by marriage)
Father Sigismund I the Old
Mother Bona Sforza
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Anna Jagiellon (Polish: Anna Jagiellonka, Lithuanian: Ona Jogailaitė; 1523–1596) was queen of Poland from 1575 to 1586. She was the daughter of Poland's King Sigismund I the Old, and the wife of Stephen Báthory. She was elected, along with her then fiancé, Báthory, as co-ruler in the second election of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Anna was the last member of the Jagiellon dynasty.

Early life

Anna Jagiellon was born on 18 October 1523 to the Polish king and queen, Sigismund I the Old and Bona Sforza.[1] Her early life was rather mundane. She embroidered church vestments, was involved in works of charity, and fulfilled her obligations as a princess. Anna gave up her suitor, John, Duke of Finland, in favour of her sister Catherine, remaining unmarried until the age of fifty-two. Thirty-three years at the side of her overbearing mother had taught her not only patience and calmness, but also the conviction that a woman could be as good a monarch as a man.[1]


In 1572, her brother Sigismund II Augustus died, leaving the thrones to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth vacant.[1] In 1572 Jean de Monluc, Bishop of Valence, offered the French prince Henry to the electors of the commonwealth as the next king. Montluc promised the electors that Henry would marry Anna, "to maintain the dynastic tradition".[2] However, after Henry was elected as the first monarch in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, he withdrew his promise and they never wed.[1]

In June 1574, Henry left Poland to assume his new duties as King of France and by May 1575 the Parliament of the Commonwealth had removed him as their monarch.[3] During the second interregnum, Anna assumed the unprecedented but politically important title of infanta, mirroring the Spanish custom and highlighting her dynastic status. She referred to herself as Anna, by the Grace of God, Infanta of the Kingdom of Poland (Latin: Anna Dei Gratia Infans Regni Poloniae).[4][5][6]


By the autumn of 1575 a new candidate was offered to the electors of the commonwealth, Stephen Báthory, Prince of Transylvania.[7] Stephen had to agree to the condition that he would marry Anna Jagiellon, which he did.[1][7] On 15 December 1575, near Warsaw, Anna along with Stephen Báthory, her fiancé, was elected as co-rulers, as the second monarch in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual title of Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania[7] The coronation took place in Krakow on 1 May 1576.[8]

With the death of her husband in 1586, she had one final play to influence the thrones of the Commonwealth. She put forth to the electors, her nephew Sigismund, the only son of her sister Catherine and John III of Sweden.[1] With Anna's help, he gained the thrones of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as its third elected monarch.[1]

Death and legacy

Anna died in Warsaw on 9 September 1596, during Sigismund's reign, as the last Jagiellon.[1]

Warsaw was Anna's main residence before it became the capital and she embellished the city by funding the construction of a variety of structures, many of which still exist today. She also funded several distinguished tomb monuments in the Wawel Cathedral, including the monument of her brother King Sigismund Augustus and her own monument in Sigismund's Chapel (both 1574–1575, Santi Gucci) and her husband Stephen Báthory in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1586, Santi Gucci) as well as the tomb of mother Bona Sforza in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari (1593). In 1586 (ten years after it was painted) she ordered that a portrait of her in coronation robes be placed in the Sigismund's Chapel.[9]



See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Anna Jagiellonka (1523–1596)". Government of Poland. http://www.poland.gov.pl/Anna,Jagiellonka,(1523,–,1596),1960.html. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
  2. Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386-1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.]. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 118. ISBN: 0-295-98093-1.
  3. Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386-1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.]. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 121. ISBN: 0-295-98093-1.
  4. Jasienica, Paweł (1984) (in pl). Ostatnia z rodu. Czytelnik. p. 161. ISBN: 83-07-00697-X.
  5. In der Zeit des zweiten Interregnums trug sie den Titel „Anna Dei Gratia Infans Regni Poloniae". Dmitrieva, Marina; Lambrecht, Karen (2000) (in de). Krakau, Prag und Wien: Funktionen von Metropolen im frühmodernen Staat. Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 70. ISBN: 3-515-07792-8.
  6. Przybrała wtedy, na wzór hiszpański, tytuł infantki. Ewa Letkiewicz (2006) (in pl). Klejnoty w Polsce: Czasy ostatnich Jagiellonów i Wazów. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej. p. 417. ISBN: 83-227-2599-X.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386-1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.]. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 122. ISBN: 0-295-98093-1.
  8. Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386-1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.]. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 123. ISBN: 0-295-98093-1.
  9. WAWEL 1000-2000. Kultura artystyczna dworu królewskiego i katedry. Sala IV. Portrety rodowe. (Polish)
  10. Kaplica Zygmuntowska (Polish)

Anna Jagiellon
Born: 18 October 1523 Died: 9 September 1596
Regnal titles
Title last held by
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania

with Stephen
Title next held by
Sigismund III
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Sophia Jagiellon
Brienne claim
Succeeded by
Sigismund III Vasa

Template:Monarchs of Lithuania

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