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Mayor Albert's Rebellion

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Mayor Albert's Rebellion (Polish: bunt wójta Alberta) was a 1311–12 rebellion by the burghers of the Polish city of Kraków against Duke Władysław I the Elbow-high.[1] The rebellion was led by Albert, the wójt (Latin: advocatus), who under Magdeburg Law was effectively mayor of Kraków.[2] It ended with the victory of Duke Władysław and the punishment of Kraków townsmen.


After Kraków had been devastated during the 1241 Mongol invasion of Poland, it was re-established in accordance with the Magdeburg Law by Prince Bolesław V the Chaste.[3] In 1291 the Duchy of Kraków fell to the Přemyslid king Wenceslaus II of Bohemia who in 1300 also became King of Poland. Upon the extinction of the Přemyslids in 1306, the Piast duke Władysław I the Elbow-high assumed rule at Kraków, while in 1310 the Bohemian Kingdom passed to the House of Luxembourg. The new king, John of Bohemia, continued to claim the Polish royal title and moreover sought to vassalize the Piast dukes of the adjacent Silesian region.


In 1311 wójt Albert (?-1317), mayor of Kraków (1290-1312), launched a rebelliong against the rule of Prince Władysław, with the goal of turning the city – then the capital of the Polish Seniorate Province – over to the Bohemian House of Luxembourg.[4] Albert, himself of German[2] or Czech[5] origin, had the support of some of the city's German burghers.[4] He also had the support of Bishop Jan Muskata, himself of German-Silesian origin, and the Silesian duke Bolko I of Opole, as well as of many Kraków citizens. After Władysław laid siege to the city, the revolt ended in failure.[2][4] Similar rebellions took place in several other cities, particularly Sandomierz and Wieliczka; these were also crushed by Władysław.[citation needed]


Albert fled to Bohemia[4] and his house was demolished, while the Polish Primate Archbishop Jakub Świnka of Gniezno charged Bishop Muskata with being "an enemy of the Polish people". In the aftermath of the rebellion the city of Kraków lost many of its privileges due to the support some of its burghers gave to the uprising. From Prince Władysław's point of view the revolt had been motivated by anti-Polish sentiment and the German citizens proved their disloyalty.

According to a single source, so called Krasiński's Annals, to distinguish the German-speaking burghers of Kraków, the shibboleth Soczewica, koło, miele, młyn ("Lentil, wheel, grinds (verb), mill) was used. Those who could not properly pronounce this phrase were executed.[6]

The uprising was chronicled in a contemporary Latin poem De quodam advocate Cracoviensi Alberto ("About a Certain Reeve Albert of Kraków") written by an anonymous author.


  1. ^ (in English) David Abulafia (1995). The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1198-c. 1300. Cambridge University Press. p. 775. ISBN 978-0-521-36289-4. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Laurențiu Rădvan (2010). At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities. BRILL. p. 49. ISBN 978-90-04-18010-9. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  3. ^ Jan Hahn, Ilustrowana historia Śląska w zarysie, Narodowa Oficyna Śląska, Zabrze 2012, ISBN 978-83-60540-26-8
  4. ^ a b c d (in English) Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996). Historical dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-313-26007-0. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  5. ^ Encyklopedia; Kirchen-Lexikon (1876). Encyklopedja Kościelna podług teologicznej encyklopedji [Kirchen-lexikon] Wetzera i Weltego, wydana przez M. Nowodworskiego. p. 466. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ Paul Knoll (2017). "Chapter 19: Economic and Political Institutions on the Polish-German Frontier in the Middle Ages: Action, reaction, interaction". In Nora Berend (ed.). The Expansion of Central Europe in the Middle Ages. Routledge. p. 445.
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Mayor Albert's Rebellion
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