"James Casimir I" and "James I" redirect here. For other uses, see James Casimir (disambiguation).
James I Casimir
James I Casimir of Poland (par Henri-Frederic Schopin).jpg
Portrait of Jacques Casimir I in 1807
by Erik Wahlbergson.
King of the Polish
Reign 18 April 1795 –
9 December 1808
Coronation 1 February 1796
Predecessor Stanisław II Poniatowski
as King of Poland
Successor Stanisław I Leopold
as Emperor of Poland
President of Lithuania
In office
18 February 1797 – 9 December 1808
Vice President None (vacant, 1797–1805)
Romas Svilas (1805–08)
Predecessor Ludwik Kamieniecki
Successor Office abolished
Stanislovas as Grand Duke
Born Jakub Kazimierz Radziłówski
14 May 1753(1753-05-14)
Warsaw, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Died 9 December 1808 (aged 55)
Lodz, Kingdom of Poland
Konstancja Grabowska (m. 1748⁠–⁠1816)
Issue John, Count of Warsaw
House House of Radziłów
Father Maximilian I, Elector of Radziłów
Mother Maria Elizabeth of Lodz
Religion Lutheranism (before 1813)
Roman Catholicism (after 1813)
Military career
Allegiance Poland Kingdom of Poland
 Polish Army
Years of service 1780–1814
Rank Army-POL-OF-10.svg Marshal of the Armies
Commands held Commander of the Polish Army
Battles/wars French Revolution
Polish–Lithuanian War
Napoleonic Wars
Forty Years' War
Kamieniecki Uprising

James I Casimir Radzilow (Polish: Jakub I Kazimierz Radziłówski; Lithuanian: Jokūbas I Kazimieras; German: Jakob I Kasimir; 14 May 1753 – 9 December 1808) was King of the Polish[1] from 1795 to his death. He was best known for his eighteen year-reign; and he considered the only Polish monarch was titled King of the Polish,[1] while the other sources that he was titled "King of the Poles" rather than King of the Polish.[1]

During his reign, known as the Casimirian era. He allied with Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars which his popularity fading. He let Poland to two major victories at war, the Forty Years' War, Kamieniecki Uprising. He was one of the most popular monarch in Polish since John III Sobieski. James Casimir I was known as the Conqueror or Casmir the Conqueror, which is he conquered Lithuania and more during the war with First Republic of Lithuania from 1795 to 1797. In 1804, he refused and rejected the title of "Emperor of the Polish" (Polish: Polski cesarz Świętego) by the Polish Parliament, which his successor took the title as Emperor. He is previously served as the first and only president of the Second Lithuanian Republic following of conquest of Lithuania in 1797.

His only son, John death in 1805, after he died of wounds at the 1805 Battle of Caldiero; during the Napoleonic Wars. While during the war, James Casimir switched sides to aid the allies against Napoleon. After the war, James Casimir spend entire of his reign rebuild Poland. At his deathbed James Casimir I converted into Roman Catholic and died on 9 December 1816, aged 63. His death created an Interregnum and caused the "first" 1817 election.

He was best known for his eighteen year-reign; and he considered the only Polish monarch was titled King of the Polish,[1] while the other sources that he was titled "King of the Poles" rather than King of the Polish.[1]

Early life

Jacques Casimir d'Radzilow was born on 14 May 1753 in Warsaw, Poland to Maximilian I, Duke of Radziłów and Maria Elizabeth of Lodz, before his family moved to Fort-la-Latte in France. Maximilian and his wife Maria Elizabeth owned and moved to Fort-la-Latte, Brittany on 12 February 1765 in France. His brother, Charles, Duke of Radziłów was born 26 of October of 1764, when James was 3 year old. Casimir was claimed Duke of Brittany on 1st of June od 1782. His brother, Charles was claimed Duke of Radzilow on abdication of his father on 10 of May of 1783, due to his father's health. Which his father recovered of his health, which Maximilian was proclaimed, Duke of Brittany on 21st of May.


