Louis I of Hungary

Louis I
A crowned young man sits on a throne
Louis I as depicted in the Chronica Hungarorum
King of Hungary and Croatia
21 July 1342
PredecessorCharles I
King of Poland
Coronation17 November 1370
PredecessorCasimir III
Born5 March 1326
Visegrád, Kingdom of Hungary
Died10 September 1382(1382-09-10) (aged 56)
Nagyszombat, Kingdom of Hungary
Burial16 September 1382
SpouseMargaret of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bosnia
IssueCatherine of Hungary
Mary of Hungary
Hedwig of Poland
HouseCapetian House of Anjou
FatherCharles I of Hungary
MotherElizabeth of Poland
ReligionRoman Catholic

Louis I, also Louis the Great (Hungarian: Nagy Lajos; Croatian: Ludovik Veliki; Slovak: Ľudovít Veľký) or Louis the Hungarian (Polish: Ludwik Węgierski; 5 March 1326 – 10 September 1382), was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1342 and King of Poland from 1370. He was the first child of Charles I of Hungary and his wife, Elizabeth of Poland, to survive infancy. A 1338 treaty between his father and Casimir III of Poland, Louis's maternal uncle, confirmed Louis's right to inherit the Kingdom of Poland if his uncle died without a son. In exchange, Louis was obliged to assist his uncle to reoccupy the lands that Poland had lost in previous decades. He bore the title of Duke of Transylvania between 1339 and 1342 but did not administer the province.

Louis was of age when succeeded his father in 1342, but his deeply religious mother exerted a powerful influence on him. He inherited a centralized kingdom and a rich treasury from his father. During the first years of his reign, Louis launched a crusade against the Lithuanians and restored royal power in Croatia; his troops defeated a Tatar army, expanding his authority towards the Black Sea. When his brother, Andrew, Duke of Calabria, husband of Queen Joanna I of Naples, was assassinated in 1345, Louis accused the queen of his murder and punishing her became the principal goal of his foreign policy. He launched two campaigns to the Kingdom of Naples between 1347 and 1350. His troops occupied large territories on both occasions, and Louis adopted the styles of Neapolitan sovereigns (including the title of King of Sicily and Jerusalem), but the Holy See never recognized his claim. Louis's arbitrary acts and atrocities committed by his mercenaries made his rule unpopular in Southern Italy. He withdrew all his troops from the Kingdom of Naples in 1351.

Like his father, Louis administered Hungary with absolute power and used royal prerogatives to grant privileges to his courtiers. However, he also confirmed the liberties of the Hungarian nobility at the Diet of 1351, emphasizing the equal status of all noblemen. At the same Diet, he introduced an entail system and a uniform rent payable by the peasants to the landowners, and confirmed the right to free movement for all peasants. He waged wars against the Lithuanians, Serbia, and the Golden Horde in the 1350s, restoring the authority of Hungarian monarchs over territories along frontiers that had been lost during previous decades. He forced the Republic of Venice to renounce the Dalmatian towns in 1358. He also made several attempts to expand his suzerainty over the rulers of Bosnia, Moldavia, Wallachia, and parts of Bulgaria and Serbia. These rulers were sometimes willing to yield to him, either under duress or in the hope of support against their internal opponents, but Louis's rule in these regions was only nominal during most of his reign. His attempts to convert his pagan or Orthodox subjects to Catholicism made him unpopular in the Balkan states. Louis established a university in Pécs in 1367, but it was closed within two decades because he did not arrange for sufficient revenues to maintain it.

Louis inherited Poland after his uncle's death in 1370. Since he had no sons, he wanted his subjects to acknowledge the right of his daughters to succeed him in both Hungary and Poland. For this purpose, he issued the Privilege of Koszyce in 1374 spelling out the liberties of Polish noblemen. However, his rule remained unpopular in Poland. In Hungary, he authorized the royal free cities to delegate jurors to the high court hearing their cases and set up a new high court. Suffering from a skin disease, Louis became even more religious during the last years of his life. At the beginning of the Western Schism, he acknowledged Urban VI as the legitimate pope. After the pope dethroned Joanna I of Naples and made Louis's distant cousin, Charles of Durazzo, king of Naples, Louis helped Charles occupy the kingdom. In Hungarian historiography, Louis was regarded for centuries as the most powerful Hungarian monarch who ruled over an empire "whose shores were washed by three seas".

