Historical Figures

Elizabeth of Bosnia (-1387)

Elżbieta Bośniaczka and Maria (photo:public domain)

Elżbieta Bośniaczka (around 1340–1387) - wife of Ludwik Węgierski, mother of Queen Jadwiga. Elżbieta Bośniaczka was the only daughter of Stefan II Kotromanic, ban of Bosnia and Piast, Elżbieta Kujawska, daughter of Kazimierz III, prince of Gniewkowski. Her mother was a relative and one of the courtiers of Elżbieta Łokietkówna, Queen of Hungary, with whom she left Poland and who gave her up for a ban on Bosnia. From this union a daughter was born - Elżbieta. When the girl was about 10 years old, Łokietkówna brought her to her court. Thanks to this, she received a thorough education and gained good manners, turning among the state's elite. When the first wife of the Hungarian king died, Łokietkówna began to plan his relationship with Elizabeth, famous for her extraordinary beauty. Due to the kinship of the future spouses, the consent of the pope was needed, which was obtained. The wedding took place in 1353.

The marriage of Elizabeth of Bosnia and Ludwik of Hungary was successful, but her role as queen was of secondary importance. The ruler did not consult with her on matters of state importance, but with his mother. The young queen had to restrain her ambitions. Moreover, her position was not strong mainly due to the fact that in the first 17 years of her marriage she managed to get pregnant only once. The child, however, did not survive. When the hope for the heir to the throne weakened, the queen became pregnant again, and in 1370 she gave birth to a daughter Catherine (who died at the age of 8), and then two more girls:Maria and Jadwiga. Having only daughters, Ludwik began to try to provide them with a crown.

In 1382, Ludwik died and Elżbieta became regent. She placed Maria on the Hungarian throne and, after some perturbations, she married Zygmunt Luxemburg. Meanwhile, Jadwiga became the Polish queen and married Lithuanian Jagiełło. Elizabeth did not have the political experience of her mother-in-law, and at the same time she was ruthless and audacious. As a result, her position was increasingly weakened and she herself had to deal with other claimants to the Hungarian throne. With one of them, Charles III of Durazzo, she lost the fight. The humiliation was completed by the compulsion of her presence at the coronation of the new king of Hungary. The Bosnian, however, plotted a plot, as a result of which Charles was killed and Maria returned to the throne. In 1386, the supporters of the murdered ruler captured Elizabeth and her daughter. Six months later, the Bosnian woman was strangled to death in front of Maria, who was finally saved from captivity.