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Sigismund III of Poland

(Redirected from Sigismund III)
Zygmunt III Waza
Reign in Poland From September 18, 1587
until April 19, 1632
Reign in Sweden From November 17, 1592
until July 24, 1599
Elected in Poland On September 18 1587 in
Wola, today suburb of
Warsaw, Poland
Coronation in Poland On December 27 1587
in the Wawel Cathedral,
Kraków, Poland.
Coronation in Sweden On February 19, 1594
Royal House Vasa
Royal motto "Pro jure et populo"
("For justice and people")
Parents John III
Katarzyna Jagiellonka
Consorts Anna Habsburzanka
Constance of Austria
Children with Anna Habsburzanka
Anna Maria
Władysław IV Waza
with Constance of Austria
Jan Kazimierz
Jan II Kazimierz Waza
Jan Albert
Karol Ferdynant
Aleksander Karol
Anna Konstancja
Anna Katarzyna Konstancja
Date of Birth June 20, 1566
Place of Birth Gripsholm Palace ,
Sudermannia, Sweden
Date of Death April 19, 1632
Place of Death Warsaw, Poland
Place of Burial Wawel, Sigismund Chapel,
Kraków, Poland.
buried on February 4, 1633

King Sigismund III of Poland-Lithuania, Sigismund of Sweden (June 20, 1566 - April 19, 1632), was the son of King John III of Sweden (1537-1592), of the House of Vasa, and his first wife Catherine Jagellonica of Poland (1526-1583). He ruled in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he was known as Zygmunt III Waza, from 1587 to 1632 and in Sweden from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599.


Royal titles

  • Royal titles in Latin: Sigismundus Tertius Dei gratia rex Polonię, magnus dux Lithuanię, Russię, Prussię, Masovię, Samogitię, Livonięque, necnon Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque hęreditarius rex


He was born at Gripsholm during his parents' imprisonment by King Eric XIV. Although Sweden was protestant, Sigismund was raised as a catholic. This fact combined with the troublesome personal union would later strike back at his attempts to find support in Sweden.

His mother was the daughter of Sigismund I the Elder and his wife Bona Sforza. The Jagiellon dynasty had held the crown of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth since the first ruler Ladislaus II had received it via his wife Jadwiga in 1386. Sigismund was elected king in 1587.

On his father's death Sigismund was offered the Swedish throne, and he was crowned in 1594. He tried to rule Sweden from Poland but his uncle, Duke Charles, took full control of Sweden. In 1598 Sigismund tried to defeat him with a mixed army from Sweden and Poland but was defeated in the battle of Stångebro. Sigismund was restrained from ruling Sweden from abroad, but nevertheless returns to Poland, so in 1599 he was deposed. The kingship was ultimately ceded to Charles. Sigismund however did not relinquish his claims to the Swedish throne, which led to very harsh relations and several wars between the two countries, to end only after the Great Northern War.

It was under Sigismund's rule that Warsaw was created Polish capital, in 1609. He died at the age of 65 in the royal castle in Warsaw.

Sigismund politics

Many historians believe that Sigismund viewed Poland only as a tool that would allow him to eventually regain the throne of Sweden. To this end he tried to strenghten his royal power and allied himself with Hapsburgs and Counter-Reformation forces. His politics were opposed by many from szlachta, most notably the chancellor Jan Zamojski. While Sigismund never managed to regain the Swedish throne, his politics of personal ambition did succeed in provoking a long series of conflicts between the Commonwealth and Sweden. While the Commonwealth Sejm managed to thwart many ambitious (and dangerous) offensive plans of Sigismund (and later of his son, Wladislaw), the Vasa dynasty nonetheless succeeded in partially drawing the Commonwealth into the Thirty Years War. This sensless conflict with Sweden culminated well after Sigismund's death in the series of events known as the Deluge.

The royal family

Sigismund married twice. Firstly, on May 31, 1592, to Anna of Austria, Habsburg (1573-1598), daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria (1540-1590) and his wife Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551-1608). They had five children:

  1. Anna Maria (1593-1600)
  2. Katharina (1594-1594)
  3. Ladislaus (1595-1648), (reigned 1632-1648 as Vladislaus IV Vasa of Poland)
  4. Katharina (1596-1597)
  5. Kristofer (1598-1598)

And secondly, on December 11, 1605, to his first wife's sister, Constance of Austria (1588-1631). They had seven children:

  1. Johan Kasimir (1607-1608)
  2. John Casimir (1609-1672), (reigned 1648-1668 as John Casimir II Vasa of Poland)
  3. Johan Albert (1612-1634)
  4. Karl Ferdinand (1613-1655)
  5. Alexander Karl (1614-1634)
  6. Anna Konstantia (1616-1616)
  7. Anna Katharina Konstanze (1619-1651)

Preceded by: King of Poland Succeeded by:
Stefan Batory Wladislaus IV

Preceded by: King of Sweden Succeeded by:
John III Charles IX

See also

Last updated: 02-21-2005 12:17:03