Childhood and youth (1326–1342)

A crowned woman lying in a bed and stretches her hands towards a crowned baby held by a woman
Louis's birth depicted in the Illuminated Chronicle

Born on 5 March 1326,[1] Louis was the third son of Charles I of Hungary and his wife, Elizabeth of Poland.[2] He was named for his father's uncle, Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, canonized in 1317.[3] The first-born son of his parents, Charles, died before Louis was born.[2] Louis became his father's heir after the death of his brother Ladislaus in 1329.[4]

He had a liberal education by the standards of his age and learned French, German and Latin.[5] He showed a special interest in history and astrology.[1][6] A cleric from Wrocław, Nicholas, taught him the basic principles of Christian faith.[7] However, Louis's religious zeal was due to his mother's influence.[8] In a royal charter, Louis remembered that in his childhood, a knight of the royal court, Peter Poháros, often carried him on his shoulders.[7][9] His two tutors, Nicholas Drugeth and Nicholas Knesich, saved the lives of both Louis and his younger brother, Andrew, when Felician Záh attempted to assassinate the royal family in Visegrád on 17 April 1330.[7][10]

Louis was only nine when he stamped a treaty of alliance between his father and John of Bohemia.[9][11] A year later, Louis accompanied his father in invading Austria.[12][13] On 1 March 1338, John of Bohemia's son and heir, Charles, Margrave of Moravia, signed a new treaty with Charles I of Hungary and Louis in Visegrád.[13][14] According to the treaty, Charles of Moravia acknowledged the right of Charles I's sons to succeed their maternal uncle, Casimir III of Poland, if Casimir died without a male issue.[15] Louis also pledged that he would marry the margrave's three-year-old daughter, Margaret.[15]

Casimir III's first wife, Aldona of Lithuania, died on 26 May 1339.[16] Two leading Polish noblemen – Zbigniew, chancellor of Cracow, and Spycimir Leliwita – persuaded Casimir, who had not fathered a son, to make his sister, Elizabeth, and her offspring his heirs.[17] According to the 15th-century Jan Długosz, Casimir held a general sejm in Cracow where "the assembled prelates and nobles"[18] proclaimed Louis as Casimir's heir, but the reference to the sejm is anachronistic.[19] Historian Paul W. Knoll writes that Casimir preferred his sister's family to his own daughters or a member of a cadet branch of the Piast dynasty, because he wanted to ensure the king of Hungary's support against the Teutonic Knights.[19] Louis's father and uncle signed a treaty in Visegrád in July whereby Casimir III made Louis his heir if he died without a son.[20] In exchange, Charles I pledged that Louis would reoccupy Pomerania and other Polish lands lost to the Teutonic Order without Polish funds and would only employ Poles in the royal administration in Poland.[19]

Louis received the title of Duke of Transylvania from his father in 1339, but he did not administer the province.[12][21] According to a royal charter from the same year, Louis's bride, Margaret of Bohemia, lived in the Hungarian royal court.[12] Louis's separate ducal court was first mentioned in a royal charter of 1340.[12]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Ludwik Węgierski
беларуская: Людовік Венгерскі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Людвік I Вялікі
български: Лайош I Велики
eesti: Lajos I
فارسی: لایوش یکم
한국어: 러요시 1세
Bahasa Indonesia: Lajos I dari Hongaria
日本語: ラヨシュ1世
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Layosh Buyuk
português: Luís I da Hungria
slovenščina: Ludvik I. Ogrski
српски / srpski: Лајош I Анжујски
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ludovik I. Veliki
українська: Людовик Угорський
Tiếng Việt: Louis I của Hungary