The House of Přemyslid or Přemyslid dynasty (Czech: Přemyslovci, German: Premysliden) were a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in Duchy of Bohemia and later Kingdom of Bohemia and Margraviate of Moravia (9th century–1306), parts of Hungary, Silesia, Austria and Poland.
Legendary Přemyslid Rulers
The name of the dynasty, according to Cosmas in his Chronica Boemorum (1119), comes from its legendary founder, Přemysl, husband of duchess Libuše.
- Přemysl & Libuše
Kings of Bohemia
Bohemia was the only princedom in the Holy Roman Empire which was raised to the status of kingdom prior to the Napoleonic wars. The reason for this was strength: as soon as Bohemia overcame its civil strife, the Czech duke became the principal ally for any candidate for the Imperial throne. The emperor could thus use Bohemian forces to punish any rebels who were Czech neighbours simply by raiding their lands. This is evinced by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV naming Prince Vratislaus II of Bohemia the first king of Bohemia, Vratislav I, in 1085. He was raised to this prominent position not long after his father Bretislaus pacified Bohemia after years of civil conflict. The kingship was disputed whenever Czech internal conflict increased. It was fixed, however, after the position of the emperor in Germany weakened.
In 1198, Duke Ottokar I again gained the title of King of Bohemia as an ally of Philip of Swabia. This title was reconfirmed by Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor and later on in Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor's Golden Bull of Sicily (1212).
- Ottokar I (1198–1230)
- Wenceslaus I (1230–1253)
- Ottokar II (1253–1278)
- Wenceslaus II (1278–1305)
- Wenceslaus III (1305–1306)
Kings of Bohemia, Poland & Hungary, Rulers of Austria
In 1269-1276, King Ottokar II of Bohemia was the first in history to rule the lands of today's Austria together (except for Tyrol). He also founded the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
In 1300, King Wenceslaus II was crowned King of Poland. Prior to this, he held the title "High Duke of Poland (Duke of Kraków)" since 1291 and became its overlord upon the death of Przemysł II of Poland in 1296.
- Wenceslaus I (1300–1305)
- Wenceslaus II (1305–1306), also King of Hungary (1301–1305) as Ladislaus V
The royal line ended in 1306 with the death of King Wenceslaus III. The Bohemian throne went to the Luxembourgs, and the Polish returned to the Piasts.
Notable Přemyslid Dynasty Family
- Vratislav I
- Saint Václav I
- Vratislav II
- Břetislav I Achilles (Duke of Bohemia & Moravia, earlier Duke of Moravia - Bretislian)
- Břetislav II
- Vladislav I
- Vladislav II
- Ottokar I
- Wenceslas I
- Ottokar II the Golden & Iron
- Wenceslas II
- Wenceslas III (d. 1306) as last male member of the royal Přemyslid dynasty
- Anne of Bohemia (1290–1313)
- Elisabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330) last member of the royal Přemyslid dynasty
Elisabeth of Bohemia & The Habsburgs
King Charles IV was the eldest son and heir of King John of Bohemia, who died at the Battle of Crécy on August 26, 1346. Charles inherited the County of Luxembourg from his father and was elected king of the Kingdom of Bohemia. On September 2, 1347, Charles was crowned King of Bohemia.
- Charles IV (Wenceslaus), Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia
- Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia
- Sigismund (House of Luxemburg), Holy Roman Emperor King of Bohemia & Hungary
- Elisabeth of Luxemburg, Queen of Bohemia, Hungary & Germany
- Princess Anna / Queen Anna of Bohemia & Hungary
(Anna Jagellonica, Queen of the Romans)
- Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia & Hungary
- Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
- Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans
- Maria Theresa, Sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and Holy Roman Empress.
