Tvrtko I of Bosnia
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|Monument to Stephen Tvrtko I of Bosnia in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Ban of Bosnia|
|King of Bosnia|
|Reign||26 October 1377 – 10 March 1391|
|Spouse||Dorothea of Bulgaria|
|Issue||Stephen Ostoja of Bosnia
Stephen Tvrtko II of Bosnia
|Father||Vladislav of Bosnia|
|Mother||Jelena Šubić of Bribir|
Srebrenik, Banate of Bosnia
|Died||10 March 1391
Bobovac, Kingdom of Bosnia
|Religion||Bogomilism (until 1347)
Roman Catholicism (from 1347)
Stjepan (Stephen) Tvrtko I (1338 – 10 March 1391) was the Ban of Bosnia during 1353–77, King of Bosnia and Serbia during 1377–91, and king of Croatia and Dalmatia after 1390. A member of the Bosnian Kotromanić dynasty which had ruled the Banate of Bosnia, he was a "politically adept and religiously tolerant ruler" and under his command Bosnia reached its peak and became the strongest power in the Balkans, conquering parts of what is today Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro.
Tvrtko was the firstborn child of Vladislaus of Bosnia and Jelena Šubić, who were married at the Šubić's Klis Fortress in Croatia during summer-long festivities open to the whole population. Tvrtko's father was the son of Stephen I, Ban of Bosnia, and Elizabeth of Serbia. Tvrtko's mother, Countess Jelena Šubić was the daughter of Count George II Šubić from the noble Šubić family. Tvrtko was the first cousin of Elizabeth of Bosnia, the daughter of Vladislaus's brother, Ban Stephen II Kotromanić.
In the times when the plague was devastating the region, Tvrtko's mother Jelena Šubić was in charge of the household, which, among others, included her own family, including her ailing husband Vladislaus, and the family of her ailing in-laws of Stephen II Kotromanić. Jelena brought up her own children, Tvrtko, his younger brother Stephen Vuk, and his sister Catherine, together with her niece and adopted daughter Elizabeth.
Tvrtko succeeded his uncle Ban Stephen II Kotromanić as Ban of Bosnia in the Hungarian King's name in 1353 at the age of 15. He was still young, so his father Vladislav Kotromanić ruled in his name. The first year of Tvrtko's reign passed mostly as confirming and issuing new edicts. In 1354, Tvrtko and his brother Vuk were declared as Bans of Bosnia, the Lower Edges, Zagorje and the Hum land. The same year Tvrtko's father and Bosnia's de facto ruler, Vladislav, died. Tvrtko's mother, Banass Jelena Šubić asserted to the throne, but she wasn't accepted in Bosnia because she was a woman, so much of the Bosnian nobility refused to obey her. The first one to rebel was Tvrtko's close cousin Pavle Kulišić. Tvrtko gathered a small force, defeated Pavle, took his Usora cities for himself and threw him in the dungeon, where he died.
Mladen III Šubić had died and his lands were being split. The Hungarian Kingdom and the Republic of Venetia quarreled over Klis and Skradin, the cities which were held by Jelena Šubić. The Hungarian King wanted Jelena Šubić Kotromanić to take over the cities with the Bosnians. So in 1355, Tvrtko and his mother moved with their forces to Duvno for the negotiations with the Croatian Prince, Ivan Nelipac. The Bosnian Ban managed to get a hold for himself over some of the former Šubićs' cities and forged a military alliance with Prince Ivan Nelipac ready to advance to Zadar if the cities didn't answer their side's demands.
In 1356–58 the Hungarian King was at war with Venetia, so he had mustered Tvrtko's forces, but Ban Tvrtko was unwilling to assist him. In the middle of 1357, Tvrtko visited the King's court and the King had forced Tvrtko to relinquish Završje and the Hum as well as swear an oath of loyalty and promise to wipe out the Bosnian Church. The last task was given to Bosnian Bishop Petar Šikloš, who unlike his predecessor Peregrin, wasn't loyal to the House of Kotromanić. In turn, the King confirmed Tvrtko and his brother Vuk as the Bans of Bosnia and Usora. The King also imposed a law that always, either Tvrtko or his brother had to be at the Hungarian court as hostages. The Hungarian King also took the rulers of the Lower Edges from Tvrtko's suzerainty for himself and continued to rile up the rest of the Bosnian nobility against the Ban.
