Interrex (Poland)

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Royal elections in Poland

Royal elections in Poland (Polish: wolna elekcja, lit. free election) were the elections of individual kings, rather than dynasties, to the Polish throne.

The first Polish royal election, of Henry III of France in 1573 (1889 Painting by Jan Matejko).
Election of Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki (Michael I) as King of Poland at Wola, outside Warsaw (1669).
Plan of the elective camp of Polish Kings in Wola near Warsaw.
Election of August II the Strong at Wola, outside Warsaw (1697). Painting by Jean-Pierre Norblin de La Gourdaine.
Election of Stanisław August Poniatowski (Stanisław II Augustus) in 1764.

During the ensuing interregnum, anxiety for the safety of the Commonwealth eventually led to agreements among the political classes that pending election of a new king, the Roman Catholic Primate of Poland would exercise supreme authority, acting as interrex (from the Latin); and that special "hooded" confederations (Polish: konfederacje kapturowe, named after the hoods traditionally worn by their members) of nobility would assume power in each the country's regions.

List of archbishops of Gniezno and primates of Poland

List of archbishops of the Archdiocese of Gniezno, who are simultaneously primates of Poland since 1418.

Jan Odrowąż (Sprowski)
Jan Latalski
Piotr Gamrat
Bernard Maciejowski
Andrzej Olszowski
Władysław Łubieński
Michał Poniatowski
Ignacy Krasicki
August Hlond
Józef Glemp
Henryk Muszyński

They also served as interrex in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Bishops of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Bishops of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth were one of the highest ranking officials who could sit in the Senate of Poland.

Large international organisation bureaucratic structure: the League of Nations in 1930

From 1572, the first time that Poland had been without a king (the Jagiellon Dynasty having died out with King Zygmunt II August), the Archbishop of Gniezno served as interrex — interim head of state until a new king could be elected.

Elective monarchy

Monarchy ruled by an elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance.

The Republic at the Zenith of Its Power. Golden Liberty. The Royal Election of 1573, by Jan Matejko
Offering of the Mexican crown to Maximilian of Habsburg.

During the election period, the function of the king was performed by an interrex (usually in the person of the primate of Poland).

Potocki family

Prominent Polish noble family in the Kingdom of Poland and magnates of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Hetman Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki
Hetman Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki
Field Hetman Andrzej Potocki
Hetman Feliks Kazimierz Potocki
Stanisław Kostka Potocki
Alfred Potocki
Jan Potocki
Silver Pilawa
Golden Pilawa
Arms of the Counts Potocki
Pilawa at the Potocki mausoleum at Wilanów Park
Pilawa at Leżajsk monastery

Teodor Potocki (1664–1738), Primate of Poland and interrex in 1733

Teodor Andrzej Potocki

Teodor Potocki

Teodor Andrzej Potocki (13 February 1664 – 12 December 1738) was a Polish nobleman (szlachcic), Primate of Poland, interrex in 1733.

Battle of Byczyna

The deciding battle of the 1587–1588 War of the Polish Succession, which erupted after two rival candidates were elected to the Polish throne.

Poddanie się Arcyksięcia Maksymiliana pod Byczyną, Juliusz Kossak

Sigismund, supported by Zamoyski and the former king's wife, Anna Jagiellon, was elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth on 19 August 1587 and recognized as such by the interrex, the Primate Karnkowski.

Anna Jagiellon

Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania from 1575 to 1587.

Queen Anna in her coronation robes (1576 painting by Martin Kober)
One of Anna's embroideries: Coat of arms of Poland in silver and gold thread with white pearls on a book from the royal library. It was given to Kraków Academy.
Anna Jagiellon by Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1553.
Polish likeness of Henry III, whom Anne supported and succeeded.
Sigismund Augustus Bridge was finished and protected by Queen Anne.
Queen Anna's tomb in the Sigismund's Chapel was built during her lifetime.
King Stephen Báthory and Queen Anna Jagiellon.
Anna's nephew and successor, Sigismund Vasa, in his youth.
Anna Jagiellon as a widow by Marcin Kober.

During the second interregnum, Anna assumed the unprecedented but politically important title of Infanta, mirroring the Spanish custom and highlighting her dynastic status.

Jan Wężyk

Polish noble and Roman Catholic bishop and Primate of Poland.

POL COA Wąż

He served as interrex (for 9 months) after the death of king Sigismund III Vasa in 1632, before the royal election of Władysław IV Waza.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gniezno

Oldest Latin Catholic archdiocese in Poland, located in the city of Gniezno.

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Gniezno
Relics of St Adalbert, Gniezno Cathedral

From 1572, they acted as interrex regents of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.