Albert II of Germany

Albert II of Germany

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Albert the Magnanimous KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

 (10 August 1397 – 27 October 1439) was King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 from 1438 until his death. He was also King of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, elected (but never crowned) King of Germany as Albert II, duke of Luxembourg and, as Albert V, archduke of Austria from 1404.

Biography


Albert was born in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 as the son of Albert IV, Duke of Austria
Albert IV, Duke of Austria
Albert IV of Austria was a duke of Austria.He was born in Vienna, the son of Duke Albert III of Austria and Beatrix of Nuremberg...

, and Johanna Sophia of Bavaria
Johanna Sophia of Bavaria
Joanna Sophia of Bavaria was the youngest daughter of Albert I, Duke of Bavaria and his first wife Margaret of Brieg. She was a member of the House of Wittelsbach....

.

He succeeded to the Duchy of Austria at the age of seven on his father's death in 1404. His uncle Duke William of Inner Austria
William, Duke of Austria
William the Courteous was a member and head of the Leopoldinian Line, ruler of Carinthia, Styria and Carniola.Born in Vienna, he was the oldest son of Duke Leopold the Just and his wife, Viridis Visconti, and ruled in Carinthia, Styria and Carniola.His engagement with Hedwig of Hungary, youngest...

, then head of the rivaling Leopoldinian line, served as regent for his nephew, followed by his brothers Leopold IV
Leopold IV, Duke of Austria
Leopold IV of Austria, Duke of Further Austria was an Austrian Habsburg Duke of the Leopoldinian Line.He was the second son of Leopold III. His eldest brother Duke William of Inner Austria took him as his effective co-ruler, putting him in particular charge of Further Austria, which also meant...

 and Ernest the Iron
Ernest, Duke of Austria
Ernest the Iron was Duke of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola from 1406 until his death. He was a member of the Habsburg dynasty, of the Leopoldian line, whose head of the family he was from 1411 to 1424.-Biography:...

 in 1406. The quarrels between the brothers and their continued attempts to gain control over the Albertinian
Albertinian Line
The Albertinian line was a line of the Habsburg dynasty, begun by Albert III, who, after death of his brother Rudolf IV the Founder, split the Habsburg territories with his brother. Albert was the prince of the Duchy of Austria, while the southern territories were ruled by his brother - Leopold III...

 territories led to civil war-like conditions. Nevertheless Albert, having received a good education, undertook the government of Austria proper on the occasion of Leopold's death in 1411 and succeeded, with the aid of his advisers, in ridding the duchy of the evils which had arisen during his minority.

In 1422 Albert married Elisabeth of Luxemburg, the daughter and heiress of the King Sigismund of Hungary (later also Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 and Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

), and his second wife, the Slovenian noblewoman Barbara of Celje
Barbara of Celje
Barbara of Cilli was the spouse of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund and as such Holy Roman Empress. She was by marriage also Queen of Hungary and Bohemia and also Holy Roman Empress. She received the sobriquet "Messalina of Germany" for her political intrigues, and was instrumental in creating the...

. Though Elizabeth was not the daughter of Sigismund's first wife Mary of Hungary
Mary of Hungary
Mary of Anjou was queen regnant of Hungary from 1382 until her death in 1395.-Childhood:...

 and thus not a member of the royal Angevin
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 dynasty, she descended from the old Arpád kings
Árpád dynasty
The Árpáds or Arpads was the ruling dynasty of the federation of the Hungarian tribes and of the Kingdom of Hungary . The dynasty was named after Grand Prince Árpád who was the head of the tribal federation when the Magyars occupied the Carpathian Basin, circa 895...

 of Hungary. Her paternal grandparents were Emperor Charles IV and Elizabeth of Pomerania
Elizabeth of Pomerania
Elizabeth of Pomerania was the fourth and final wife of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia. Her parents were Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania and Elizabeth of Poland,...

. Her maternal grandfather was the Ban of Slavonia
Banovina of Slavonia
The Banovina of Slavonia was a province of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Croatia. It included parts of present-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina...

 Count Herman II of Celje, whose parents were Count Herman I of Celje and Catherine of Bosnia, who apparently descended also from Nemanjić
House of Nemanjic
The Nemanjić was the most important dynasty of Serbia in the Middle Ages, and one of the most important in Southeastern Europe. The royal house produced eleven Serbian monarchs between 1166 and 1371. It's progenitor was Stephen Nemanja, who descended from a cadet line of the Vukanović dynasty...

 kings of Serbia and from Catherine of Hungary, a daughter of Stephen V of Hungary
Stephen V of Hungary
Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

. In right of the paternal grandparents, she was, through Elizabeth of Pomerania, also heiress of Poland
Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569)
The Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons was the Polish state created by the accession of Jogaila , Grand Duke of Lithuania, to the Polish throne in 1386. The Union of Krewo or Krėva Act, united Poland and Lithuania under the rule of a single monarch...

, of its Kujavian Piast
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

 branch of kings. Thus, Albert's marriage brought him claims to several Slavic kingdoms and principalities.

Albert himself descended from Béla IV of Hungary
Béla IV of Hungary
Béla IV , King of Hungary and of Croatia , duke of Styria 1254–58. One of the most famous kings of Hungary, he distinguished himself through his policy of strengthening of the royal power following the example of his grandfather Bela III, and by the rebuilding Hungary after the catastrophe of the...

 through his daughter Ilona whose descendant was a princess of Brieg who became Albert's ancestress the countess of Hainaut and Holland, and from a younger sister of Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia, thus descending from both Constances of Hungary, and also from King Géza II of Hungary
Géza II of Hungary
Géza II , , King of Hungary, King of Croatia, Dalmatia and Rama . He ascended the throne as a child and during his minority the kingdom was governed by his mother and uncle...

 through his daughter Elisabeth who married Bedrich of Czech, their daughter being an ancestress of Albert's maternal Bavarian line.

