Facts and Events
Przemysł II (also given in English and Latin as Premyslas or Premislaus, or less properly ) (14 October 1257 – 8 February 1296), was the Duke of Poznań from 1257-1279, of Greater Poland from 1279-1296, of Kraków from 1290-1291, and Gdańsk Pomerania (Pomerelia) from 1294-1296, and then King of Poland from 1295 until his death. After a long period of Polish High Dukes and two nominal kings, he was the first to obtain the hereditary title of King, and thus to return Poland to the rank of Kingdom.
A member of the Greater Poland branch of the House of Piast as the only son of Duke Przemysł I and the Silesian princess Elisabeth, he was born posthumously; for this reason he was brought up at the court of his uncle Bolesław the Pious and received his own district to rule, the Duchy of Poznań, only in 1273. Six years later, after the death of his uncle, he also obtained the Duchy of Kalisz.
In the first period of his government, Przemysł II was involved only in regional affairs, first in close collaboration and then competing with the Duke of Wrocław, Henryk IV Probus. This policy caused the rebellion of the prominentZaremba family and the temporary loss of Wieluń.
Working with the Archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub Świnka, he sought the unification of the principalities of the Piast dynasty. Unexpectedly, in 1290, under the will of Henryk IV Probus, he managed to obtain the Duchy of Kraków and with this the title of High Duke of Poland; however, not having sufficient support from the local nobility (who supported another member of the Piast dynasty, Władysław I the Elbow-high) and faced with the increasing threats of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, Przemysł II finally decided to step down from Lesser Poland, which was then under the rule of Přemyslid dynasty.
In 1293, thanks to the mediation of Archbishop Jakub Świnka, he joined into a close alliance with the Kuyavian princes Władysław the Elbow-high and Casimir II of Łęczyca. This alliance was anti-Bohemian, and his goal was to recover Kraków, then in the hands of King Wenceslaus II.
After the death of Duke Mestwin II in 1294, and according to the Treaty of Kępno signed in 1282, Przemysł II inherited Pomerelia. This strengthened his position and enabled his coronation as King of Poland. The ceremony was held on 26 June 1295 in Gniezno, and was performed by his ally Archbishop Jakub Świnka.
Only nine months later, on 8 February 1296, Przemysł II was murdered during a failed kidnapping attempt made by men of the Margraves of Brandenburg, with some help from the Polish noble families of Nałęcz and Zaremba.