Polish High Dukes and Kings

The first historically attested ruler of the Polish state was Mieszko, a member of the Piast family. He converted to Christianity and was recognized as a duke (Latin dux) of the area known as Greater Poland (centered around the city of Poznań) in the 10th century. Mieszko's son was duke Bolesław the Brave, who in 1025 was acknowledged by the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire as a king (Latin rex). Bolesław's son Mieszko II was also a king, but their later descendants (with the exception of Bolesław II) were not crowned as kings for over 250 years.

When Bolesław III died in 1138, his will split the country between his five sons. His eldest son was to be the High Duke, theoretically above the others in power, ruling the area around Kraków. This division of the state led to a period of instability that lasted well over a century. The country began to become united again around 1300 under foreign rulers, the Czech Premyslids.

The Piasts soon returned to power, however their dynasty ended after the reign of Kazimierz III the Great. Kazimierz had no male children; he was succeeded by his nephew Louis (Ludwik) I of Hungary. Louis was succeeded by his daughter Jadwiga and her husband Jagiełło in 1382, thus ushering in the Jagiellon dynasty.

Through Jagiełło, the Jagiellons were also the hereditary Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In 1569 the two states were officially united as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After this time the kings were elected by the nobles.

The Commonwealth became weak in the 18th century and finally came to an end when it was divided between the Russian Empire, Prussia, and the Habsburg Empire. Poland would not be an independent country again until 1918, at which time it became a republic.

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NameYearsAlso Known As
Aleksander1501-1506(Alexander)
Anna1575-1586
August II the Strong1697-1704; 1709-1733(Augustus)
August III the Saxon1734-1763(Augustus)
Bolesław I the Brave992-1025(Boleslas)
Bolesław II the Generous1058-1079(Boleslas)
Bolesław III Wrymouth1102-1138(Boleslas)
Bolesław IV the Curly1146-1173(Boleslas)
Bolesław V the Chaste1241-1279(Boleslas)
Henryk1573-1575(Henri, Henry)
Henryk I the Bearded1232-1238(Henry)
Henryk II the Pious1238-1241(Henry)
Henryk IV Probus1288-1290(Henry)
Jadwiga1384-1399(Hedwig)
Jan I Albert1492-1501(John)
Jan II Casimir1648-1668(John)
Jan III1674-1696(John)
Kazimierz I the Restorer1040-1058(Casimir)
Kazimierz II the Just1177-1191; 1191-1194(Casimir)
Kazimierz III the Great1333-1370(Casimir)
Kazimierz IV1447-1492(Casimir)
Konrad I1229-1232; 1241-1243(Conrad)
Leszek I the White1194-1198; 1199-1202; 1206-1210; 1211-1227
Leszek II the Black1279-1288
Ludwik I1370-1382(Lajos, Louis)
Michał Korybut1669-1673(Michael)
Mieszko I962-992
Mieszko II Lambert1025-1031
Mieszko III the Old1173-1177; 1191; 1198-1199; 1202
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot1210-1211
Przemysł II1290-1296(Premyslas)
Stanisław I1704-1709; 1733-1736(Stanislas)
Stanisław II August1764-1795(Stanislas)
Stefan Báthory1576-1586(Stephen)
Wacław II1296-1305(Václav, Wenceslaus)
Wacław III1305-1306(Václav, Wenceslas, Wenceslaus)
Władysław I (or IV) the Short1306-1333(Ladislas)
Władysław I Herman1079-1102(Ladislas)
Władysław II1399-1434(Jagiełło, Jogaila, Ladislas)
Władysław II the Exile1138-1146(Ladislas)
Władysław III1434-1444(Vladislaus, Vladislav)
Władysław III Spindleshanks1202-1206; 1227-1229(Ladislas)
Władysław IV1632-1648(Ladislas)
Zbigniew1102-1107
Zygmunt I the Old1506-1548(Sigismund)
Zygmunt II Augustus1548-1572(Sigismund)
Zygmunt III Vasa1587-1632(Sigismund, Sigmund)