Casimir IV Jagiellon

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Casimir IV the Jagiellonian (Polish: Kazimierz IV Jagiellończyk [kaˈʑimi̯ɛʒ jaɡi̯ɛlˈlɔɲt͡ʃɨk]  ( listen); Lithuanian: Kazimieras IV Jogailaitis; 30 November 1427 – 7 June 1492) of the Jagiellon dynasty, was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440, and King of Poland from 1447, until his death.

Casimir was the second son of King Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila), and the younger brother of Władysław III of Varna.


Grand Duke of Lithuania

The sudden death of Sigismund Kęstutaitis left the office of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania empty. The Voivode of Trakai, Jonas Goštautas, and other magnates of Lithuania, supported Casimir the Jagiellonian as a pretender to the throne. However many Polish noblemen hoped that the thirteen year old boy would become a Vice-regent for the Polish King in Lithuania.[1] Casimir was invited by the Lithuanian magnates to Lithuania, and when Casimir arrived in Vilnius in 1440, he was proclaimed as the Grand Duke of Lithuania on 29 June 1440 by the Council of Lords, contrary to the wishes of the Polish noble lords—an act supported and coordinated by Jonas Goštautas.[1] This act could have been understood as dissolution of the fragile personal union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. When the news arrived in the Kingdom of Poland concerning the proclamation of Casimir as the Grand Duke of Lithuania, it was met with hostility, even to the point of military threats against Lithuania.[1] Since the young Grand Duke was underaged, the supreme control over the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was in the hands of the Council of Lords, presided by Jonas Goštautas. Casimir had been taught Lithuanian language and customs by appointed court officials.[2]

During the Casimir's rule the rights of Lithuanian nobility - dukes, magnates and bajorai (lesser nobility) - regardless of religion and ethnicity, were given equality to those of the Polish nobility szlachta. Moreover, Casimir promised to protect the Grand Duchy's borders and to not appoint people from Kingdom of Poland to offices of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He also accepted, that decisions on matters regarding Grand Duchy of Lithuania would not be made without the Council of Lords' consent. He gave Samogitia the right to elect its elder. Casimir was the first ruler of Lithuania baptised at birth, becoming the first natively Roman Catholic Grand Duke.

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