Sigismund III Vasa

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Sigismund III Vasa, Polish: Zygmunt III Waza; English exonym: Sigmund (20 June 1566 – 30 April 1632 N.S.) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, a monarch of the united Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1587 to 1632, and King of Sweden (where he is known simply as Sigismund) from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599. He was the son of King John III of Sweden and his first wife, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland.

Elected to the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sigismund sought to create a personal union between the Commonwealth and Sweden (Polish-Swedish union), and succeeded for a time in 1592. After he had been deposed in 1599 from the Swedish throne by his uncle, Charles IX of Sweden, and a meeting of the Riksens ständer (Swedish Riksdag), he spent much of the rest of his life attempting to reclaim it.

Sigismund remains a highly controversial figure in Poland. His long reign coincided with the apex of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's prestige, power and economic influence. On the other hand, it was also during his reign that the symptoms of decline that led to the Commonwealth's future demise surfaced. Common views, influenced by popular books of Paweł Jasienica, tend to present Sigismund as the main factor responsible for initiating these negative processes, while academic historians usually are not that condemning. However, the question whether the Commonwealth's decline was caused by Sigismund's own decisions or its roots were in historical processes beyond his personal control, remains a highly debated topic.

He was commemorated in Warsaw with Zygmunt's Column, commissioned by his son and successor, Władysław IV.

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Royal titles

  • Royal titles in Latin: Sigismundus Tertius Dei gratia rex Poloniæ, magnus dux Lithuaniæ, Russiæ, Prussiæ, Masoviæ, Samogitiæ, Livoniæque, necnon Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque hæreditarius rex.

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