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Medieval Lithuania

              Chronology:   50-1009 |  1009-1183 |  1183-1283 |  1283-1386 |  1386-1506


Later Middle Ages
Part 2 (1386-1506)

       On February 2, 1386 Jogaila was elected King of Poland by the Polish Sejm (Parliament) of the nobility in Lublin. Jogaila arrived at Krakow, and on February 15th was christened and given the name of Wladyslaw. On February 18th, he married Jadwyga. The coronation of Jogaila as King of Poland was held on March 4th. Thus, the conditions of the Kreva (Krevo) agreement became the conditions of a personal union. However, the relations between Lithuania and Poland were, as yet, not clearly defined by the agreement.
       In February 1387 Jogaila began to institute the reforms in Lithuania, which were required by the conditions for the union with Poland. On February 17th, he established the Vilnius Bishopric. On February 20th, he declared the first of the privileges to the Lithuanian nobility, who had accepted Christianity. The privileges were the granting of rights equal to those held by the Polish nobility. On February 22nd, he ordered all Lithuanians to accept the Catholic faith. Soon thereafter, he also established the first 7 parishes. The christening of Lithuania proved to be a tremendous social upheaval, even though Lithuania with her Pagan faith already exhibited the most important elements of civilisation, including brick architecture and writing. The Pagan Dukes were as advanced, as to go on military manoeuvres bringing a personal office with them. For example, the travelling bag of Skirgaila, which fell into the hands of the Crusaders in 1385, was found to contain "Ruthenian privileges sealed in lead." On March 22nd, Jogaila granted Magdeburg Rights to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. On April 28th, he transferred the Trakai and Polotsk Duchies to Skirgaila, and delegated him to be his vicegerent in Lithuania.
       In December 1389 Vytautas started an uprising against Jogaila and the Polish influence in Lithuania during an unsuccessful attempt to take control of Vilnius.
       On January 19, 1390 Vytautas renewed the alliance with the Teutonic Order, and swore to uphold his earlier obligations. Although Vytautas was unable to take control of Vilnius even with the assistance of the Order, he was able to rapidly expand his influence and rule. Finally, Jogaila offered Vytautas the post of his vicegerent in Lithuania. Vytautas then again burned down three fortresses of the Order, and returned to Lithuania.
       On August 4, 1392 Vytautas entered into an agreement with Jogaila in Ostrow at the border of Poland and Lithuania. By virtue of this agreement, Vytautas was granted the Trakai Duchy, and became, in fact, the ruler of Lithuania. Vytautas managed to formulate a strong central government, and neutralise the consequences of internal struggles over a relatively short time.
       In 1396 the Khan Tochtamysh of the Golden Horde, defeated by Grand Khan Tamerlane the Great, fled to Lithuania, and requested assistance from Vytautas. In return he promised to transfer all of Ruthenia under the rule of Vytautas. Vytautas entered into a truce with the Teutonic Knights, and concentrated all his strength to the East. By helping Tochtamysh, he expected to quickly form a powerful state and become its king. Between 1397 and 1398, he organised two raids on the coasts of the Black Sea and the Crimea. He brought back many Tartars and Karaims, and settled them at the Trakai Duchy.
       On October 12, 1398 Vytautas affirmed the peace treaty with the Teutonic Order at Salynas Island of the Nemunas River. He transferred Samogitia up to the Nevezis River to the Order. The Lithuanian nobility, who had gathered at Salynas, declared Vytautas to be the King of Lithuania.
       In 1399 the first Lithuanian March of the Cross against the Tartars was organised by Vytautas. Both the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople declared this March of the Cross. Vytautas marched with the army of Lithuania, Poland and the Teutonic Order to the Vorksla River, where he faced the Tartar army. Vytautas was totally defeated at the battle on August 12th, and barely escaped himself. The plans of Vytautas for becoming the King of Lithuania and ruler of all Ruthenia were tossed asunder.
       To be continued...
       This page is UNDER CONSTRUCTION


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