Bolesław I Chrobry , King of Poland
d.17 Jun 1025
Facts and Events
Bolesław I Chrobry (Bolesław I the Valiant, or the Brave; , ; 967 – 17 June 1025; previously also known as Bolesław I the Great, "Wielki"), was a Duke of Poland from 992 to 1025 and the first crowned King of Poland from 18 April 1025 until his death two months later. He was also Duke of Bohemia as Boleslav IV from 1002 to 1003.
He was the first-born son of Mieszko I by his first wife Dobrawa, daughter of Boleslav I the Cruel, Duke of Bohemia. Bolesław I the Brave was named after his maternal grandfather. He assumed the control over the country in 992 after having expelled his step-mother Oda of Haldensleben and his half-brothers.
He supported the missionary views of Adalbert, Bishop of Prague and Bruno of Querfurt. The martyrdom of the first (in 997) and his imminent canonization was used for political purposes, leading the called Congress of Gniezno (11 March 1000), where was established a Polish church structure with a Metropolitan See at Gniezno -independent of the German Archbishopric of Magdeburg, which had tried to lay claim to Polish church jurisdictions- and the Bishoprics of Kraków, Wrocław and Kołobrzeg; in addition, Bolesław formally renounced tribute payments to the Holy Roman Empire. An ally of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, who may have crowned him "rex" (King), following his death (1002), Bolesław carried out a series of successful wars against the Holy Roman Empire and Otto's cousin and heir, Henry II, ending in the Peace of Bautzen (1018).
In the summer of 1018, in one of his expeditions, Bolesław I captured Kiev, where he installed as ruler his son-in-law Sviatopolk I. According to legend, he chipped his sword when striking Kiev's Golden Gate. Later, a sword called Szczerbiec ("Chipper") would become the coronation sword of Poland's Kings.
Bolesław I was a remarkable politician, strategist, and . He not only turned Poland into a country comparable to older western monarchies, but he raised it to the front rank of European states. Bolesław conducted successful military campaigns in the west, south and east. He consolidated the Polish lands and conquered territories that lie outside the borders of modern Poland, including Slovakia, Moravia, Red Ruthenia, Meissen, Lusatia, and Bohemia. He was a powerful in Central European affairs.
Finally, as the culmination of his reign, he had himself crowned King of Poland (1025), the first Polish ruler to do so.
He was an able administrator who established the "Prince's Law" and built many forts, churches, monasteries and bridges. He introduced the first Polish monetary unit, the grzywna, divided into 240 denarii, and minted his own coinage.
Bolesław I is widely considered to have been one of Poland's most capable and accomplished Piast rulers.