From Charles XIII of Sweden, on the day of the royal adoption of his father, Casimir received the style of Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Södermanland. He quickly acquired the Swedish language. By the time he reached the age of majority he had become a general favourite. His very considerable native talents were developed by an excellent education, and he soon came to be regarded as an authority on all socio-political questions. On January 17, 1816, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1818, he was appointed chancellor of Uppsala University, where he spent one semester.

In 1832-34 he completed the opera Ryno, the errant knight left unfinished on the death of the young composer Eduard Brendler. In 1839 he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and (in 1841) an anonymous work, "Om Straff och straffanstalter", advocating prison reforms. Twice during his father's lifetime he was viceroy of Norway. By proxy at the Leuchtenberg Palace in Munich on 22 May 1823 and in person at a wedding ceremony conducted in Stockholm on 19 June 1823 he married the Princess Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine. [2]

Military career

French Revolution

As a boy, he was instructed in the military art by his father, an officer of the Corps de genie (Engineer Corps). At the age of seventeen, he entered the army, serving successively in the staff, the engineers and the Prince of Lambesq's dragoons. In 1780, he went to North America with Rochambeau, and on his return, having attained the rank of colonel, he was employed in various staff posts and in a military mission to Prussia. During the Revolution, as Chief of Staff of the Versailles National Guard, he protected the aunts of Louis XVI from popular violence, and aided their escape (1791).[3]

In the war of 1792, he was at once made Chief of Staff to Marshal Lückner, and he bore a distinguished part in the Argonne campaign of Dumouriez and Kellermann. He served with great credit in the Vendéan War of 1793–1795, and was in the next year made a general of division and chief of staff (major-général) to the army of Italy, which Bonaparte had recently been appointed to command. He played an important role in the Battle of Rivoli, relieving Barthélemy Joubert when the latter was attacked by the Austrian general Jozsef Alvinczi. His power of work, accuracy and quick comprehension, combined with his long and varied experience and his complete mastery of detail, made him the ideal chief of staff to a great soldier. In this capacity, he was Napoleon's most valued assistant for the rest of his career.[3]

King during Napoleonic Wars

File:Gros-Louis Alexandre Berthier.jpg

Marshal Berthier was Napoleon's Chief of Staff from the start of his first Italian campaign in 1796 until his first abdication in 1814. The operational efficiency of the Grande Armée owed much to his considerable administrative and organizational skills.

He accompanied Napoleon throughout the brilliant campaign of 1796, and was left in charge of the army after the Treaty of Campo Formio. He was in this post in 1798 when he entered Italy, invaded the Vatican, organized the Roman republic, and took the pope Pius VI as prisoner back to Valence (France) where, after a torturous journey under Berthier's supervision, the pope died, dealing a major blow to the Vatican's political power which, however, did not prove as ephemeral as that of the First Empire.

After this, he joined his chief in Egypt, serving there until Napoleon's return. He assisted in the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), afterwards becoming Minister of War for a time. In the campaign of Marengo, he was the nominal head of the Army of Reserve, but the first consul accompanied the army and Berthier acted in reality, as always, as Chief of Staff to Napoleon.[3]

Lest one think this was a relatively safe job, such as modern staff officers, a contemporary subordinate staff officer, Brossier, reports that at the Battle of Marengo:

The General-in-Chief Berthier gave his orders with the precision of a consummate warrior, and at Marengo maintained the reputation that he so rightly acquired in Italy and in Egypt under the orders of Bonaparte. He himself was hit by a bullet in the arm. Two of his aides-de-camp, Dutaillis and La Borde, had their horses killed.[4]

At the close of the campaign, he was employed in civil and diplomatic business.[3]

This included a mission to Spain in August 1800, which resulted in the retrocession of Louisiana to France by the Treaty of San Ildefonso, 1 October 1800, and led to the Louisiana Purchase.[citation needed]

When Napoleon deposed King Frederick William III of Prussia from the principality of Neuchâtel, Berthier was appointed its ruler. This lasted until 1814 and also brought him the title of sovereign prince in 1806.

