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Sigismund Augustus,1520–72, king of Poland (1548–72). Crowned in 1530 to assure his succession, he assumed the royal functions at the death of his father, Sigismund ISigismund I,
1467–1548, king of Poland (1506–48), son of Casimir IV. Elected to succeed his brother, Alexander I, Sigismund faced the problem of consolidating his domestic power in order successfully to counter external threats to Poland.
..... Click the link for more information. . By the Union of Lublin (1569) he transferred his hereditary grand duchy of LithuaniaLithuania
, Lithuanian Lietuva, officially Republic of Lithuania, republic (2005 est. pop. 3,597,000), 25,174 sq mi (65,201 sq km), N central Europe. Lithuania borders on the Baltic Sea in the west, Latvia in the north, Belarus in the east and southeast, Poland in the
..... Click the link for more information. to the Polish crown, creating the unified Polish-Lithuanian state. His great diplomatic skill enabled him to conciliate the dissident elements both in Poland and among the Lithuanian magnates who opposed the fusion. Upon the dissolution (1561) of the Livonian Brothers of the SwordLivonian Brothers of the Sword
or Livonian Knights
, German military and religious order, founded in 1202 by Bishop Albert of Livonia for the purpose of conquest and Christianization in the Baltic lands.
..... Click the link for more information. , Sigismund gained control over Courland, Latgale, and other parts of LivoniaLivonia
, region and former Russian province, comprising present Estonia and parts of Latvia (Vidzeme and Latgale). It borders on the Baltic Sea and its arms, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland, in the west and the north and extends E to Lake Peipus (Chudskoye) and the
..... Click the link for more information. . Opposed in this claim by Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand IFerdinand I,
1503–64, Holy Roman emperor (1558–64), king of Bohemia (1526–64) and of Hungary (1526–64), younger brother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
..... Click the link for more information. , Sigismund granted (1562) the elector of Brandenburg hereditary succession in the duchy of Prussia in exchange for diplomatic support. The widened frontiers brought Sigismund into conflict with Ivan IVIvan IV
or Ivan the Terrible,
1530–84, grand duke of Moscow (1533–84), the first Russian ruler to assume formally the title of czar. Early Reign
Ivan succeeded his father Vasily III, who died in 1533, under the regency of his mother.
..... Click the link for more information. of Russia, who took (1563) Polotsk. The Polish Reformation reached its height during Sigismund's reign; in 1570 most of the Protestant sects formed a union to strengthen their cause. An open-minded, tolerant monarch and a loyal Roman Catholic, Sigismund sought peacefully to counteract the Reformation; he abolished (1562) ecclesiastic courts but introduced (1565) the Society of Jesus (see Jesus, Society ofJesus, Society of,
religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Its members are called Jesuits. St. Ignatius of Loyola, its founder, named it Compañia de Jesús [Span.,=(military) company of Jesus]; in Latin it is Societas Jesu (abbr. S.J.).
..... Click the link for more information. ), which successfully preached the Counter Reformation. The Renaissance flowered at this time (see also Polish literaturePolish literature,
the literary works of Poland. Early History
The early literature of Poland was written in Latin: its chief figures included the historians Martin Gallus (12th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ), and Sigismund was an accomplished humanist and theologian. The last of 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 to rule Poland, Sigismund died childless. After an interregnum and the brief rule of Henry of Valois (later Henry IIIHenry III,
1551–89, king of France (1574–89); son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He succeeded his brother, Charles IX. As a leader of the royal army in the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of) against the French Protestants, or Huguenots, Henry, then
..... Click the link for more information. of France), Stephen BáthoryBáthory
, Pol. Batory, Hungarian noble family. Stephen Báthory, 1477–1534, a loyal adherent of John I of Hungary (John Zápolya), was made (1529) voivode [governor] of Transylvania.
..... Click the link for more information. was elected (1575) king.