Louis I of Hungary


October 20, 2021

Louis I of Hungary or Louis the Great (in Hungarian Nagy Lajos; in Croatian Ludovik Veliki; in Slovak Ľudovít Veľký; Visegrád, 5 March 1326 - Trnava, 10 September 1382) was king of Hungary and Croatia from 1342 to 1382, as well as of Poland from 1370 to 1382. First descendant of Charles I of Hungary and his wife Elizabeth of Poland to survive childhood, by virtue of a treaty stipulated in 1338 between his father and Casimir III of Poland, Louis's maternal uncle, his right to inherit was confirmed the Kingdom of Poland if the uncle died without having a child. In return, Louis was forced to help his relative regain possession of the lands that Poland had lost in previous decades. Although he received the title of Duke of Transylvania between 1339 and 1342, he did not administer the province. Luigi had come of age when he succeeded his father in 1342, but his deeply religious mother exercised a powerful influence over him. He inherited a centralized kingdom and a prosperous tax situation from his father; during the first years of his reign, Louis participated in the ongoing crusade against the Lithuanians and restored royal power in Croatia; his men defeated the Tartar armies on several occasions, with the result that the sovereign extended his authority to the Black Sea. When his brother Andrea, Duke of Calabria and husband of Queen Giovanna I of Naples, was assassinated in 1345, Louis accused the woman of his murder and punishing her became the main focus of his foreign policy. For this reason, he launched two campaigns against the Kingdom of Naples between 1347 and 1350. His troops occupied vast territories on both occasions and Luigi adopted the titles typical of Neapolitan sovereigns (including that of king of Sicily and Jerusalem), but the Holy See never recognized his claims. The arbitrary acts and atrocities committed by the mercenaries who acted on behalf of Luigi made his government unpopular in the South, prompting him to withdraw all his troops from the Kingdom of Naples in 1351. Like his father, Louis administered Hungary in an absolutist way and used royal prerogatives to grant privileges to his courtiers. He also confirmed the freedoms of the Hungarian nobility recognized in the diet of 1351, underlining the status of equality in force for all aristocrats. As part of the same diet, he introduced a principle of inheritance of land and imposed the payment of a uniform fee both to peasants and landowners, confirming the right to free movement for the former. In 1350, he waged wars against the Lithuanians, Serbia and the Golden Horde, restoring the authority of the Hungarian monarchs over the territories along the borders that had been lost in previous decades. In 1358, he forced the Republic of Venice to give up the cities located along the Dalmatian coast. Also in the same period, he made several attempts at expansion to the rulers of Bosnia, Moldavia, Wallachia and parts of Bulgaria and Serbia. The rulers of the aforementioned areas sometimes proved willing to accept his authority, either because they were coerced or in the hope of support against their internal adversaries, but Louis' rule in these regions was only nominal during most of his reign. . His efforts to convert his pagan or Orthodox subjects to Catholicism however made him unpopular in the Balkan latitudes. Louis founded a university in Pécs in 1367, but it was closed within two decades because he did not have enough income to maintain it. Louis inherited Poland after his uncle's death in 1370. Since he had no children, he wanted his subjects to recognize the right of his daughters to succeed him in Hungary and Poland. To this end, in 1374 he issued the privilege of Koszyce, thanks to which the nobles

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