Bona Sforza

Bona Sforza

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Bona Sforza was a member of the powerful Milanese
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

 House of Sforza
House of Sforza
Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan.-History:The dynasty was founded by Muzio Attendolo , called Sforza , a condottiero from Romagna serving the Angevin kings of Naples...

. In 1518, she became the second wife of Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

, the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, and became the Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania.

She was the third child of Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Gian Galeazzo Sforza was the sixth Duke of Milan.Born in Abbiategrasso, he was only 7 years old when in 1476 his father, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, was assassinated and Gian Galeazzo became the Duke of Milan...

 and his wife Isabella of Naples. Her older brother was Francesco Sforza
Francesco Sforza (il Duchetto)
Francesco Sforza, nicknamed Il Duchetto was the eldest son of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, duke of Milan, and Isabella of Naples.He was count of Pavia from 1491 to 1499...

 and her sisters were Ippolita Maria and Bianca Maria. All of Bona's siblings died young.

When her mother Isabella of Naples
Isabella of Naples
Isabella of Naples was the daughter of King Alphonse II of Naples by his wife, Ippolita Maria Sforza. From 1489 to 1494, she was the Duchess consort of Milan, and from 1499 to 1524 the Duchess of Bari and Princess of Rossano...

 died in 1524, Bona succeeded to the titles Duchess of Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

 and Princess of Rossano
Rossano
Rossano is a town and comune in Southern Italy, in the province of Cosenza . The city is situated on an eminence c. 3. km from the Gulf of Taranto. The town is known for its marble and alabaster quarries....

. She also became the holder of the Brienne claim
Brienne claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Hugh, Count of Brienne claimed the regency of Jerusalem in 1264 as senior heir of Hugh I of Cyprus and Alice of Jerusalem, being the son of their eldest daughter, but was passed over by the Haute Cour in favor of his cousin Hugh III of Cyprus. This claim fell to his son Walter V of Brienne and...

 to the title of King of Jerusalem.

Early years


Bona was born into the powerful and wealthy Italian Sforza dynasty who had ruled Milan since 1447. Although her father belonged to the authority of the Duchy of Milan
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

, he was ousted by his uncle Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza , was Duke of Milan from 1489 until his death. A member of the Sforza family, he was the fourth son of Francesco Sforza. He was famed as a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other artists, and presided over the final and most productive stage of the Milanese Renaissance...

, known to history as "Il Moro". He exercised power on behalf of the young prince, until his death in 1494 at the castle in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

. Shortly afterwards, the Princess Isabella, together with her daughters, went to Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

. To regain political significance and their former possessions, Isabella had to find a husband for Bona (her surviving daughter). Her first attempts were unsuccessful due to the unfavourable political situation at the time but due to the support of the House of Habsburg she succeeded in marrying Bona to the widowed Polish King Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

. The marriage ceremonies and Bona's coronation were held in Krakow
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

 on 18 April 1518.

In her youth, Bona obtained a good education. Her teacher was Crisostomo Colonna, a member of the Academy of Pont, who supervised her education along with Antonio Galateo. She received instruction in history, law, administration and theology. She was thrifty, economical, and she also had the ability to influence people. She demonstrated this skill in all her activities.

Queen of Poland


Almost from the beginning of her life in Poland, Queen Bona tried to gain a strong political position. She began to form her own cabal
Cabal
A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views and/or interests in a church, state, or other community, often by intrigue...

 and also benefited from the support of the king. She was also supported by Piotr Kmita Sobieński, Andrew Ladislaus and Piotr Gamrat
Piotr Gamrat
Piotr Gamrat of Sulima arms was Archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland.Gamrat was born in Samoklęski near Jasło, Poland. Early in his career, Gamrat was the royal secretary to Sigismund I the Old. Gamrat was bishop of Kamieniec since 1531, of Przemyśl since 1535, of Kraków since 1538 and...

, taking them to her offices and creating the so-called Triumvirate. She managed to also get Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 to decide on the appointment of fifteen ecclesiastical benefice of very high importance (e.g. in Kraków, Gniezno, Poznań, Włoclawek and Frombork).
Bona came out of the belief that one of the most important things needed for the effective implementation of policies and plans for strengthening royal authority, is access to appropriate high finance. Therefore she set herself the objective of magnification and the assembly domain of dynastic wealth as much as possible, which would give the Jagiello family financial independence. The family gained numerous estates in Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, and finally in 1536-1546 they took over the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This generated huge profits.

In 1527, as a result of a fall from a horse, the queen gave birth prematurely to her second son Albert, who died at birth. After this event, the Queen could not have any more children. Bona, wanting to ensure the continuity of the Jagiellonian dynasty on the Polish throne, decided to make the nobles and magnates to recognise her only son, the minor Sigismund Augustus as heir to the throne. First, the Lithuanian nobles gave him the ducal throne (ca. 1527-1528). Then, in 1529 he was crowned Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus I was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548...

. This led to huge opposition from Polish lords, which led to the adoption of the bill that the next coronation will take place after the death of Sigismund Augustus, and that will consent of all the noble brothers.

From the outset, Bona was reluctant to the growing power of the Radziwiłł family and was later accused of poisoning her daughter-in-law Barbara Radziwiłł.