Ban Tvrtko desired to restore power. He threatened the nobility of the Lower Edges and mustered a side out of the nobility loyal to him, but his party began to crumble. The Hungarian King had finished his conquest of Dalmatia from Venetia by 1358 and even had put the Republic of Dubrovnik under his supreme rule, to which he issued an edict that totally undermined Tvrtko's authority. Tvrtko's plot against the Hungarian King and the Bosnian Bishop Petar Šikloš later that year utterly failed.
Serbian Prince Vojislav Vojinović counterattacked the Hungarian Kingdom at the Republic of Dubrovnik, which asked Ban Tvrtko for assistance as the Hungarian King recommended. Tvrtko amassed his forces, but the war was already over by the time he was prepared. In the peace treaty, the Hungarian King again undermined Tvrtko's authority. In 1361, the Dubrovnik Republic was attacked by Prince Vojislav again. After numerous pleas from the Republic's envoys, the Ban dispatched Prince Sanko Miltenović to negotiate. Prince Vojislav refused all negotiations, so Tvrtko claimed that nothing more could be done. The war was eventually over in 1362, so the Republic's pleas have stopped.
The Bosnian Bishop had the permission from the Pope to raise arms since 1360 and the Hungarian King was to supply them. In 1363, the Hungarian King attempted a double invasion of Tvrtko's Bosnia to resolve Tvrtko from his office. The first and primary target was the city of Soko on Pliva. Tvrtko's Duke Vukac Hrvatinić led a three-day defence against the siege of the city from 8 to 10 July. The Hungarian Palatine Nikola Kont was sent later to renew the invasion. He attacked Srebrenik in Usora. The Hungarians suffered heavy losses and someone even stole the royal seal from its guardian the Archbishop of Esztergom from the Hungarian camp. After this triumph, by 1364 Tvrtko called himself Ban of All Bosnia by the mercy of God instead of by the mercy of the Hungarian King. The Republic of Venetia, Hungary's old enemy nominated Tvrtko as its honorary citizen. The war strengthened the Bosnian nobility. Prince Sanko Miltenović and the Dabišić brothers have stopped recognizing the Ban's supreme rule and numerous Venetian and Ragusan trade caravans have been raided by the lesser nobility. Anarchy ruled in Tvrtko's Bosnia.
In February 1366 opened conflicts emerged. The Bosnian nobility deposed Tvrtko from his throne and brought his brother, Vuk. Tvrtko had to flee to Hungary. By the end of March 1366, Tvrtko managed to return to Bosnia and take one part of it. Tvrtko again inserted the Hungarian King in his title. With the help of the Hungarian King and the Republic of Dubrovnik, Tvrtko restored control and defeated the rebels by the middle of 1367. Tvrtko tricked the nobility, bribed some, some punished and gave privileges to some and managed to regain support from the Bosnian nobility. Ban Tvrtko fograve Prince Pavle Vukoslavić for the betrayal. Tvrtko again forgot about his loyalty to the Hungarian King and asserted the throne with the title by the mercy of God Lord of many lands, Bosnia, and Soli and Usora and the Lower Edges and the Drina and the Hum Lord. His brother Vuk fled to the Dubrovnik Republic. The Ragusians and the brothers' mother, Jelena Kotromanić invited Tvrtko to make peace with his brother, but Tvrtko came to the Republic with an army in July 1367. Although he feasted in Dubrovnik, Vuk escaped from the city.
The new Serbian nobleman, Prince Nikola Altomanović attacked the widow of Prince Vojislav Vojinović. Tvrtko assisted her by helping her to flee to Albania. Out of revenge, Prince Nikola attacked the Drina area of Tvrtko. Prince Altomanović assisted Tvrtko's brother, Vuk and then mustered Prince Sanko Miltenović against him. Prince Sanko was on egde, so he made peace with Tvrtko in the summer of 1367, but rebelled against him again the following 1368. In 1369, Tvrtko went to the Hum Land and raided Sanko's land with his army. Prince Sanko had to flee to the Dubrovnik Republic. Tvrtko again made peace with Sanko, whom he gave his army to lead. Sanko leading Tvrtko's forces raided the lands of Prince Nikola Altomanović, although was killed in a trap set for him when he entered Trebinje.
Tvrtko's brother Vuk appealed to Pope Urban V accusing Tvrtko for heresy and stating that he supports the Bosnian Krstjani. The Pope asked then the Hungarian King to restore control over Bosnia and give the authority to Vuk. In 1370 Vuk raised an army and assaulted Tvrtko's capital, Bobovac. Bobovac was defended by Stipan Rajković, who managed to convince Vuk to give up his military attempts against Tvrtko for the sake of the brotherhood.
