(full name in Polish: Jakub Ludwik Henryk Sobieski; 2 November 1667 – 19 December 1737) was a Polish prince, nobleman, politician, diplomat, scholar, traveller and the son of King John III of Poland and Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d’Arquien.
James Louis Sobieski was born on 2 November 1667 in Paris, France. He was named after his grandfather Jakub, his godfather King Louis XIV (Ludwik) and Queen Henrietta (Henryk) Maria of England, his godmother. In 1683, the sixteen-year-old prince fought alongside his father in the battle against the Turks at Vienna. James was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
On 25 March 1691 James Louis married Hedwig Elisabeth Amelia of Neuburg (1673–1722), the daughter of the Palatine elector Philip William. They had five daughters, two of whom would have progeny. As part of his wife’s dowry, he received the Principality of Oława.
On the death of James Louis’ father, John III, no fewer than eighteen candidates stood for the vacant Polish throne. Family rivalries prevented the election of James Louis Sobieski even though Austria supported his candidacy. James Louis Sobieski’s own mother, Marie Casimire, favored her son-in-law, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. The powerful King Louis XIV of France supported François Louis, Prince of Conti (1664–1709).
n the end, Frederick Augustus, elector of Saxony, who renounced Lutheranism and converted to Catholicism in order to qualify, was crowned as Augustus II, King of Poland on 1 September 1697. It was the first time that a deceased monarch’s son had not been elected to succeed him, the previous king’s heir had been debarred from the throne by military force, and that a German became king (which went against a tradition of avoiding German hegemony).
Augustus II’s first act as king was to expel the prince of Conti from the country.
In 1704 James Louis Sobieski and his brother Alexander were seized by Augustus II’s troops and imprisoned. They remained in prison for two years before finally being released.
James Louis Sobieski died of a stroke on 19 December 1737 in Żółkiew, Poland and is buried there. His oldest surviving daughter Maria Karolina, inherited his vast land holdings which included 11 cities and 140 villages.