Bosniaks and Poles – Bosnjaci i Poljaci

Encompassing mountainous region between Pannonia, Neretva, Drina and Vrbas, Bosnia was pretty much isolated from two main cultural and communication paths in the western Balkans during the Middle Ages. One of them lead passengers through Adriatic coastal cities of Croatia, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik and Dioclea while the other spread through Serbian lands.  Bosnian Slavs (Bošnjani) and their rulers communicated strongly only with surrounding Slavic states, Hungary and Rome.

The situation somewhat changed after Tvrtko I and his uncle Stephen II (Stepan) gain more territories and connected via marriages with strong European dynasties. Firstly, Bosnian state became widely known in the ‘old continent’ and secondly, Bosnians were able to interact with Slavs outside of the Balkan frames.

In 1440, Polish ruler Władysław Warneńczyk was crowned as king of Hungary and on that occasion he received the delegation of Bosnian king Tvrtko II in Buda.  They discussed the possibilities of cooperation against the Turks but also they underlined the common ethnic background of Bosnians and Poles.
Croatian historian Vjekoslav Klaic (Poviest Bosne, 1882) wrote these lines about the event: “King Stephen Tvrtko II and despot George Brankovic hoped that better times will come and were delighted that the Hungarian crown was taken by a Slavic ruler so they sent their delegates to Buda to greet the new king and ask him for help. The biographer of king Vladislav wrote this about the Bosnian delegation: “The Bosnian king also sent a delegation composed of great husbands. With stories about the origins of their tribe, they stressed that the Bosniaks had the same ancestors as Poles and that they have the same speaking language. They also stated that Bosnian king is pleased with the fact that king Vladislav is successful in his campaigns and that is because of the fore mentioned common language and ancestry …”.”

King Wladyslaw
This event is also described in one of the 19.-th century (1844) Polish ‘books’ called “Dzieje Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej” from Jędrzej Moraczewski:

What is interesting is that king Wladyslaw died during the battle of Varna in 1444 where he also commanded a group of Bosnian knights sent  by Bosnian king to fight against the Turks.

My next post in this topic will be about some other relations between Bosnia and Poland, mainly marriages between royal houses.

What do you think?

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