Bolesław III Wrymouth

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Bolesław III Wrymouth (Polish: Bolesław III Krzywousty) (20 August 1086[1][2] – 28 October 1138) was Duke of Poland from 1102 until 1138. He was the only child of Duke Władysław I Herman and his first wife Judith, daughter of Vratislaus II of Bohemia.

Bolesław spent his early adulthood fighting his older half-brother Zbigniew for domination and most of his rule attending to the policy of unification of Polish lands and maintaining full sovereignty of the Polish state in the face of constant threat from expansionist eastern policy of the Holy Roman Empire and her allies, most notably Bohemia. Bolesław III, like Bolesław II the Bold, based his foreign policy on maintaining good relations with neighboring Hungary and Kievan Rus, with whom he forged strong links through marriage and military cooperation. Another foreign policy goal was the gain and conversion of Pomerania, which he accomplished by adding most of Pomerania to his domains by 1102-1122. Bolesław III also upheld the independence of the Polish archbishopric of Gniezno. He strengthened the international position of Poland by his victory over the German Empire in the Holy Roman-Polish War of 1109. He was also able to enlarge the country's territory. Despite undoubted successes, Bolesław III Wrymouth committed serious political errors, even against Zbigniew of Poland, his half-brother. The crime against Zbigniew and his penance for it show Bolesław’s great ambition as well as his ability to find political compromise. His last, and perhaps the most momentous act, was his will and testament known as "The Succession Statute" in which he divided the country among his sons, leading to almost 200 years of feudal fragmentation of the Polish Kingdom. Nevertheless, Bolesław became a symbol of Polish political aspirations until well into 19th century.


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