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), in the past also known as Bolesław I the Great (Wielki), was a Duke of Poland from 992–1025 and the first King of Poland from 18 April 1025 until his death. He also ruled as Boleslav IV, Duke of Bohemia from 1002 to 1003.
Bolesław I was a remarkable politician, strategist, and . He turned Poland into a country that was not only comparable to older western monarchies, but also elevated it into the European elite. Bolesław conducted successful military campaigns in the west, south and east. He consolidated the Polish lands and conquered territories outside of modern borders of Poland such as Slovakia, Moravia, Red Ruthenia, Meissen and Lusatia as well as Bohemia. He was a powerful in Central European affairs.
Bolesław was an ally of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III who may have crowned him rex. Following the death of Otto III in 1002, he carried out a series of successful wars against the Holy Roman Empire and Otto III's cousin and heir Henry II, ending with the Peace of Bautzen in 1018. In the summer of 1018, in one of his most famous expeditions, Bolesław captured Kiev, where, according to legend, he notched his sword when hitting Kiev's Golden Gate. Later a sword called Szczerbiec ("Notched Sword") would become the ceremonial sword used at the coronation of Poland's kings.
Bolesław also managed to establish 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 areas. During the famous Congress of Gniezno he officially freed himself of tribute to the Holy Roman Empire and finally, at the peak of his reign, he had himself crowned as King, the first Polish ruler to do so.
He was an able administrator; he established the so-called "Prince's law" and built many forts, churches, monasteries and bridges. Bolesław established the first Polish monetary system, of a grzywna divided into 240 denarii, and minted his own coinage. He is widely considered one of the most capable and accomplished of the Piast rulers.