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Country Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Founded 14th century
Founder Gediminas
Columns of Gediminas, symbol of the Gediminas.

The Gediminids (Lithuanian: Gediminaičiai, Polish: Giedyminowicze, Belarusian: Гедзімінавічы, Ukrainian: Гедиміновичі, Russian: Гедиминовичи) were a dynasty of monarchs of Grand Duchy of Lithuania that reigned from the 14th to the 16th century. One branch of this dynasty, known as the Jagiellons, reigned also in Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Bohemia. Several other branches ranked among the leading aristocratic dynasties of Russia and Poland into recent times.

Their monarchical title in Lithuanian primarily was, by some folkloristic data, kunigų kunigas ("Duke of Dukes"), and later on, didysis kunigas ("Great/High Duke") or, in a simple manner, kunigaikštis. In the 18th century the latter form was changed (maybe, by polonised clerks) into tautological didysis kunigaikštis, which nevertheless would be translated as "Grand Duke" (for its etymology, see Grand Prince).


The origin of Gediminas himself is much debated. Some sources say he was Vytenis' ostler, others that he was of peasant stock, some historians consider him as the son or grandson of Lithuanian or Yatvingian duke Skalmantas. Most scholars agree, however, that Gediminas was Vytenis' brother (the parentage of Vytenis is explained differently in various fake genealogies, compiled from the 16th century onwards; according to the latest Polish research, his parentage cannot be established.[1]

List of (undoubted) Gediminids who ruled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania[edit]

Branches of the dynasty[edit]

The Eastern Orthodox branches of the family were mostly Ruthenian, which also was one of the two main languages of their established state. Some of these families (e.g., Czartoryski) later converted to Roman Catholicism and became thoroughly Polonized. Others (e.g., Galitzine) moved to Muscovy and became thoroughly Russified.

Some of the noblest princely families of Russia and Poland belong to the Gediminid stock. In Belarusian the Gediminids are known as Гедзімінавічы (Giedziminavičy, sing.: Гедзімінавіч, Giedziminavič), in Polish — as Giedyminowicze (sing.: Giedyminowicz), in Ukrainian - as Гедиміновичі (Hedyminovychi, sing. Гедимінович Hedyminovych), and in Russian — as Gediminovichi (sing.: Гедиминович).

In Poland, most Gediminid families (such as Olelkowicz-Słucki, Wiśniowiecki, Zbaraski) are extinct, but at least some families survive to the present: Korecki, Khovanski, Czartoryski, Sanguszko, and Koriatowicz-Kurcewicz.

The Russian Gediminid families include Bulgakov, Golitsin, Kurakin, Khovansky, Trubetskoy, Mstislavsky, Belsky, and Volynsky.

Family tree[edit]

(? – c. 1292)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1285 – c. 1292
(? – c. 1296)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1292 – c. 1296
(? – 1316)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1296–1316
(c. 1275–1341)
G. Duke of Lith., 1316–1341
G. Duke of Lith., 1341–1345
(c. 1296–1377)
G. Duke of Lith., 1345–1377
Ladislaus (Jogaila)
(c. 1351–1434)
G. Duke of Lith., 1377–1401
King of Poland, 1386–1434
(c. 1370–1452)
G. Duke of Lith., 1430–1432
G. Duke of Lith., 1401–1430
Žygimantas Kęstutaitis
(? – 1440)
G. Duke of Lith., 1432–1440
Jagiellon branch

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jan Tęgowski, "Pierwsze pokolenia Gedyminowiczów", 1999

External links[edit]