Albert assisted his father-in-law Sigismund in his campaigns against the Hussites, involving the Austrian duchy in the Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...

. In return Sigismund designated him as his successor and granted him the title of a Margrave of Moravia
March of Moravia
The March or Margraviate of Moravia, was a marcher state, sometimes de facto independent and varyingly within the power of the Duchy, later Kingdom of Bohemia...

 in 1423. The Austrian lands were devastated several times and Albert also participated in the 1431 Battle of Domažlice
Battle of Domažlice
The Battle of Domažlice or Battle of Taus was fought on August 14, 1431 as the part of the 5th crusade against Hussites. The crusade was sent to Bohemia after the negotiations they were held in Pressburg and Cheb between Hussites and the emperor Sigismund had failed.The Imperial army was...

 where the Imperial troops suffered an embarrassing defeat.

When Sigismund died in 1437, Albert was crowned king of Hungary on 1 January 1438, and just as his predecessor did, he moved his court to the Hungarian Kingdom from where he later oversaw his other domains. Although crowned king of Bohemia six months after ascending to the Hungarian throne, he was unable to obtain possession of the country. He was engaged in warfare with the Bohemians and their Polish allies, when on 18 March 1438, he was chosen "King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

" at Frankfurt, an honour which he does not appear to have sought. He thus was not crowned as Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

.

Afterwards engaged in defending Hungary against the attacks of the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, he died on 27 October 1439 at Neszmély
Neszmély
Neszmély is a village in Komárom-Esztergom county, Hungary....

 and was buried at Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

. Albert was an energetic and warlike prince, whose short reign as a triple king gave great promise of usefulness for the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Until its final dissolution in 1806 the House of Habsburg remained the ruling dynasty.

Expulsion of the Jews


Though the Jews in the Austrian duchy had been subject to local persecutions during the 13th and 14th century, their position remained relatively safe. Jewish communities prospered in several towns like Krems or the area around the Judenplatz
Judenplatz
Judenplatz is a town square in Vienna's Innere Stadt that was the center of Jewish life and the Viennese Jewish Community in the Middle Ages. It is located in the immediate proximity of Am Hof square, Schulhof, and Wipplingerstraße. It exemplifies the long and eventful history of the city and the...

at Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. During the confusion after the death of Duke Albert IV in 1404 their situation worsened sharply, culminating in the blaze of the Vienna synagogue on 5 November 1406, followed by riots and lootings.

When Albert V came of age in 1411 and interfered in the Hussite Wars, he repeatedly established new taxes imposed on the Jewish community to finance his campaigns. On the other hand, after the Hussites had devastated the duchy, the Austrian Jews were accused of collaboration and arms trade in favour of the enemies. The accusations of a host desecration
Host desecration
Host desecration is a form of sacrilege in Christianity involving the mistreatment or malicious use of a consecrated host— the sacred bread used in the Eucharistic service or Mass...

 at Krems in 1420 gave Albert pretext for the destruction of the Jewish community.

According to the 1463 Chronica Austriae by chronicler Thomas Ebendorfer
Thomas Ebendorfer
Thomas Ebendorfer was an Austrian historian, professor, and statesman.Born at Haselbach, in Upper Austria, he studied at the University of Vienna, where in 1412 he received the degree of Master of Arts. Until 1427 he was attached to the Faculty of Arts and lectured on Aristotle and Latin grammar...

 the duke on 23 May 1420, at the behest of the Church, ordered the imprisonment and forcible conversion of the Jews. Those that had not converted or escaped were sent off in boats down the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, while wealthy Jews remained under arrest, several of them tortured and stripped of their property. The forced baptism of Jewish children was stopped on intervention by Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V , born Odo Colonna, was Pope from 1417 to 1431. His election effectively ended the Western Schism .-Biography:...

. On 12 March 1421 Albert sentenced the remaining Jews to death. 92 men and 120 women were burned at the stake south of the Vienna city walls on 12 March 1421. The Jews were placed under an "eternal ban" and their synagogue was demolished. The persecutions in several Austrian towns are explicitly described in a 16th century script called Vienna Geserah.

Full title


Full titulature Albert possessed went as follows: Albert, by the grace of God elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, elected King of Bohemia, duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, margrave of Moravia, Lord of the Wendish March and Port Naon, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Ferrete and Kyburg, etc. Margrave of Burgau and landgrave of Alsace.

In practise he often used a shorter version: Albert, by the grace of God elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia and Croatia, etc. elected King of Bohemia, duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, Margrave of Moravia and Count of Tyrol, etc.

Children


His children with Elisabeth of Bohemia were:
  • Ladislas V Posthumus of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Bohemia
  • Anne of Austria (1432–1462), who married William III, Duke of Saxony. William became (1457–69) Duke of Luxembourg, in right of his wife
  • Elisabeth
    Elisabeth of Austria (d. 1505)
    Elisabeth of Austria , , was a Polish-Lithuanian queen...

     (1438–1505), who married Casimir IV of Poland, and whose son Vladislaus II of Bohemia
    Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
    Vladislaus II, also known as Ladislaus Jagiellon ; was King of Bohemia from 1471 and King of Hungary from 1490 until his death in 1516...

     later became king of Bohemia and Hungary

Ancestors





External links


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