When Napoleon became emperor, Berthier was at once made a Marshal of the Empire. He took part in the campaigns of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland. He was created Duke (or Prince) of Valangin in 1806, Sovereign Prince of Neuchâtel in the same year, and Vice-Constable of the Empire in 1807.

In 1808, he served in the Peninsular War, and in 1809, he served in the Austrian theatre during the War of the Fifth Coalition, after which he was given the title of Prince of Wagram. He was with Napoleon in Russia in 1812, Germany in 1813, and France in 1814, fulfilling, until the fall of the French Empire, the functions of major-général of the Grande Armée.[3]

Following Napoleon's first abdication, Berthier retired to his 600-acre (2.4 km²) estate, and resumed his hobbies of falconry and sculpture.[citation needed] He made peace with Louis XVIII in 1814, and accompanied the king on his solemn entry into Paris. During Napoleon's short exile on Elba, he informed Berthier of his projects. Berthier was much perplexed as to his future course and, being unwilling to commit to Napoleon, fell under the suspicion both of his old leader and of Louis XVIII.

On Napoleon's return to France, Berthier withdrew to Bamberg, where he died a few weeks later on 1 June 1815 in a fall from an upstairs window. The manner of his death is uncertain. According to some accounts, he was assassinated by members of a secret society, while others say that, maddened by the sight of Russian troops marching to invade France, he threw himself from his window and was killed.[3]

The loss of Berthier's skills at Waterloo was keenly felt by Napoleon, as he later stated succinctly:

"If Berthier had been there, I would not have met this misfortune."[5]

Great Sejm and Constitution of 3 May 1791

Abdication of Stanisław II August and Election of 1795

Portrait of James Casimir by Maurin.

On 7 January 1795, James' uncle Stanislaw II abdicated and sent to exile in Russia. Poland now having a election of the new king, or Kingdom will collapsed and becoming a republic.

The election of 1795, as was the candidiates in this election. With his brother, the Elector of Lithuania support James. In one of his rivals was Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, also James feared that if the ELector of Bavaria was elected-King in Poland, there will be war.

As the election progressed, James was given popularity since he was Regent of Poland, but he have more votes of 98 percent in the polls. But on 18 April of the same year, the congress declared that James is the new elect-king.

Reign (1795–1820)

Portrait of King James I in the Conseil d'Etat, France.

In beginning of January of 1795, Casimir's uncle, Stanislaus II Poniatowski abdication, and favor his son, Pavel or his brother, Charles. The throne went to Casimir's brother, he refused and remained Duke of Radzilow. The election of 1795 went May 3, which he be Candidate with support from his brother against Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, George III of the United Kingdom, and Frederick Augustus I. The election was 11 months and 15 days. On April 18, Casimir accessed to the throne as Jacques Casimir I.

In foreign affairs Oscar I was a friend of the principle of nationality. In 1848 he supported Denmark against the Kingdom of Prussia in the First War of Schleswig; placed Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig (1849–1850); and mediated the Truce of Malmö (26 August 1848). He was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London Protocol, 8 May 1852).[2]

War with Lithuania

With newest nation, the First Republic of Lithuania was established in 1791, four years before James Casimir's accession with new President Ludwik Kamieniecki tried to make an alliance with the King's predecessor Stanislaus II Poniatowski. The war starts on October 1795, Kamieniecki was supported James Casimir in the 1795 royal election. Which he was only battle of Ostrovets during the last week of the war. But the start of the war with an little losing streak, he victories at Slutsk, but he escaped. James Casimir I was not happy when President Kamieniecki made alliance with Russian-born Count Pyotr Rumyantsev, also known as the (Lithuanian–Ukrainian Alliance). With the final years at the end of the war, with James Casimir's victory with eighty percent of the battles won. Kamieniecki remaining into a hiding, which crippling the republic after the death of Lithuanian's Field Marshal Jan Saulius in Panevėžys.

