Treaty of Trentschin

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Treaty of Trentschin
Trenčínská smlouva (cs)
Układ w Trenczynie (pl)
Trencséni megegyezés (hu)
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Trenčín Castle
Signed 24 August 1335
Location Trencsén Castle, Hungary
Effective 9 February 1339
Condition Ratification by King Casimir III
Signatories Alex K Kingdom of Poland-flag.svg Poland
Flag of Bohemia.svg Bohemia
Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg Hungary

The Treaty of Trentschin was an agreement signed between King Casimir III of Poland and King John of Bohemia by the agency of Casimir's brother-in-law King Charles I of Hungary on 24 August 1335 at Trencsén Castle in the Kingdom of Hungary (present-day Trenčín, Slovakia). The treaty initiated the transfer of the suzerainty over the former Polish province of Silesia to the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Prelude[edit]

For centuries the rulers of Bohemia and Poland had disputed sovereignty over the Silesian region. In 1137 Duke Soběslav I of Bohemia urged by Emperor Lothair III had officially renounced the lands in favour of the Polish duke Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth. Bolesław died the next year, and in his testament bequested the newly established Duchy of Silesia to his eldest son Władysław II the Exile. Władysław however was expelled by his Piast half-brothers and had to seek help from the Holy Roman Emperor to secure his and his son's rule in Silesia - the beginning of a gradual alienation, while after the death of Władysław's grand-grandson Duke Henry II the Pious in 1241 the Silesian duchy split into numerous petty states under his descendants of the Silesian Piasts.

In 1280 Duke Henry IV of Wrocław, induced by his ambition to gain the Polish Seniorate Province of Cracow, had paid homage to the German king Rudolph of Habsburg and indeed was able to succeed Leszek II the Black as Polish high duke in 1288. Meanwhile, considering the weakening of the Polish sovereignty, for the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty the occasion arose to once again expand their sphere of influence into Silesia: King Wenceslaus II Přemyslid in 1289 made Duke Casimir of Bytom his vassal and in the renewed struggle of the Polish Seniorate Province upon the sudden death of Duke Henry IV in 1290 forged an alliance with Casimir's brother Bolko I of Opole against the rivaling Polish Piasts Władysław I the Elbow-high and Przemysł II, who finally had to cede Cracow to the Bohemian king one year later. However Wenceslaus at first failed to gain Polish regality, as Przemysł II became High Duke and was crowned in 1295 by Archbishop Jakub Świnka of Gniezno - the first Polish king after the deposition of Bolesław II the Bold in 1079. When Przemysł II was killed in 1296, Wenceslaus II again took the chance, assumed the title of a High Duke, married Przemysł's daughter Elisabeth Richeza and finally was crowned Polish king by Archbishop Jakub Świnka in 1300.

Kingdom of Poland under Casimir III, Silesian duchies shown in light yellow

In 1305 King Wenceslaus II died and his son Wenceslaus III, the last Přemyslid, was murdered in the following year. The Polish sovereignty turned again to the Piasts, when Władysław I the Elbow-high became High Duke. Nevertheless Wenceslaus' successors in Bohemia, Henry of Carinthia and Rudolph of Austria also claimed the title of a Polish king but could not prevail. The Bohemian aspirations to power rose again after in 1310 John the Blind, son of King Henry VII of Germany of the mighty Luxembourg dynasty, had assumed the crown and the claims to the Polish throne. Though he failed to succeed his father as King of the Romans, he had several Silesian dukes swore an oath of allegiance to him against the resistance of Władysław I the Elbow-high: in 1327 he vassalized the dukes of Wrocław and Opole, followed by the dukes of Legnica, Żagań, Oleśnica, Ścinawa und Brzeg in 1329. The tensions itensified when King John campaigned and annexed the Duchy of Głogów in 1331 and began to interfere in the Polish-Teutonic War that broke out in Kuyavia and Dobrzyń Land in the aftermath of the 1308 takeover of Gdańsk.

The treaty[edit]

In 1333 Władysław was succeeded by his son Casimir III, who was prepared for compromise. He resorted to sue the Teutonic Order at the Roman Curia and settled the rising conflict with Bohemia by the provisory Trentschin Treaty: the king "in perpetuity" renounced all Polish claims to Silesia in favour of Bohemia, while John of Luxembourg finally waived his claims to the Polish throne derived from the Přemyslids. The agreement was to be confirmed at the Congress of Visegrád later in November 1335.

Silesian coat of arms at St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

King John now had a free hand to continue vassalizing the Silesian duchies of Ziębice (1336) and Nysa (1342). It was however not until February 9, 1339 that Casimir ratified the treaty in Kraków, however. The agreement was again reaffirmed for the Holy Roman Empire by John's son Charles IV, elected King of the Romans in 1346, in the 1348 Treaty of Namslau with King Casimir III and again in 1372 by Casimir's successor King Louis I.

Bolko II the Small remained the only Silesian duke, who was not content to accept Bohemian overlordship. However, as he had no male heirs and his niece Anna von Schweidnitz had married Emperor Charles IV in 1353, he signed an inheritance treaty, whreafter upon the death of his widow Agnes of Austria in 1392 his Duchy of Jawor finally fell to Bohemia.

Aftermath[edit]

With the Treaty of Trentschin, the split of Silesia off the Polish Crown was made. In 1348 King Charles IV attached it to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, whereby the Silesian dukes became indirect vassals of the Holy Roman Empire, with no immediate status and no representation at the Imperial Diet. Upon the death of the Bohemian king Louis II at the 1526 Battle of Mohács, his crown lands were inherited by the Habsburg king Ferdinand I and became a constituent of the Habsburg Monarchy. Archduchess Maria Theresa, Bohemian queen from 1740, lost most of the Silesian crown land in the 1742 Treaty of Breslau, after it had been conquered by King Frederick II of Prussia.

See also[edit]