Origins of the Přemyslid Dynasty
The dynasty's beginnings date back to the 9th century when Přemyslids ruled a tiny territory around Prague, populated by the Czech tribe of the Western Slavs. Gradually they expanded, conquering the region of Bohemia, located in the Bohemian basin where it was not threatened by the expansion of the Frankish Empire. The first historically-documented Premyslid Duke was Bořivoj I (867). In the following century, Přemyslids also ruled over Silesia and founded the city of Wroclaw (German: Breslau), derived from the name of a Bohemian duke Vratislaus I, father of Saint Wenceslaus. Under the reign of Prince Boleslaus I the Cruel (935) and his son Boleslaus II the Pious (972), the Přemyslids ruled territory stretching to today's Belarus.
The dynasty controlled vital trade routes during this time. The Czech lands and Prague were an important center of trade where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub. He wrote, "Prague is a city from the stone, the richest of all states north of the Alps." After their rise to prominence, however, struggles within the family set in motion a decline in power, and, in 1002, the Polish king Boleslaus the Brave occupied Prague. Boleslaus III, son of Boleslaus II, escaped from Bohemia; decades of confusion and anarchy ensued.
The decline ended in the reign of Prince Bretislaus I, grandson of Boleslaus II. He in turn looted Poland, including the cities of Krakow and Gniezno (1038), where he obtained the relics of St. Adalbert. He sought establishment of the Prague archbishopric and a royal title. His son and successor Vratislaus II became the first King of Bohemia in 1085.
Vratislav's son Sobeslaus I destroyed the Imperial army of King Lothar III in the Battle of Chlumec in 1126. This allowed a further strengthening of Bohemia culminating during the reign of Vratislav's grandson, King Vladislaus II (1158). Vladislav II founded many monasteries and built the first stone bridge across the Vltava river, one of the earliest in Central and Northern Europe. Once again internal struggles started the decline of the Przemyslids. Many leaders from the dynasty alternated on the Bohemian throne, leading to their eventual bankruptcy. Finally, on his ascension to the throne, Ottokar I began a series of changes that brought Bohemia out of crisis, and began a period of success that lasted for nearly 220 years.
The Height of Přemyslid Power
Ottokar I became the third King of Bohemia in the year 1198 but was the first King of Bohemia to acquire hereditary royal title. This began significant growth of the Přemyslid's dynastic power. There was also a large urban and crafts development in Czech lands.
In the second half of the 13th century, the Přemyslids were one of the most powerful dynasties in Central Europe. King Přemysl Ottokar II, son of Wenceslas I, earned the nickname "Iron and Golden King" because of his military power and wealth. After several victorious wars with the Hungarian Kingdom, he acquired Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, extending Bohemian territory to the Adriatic Sea.
King Ottokar II aspired to the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. His ambitions started the conflict with House of Habsburg, who were, until then, little-known princes, which suited the interests of German noble Houses better than the mighty king Ottokar. The representative of Habsburgs Rudolf was elected as King of Romans. In the Battle of Marchfeld (1278), Ottokar clashed with Imperial and Hungarian armies yet he was killed in battle himself. The Habsburgs acquired Austria, retaining it until the 20th century.
Ottokar's son King Wenceslaus II was just seven when he came to the throne of Bohemia. Over time, thanks to deft diplomacy, he gained the Polish crown for himself and the crown of Hungary for his son. Wenceslas II brought together a vast empire stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Danube river and established numerous cities, among them Plzeň in 1295. Bohemia became a wealthy nation during his reign thanks to a large vein of silver at Kutná Hora. He introduced the silver Prague groschen, which was an important European currency for centuries, and planned to build the first university in Central Europe.
The power and wealth of the Kingdom of Bohemia gave rise to great respect, but also to the hostility of other European royal families. The dynasty began to collapse following the untimely death of Wenceslaus II (1305), and the assassination of his only son, Wenceslaus III in 1306, which ended their rule.
On the distaff side the dynasty continued, and in 1355 Bohemian king Charles IV (the grandson of Wenceslaus II) was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.
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