In the Spring of 1370, Tvrtko led Bosnia's nobility to a war against Prince Nikola Altomanović. Negotiations were initiated already in the Summer. In Serbia Nikola's power was rapidly decreasing and that of the House of Mrnjavčević rapidly increasing. Tvrtko negotiated with Serb King Vukašin Mrnjavčević to marry a cousin, the daughter of Grgur II Šubić to Vukašin's son, Young Serb King Marko. Marko was Orthodox Christian, so the Pope wasn't supportive of the marriage and Vuk had mettled around the affair, so Tvrtko gave up of the idea. In 1371, Tvrtko prepared a joint offensive against Nikola Altomanović with two Serbian noblemen, Vukašin Mrnjavčević and Đurađ Balšić. The move was stopped as the Mrnjavčević brothers attacked the Ottoman Turks at the famous Battle of Marica. The Serbian Emperor Stefan Uroš V himself died very soon. Tvrtko sought help in the remaining Serbian lords that still didn't recognize supreme Ottoman rule. He forged an alliance with Lazar Hrebeljanović, the Prince of Moravian Serbia. The decisive conflict was in 1373. Ban Tvrtko raised his army and the Hungarian King sent a thousand pikemen under Srem's Ban Miklós Garai. Tvrtko attacked from the west, while Prince Lazar attacked from the east. Very soon, the two armies met at Užice, where they forced Nikola Altomanović to surrender. Nikola was blinded and banished to a monastery, while his demesne was split. Tvrtko gained the Upper Drina area and the Lim area with Mileševa as well as Gacko. Konavle, Trebinje and Dračevica; other lands in which was Tvrtko interested, were seized by Đurađ Balšić of Zeta. The other lands were given to Prince Lazar.
In 1374, Tvrtko finally made peace with his brother Vuk. By the end of the same year, he married the daughter of Bulgarian Prince Ivan Stracimir of Vidin, Dorothea of Bulgaria upon the appeal of the Hungarian King. The ceremony took place in December 1374 in Saint Ilija (today's Ilinci) near Šid. Tvrtko soon raised his armies and occupied Trebinje, Konavle and Dračevica. Đurađ Balšić died before he could counterattack. Tvrtko took the remaining Bosnian lands from the Adriatic to the Mileševa monastery, a pilgrimage site with the remains of Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
- Tvrtko was the remaining heir of the sacronist House of Nemanjić through his paternal grandmother Elizabeth of Serbia
- Tvrtko ruled numerous lands which included parts of Nemanjić domains
In 1377 Tvrtko crowned himself "By the grace of Lord God, King of Serbia, of Bosnia, Pomorje, and the Western lands". It is regarded that he was crowned in the Monastery of Mileševa. Another possibility, supported by archaeological evidences, is that he was crowned in Mile near Visoko in the church which was built in time of Stephen II Kotromanić's reign, where he was also buried alongside his uncle Stjepan II.
- And Stephen the King, brother of Milutin the King, Uroš II, that held Syrmia, with his wife Catherine, daughter of the Hungarian King Ladislaus, had Urošica and Elizabeth. And Elizabeth had three sons: Stephen the Bosnian Ban, Ninoslaus and Vladislaus. And Vladislaus had Tvrtko the Ban and Vuk.
Tvrtko assessed the Double crown (Sugubi vijenac) as King of Bosnia, his native God-given land and King of Serbia. Logothet Vladoje abandoned the Serbian throne and went to work for Tvrtko, for whom he modelled his ruling ideology identical to the Serbian. King Stephen Tvrtko took the titles from the Serbian throne and gave them to the Bosnian nobility. His crowning was recognized by the most powerful noblemen in Serbia, Princes Lazar Hrebeljanović and Vuk Branković. Although the Hungarian King recognized his crowning, he continued to call him Ban until his death in 1382. By this, Tvrtko officially declared the independence of the Kingdoms of Bosnia and Serbia.
