Sigismund I of Poland (Polish: Zygmunt I Stary; Lithuanian: Žygimantas II Senasis) (1 January 1467 – 1 April 1548), of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548. Earlier, Sigismund had been invested as Duke of Silesia.
The son of King Casimir IV Jagiellon and Elisabeth of Austria, Sigismund followed his brothers John I of Poland and Alexander I of Poland to the Polish throne. Their elder brother Ladislaus II of Hungary and Bohemia became king of Hungary and Bohemia. Sigismund was christened as the namesake of his mother's maternal grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, who had died in 1437.
Sigismund faced the challenge of consolidating internal power in order to face external threats to the country. During Alexander's reign, the law Nihil novi had been instituted, which forbade Kings of Poland from enacting laws without the consent of the Sejm. This proved crippling to Sigismund's dealings with the szlachta and magnates.
Despite this Achilles heel, he established (1527) a conscription army and the bureaucracy needed to finance it.
After the death of Janusz III of Masovia in 1526, he succeeded in annexing the Duchy of Masovia.
Intermittently at war with Vasily III of Muscovy, starting in 1507 (before his army was fully under his command), 1514 marked the fall of Smolensk (under Lithuanian domination) to the Muscovite forces (which lent force to his arguments for the necessity of a standing army). Those conflicts formed part of the Muscovite wars. 1515 he entered an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
In return for Maximilian lending weight to the provisions of the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), Sigismund consented to the marriage of the children of Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, his brother, to the grandchildren of Maximilian. Through this double marriage contract, Bohemia and Hungary passed to the House of Habsburg in 1526, on the death of Sigismund's nephew, Louis II.
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