Vuk Vukčić (XIV century – approx. 1401) is the son of Duke Vukac Hrvatinić and the brother of the famous Bosnian nobleman Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić. He was one of the most prominent Bosnian noblemen of the second half of the 14th century who, by leveraging events both within and outside of the Bosnian state, achieved the title of Croatian-Dalmatian Ban. He appears in historical sources for the first time in 1385, when he seized the town of Greben from the Hungarian crown, which had been ceded to the Hungarian king by his cousins Grgur and Vladislav Pavlović in exchange for the possession of the Dobra Kuća in Slavonia. Upon the capture of Greben, the Slavonian bans Stjepan and Ivan Banfi promised to stand up for Duke Vuk before the Hungarian queen. It is noticeable that the Slavonian bans responded with a mild reaction to the alienation of Hungarian territory, which is explained by the deep internal crisis that Hungary experienced following the death of King Louis I of Anjou in 1382.

It was the Hrvatinić family, i.e. the sons of Duke Vukac, Hrvoje, Vuk, Voislav and Dragiš, who, due to troubles in neighboring Hungary, started military operations on the possessions of the Hungarian crown that were in their immediate vicinity, and so along with Greben, in the eighties and early nineties of the 14th century, they put the towns of Ključ, Kozara and Glaž under their control.

Whether these military operations were solely under the direction of Hrvatinići or whether they had some encouragement from the central authorities is unknown. However, when the Bosnian conquest of Dalmatia began, Hrvoje and Vuk were in the closest circle of people gathered around King Tvrtko. In addition, Duke Vuk Vukčić and other family members got involved in internal conflicts in neighboring Hungary, in the same way as his sovereign – King Tvrtko did, supporting the Horvat brothers, the Zagreb bishop Pavle and Ban Ivaniš, the main opponents of the Hungarian crown. Thus, in 1387, Duke Vuk and his brother Hrvoje commanded the Bosnian troops that were sent to the Horvat brothers during the conquest of Zagreb.

In the struggle between Ladislaus of Naples and Sigismund for the Hungarian throne, Vuk Vukčić, together with his brothers, supported the Neapolitan side, and the Bosnian king Stjepan Dabiša did the same. For this reason, on July 17, 1391, King Ladislaus granted Vuk Vukčić and his brother Hrvoje the title of Croatian-Dalmatian ban. In this way, the Hrvatinić brothers became the king’s regents in that area which, according to his envisioned right, came under his supreme authority. By contrast, Ban Vuk skillfully exploited a conflict between two powerful rulers in his neighborhood, Ladislaus of Naples and Sigismund of Luxembourg, to strengthen his local authority. A number of charters that Vuk issued to the Archdiocese of Split and the Cathedral chapter of Split in 1391 bear testimony to his authority as a ban. However, the aforementioned charters indicate that Vuk Vukčić’s ban powers were not only formal, but also functional. In addition, it is reliably known that the castellans in Knin, Klis, Omiš and Bistrica were under the control of Ban Vuk. Relations with neighboring Zadar were also at an enviable level, so Ban Vuk and his sub-ban Ivan Mišljenović were accepted as Zadar citizens.

Ban Vuk Vukčić’s good position could not last due to a wider set of circumstances, which primarily entail constant conflicts and turmoil. First, there was a confrontation with the Paližna brothers, Ivan and Nikola, the sons of Ivaniš Paližna and great opponents of King Sigismund, which led to a split among the candidates of Ladislav of Naples. Namely, Ban Vuk captured the Paližna brothers in 1392/93, according to reports that reached Zadar, and was planning to conquer both Vrana and Ostrovica. History has not fully explained the reasons for this conflict between nobles who supported the same pretender in the fight for the Hungarian throne. The second major blow that drastically worsened the position of Ban Vuk in a very complex relationship between the warring parties was the act of his brother, Grand Duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, who in 1393 sided with King Sigismund and Queen Mary, promising them in a charter dated August 23 faithful service against all people, except the Bosnian king Stjepan Dabiša.

In the very complicated Bosnian-Hungarian relations, the famous defeat of the Horvat brothers at Dobor in 1394, at the hands of King Sigismund, had a special significance, as it resulted in their disappearance from the Hungarian political scene, and King Dabiša then renounced his rights to Croatia and Dalmatia in favor of Sigismund. Essentially, Ban Vuk remained the only person to support Ladislaus of Naples following these events, and it became obvious that this attitude could not be sustained for long. The same year, 1394, Ban Vuk was defeated in Knin by the troops of King Sigismund, after which he also left Ladislaus of Naples. As a reward for changing the political course, in 1396 Ban Vuk received from the Hungarian king the towns of Krupa and Ostrožac, which were previously under the rule of the noble Babonić family, and Veliki Kalnik in Križevac county. And while in the meantime his brother Hrvoje changed sides and again sided with Ladislaus of Naples, Vuk Vukčić remained loyal to King Sigismund until the end of his life. His castellans in Veliki Kalnik can be traced back to 1405, i.e. people whose names indicate Slavic origin were mentioned, while the military garrison in Ostrožac was under the control of the Hungarian king from 1406 at the earliest.

The year of Ban Vuk Vukčić’s death is unknown; it is assumed that he died around 1401. As far as is known, he left no male heirs from his marriage to Anka, except for his daughter Katarina, who married Sandalj Hranić Kosača.


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