In 1378, a new war erupted between the Hungarian Kingdom and the Republic of Venetia. Venetia desired to take the Ston area from the Republic of Dubrovnik, so Ragusa asked Tvrtko for assistance. King Stephen Tvrtko I was too busy to intervene as he was waging a war in Serbia to consolidate power. Kotor was conquered by Venetia and the Dubrovnik Republic wanted to use Genoa to finally destroy its greatest adversary, the City of Kotor. The Citizens of Kotor promised Bosnia's King Stephen Tvrtko I that they will accept his supreme rule if he liberates them from Venetian rule. The Dubrovnik Republic didn't like this, so the relations between it and Tvrtko sharpened. In 1379, the relations between them were good again. Kotor played him out as it recognize the supreme rule of the Hungarian King as soon as it rebelled from Venetian rule. Tvrtko was mad and planned a joint attack on Dubrovnik and Kotor. He couldn't launch an attack, though, since his army had to quell a rebellion in the vicinity of Trebinje. Although, Tvrtko gave support to the surrounded Venetian garrison in Kotor by sending them mercenaries, food and weapons. In 1381 in Torin[disambiguation needed], it was finally decided that Hungary will have Kotor.
He built, and in 1382 opened the ports of Brstanik near Počitelj and Sveti Stefan, now known as Herceg Novi in Bay of Kotor Monte Negro as a line of defence from Dubrovnik and Kotor. The Fort was soon renamed to Novi. The Republic of Dubrovnik was jealous of its trading and solt producing success, so it sent a Galleon to block entrance to the port. King Stephen Tvrtko I asked Venetia to dispatch two warships to help him raise the blockade of Novi, but the Venetians didn't have anything to spare. In the end, Tvrtko decided in December 1382 that no solt would be distributed in Novi any more, which ended the crisis with the Republic of Dubrovnik, which began to rile up the neighbouring Bosnian cities in the meantime.
After Hungarian King Louis I's death in 1382, Stephen Tvrtko became the protector of his cousin and Louis's widow Elizabeth, and her daughters, Queen Mary of Hungary and Queen Hedwig of Poland. King Stephen Tvrtko received Nicholas Baseja from Venetia, who became admiral of the new Bosnian fleet. Stephen Tvrtko bought a Galleon from Venetia and ordered two more. In 1383, he became the honorary citizen of the Republic of Venetia. That same year, a rebellion of members of the Hospital Order broke out in Serbia which was assisted by Stephen Tvrtko, but Queen Mary quickly quelled it. The rebellion ended with a rebellion in Zadar in 1384, but it was broken quickly.
In 1385, Elizabeth lost to Tvrtko her patrimoni of Hum. The same year, Tvrtko took some territories of Croatia: Livno, Duvno and Glamoč. Tvrtko met later that same year with the Hungarian Palatine Nicholas I Garay and achieved a political understanding. Tvrtko was not to help rebels against Queen Mary's authority anymore and become a Hungarian vassal. In return, he received the City of Kotor. To ensure his authority over the city, Tvrtko sent numerous gifts to its citizens and swore to defend them.
In 1387, after the murder of Tvrtko's cousin Elizabeth, and captivity of her daughter Queen Mary, Tvrtko might have become, on Mary's request, the heir presumptive to the throne of Hungary as well.
Since 1387, Tvrtko had pretensions to rule the Croatian lands of the Bribir Prince, ancestors across his mother's side as well. He dispatched that year Duke Hrvoje Vukčić to relieve the Siege of Bishop Pavle Horvat in Zagreb. In July the same year, King Stephen made his first greater military success by making Klis to surrender. From there he continued on to Split and then the Zadar hinterland. Finally his forces reached Vrane and freed the rebels from the Hungarian rule that were being besieged there. King Sigismund's men had to fall back to Nin, which was subsequently attacked by Bosnians. Ostrovica was captured in 1388. Tvrtko's forces conducted terror in the Dalmatian cities. Split's hinterland was entirely burned to the ground as a punishment for its stouch loyalty to the Hungarian King and other cities suffered too. The Bosnian forces held Klis, Ostrovica, Vrana and Knin. It is because of this that Trogir decided to accept Tvrtko's supreme rule. Split, Zadar and Šibenik were frightened because of this, so they asked Hungarian King Sigismund for assistance. Tvrtko's ground forces were too weak to assault those cities, so he started building up a navy of his own in Kotor.
In 1386–88 numerous breaches of Ottoman Turks into Bosnia occurred under the request of Đurađ Stracimirović of Zeta. The greatest battle occurred on 27 August 1388 near Bileća when the Ottoman commander Shahin advanced deep into Tvrtko's realm with 18,000 soldiers. Tvrtko's Duke Vlatko Vuković and Prince Radič Sanković led the Bosnian Army and fought off the Ottomans. In the meantime, Hungarian King Sigismund dispatched Ladislaus Loszonac to help the Dalmatian cities. The Hungarian Army moved from Zadar, but Ladislaus called it off subsequently. As a punishment, Tvrtko's forces broke into the city of Zadar and burned a part of it. The Dalmatian cities saw that the Hungarian King couldn't help them, so they asked Tvrtko to issue them a deadline for surrender, which King Tvrtko subsequently did. The Dalmatian cities received some more time as the Ottomans were braking into Europe. Tvrtko had accepted the necessity of defending Christian Europe on his shoulders and dispatched the best squadrons of his military under the Duke Vlatko Vuković to fight in the Serbian Army of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović in the epic Battle of Kosovo on 15 June 1389. The Ottomans were led by Sultan Murad I himself. In the battle, both sides suffered heavy losses, as both Prince Lazar and Sultan Murad lost their lives.
