Piast(pyäst), 1st dynasty of Polish dukes and kings. Its name was derived from that of its legendary ancestor, a simple peasant. The first historic member, Duke Mieszko IMieszko I
or Mieczyslaw I
, c.922–992, duke of Poland (962–92), the first important member of the Piast dynasty. The first German invasions of Poland began in 963. To avert this threat, Mieszko obtained (c.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 962–92), began the unification of Poland and introduced Christianity. His son, Boleslaus IBoleslaus I
, c.966–1025, Polish ruler (992–1025), the first to call himself king; also called Boleslaus the Brave. He succeeded his father, Mieszko I, as duke of Poland, seized the territories left to his two brothers under their father's will, and set about
..... Click the link for more information. , was crowned king in 1025 with papal approval. However, some of his successors did not claim the royal crown. His successors were Mieszko IIMieszko II
or Mieczyslaw II,
990–1034, king of Poland (1025–34), son and successor of Boleslaus I. His reign was marked by internal and external strife. Moravia was lost to Bohemia, Lusatia to Germany, and sections of Ruthenia to Kiev.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 1025–34), Casimir ICasimir I
, c.1015–1058, duke of Poland (c.1040–1058), son of Mieszko II. He succeeded in reuniting the central Polish lands under the hegemony of the Holy Roman Empire, but he was never crowned king. He is also called Casimir the Restorer.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned c.1040–1058), Boleslaus IIBoleslaus II,
c.1039–1081, duke (1058–76), and later king (1076–79) of Poland; son and successor of Casimir I. Throughout his reign he opposed the influence of the Holy Roman Empire.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 1058–79), Ladislaus HermanLadislaus Herman
, 1040–1102, duke of Poland (1079–1102), brother and successor of Boleslaus II. His rule was one of weakness and decline. At his death the kingdom passed to his two sons, Zbigniew and Boleslaus III.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 1079–1102), and Boleslaus IIIBoleslaus III,
1085–1138, duke of Poland (1102–38). The kingdom had been divided by his father, Ladislaus Herman, between Boleslaus and his elder brother Zbigniew, whose legitimacy was disputed.
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 1102–38). For his four sons Boleslaus III created four hereditary duchies—SilesiaSilesia
, Czech Slezsko, Ger. Schlesien, Pol. Śląsk, region of E central Europe, extending along both banks of the Oder River and bounded in the south by the mountain ranges of the Sudetes—particularly the Krkonoše (Ger.
..... Click the link for more information. , MazoviaMazovia
Pol. Mazowsze, historic region, central Poland. At the death (1138) of Boleslaus III, Mazovia became an independent duchy under the Piast dynasty. It became a suzerainty of Great Poland in 1351 and was finally united with it in 1526.
..... Click the link for more information. , Great Poland (with Gniezno and Poznan), and SandomierzSandomierz
, Rus. Sandomir, town, Świętokrzyskie prov., SE Poland, on the Vistula. Founded probably before Poland accepted Christianity, Sandomierz became the capital of a duchy in 1139.
..... Click the link for more information. . In addition, the royal throne at Kraków and the rest of the Polish territory was to be held by the oldest member of the dynasty; thus the supreme power would pass in rotation to the different branches. This law of succession caused the temporary disintegration of the kingdom. However, Casimir IICasimir II,
1138–94, duke of Poland (1177–94), youngest son of Boleslaus III. A member of the Piast dynasty, he drove his brother Mieszko III from power at Kraków in 1177 and became the principal duke of Poland.
..... Click the link for more information. (who, probably a posthumous child, was left out of Boleslaus's will) united Mazovia and Sandomierz under his power, was made duke at Kraków in 1177, and secured (1180) for his descendants the hereditary right to the kingship. Nevertheless, dynastic struggles resumed after Casimir's death (1194) and continued until Ladislaus ILadislaus I,
1260–1333, duke (1306–20) and later king (1320–33) of Poland; called Ladislaus the Short. He restored the Polish kingdom, which had been partitioned since 1138 (see Piast).
..... Click the link for more information. restored the royal authority in 1320. With the death (1370) of his son, Casimir IIICasimir III,
1310–70, king of Poland (1333–70), son of Ladislaus I and last of the Piast dynasty. Called Casimir the Great, he brought comparative peace to Poland.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Piast dynasty ended in Poland; it was finally succeeded by the JagielloJagiello
, dynasty that ruled Poland and Lithuania from 1386 to 1572, Hungary from 1440 to 1444 and again from 1490 to 1526, and Bohemia from 1471 to 1526.
..... Click the link for more information. dynasty. Another branch of the Piasts ruled as dukes of Mazovia until 1526. In 1339, Casimir III had officially recognized John of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia, as suzerain over the Piast domains in Silesia, which in the meantime had broken up into many principalities. The Silesian Piasts, as vassals of Bohemia and mediate princes of the Holy Roman Empire, retained the ducal title and continued to hold the duchy of Oppeln until 1532 and the principalities of Brieg, Liegnitz, and Wohlau until their extinction in 1675.
(full name Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe “Piast,” Piast Polish Peasant Party), a Polish political party that existed from 1913 to 1931. It was founded in Galicia by leaders of the right wing of the peasant movement.
The party took its name from the newspaper it published. The newspaper called for cooperation among the various social groups, a situation that had supposedly existed under the rule of the Piasts, the first Polish dynasty. In 1918, after the formation of the bourgeois-landowner Polish state, the party was active throughout Poland. It defended the interests of the prosperous peasants and was nationalistic and anti-Soviet. In 1931 it merged with the Peasant Party (Stronnictwo Ludowe), whose leaders included W. Witos and S. Mikołajczyk.