Isabella Jagiellon

Isabella Jagiellon

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Isabella Jagiellon

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Isabella Jagiellon (; ) (18 January 1519 – 15 September 1559) was queen consort of Eastern Hungarian Kingdom as the wife of John Zápolya.


Born in Kraków to King Sigismund I of Poland and Bona Sforza, Princess of Milan, Isabella was brought up in the Polish royal court. Her mother taught her the Italian language and Renaissance culture, so she became an educated young lady, who spoke four languages.

In 1539 Isabella was married to the claimant of the Hungarian throne, John Zápolya. Their son John II Sigismund Zápolya was born on 8 July 1540. Her husband died two weeks after the child was born, and from this time on Isabella began her struggle to keep the Hungarian throne as a widow queen and the guardian of her child, who was elected electus rex in the meantime.

In 1541, after the reoccupation of Buda, Isabella went to Transylvania on the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, where she reigned with her child over the territories under her authority. However, the real governor was the appointed George Martinuzzi. In the summer of 1551 she left Transylvania, which fell into the hands of Ferdinand of Austria in accordance with the treaty of Nyírbátor.

According to a legend, when Isabella stopped to have a rest at the gates of Meszes, she cut the abbreviation of her slogan into the bark of an old oak tree: SFV – Sic fata volunt, i.e. it is the will of fate. By the request of the Hungarian orders she returned to the country together with her child and her...
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