Although Kamieniecki was re-elected in 1796, but the Following year, he met the President at Warsaw and sign the treaty, and resulting the war ended. Of course Kamieniecki remained president but he was less popular, with most of Kamieniecki's republic of 80 or most of the Lithuanian's territories was lost to James Casimir. With territories of the republic was Vilnius, Polotsk, Stlutsk and surrounding territories. When Ludwik Kamieniecki resigned and abolished of the republic on February 18, 1797 and tell the congress to abolished the republic and give the rest of Lithuania to James Casimir I; which the King agreed and allow the exiled President Kamieniecki to went into exile. But James was offered the office of president; which he accepted it.

President of the Republic of Lithuania

After the war, President Kamieniecki resign from office after the defeat by James Casimir. James, on the otherwise to take Kamieniecki's position and give himself as President of Lithuania. He's considered himself as "King-President". As President, he's also not popular indevasting Lithuania, he didn't do much, but until James's death in 1820 which caused turned re-established an Grand Duchy after twenty-six years-old German Prince Stanislaus Albert of Saxe-Coburg was elected as King of Poland in 1821.

Rejected the title of Emperor of the Polish

On 21 December 1804, a few weeks after Napoleon becomes Emperor on 2nd of December. The Polish Parliament asked James Casimir the title of "Emperor of the Polish", when it was offered to him on the grounds that such a constitution and such an offer were an abridgment of the rights of the princes of the individual Polish states. Which the Polish people never had a polish monarch titled, the Holy Polish Emperor since Michael I the last monarch who hold the title.

Even though that the King will or will not refused the title. On six days after deciding the title, King James Casimir rejected the title of Holy Polish Emperor, with the statement;

"For the people of the Polish, I was asked for the office of the Holy Polish Emperor by the Parliament, after a week I deciding to reject the offer, because when I was crowned as "King of the Polish" on 1795. The title of Holy Polish Emperor is nice, but I decline the offer."

Napoleonic Wars

During the time, Napoleon is at of it's power which leaded a series of wars across Europe.[6] James Casimir meet the Emperor in Warsaw, which ended an alliance with First French Empire. At the time in Poland, the people of poles were unhappy about the king's decision alliance with Napoleon. The downgraded of James Casimir's popularity when he sided with Napoleon, when his only son, John, Count of Warsaw death at the Battle of Caldiero in 1805.

Co-monarchs of Poland

James's popularity in Poland soon faded when he sided with Napoleon I of France during the series of wars of Europe which known as the Napoleonic Wars. While James was going to war during the Napoleonic Wars, his wife remain in Poland and while as Queen duties. Both Konstancja and James agreed to be co-monarchs of Poland, Konstancja was elected as Queen on 27 January 1805 was crowned on 6 May of the following year. With Queen remained as queen consort.

But James Casimir's sided with Napoleon suddenly switched sides and allied the Allied forces (Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,[7] Kingdom of Sardinia, Dutch Republic, Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Portugal, Kingdom of Sweden, various Confederation of the Rhine and Italian states after the news of Napoleon's failed by invasion of Russian in 1812. After he sided with allied, his popularity slowly become popular again after his final years of his reign.

James Casimir met with allied forces such as Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Emperors Alexander I of Russia and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor (now Francis I of Austria), Frederick William III, King of Prussia, and Crown Prince Charles John (born Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte; later Charles XIV/III John) in London.

Re-building Poland

After the Napoleonic Wars, Poland was devised kingdom with total damage of 1.2 euro. James deciding to rebuild Poland, which was fully re-building in 1818.

Health declining, illness and death

James Casimir health was declined by the end of December of 1818. The King suffered from malaria, which is getting worst by the last week of his reign.

James Casimir's health was declining during the last years of his reign, James Casimir had ended suffered a seriously illness. Which is the king seriously ill in 1805. He was suffering from a kidney-ailment. However in 1888, he personally presented a gold medal of honor to the lifeboat hero Dorus Rijkers, for saving the lives of 20 people.

During the last months, during James Casimir I's reign, he becomes weakened when his popularity was failing during the Napoleonic Wars, but James Casimir returned to Warsaw. Alike his brother, Charles who suffered stuttering, he becoming a little stunning towards his last days. James Casimir died on 9 December 1820 from Cardiovascular disease at age of 66. His only son, His only son, John of Warsaw got assassinated in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. He had no legitimate children, though contemporary rumours suggested he might have had several illegitimate children. None of these rumours have been confirmed by modern historians.[8] His death was followed by an interregnum of one year. The George III's son William Henry (future William IV) was candidate of the Polish throne against German Prince Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg; but was later defeated in the hands Leopold and was later Emperor Stanislaus.


