Přemyslid Dynasty - At The Height of Its Power

At The Height of Its Power

Ottokar I was elected as king in the year 1198 and was awarded a hereditary royal title. Thus began a significant growth of the Přemyslids dynastic power. Otakar's son King Wenceslaus I annexed Austria to the Czech lands (1236). There was also a large urban and crafts development.

By the end of the 13th century the Přemyslids were one of the most powerful dynasties in Central Europe. King Přemysl Otakar II, Son of Wenceslas I, earned the nickname "Iron and Golden King" because of his military power and wealth. He acquired Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, thus spreading the Bohemian territory to the Adriatic Sea. They were so powerful that King Otakar II aspired to the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. These aspirations started the conflict with House of Habsburg, who were, until then, little-known princes. Their representative Rudolf was elected as King of Romans. Otakar II was insulted and fought Rudolph in several wars. The last of the wars, the Battle of Marchfeld, was fatal for Otakar (1278). There, Otakar clashed with Imperial and Hungarian armies. In addition, he was faced with the treachery of the Bohemian nobility. He was killed in battle, which allowed the Habsburgs to come to power. They acquired Austrian lands, retaining them until the 20th century.

His son, King Wenceslaus II, gained the crowns of both the Hungarians and the Polish for the Přemyslids. Wenceslas II formed a vast empire stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Danube river and established numerous cities, such as Plzeň in 1295. Bohemia became a wealthy nation due to a large vein of silver discovered under Wenceslaus II. He created the penny of Prague, which was an important European currency for centuries. The power and wealth of the Kingdom of Bohemia gave rise to great respect, but also to the hostility of European royal families.

The dynasty began to collapse following after the untimely death of Wenceslaus II (1305), and the assassination of his only son, Wenceslaus III in 1306, which brought about the end to their rule. On the distaff side, however, 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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