[size=18pt]The Flags of the Poles and Poland – Part 2[/size]

[size=12pt]The Andegavin Dynasty[/size]

Banner of Ludwik and Jadwiga Anjou 1370-1399

Banner of Ludwik and Hedwig Anjou

This is the banner of the Ludwik and Jadwiga Andegavin (Hedwig Anjou). In one of those strange royal arrangements, King Casimir the Great had his nephew, King Ludwik of Hungary, succeed him on the Polish throne. When Ludwik died, his daughter Mary became the Queen of Hungary, but the Polish nobles didn't want Mary to also rule in Poland. Hedwig (Jadwiga), who was the younger sister of Mary, was instead "named" king. She became the King (Hedvig Rex Poloniae). For a year she ruled alone and in 1385, at the insistence of the nobility, she married Wladyslaw Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania. She only agreed to marry the Grand Duke of Lithuania on the promise that not only would he would convert to Christianity, but that his entire nation, the last pagans of Europe, would also convert.

Jadwiga retained her title of King until her death in 1399, but she co-ruled the country with her husband. She devoted her attention to charity and education, spending her wealth on the restoration of the Cracow University, scholarships and helping the poor. She declared by the Vatican as the patron saint of the unified Europe.

Royal Standard of Wladyslaw II Jagiello 1386-1434

Royal Standard of Wladyslaw Jagiello

When the Pagan King Wladyslaw II (Jagiello) acquired the Polish throne by marrying the Christian Queen/King Jadwiga (see above), he was the last pagan ruler of Lithuania (he converted to Christianity to become King of Poland and she was later sainted). In 1385, the Union of Krewo was signed between Queen Jadwiga and Jagiello, who was at that time the Grand Duke of Lithuania. The act arranged for their marriage and constituted the beginning of the Polish-Lithuanian Union. The Union strengthened both nations in their shared opposition to the Teutonic Knights and the growing threat of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Wladslaw II is most remembered for his great victory over the Teutonic Knights of Prussia in 1410 at Grunwald (Tannenberg) where he secured the Polish and Lithuanian borders and marked the emergence of the Polish-Lithuanian alliance as a significant force in Europe. The reign of Wladyslaw II Jagiello extended Polish frontiers and is often considered the beginning of Poland's "Golden Age." The dynasty he established became one of the most influential dynasties in medieval Central and Eastern Europe.

Royal Battle Banner of Wladyslaw Jagiello 1410

Royal Battle Banner of Wladyslaw Jagiello

This was the personal battle flag of the King Wladyslaw of Poland, flown at his camp on the wooded hill at Tannenberg (Grunwald). While the Teutonic Knights and their allies, the flower of the European knighthood, took their battle positions on the hot field of Grunwald and baked in the sunshine in their heavy armor, the cunning Polish king took his time, not rushing to the battlefield and allowing his troops to relax on the tree-shaded hill.

Finally, the impatient Teutonic Grand Master sent his envoys to urge the Polish King to start the battle. They brought with them two fine swords as a gift of encouragement to start the fight. A very powerful knight named Zawisza Czarny the Black, who was standing next to the King, took these swords and broke them easily on his knee. The King thanked the envoys for the presents, but said he had better ones, and would soon meet the Germans down below to prove it. He did, and is most remembered for his great victory over the Teutonic Knights of Prussia on that hot afternoon in 1410.

Battle Flag of the Battle of Grunwald 1410

One of several Grunwald Battle Flags and banners

This was another of the Battle flags of the Battle of Grunwald. It was flown into the battle, representing the King. Although, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order took part personally in the actual battle (and got killed), Wladyslaw Jagiello, due to his advanced age, stayed behind on the hill, assessing the situation from the vantage point and dispatching battle orders. The Teutonic knights made the use of artillery for one of the first instances in Europe (if not the first). The new technology was brought to them by the traveling monks from China. It didn't them any good, as the artillery positions were soon overrun by the Tatars and Lithuanians and the cannons were turned against the troops of the Order.

The son of Wladyslaw Jagiello was Wladyslaw Warnenczyk III (Ladislaus Varnensis) who became the King of Poland in 1434, and Bohemia and Hungary in 1440. He was called "Varnensis" because he died young battling the Turks at Varna (now in Bulgaria) in 1444. He was killed during the charge on the ranks of the janizaries, who were protecting their sultan, and left no direct heir to his throne.

To be continued…
Source http://www.loeser.us/flags/