Stjepan Vukčić Kosača

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Stjepan Vukčić Kosača
Duke of Saint Sava
Reign 1435—1466
Predecessor Sandalj Hranić
Successor Vladislav Hercegović
Spouse(s)

Issue

Katarina, Queen of Bosnia
Vladislav Hercegović
Vlatko Hercegović
Hersekzade Ahmed Pasha
Father Vukac Hranić Kosača
Mother Catherine of Italy
Born 1404
Died 1466

Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (Cyrillic Стјепан/Стефан Вукчић Косача; 1404–1466) was a Bosnian[1] duke that ruled a hereditary region in Hum, initially under King Stephen Thomas, then semi-independently under the Ottoman Empire, Aragon and again the Ottoman Empire, which was known as the Duchy of Saint Sava. He was a member of the Kosača noble family. It was Stjepan's ducal title "Herzog" that gave rise to the names Herzegovina and Herceg Novi.

Life[edit]

Family and early life[edit]

In May of 1404 Blagaj became one of the residences of duke (vojvoda) Sandalj Hranić, and then of count (herzeg) Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, after whom the people named the Blagaj Fort Stjepan grad. The Dubrovnik nobility accepted “Bosnae vojevodem Sandalj et consanguineous eius, knez Vukac, knez Vuk et Stephanum, filium knez Vukac” among the Ragusian nobles and granted them “domum in urbe” by charter dated 29 June 1419.

Upon Sandalj's death (15 March 1435), Tvrtko called an assembly to try to restore peace. As Sandalj had no heirs, his nephew Stjepan inherited the family domains. When Tvrtko died (1443), Stjepan did not participate in the election of Stephen Thomas and refused to recognize him. Stjepan supported Radivoj, the exiled brother and Ottoman ally.

Service under Aragon[edit]

War in Zeta (1441–1444). Duchy of Stephen Vukcic Kosaca annexed Upper Zeta. Conquered the city of Bar, with the fortress (now Old Bar) in Lower Zeta.

In 1443, the papacy sent envoys to the Bosnian king and Stjepan about a counter-offensive against the Turks, but the two were in the middle of a war. Ivanis Pavlović, sent by Stephen Tomas, attacked Stjepan Vukčić. Stephen Tomas had at the same time been recognized by John Hunyadi, so Stephen turned to Alfonso V, who made him "Knight of the Virgin", but did not give him troops.

On 15 February 1444, Stephen signed a treaty with Alfonso V, King of Aragon and Naples, becoming his vassal in exchange for king's help against Stjepan's enemies, namely King Stephen Thomas of Bosnia, Duke Ivaniš Pavlović and Venice. In the same treaty Stjepan promised to pay regular tribute to Alfonso instead to Ottoman sultan as he did until then.[2]

Being a staunch supporter and adherent of the Bosnian Church, Stephen Kosača would eventually come to fall out with the Bosnian king Stephen Thomas who, albeit earlier confessing to the Bosnian church himself, had pledged his allegiance with the Roman Catholic pope to contend the heretic beliefs emanating from within its denomination.

In 1446 the two rivals had made peace, with Stjepan Vukčić recognizing Stephen Thomas as king, and the pre-war borders were restored.[3] Peace was sealed through the marriage between Stephan Kosača's daughter Catherine and Stephen Thomas in May 1446.[4] Catherine converted into Roman Catholicism.[3] The Ottomans were displeased with the peace as their interest lay in dividing Bosnia.[3] George Brankovic was also displeased due to Srebrenica issue.[3] In 1448, the Turks sent an expedition to plunder King Stephen Tomas lands, they also plundered Stephen Vukcic lands. Stephen Vukcic sent envoys to George Brankovic, to try to improve the relations between the two.[3]

In a document sent to Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III on January 20, 1448, Stjepan Vukčić styled himself "Herceg (Duke) of Hum and the Coast", dropping "Duke of Bosnia".[3] A year later he had changed it into "Duke of Saint Sava", after the Serbian saint whose relics lay in Mileševa in the east of his province.[3] This title had a considerable public relations value since Sava's relics were considered miracle-working by people of all Christian faiths in the region[3] and tied in with a boost of relations between him and George; that same year a war broke out over Srebrenica between George and Bosnian King Stephen Thomas, in which Stjepan sided with the Serbian side.

