Monthly Archives: November 2012

Who’s died today?

One thing I noticed scrolling down my twitter feed today was that it seems to be a few people that have died in history today.  So here we go this isn’t a conclusive list but one I have tried to put together of different people I have seen…..oh and it also takes the blog out of Europe for the first time to..

Emperor Tsuchimikado of Japan, was born 3rd January 1196 and died 6th November 1231.  He was the 83rd emperor of Japan reigning between 1198 till 1210.


Ulrich, Duke of Wuttemberg was born 8th February 1487 and died 6th November 1550.  He succeeded Eberhard II as Duke in 1498, being declared of age in 1503.


Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was born 19th February 1594 and died 6th November 1612 and was the the elder son of James I and VI of England and Scotland and Anne of Denmark.  He died at the age of 18 of a typhoid fever with his younger brother Charles becoming the heir to the thrones of England and Scotland.


Gustavus Aldolphus of Sweden, was born 9th December 1594 and died 6th November 1632 at the Battle of Lutzen.  He reigned as King of Sweden between 1611 and 1632.  he also became known as ‘The Golden King’ and ‘The Lion of the North’ leading Swden to be a great power during his reign.


William II, Prince of Orange lived between 27th May 1626 and 6th November 1650.  He was sovereign Prince of Orange and stateholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 1647 till his death in 1650 of small pox.


John IV of Portugal was born 18th March 1603 and died 6th November 1656.  He was King of Portugal from 1640 till his death, and also nicknamed John the Restorer.


Charles X of France, born 9th October 1757 till 6th November 1836.  He reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 1824 till 1830.  His rule ended due to the July Revolution which resulted in his abdication and the election of Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans.


Princess Charlotte of Wales was born 7th January 1796 and died 6th November 1817 at just the age of 21.  She was the only daughter of George IV of Great Britain.


Emperor Khai Dinh was born Nguyen Phuc Buu Dao on the 8th October 1885 and died 6th November 1925,  He was the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam.



Remember, Remember the King that died on the 5th of November

‘Remember remember the fifth of November, for Gunpowder, treason and plot.’

We all remember today as the day that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up King James in the Houses of Parliament, but to some it is of note for other reasons.  Keeping with the Eastern European theme of my last post I have decided to look at someone else whose history is marked on this day.

Casimir III the Great was born 30th April 1310 and died 5th November 1370.  He was the last of the Piast dynasty to be King of Poland reigning between 1333 and 1370.  Born in Kowal, he was the son of King Wladyslaw I the Elbow-high and Duchess Hedwig of Kalisz.

He founded Poland’s first university, at Krakow in 1364.    He was a skilful diplomat also and through his diplomacy he annexed lands from western Russia and eastern Germany.  Casimir was the second king of the reunited Greater and Lower Poland following in his father’s footsteps.  Ciasimir continued to use his diplomacy skills for his father adding both the important regions Red Russia and Masovia to the country.  On the completion of the annexations it brought Poland to the next level of respect within Central Europe earing its place amongst the more powerful nations.   After his elder brother died in 1312 he was regarded as heir and prepared for kingship by Jaroslaw the future archbishop of Gniezno.  He became king in 1333 on his father’s death.  His sister Elisabeth was married to King Charles Robert of Hungary in 1320 and figured within Casimir’s diplomatic relations with Hungary who he treated as a strong ally.  Within the treaties Casimir dropped Poland’s claims on Silesia and East Pomerania.  In exchange for this the King of Bohemia dropped his claims on Poland all together whilst he managed obtain the Teutonic Orders withdrawl from Kujawy and Dobrzyn.

By his death in 1370 Casimir had managed to increase his lands from 50,000 square miles to about 90,000 square miles.  He was renowned throughout Europe.  In 1364 a congress was held in Krakow and was attended by the Kings of Hungary, Bohemia, Denmark and Cyprus as well as many other local princes.

Casimir the Great by Leopold Löffler

He married four times –

He married first Aldona of Lithuania in 1325.  She was the daughter of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas and Jewna.  They had two daughters Elisabeth of Poland (who married Boguslaw V, Duke of Pomerania) and Cunigunde of Poland (who married Louis VI the Roman).  Aldona dies on 26th May 1339.  His second wife was Adelheid of Hesse, they married on 29th September 1341.  She was the daughter of Henry II, Landgrave of Hesse and Elizabeth of Messien.  It was said to be a loveless marriage and Casimir soon started to live away from his wife.  The marriage lasted till 1356.  Casimir then married his mistress Christina.  Christina was the widow of a wealthy merchant called Miklusz Rokiczani.  Casimir met Christina at the court of Bohemia in Prague where she was a lady in waiting after Miklusz death.  Casimir persuaded the abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Tyniec to marry them in secret.  The secret didn’t remain that way for long and on hearing the news Queen Adelaide renounced it as bigamous and returned to Hesse without permission.  Casimir ignored the complaints of Pope Innocent VI and continued to live with Christina until he once again declared himself as divorced in 1363/1364.   In 1365 Casimir married his fourth wife Hedwig of Zagan the daughter of Henry V of Iron, Duke of Zagari and Anna of Mazovia.  They had three children, Anna of Poland, Countess of Celje (who married William of Celje and Ulrich, Duke of Teck), Kunigunde of Poland and Hedwig of Poland.  The marriage was considered bigamous again as Adelaide and possibly Christine surviving still.  The legitimacy of the three children was disputed, although later legitimised by different Popes.  Casimir also had three other illegitimate sons with his mistress Cudka.

Part of Casimir’s legacy is the fact that even though he had no legal heir there was no attempt to split Poland back up, restoring the former duchies and principalities. His governance had given confidence in the monarchy for it to be able to continue.   On his death 642 years ago today the crown of Poland then passed on to his nephew King Louis I Hungary.

The Legend of Lech, Czech and Rus.

Eastern Europe isn’t something I know a great deal about, so when I came across the below legend I was really in awe with its story.

It seems there are many versions of the legend that gives the beginnings of three of Eastern Europe’s most famous states.  To give a synopsis hear below is a brief outline and condensed version of the legend.

‘Lech, Czech and Rus were three brothers who all decided to go in different directions.  Czech travelled to the south and Rus went to the east.  Lech travelled to the North until he came across a giant oak tree.  Within the oak tree was a giant white eagle guarding its nest, Lech took this as a good omen and decided to begin his settlement on the same spot and this place went on to be called Gniezno the first capital of Poland. ‘

Lech, Czech, Rus and the White Eagle, as painted by Walery Eljasz-Radzikowski (1841–1905)

The earliest Polish mention of the legend is found in the ‘Chronicle of Greater Poland’ which was written in 1295 in Gniezno.  In Bohemian chronicles Czech appears on his own or sometimes with Lech.  His earliest known mention as Bohemus is in Cosmas chronicle from 1125.

It seems most of the varients of the legends do stem around Poland, and then the Czechs being the other most mentioned out of the three.

It really does continue to amaze me even going back over a thousand years how inter mingled everyone was.  The beginnings of Poland, Czech Republic and Russia all falling under the same family really is quite amazing.

Lech, Czech and Rus oaks in Rogalin, Poland