Tvrtko cherished the battle as his personal success, claiming that he had defended Europe and Christianity in the name of the Christ against the infidel soldiers that threatened the civilized world. He dispatched the news across to western Europe and described how 12 Serbian noblemen managed to break through the Ottoman ranks to Sultan Murad and kill him. However, after the Battle of Kosovo, Tvrtko's rule in Serbia remained only de jure.
In the meantime, Hungarian commander Ladislaus conquered Klis in July 1389. Duke Vlatko Vuković returned from Serbia soon, as the Ottomans were temporarily stopped. Tvrtko launched a counteroffensive in the Fall of the same year and struck at the surroundings of Zadar. The Bosnian forces moved to Vrana, where they fought the Hungarian forces several days. The Hungarians took Vrana and held hostage Tvrtko's ally, Ivan Paližna. The Hungarian Army suffered a heavy defeat and Klis subsequently surrendered to King Stephen Tvrtko. In April 1390 the Dalmatian cities started to negotiate terms of surrender. In the Summer, Split, Trogir and Šibenik all accepted his rule as well as the islands of Brač, Hvar and Korčula. Tvrtko accepted the title by the mercy of God famous King of Rascia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the Seaside...
Tvrtko's last territorial aims were at Zadar, and he failously requested ships from Venetia to take the city. His wife, Queen Dorothea died, so Tvrtko negotiated with Albert III of the Habsburg line to remarry into the Habsburg dynasty. Austrian duke Albert III also acted as a mediator to finally bring peace between Tvrtko and the Hungarian King Sigismund.
King Stephen Tvrtko I surprisingly died on 10 March 1391.
Following Tvrtko's death, any agreement which appear to have been reached with the Ottoman Empire, became null and void.
- In 1391 John of Palisna died of battle wounds. He was succeeded by Ban Ivan Krcki Frankopan, who died in 1393.
- In 1392, Vlatko Vukovic Kosača died and was succeeded by his nephew Sandalj Hranić Kosača.
- In 1392, Vuk Branković lost Skopje to Ottomans and was forced to accept their vassalship.
- In 1395 Queen Mary of Hungary, Tvrtko's first cousin once removed (granddaughter of Stephen II, Ban of Bosnia), died under suspicious circumstances.
- In 1399 Queen Jadwiga of Poland, Tvrtko's first cousin once removed (granddaughter of Stephen II, Ban of Bosnia), died of childbirth complications.
Within two decades following Tvrtko's death, Sigismund fomented a number of wars in Bosnia and Croatia and murdered almost 200 prominent families. Some of carnage is known as 1397 Bloody Sabor of Križevci and the 1408 Dobor Massacre. Sigismund became the Holy Roman Emperor.
- Velkonija 2003, p. 33.
- Fine 1994, p. 281
- Singleton 1985, p. 496.
- Fine 1994, pp. 392–93
- Dr. Željko Fajfric: Kotromanići.
- Mile declared as national monument. 2003.
- Anđelić Pavao, Krunidbena i grobna crkva bosanskih vladara u Milima (Arnautovićima) kod Visokog. Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja XXXIV/1979., Zemaljski muzej Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo, 1980,183-247
- Zemaljski muzej u Sarajevu, Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Sarajevu, 1951
- Velkonija 2003, p. 33
- Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08260-4.
- Singleton, Frederick Bernard (1985). A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27485-0.
- Velkonija, Mitja (2003). Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1-58544-226-7.
|Ban of Bosnia
contested by Stephen Vuk 1366–1367
|Foundation of the
Kingdom of Bosnia
|Foundation of the
Kingdom of Bosnia
|King of Bosnia
26 October 1377 – 10 March 1391
|Titles in pretence|
|Conquest of parts
of the neighbouring kingdoms
|— TITULAR —
King of Rascia
26 October 1377 – 10 March 1391
|— TITULAR —
King of Dalmatia and Croatia
1390 – 10 March 1391
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