In 1451 Stjepan Vukčić Kosača attacked Dubrovnik, and laid siege to the city. He had earlier been made a Ragusan nobleman and, consequently, the Ragusan government now proclaimed him a traitor. A reward of 15,000 ducats, a palace in Dubrovnik worth 2,000 ducats, and an annual income of 300 ducats was offered to anyone who would kill him,[5] along with the promise of hereditary Ragusan nobility which also helped hold this promise to whoever did the deed.[5] Stjepan was so scared by the threat that he finally raised the siege.[5]

In the 1460s, Herceg Stjepan controlled of all of today's Herzegovina as far north as Glamoč, but Nevesinje and Gacko were under the control of the Ottoman Empire.[6] After taking the Kingdom of Bosnia in 1463, Mahmud Pasha also invaded Herzegovina and besieged Blagaj, after which Stjepan conceded a truce by sending his youngest son as a hostage to Istanbul, and ceding all of his lands to the north of Blagaj to the Empire.[7]

Stjepan Vukčić died in 1466, and was succeeded by his eldest son Vladislav Hercegović. In 1482 he was overpowered by Ottoman forces led by Stjepan Vukčić's youngest son, Hersekzade Ahmed Pasha, who converted to Islam prior to that. In the Ottoman Empire, Herzegovina was organized as a province (sanjak) within the state (pashaluk) of Bosnia. The name of the country was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1853, as a result of a twist of political events. It was part of the Ottoman Empire for a bit less than four centuries.

Stjepan founded the Zagrađe Monastery near his realm's seat in Herceg Novi, modern-day Montenegro[citation needed], and the Serb orthodox monastery of Savina, also near Herceg Novi[citation needed].

Descendants[edit]

Stjepan Vukčić was married three times. In 1424, he married Jelena, daughter of Balša III of Zeta and granddaughter of his aunt, Jelena Balšić. His wife died in 1453. Two years later, he married Barbara (possibly of the del Balzo family. She died in 1459. His final marriage, in 1460, was to a Germanwoman named Cecilie.

With Jelena, he had at least four children:

Stjepan and his second wife Barbara had a short-lived son (born in 1456) and a daughter named Mara.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. Heath W. Lowry. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003, p 126.". 
  2. ^ Momčilo Spremić, Balkanski vazali kralja Alfonsa Aragonskog, Prekinut uspon, Beograd 2005, pp. 355–358
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 578. ISBN 9780472082605. 
  4. ^ William Miller (1921). Essays on the Latin Orient. pp. 508–509. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  5. ^ a b c Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1978). Viator. University of California Press. pp. 388–389. ISBN 0-520-03608-5. 
  6. ^ Safvet-beg Bašagić (1900). Kratka uputa u prošlost Bosne i Hercegovine, od g. 1463-1850 (in Serbo-Croatian). p. 17. "Turci su imali li vlasti slijedeće zemlje i gradove: Nevesinje, Gacko, Zagorje, Podrinje, Taslidžu, Čajnič, Višegrad, Sokol, Srebrenicu, Zvomik, Šabac, Samac i Sarajevo s okolicom. Sva ostala Hercegovina do Glamoča bila je u rukama hercega Stjepana, na koju kralj nije mogo računati." 
  7. ^ Safvet-beg Bašagić (1900). Kratka uputa u prošlost Bosne i Hercegovine, od g. 1463-1850 (in Serbo-Croatian). p. 20. "U Hercegovini Mahmut paša je udario na nenadani otpor. Kršna zemlja Hercegovina sa golim brdima, tijesnim klancima i nepristupnim gradovima zadavaše turskom konjaništvu puno neprilika. Osim toga domaći bogumili junački su se borili uz svoga hercega i njegove sinove. Doduše Mahmut paša je dolinom Neretve sjavio do pod Blagaj i obsijedao ga; nu je li ga zauzeo ili je poslije nagodbe s hercegom predao mu se, nema sigurnih vijesti. Videći herceg Stjepan, da bez povoljna uspjeha, Mahmut paša ne će ostaviti Hercegovine, opremi najmlagjega sina Stjepana s bogatim darovima sultanu, da moli primirje. Na to Fatih ponudi, da gornju polovinu svojih zemlje ustupi Turskoj, a donju zadrži za se i za sinove. Mladoga Stjepana kao taoca zadrži u Carigradu, koji iza kratkog vremena pregje na islam pod imenom Ahmed beg Hercegović. Herceg Stjepan pristane na sultanovu ponudu, pa sklopi mir i ustupi Turcima svu gornju Hercegovinu do Blagaja. Na to Mahmud paša bude pozvan u Carigrad." 
Preceded by
Sandalj Hranić
Duke of Bosnia
1435–1448
Title abandoned
New title Duke of Saint Sava
1448-1466
Succeeded by
Vladislav Hercegović