John I Albert

John I Albert

Original Name Jan Olbracht
Kraków, Małopolskie, Poland
Death 17 Jun 1501 (aged 51)
Toruń, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland
Burial Kraków, Miasto Kraków, Małopolskie, Poland
Memorial ID 14200085 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Polish Royalty. He was the third son of Casimir IV, the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland and his wife Elisabeth, the daughter of King Albert of Hungary; his Polish name was Jan Olbracht. After his father’s lack in formal education, he was well-educated and studied under the noted Polish historian and Roman Catholic priest, John Dlugosz and advisor, Filip Callimachus. Since King Casimir’s second son had decided to follow the calling of the church leaving the duties of prince behind, he, the third son, was second in line for the throne. As crown prince, he distinguished himself by his brilliant victory over the Turkish forces in 1487. From 1486 to 1490 he served as governor of the king to the Polish state of Rus. He was named for his mother’s father in hope that he would become the King of Hungary. His father along with Hungarian nobles had chosen him to be the ruler over the couple's "heir apparent", Wladyslaw. He went to Hungary to be crowned; but aristocrat lineage declared the older son would be king. This caused bitterness between the brothers, ghastly words were exchanged, and over several months, treats of civil war were made by supporters of each brother before King Casimir ordered John I Albert back to Poland. In the end, his oldest brother, Władysław, became the king of Bohemia in 1471 and of Hungary 1490. To allay any further problems between the brothers, in 1491 King Casimir appointed in him the Duke of Glogow, a Polish state; he served until 1498. Upon his father’s death, Alexander, a younger brother, became the Grand Duke of Lithuanian and he, with the support of his brother Friedrich, the Archbishop, became the King of Poland in 1492. During his reign of Poland, he maintained the powers of nobles of the court, increased his own power, at the same time, and started Poland’s first national governmental legislature system, the Sejm. He restricted the privileges that his father had given the Jewish population and made them live within a certain area making the first Poland ghetto. While they were battling the Turks, he and Stephen the Great, the king of neighboring Moldova (today’s Romania) became at odds as it was learned that he had made plans to put his younger brother Prince Sigmund on the Moldova throne restoring Polish rule again and giving Poland access to the Black Sea; in spite of having a militia of 8,000, this plan failed very badly. To improve his military, he increased taxes to have money to defend his country; his father had left the country in debt. He also limited immigration to a one-year stay. He also limited the power of the church; clerics without nobility were forbidden to sit in the high positions of the church. In 2001 historian Dr. Gregory Hunter described him, “He was a brave man, certainly not a bad commander”, but also gave examples of him waging war with neighboring countries, being very popular with his militia, knowing many women and being drunk frequently. His death was on the battle field but he died suddenly from apparently an infectious disease, according to historians possibly syphilis. After his death, his body’s resting place was in the Wawel Cathedral, but his heart was laid in one of the columns Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist in Tourn, Poland; there is a semicircular portrait of King John I Albert on the south wall in the Guardian Angels Chapel. He was never married, nor did not leave behind any offspring. After his death, his younger brother, Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander was made King of Poland. He was part of “The Jagiellonian Era” which is often regarded as a period of maximum political power, great prosperity, and the later stage, as the Golden Age of Polish culture.

Bio by: Linda Davis

Family Members



See more John I Albert memorials in:


How famous was John I Albert?

Current rating:

29 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Tom Denardo
  • Added: 7 May 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14200085
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John I Albert (27 Dec 1449–17 Jun 1501), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14200085, citing Wawel Cathedral, Kraków, Miasto Kraków, Małopolskie, Poland ; Maintained by Find A Grave .