Louis I (king of Hungary)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Louis I (king of Hungary)

Louis I or Louis the Great, 1326–82, king of Hungary (1342–82) and of Poland (1370–82). He succeeded his father, Charles I, in Hungary, and his uncle, Casimir III, in Poland. He continued the internal policy of his father, favoring the church and the commerce of the towns. In 1351 he confirmed the Golden Bull of Andrew II, but to assure the continuance of a strong and wealthy military class he applied the system of entail to the estates of the nobles and made it mandatory for serfs to pay one ninth of their farm produce to their overlords. He was rarely forced to appeal to the diet for funds; as a result, its meetings became less frequent. The murder (1345) of his brother Andrew at the court of Andrew's wife, Joanna I of Naples, broke Hungary's alliance with the western branch of the Angevin dynasty and slowed Louis's reconquest of Dalmatia. Two successful wars (1357–58, 1378–81) against Venice, however, gained him Dalmatia and Ragusa. The rulers of Serbia, Walachia, Moldavia, and Bulgaria became his vassals. In Poland, where his campaign (1354) against the Tatars and the Lithuanians had made him popular, he was unable to prevent revolts after his accession. In 1377, Louis campaigned successfully against the Ottomans. He brought Hungarian power to its peak and also fostered art and learning, which were influenced both by Louis's French background and by his campaigns that brought Hungarians in contact with the Italian Renaissance. Louis had no male heir but provided for his succession by marrying his eldest daughter, Mary, to Sigismund (later Holy Roman emperor). After a period of turmoil following Louis's death, Mary and Sigismund ruled Hungary jointly. Poland refused to continue the union of the crowns, so his younger daughter, Jadwiga, succeeded him as ruler of Poland.

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