The Jagiellons were a royal dynasty which reigned in some Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century. Members of the dynasty were grand dukes of Lithuania 1377-1392 and 1440-1572, kings of Poland 1386-1572, kings of Hungary 1440-1444 and 1490-1526, and kings of Bohemia 1471-1526. The family was a branch of the Lithuanian Gediminaičiai dynasty.
The name (other variations used in English include: Jagiellonians, Jagiellos, Jogailos) comes from Jogailo (Polish Jagiełło), the first Polish king of that dynasty. In Polish, the dynasty is known as Jagiellonowie (singular: Jagiellończyk); in Lithuanian it is called Jogailaičiai (sing.: Jogailaitis), and in Belarusian – Ягайлавічы (Jagajłavičy, sing.: Ягайлавіч, Jagajłavič). In all variations of that name, the letter J should be pronounced as in "Hallelujah" (or as Y in "yes"), and G – as in "get".
The dynastic union between the two countries (converted into a full administrative union only in 1569) is the reason for the common appellation "Poland-Lithuania" in discussions about the area from the late Middle Ages onwards. Two Jagiellonians also ruled Hungary and Bohemia, which briefly (1440-44) shared their king with Poland.
Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania and the founder of the dynasty in Poland, became king of Poland as Ladislaus II after converting to Christianity and marrying Jadwiga, second of Poland's Angevin rulers. The former Polish ruling house of Piast (c.962-1370) had ended with the death of Casimir III.
The Jagiellon rulers of Poland-Lithuania (with dates of ruling in brackets) were:
- Ladislaus II (in Lithuania 1377-1401; in Poland 1386-1434)
- Ladislaus III (1434-1444)
- Casimir IV (1447-1492)
- Jan Olbracht (1492-1501)
- Alexander (1501-1505)
- Sigismund the Elder (1506-1548)
- Sigismund Augustus (1548-1572)
Sigismund's heir was his sister, Catherine Jagiellonica, who married John III Vasa of Sweden; as a result, the main branch of the Jagiellons merged with the House of Vasa, which ruled Poland from 1587 until 1668.
The Jagiellons at one point also established dynastic control over the kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary, with Ladislaus Jagiello followed by his son Louis Jagiello. However, after Louis' sudden death, that royal line was extinguished.
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