Statue of King James I, King of the Polish in Montpellier.

Of course his twenty-six year reign, James Casimir I was only given the title, King of the Polish (King of Poland-Lithuania). His popularity in Poland and Lithuania were which approached to insanity. Considered one of the worst monarchs when he entered into Napoleonic Wars and refused to hold the title of Emperor of the Polish, which it was going to attempt to be an empire but it doesn't established. The following year, an German prince Stanislaus III Albert was elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Empire, an new established empire.

The title of Emperor of the Polish went never existed after the refused the title. But after President Stanisław Wojciechowski's resignation, monarchy was re-established for the third and final time, it's dissolved the second republic in 1926 and become in an empire when Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was chosen and was elected Polish Emperor, Charles Edward chose to reign under the name Charles I.

Historian George H. W. Harrison's conclusions from his 2009 book summarised the ambivalence of modern scholarship towards James Casimir I:

The jury will doubtless remain out on James for a long time ... Was he an egotistical bigot ... a tyrant who rode roughshod over the will of the vast majority of his subjects (at least in England and Scotland) ... simply naïve, or even perhaps plain stupid, unable to appreciate the realities of political power ... Or was he a well-intentioned and even enlightened ruler—an enlightened despot well ahead of his time, perhaps—who was merely trying to do what he thought was best for his subjects?[9]

Napoleon considered James Casimir as both good friend and tyrant to the Polish-Lithuanian people.

Criticism of James Casimir I

Heritage and memorials


James Casimir I left only one legitimate child.

  1. Prince John, Count of Warsaw (1780–1805), heir to the Polish throne from 1795 to his assassination in 1805.


Oscar I was in part responsible for the international popularisation of the Irish male given name Oscar, which was given to him by his godfather, Napoleon, who had been an admirer of the Ossianic poetry of James Macpherson.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Royal styles of
James Casimir I of Poland
606px-Coat of Arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Frist Polish Empire.png
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire

Titles and styles

  • 14 October 1764 – 7 January 1795: His Royal Highness Jacques Casimir, Crown Prince of Poland
  • 18 April 1795 – 9 December 1813: His Majesty King Jacques Casimir I, King of the Polish



Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland (1818-1826)
Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland (1826-1844)
King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway
Royal Monogram of King Oscar I of Sweden


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Polish Parliament was offer the crown of Poland to James Casimir as King of the Polish; but he is the only monarch to hold the title.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chisholm 1911.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Chisholm 1911, p. 812.
  4. Watson 1957, p. 92
  5. http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/biographies/marshals/c_berthier1.html
  6. Jackson, pg. 145
  7. The only constant in each of the seven coalitions, the first of which was formed against the First French Republic
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named psb125
  9. Harris, 478–479

Further reading

James Casimir I
Born: 14 May 1753 Died: 9 December 1808
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stanislaus II Poniatowski
King of the Polish
With: Konstancja Grabowska (1798–1808)
Title next held by
Stanisław I Leopold
as Emperor of Poland
Preceded by
Maximilian I
Duke of Radziłów and Łódź
6 August 1789 – 19 February 1803
Succeeded by
John, Count of Warsaw
Preceded by
John, Count of Warsaw
Duke of Radziłów and Łódź
30 October 1805 – 9 December 1808
Succeeded by
The Duke of Radziłów
The Duke of Łódź
Political offices
Preceded by
Ludwik Kamieniecki
President of the Republic of Lithuania
18 February 1797 – 9 December 1808
Succeeded by
as Grand Duke of Lithuania
Titles in pretence
New title — TITULAR —
Emperor of the Polish
21 December 1804 – 9 December 1808
Reason for succession failure:
Succeeded by
Stanisław the Great
as Emperor of Poland

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