Swietopelk II of Pomerania

Swietopelk II, also Zwantepolc II or Swantopolk II, (1190/1200 – January 11, 1266), sometimes known as the Great ' onMouseout='HidePop("83480")' href="/topics/Kashubian_language">Kashubian
Kashubian language
Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

: Swiãtopôłk II Wiôldżi), was Duke of Pomerelia-Gdańsk (Danzig) from 1215 until his death. He was a son of Mestwin I and a member of the Samborides
The Samborides or House of Sobiesław were a ruling dynasty in the historic region of Pomerania. They were first documented about 1155 as governors in the eastern Pomerelian lands serving the royal Piast dynasty of Poland, and from 1227 ruled as autonomous princes until 1294, at which time the...



The duke is known under many spellings (Swantepolk, Swantipolk, Svatopluk, Swietopelk, Swatopolk, Sviatopolk, Światopełek, Świętopełk), of which Domin(us) Zwantepolc(us) D(ux) Danceke and Svantopelc Ducis Pomeranie were used on seals.


In 1216 or 1217 Swietopelk was made a steward
Steward (office)
A steward is an official who is appointed by the legal ruling monarch to represent him or her in a country, and may have a mandate to govern it in his or her name; in the latter case, it roughly corresponds with the position of governor or deputy...

 over Pomerelia or Eastern Pomerania by Leszek the White of 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...

. He was responsible for Gdańsk castle territory, the largest of the four portions of Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

. In 1218, Swietopelk took advantage a revolt of local knights against Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 rule to acquire Słupsk and Sławno. After his brother Warcislaw died without heirs, Swietopelk took over his Lubiszewo Tczewskie
Lubiszewo Tczewskie
Lubiszewo Tczewskie is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Tczew, within Tczew County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately south-west of Tczew and south of the regional capital Gdańsk....


Swietopelk's brothers Sambor and Racibor were still young, so he acted as their guardian. As they came of age, the brothers received their share of inheritance: Sambor received Lubiszewo Tczewskie and Racibor received Białogard.

Swietopelk promised Władysław Odonic the throne of Kraków and Silesia
Duchy of Silesia
The Duchy of Silesia with its capital at Wrocław was a medieval duchy located in the historic Silesian region of Poland. Soon after it was formed under the Piast dynasty in 1138, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia. In 1327 the remaining Duchy of Wrocław as well as most other duchies...

 in exchange for his support in the ousting of Leszek and Henry I the Bearded
Henry I the Bearded
Henry I the Bearded , of the Silesian line of the Piast dynasty, was Duke of Silesia at Wrocław from 1201 and Duke of Kraków and thus High Duke of all Poland - internally divided - from 1232 until his death.-Heir of Wroclaw:...

 of Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia ; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Upper Silesia is to the southeast.Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy from 1526...

 . On November 23, 1227, on the occasion of an assembly of Piast dukes
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

 in Gąsawa
thumb|left|100 px|Coat of arms of Gąsawa.thumb|left|St. Nicolas church in Gąsawa: main altarGąsawa called Gmina Gąsawa. It lies approximately south of Żnin and south-west of Bydgoszcz...

, Leszek was killed in an ambush set by Swietopelk II and Władysław, while Henry was severely wounded.

Swietopelk had freed himself of Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Polish overlordship. In that year he assumed the title of Duke of Pomerania (Herzog), with Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 verifying the sovereignty of the Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

 margraves John I and his brother Otto III over the Duchy of Pomerelia. Brandenburg already held and continued to hold sovereignty, still reflected in the red Brandenburg eagle
Coat of arms of Brandenburg
This article is about the coat of arms of the German state of Brandenburg.- History :According to tradition, the Märkischer Adler , or red eagle of the March of Brandenburg, was adopted by Margrave Gero in the 10th century. Gustav A. Seyler states that the Ascanian Albert the Bear was the originator...

 of many city arms founded during that time.

In 1238 Swietopelk conquered the Duchy of Sławno, whose territories connected Pomerania to Gdańsk, Nakło, and Bydgoszcz. This guaranteed war with Kujavia. The brothers, over whom Swantopolk was supposed to govern for twenty years, refused to support their overlord after twelve years, and the conflict escalated into a civil war. Sambor and Racibor were driven out from their lands and sought refuge and alliance first with Piast relatives in Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

, later with the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

, a Christian
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 military order waging a crusade
Prussian Crusade
The Prussian Crusade was a series of 13th-century campaigns of Roman Catholic crusaders, primarily led by the Teutonic Knights, to Christianize the pagan Old Prussians. Invited after earlier unsuccessful expeditions against the Prussians by Polish princes, the Teutonic Knights began campaigning...

 against pagan Prussians
Old Prussians
The Old Prussians or Baltic Prussians were an ethnic group, autochthonous Baltic tribes that inhabited Prussia, the lands of the southeastern Baltic Sea in the area around the Vistula and Curonian Lagoons...

. There were also economic tensions between the Knights and Swantopolk. This resulted in an alliance with the heathen Prussians. Swantopolk played a key role in the First Prussian Uprising, which started in 1242 after the Teutonic Knights lost the Battle of the Ice
Battle of the Ice
The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...


The alliance between the pagan Prussians and the Christian Swietopelk against a religious order supported by the pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 was unexpected. Swietopelk was previously known as a supporter of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Christian causes. Eventually, the uprising did not succeed and a peace treaty, mediated by a papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

, was signed on November 24, 1248. Swietopelk had to return lands seized from his brothers, allow Teutonic Knights to pass through his domains, stop charging tolls on ships using the Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

, and stop any aid to the Prussians. He kept his word and did not assist the Prussians during their Great Uprising (1260–1274).

After governing since 1220 for 46 years, Swietopelk died in 1266, with his sons Mestwin II and Wratislaw II inheriting his lands. In 1269 Brandenburg received the right to grant Pomerelia as a lien.


  • 1217/1218 Eufrozyna, daughter of Odon, duke of Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

  • before 1252 (?) Ermenegarda of Mecklenburg
    Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...


  • Mestwin II, duke of Świecie
    Świecie is a town in northern Poland with 25,968 inhabitants , situated in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship ; it was previously in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship . It is the capital of Świecie County.-History:...

     (Schwetz) and later Gdańsk (Danzig)
  • Wratislaw II, duke of Gdańsk
  • Eufemia, married to Jaromir II, duke of Rugia
  • Zwinisława, married to Dobiesław, son of Sad, lord of Tega and Otorów near Wyszogród
    Wyszogród is a town in Poland, in Masovian Voivodship, in Płock County, by the Vistula River. The population of Wyszogród was 2,793 in 2004.-History:...

  • John
  • unknown daughter, married to Count von Kevenberg
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