Late Medieval Poland
Welcome to Study Guides!

Late Medieval Poland

Queen Jadwiga was only ten years old in 1384 when her mother Elizabeth sent her north from Hungary to become the Queen of Poland. Elizabeth stayed behind to rule Hungary as regent for Jadwiga's older sister. By 1385, when she was twelve, Queen Jadwiga married Jogaila, the Duke of Lithuania, uniting Poland and Lithuania to form a bigger empire that could defend itself against the Holy Roman Empire to its west and the Russian empire to its east.

Jadwiga's treaty
The treaty that Queen Jadwiga and Duke Jogaila signed in 1385 AD

From 1385 AD on, Poland and Lithuania were united in one empire. Duke Jogaila converted to Christianity and took a new Polish name, becoming King Wladyslaw II. Wladyslaw and Jadwiga's empire covered not only modern Poland and Lithuania, but also a lot of what is now Belarus and Ukraine. This empire was big enough to defend itself successfully against Mongol invasions from the east and German invasions from the west. Jadwiga died of infection after childbirth in 1399, but Wladyslaw II ruled for an extremely long time - 48 years! - which gave him time to really lock Poland and Lithuania together as one empire.

tomb carving of man
King Wladyslaw II

By 1500 AD, the Polish-Lithuanian empire also controlled Bohemia and Hungary, which gave its kings control over pretty much all of eastern and central Europe. But in 1526, the Ottoman Empire attacked Hungary, and won a big battle there. The king of Hungary and Bohemia, Louis II, was killed in the battle, and as a result the Ottomans took over the eastern half of Hungary, while the Austrians were able to take over the western half. But Poland-Lithuania continued to be strong into the 1500s.

Early Medieval Poland
Encyclopedia Britannica article

Bibliography and further reading about medieval Poland:

Early Medieval Poland
Late Medieval Hungary
Medieval Europe home

LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Study Guides
  • Publisher:
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more? is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 28 April, 2017