In foreign policy, she was a fierce opponent of the Habsburgs and a supporter of a closer alliance with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. In Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 during the wars that took place after the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, supported by János Szapolyai against the Habsburgs. Bona also sought to maintain good relations with Sublime Porte and contacts with Roxelana
Roxelana
Haseki Hürrem Sultan was the wife of Süleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire.-Names:Sixteenth-century sources are silent as to her maiden name, but much later traditions, for example Ukrainian folk traditions first recorded in the 19th century, give it as "Anastasia" , and Polish...

, the most important wife Suleyman the Magnificent. Bona was also a spokesperson for connecting Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 to the Crown in return for her hereditary principality Bari and Rosano, but Sigismund the Old did not support the idea and the whole project collapsed. Bona managed to also carry out tax reforms in Lithuania and agricultural products (including uniform duties of the peasants and a unit of area measurements).

Later life and widowhood


In 1539 Bona Sforza had presided, reluctantly, over the burning of 80-year old Katarzyna Weiglowa for heresy, but this event ushered in an era of tolerance, and her confessor Francesco Lismanino
Francesco Lismanino
Francesco Lismanino , Italian-Polish Franciscan.Lismanino came as a child to Kraków, but returned as a teenager to Italy to study, where he entered the Franciscan order. In 1533 he returned to the Italianate court of Bona Sforza in Kraków, where he was later cantor, and confessor to the queen...

 assisted in the establishment of a Calvinist Academy in Pińczów
Pinczów
Pińczów is a town in Poland, in Świętokrzyskie Voivodship, about 40 km south of Kielce. It is the capital of Pińczów County. Population is 12,304 .-History:...

.

In 1544, Sigismund II Augustus was given independent authority in Lithuania, and he moved there. It was the cause of a significant weakening of power in the queen, who did not want his departure. The pair had originally entered into a conflict over her son's marriage to Barbara Radziwiłł.

On the 1 April 1548, Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

 died, leaving Bona a widow. Their son succeeded him.

After the death of the King, Bona moved to Masovia and stayed there for 8 years. Then she moved back to her native Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

.

A year after returning to the Duchy of Bari Bona Sforza was poisoned by her trusted officer, Gian Lorenzo Pappacoda. Pappacoda was acting on behalf of King Philip II of Spain, who wished to avoid repaying his sizable debts to the Polish queen. She was buried in St. Nicholas' Basilica in Bari, where her daughter Anna
Anna Jagiellon
Anna Jagiellon was queen of Poland from 1575 to 1586. She was the daughter of Poland's King Sigismund I the Old, and the wife of Stephen Báthory. She was elected, along with her then fiance, Báthory, as co-ruler in the second election of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

 had a beautiful tomb made in the current Renaissance style for her remains.

She is one of the characters on the painting Prussian Homage
Prussian Homage (painting)
The Prussian Homage is an oil on canvas painting by Polish painter Jan Matejko painted between 1879 and 1882 in Kraków, then part of Austria-Hungary. It depicts a tribute made by Albrecht Hohenzollern, the Duke of Prussia, to King Sigismund I the Old in the Kraków market square on 10 April 1525;...

by Jan Matejko
Jan Matejko
Jan Matejko was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. His most famous works include oil on canvas paintings like Battle of Grunwald, paintings of numerous other battles and court scenes, and a gallery of Polish kings...

.

Children


Bona and Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

 had six child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren:
  • Isabella (18 January 1519 – 15 September 1559), was a Queen
    Queen consort
    A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

     of Hungary
    Kingdom of Hungary
    The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

    , wife of John Zápolya
    John Zápolya
    John Zápolya was King of Hungary from 1526 to 1540. His rule was disputed by Archduke Ferdinand I, who also claimed the title King of Hungary between 1526 and 1540. He was the voivode of Transylvania before his coronation.- Biography :...

    ,
  • Sigismund II Augustus
    Sigismund II Augustus
    Sigismund II Augustus I was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548...

     (1 August 1520 – 7 July 1572), was a King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania,
  • Sophia (13 July 1522 – 28 May 1575), was a Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Brunswick-Lüneburg
    The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

    , wife of Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Henry , Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, called the Younger, was Prince of Wolfenbüttel from 1514 until his death...

    ,
  • Anna
    Anna Jagiellon
    Anna Jagiellon was queen of Poland from 1575 to 1586. She was the daughter of Poland's King Sigismund I the Old, and the wife of Stephen Báthory. She was elected, along with her then fiance, Báthory, as co-ruler in the second election of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

     (18 October 1523 – 9 September 1596), elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, wife of Stefan Batory
    Stefan Batory
    Stephen Báthory was a Hungarian noble Prince of Transylvania , then King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania . He was a member of the Somlyó branch of the noble Hungarian Báthory family...

    ,
  • Catherine (1 November 1526 – 16 September 1583), was a Queen
    Queen consort
    A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

     of Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     and Grand Duchess of Finland, wife of John III of Sweden
    John III of Sweden
    -Family:John married his first wife, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland , house of Jagiello, in Vilnius on 4 October 1562. In Sweden, she is known as Katarina Jagellonica. She was the sister of king Sigismund II Augustus of Poland...

    ,
  • Wojciech Olbracht, born and died 20 September 1527.

Ancestors





See also


  • List of Polish rulers
  • Polish cuisine
    Polish cuisine
    Polish cuisine is a style of cooking and food preparation originating from Poland. It has evolved over the centuries due to historical circumstances. Polish national cuisine shares some similarities with other Central European and Eastern European traditions as well as French and Italian...

  • Wojna kokosza