Candidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D. in History),

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The death of Kazimir IV Yahailavich in 1492 led to the break of the personal union between the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. These two states had got separate monarchs, who became the sons of Kazimir – Jan Olbracht and Alexander. The period of 1492–1501, the Alexander’s reign in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was a serious test for the independence of this state. The transition from a personal to the more formal dynastical union had been thrown the Grand Duchy before a hard dilemma. On the one hand it wanted to keep the alliance with Poland that already had a long historical tradition, was supported by a large body of agreements and provided its benefits. On the other hand the Grand Duchy sought to defend its sovereign rights that the Poland had not recognized always. There are a number of facts that could proof the perception by Poland and Jan Olbracht of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Alexander as subordinated powers. For instance, Jan Olbracht named himself as a Supreme Duke of Lithuania. He used to conclude international agreements in the name of Aleksandr. The King of Poland tried to appoint the Catholic bishops in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In his tern Alexander sometimes emphatically referred to him as his elder brother in official documents. He also used to mint coins with the coat of arms of not only the Grand Duchy of Lithuania but also the Kingdom of Poland. Specific features at that time was that they were strongly conditioned by the family ties of two monarchs. All of Kazimir’s sons, including Jan Olbracht and Alexander sought to maintain family and dynastic unity, to support each other. It came in full force in the international relations. For example two or even three of the Yahajlavichy brothers could enter into an agreement with foreign states. In general, we can say that some signs of dependence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on Kingdom of Poland, which still be traced, belonged mainly to the external, symbolic attributes of statehood. They hardly hurt the fundamental principles of sovereignty of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The more acute problem was the union between the two states. The conditions to elect Alexander as a King of Poland was a new bilateral agreement. The Piotrkau-Mielnik Union of 1501 became such an agreement. In actual fact, it covered a fusion of two states into the one country, one king, one soim (parliament) and so on. But this plan had never become truth. The ratification of the union was postponed for a long time in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and in 1505 it was denied any approves at all. As a result, the states turned back to the personal union, to that type of relations exciting before 1492. For the Grand Duchy of Lithuania it meant to keep on the sovereign state status.


Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Kingdom of Poland, Alexander Jagiellon, Jagiellonian dynasty, sovereignty, Union of Mielnik.


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