The Start of the Polish Jagiellon Dynasty

By Heather R. Darsie, J. D. The Jagiellon Dynasty saw its start with Jogaila Algirdaitis, Grand Duke of Lithuania. It is unknown exactly when Jogaila was born to his parents, Grand Duke Algirdas of Lithuania and Uliana of Tver. Jogaila was likely born sometime between 1352 and 1362. Algirdas, possibly the fifth of seven sons, was quite successful in expanding his portion of the Lithuanian … Continue reading The Start of the Polish Jagiellon Dynasty

Elisabeth von Habsburg, Queen Consort of Poland and Grand Duchess Consort of Lithuania

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Elisabeth von Habsburg was born between 1436 and 1439 to the Austrian Archduke Albert II of Germany and his wife Elizabeth of Luxembourg. Elisabeth’s early life saw great struggle between her father, who was crowned King of Bohemia and Hungary in 1537, and the Polish prince Casimir IV Jagiellon. The Polish wished for a marriage between one of Albert II’s … Continue reading Elisabeth von Habsburg, Queen Consort of Poland and Grand Duchess Consort of Lithuania

Gerardus Mercator: Cartographer and Geographer

by Heather R. Darsie On 2 December 1594, Gerardus Mercator died from complications related to continues strokes. He was 82 years old. Mercator was born in the small town of Rupelmonde, not far from Antwerp, on 5 March 1512 while his parents were visiting Mercator’s uncle, a priest. He was only a few months older than Sybylla of Juelich-Cleves-Berg; his parents being from Gangelt in … Continue reading Gerardus Mercator: Cartographer and Geographer

The Habsburgs in the Medieval and Early Modern Period

by Heather R Darsie, JD The Habsburg family had inauspicious beginnings in the late 10th century. Count Radbot von Klettau, a count, was born at the very end of the 10th century. He built Habsburg Castle in Habsburg, County Aargau, Switzerland in the early 11th century. The precise source for the name “Habsburg” is unknown, either it seems to have come from the German word … Continue reading The Habsburgs in the Medieval and Early Modern Period

Mary of Burgundy: The Basics

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Marie de Valois, Hereditary Duchess of Burgundy, was born on 13 February 1457. She was born at Coudenburg Palace in Brussels, which existed since at least the 12th century. Known commonly as Mary of Burgundy, her parents were Charles Martin, known as the Bold, and Isabelle of Bourbon. Isabelle was Charles’ second wife. He was wed to his first wife, Catherine of … Continue reading Mary of Burgundy: The Basics

Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Anna von der Mark was born on 28 June 1515 as the second daughter and second child of Johann III of Cleves-Mark and Maria of Jülich-Berg. She followed another daughter, Sybylla, who was born 17 July 1512. Anna was named after her paternal aunt Anna, the only legitimate daughter of Duke Johann II of Cleves-Mark. Anna’s place of birth is … Continue reading Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

Anne Boleyn’s Coronation

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Anne Boleyn’s coronation, like those of her predecessors, took into account aspects of her personality and future ideological role. As the first Renaissance English queen, Anne was not only seen as an intercessor between the public and the king, but also as part of Henry VIII’s body politic. This idea was established in the 15th century, most firmly so with … Continue reading Anne Boleyn’s Coronation

Tudor Currency and the Great Debasement: An Overview

by Heather R. Darsie, JD At the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign in 1509, there were three different coins used as currency. The coins and their value were roughly as follows: silver penny, the lowest; a silver groat (worth four pennies/pence); gold angel (worth 120 pence/10 shillings); and gold half-angel (worth 60 pence/10 shillings). The value of these coins remained the same from 1509 to … Continue reading Tudor Currency and the Great Debasement: An Overview