History, The Piast Dynasty
Mieszko, Piast dynasty, Boleslaw, Odra, Jagiellonian University
Mieszko converted the Poles to Christianity in order to compete better with the crusading and marauding Germans. During the reign (992-1025) of his son, Boleslaw I, the Christian church was firmly established in Poland. Boleslaw also conducted successful wars against Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and considerably expanded the Polish domain. He was crowned king by the pope in 1025. At his death, Poland extended beyond the Karpaty Mountains (Carpathian Mountains) and the Odra and Dniester rivers.
During the next three centuries Poland met with repeated misfortunes from internal disorder and foreign invasions. In 1079 Boleslaw II had the bishop of Krakow murdered and Poland was placed under a papal interdict. Boleslaw III, who reigned from 1102 to 1138, conquered the region of Pomerania, defeated the pagan Prussians, and defended Silesia against Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. On the death of Boleslaw III Poland was divided among his sons, and the kingdom subsequently disintegrated into a number of independent warring principalities.
In 1240 and 1241 the Mongols invaded and ravaged Poland. Meanwhile, the neighboring Baltic dominions of the Prussians had been subjugated by the Teutonic Knights, and German colonists, encouraged by the Polish princes, began to settle in the country. During the period of German colonization, large numbers of Jews, in flight from persecution in western Europe, took refuge in Polish territory.
Wladyslaw I of the Piast dynasty was crowned king of Poland in 1320. From 1305 to 1333, defeats were inflicted on the Teutonic Knights, and the kingdom was reunited. The power and prosperity of Poland increased tremendously during the reign of Wladyslaw’s son Kazimierz III, also called The Great, which lasted from 1333 to 1370. Kazimierz was one of the most enlightened rulers in Polish history and the last of the Piast dynasty. He initiated important administrative, judicial, and legislative reforms, founded the Jagiellonian University in 1364, extended aid to the Jewish refugees from western Europe, and added Galicia to the Polish domains.
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