John of Bohemia

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John the Blind (Luxembourgish: Jang de Blannen; German: Johann der Blinde von Luxemburg; Czech: Jan Lucemburský) (10 August 1296 – 26 August 1346) was the Count of Luxembourg from 1309 and King of Bohemia from 1310 and titular King of Poland. He was the eldest son of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and his wife Margaret of Brabant. He is known for having died while actively fighting in a military battle at age 50, after having been blind for a decade.

Before he died at the Battle of Crécy, he was reported to have cried: "Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs [from a fight]!"

Contents

Life

Raised in Paris, John was French by education, but deeply involved in the politics of Germany. In 1310 his father arranged the marriage of the 14-year-old with Elisabeth from the Přemyslid dynasty, sister of the deceased King Wenceslaus III of Bohemia. John campaigned in Bohemia and was elected king by deposition of Henry of Carinthia, he thereby became one of the seven prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire and - in succession of Wenceslaus III - claimant to the Polish and Hungarian throne. His attempts to follow his father as King of the Romans failed with the election of Louis IV of Wittelsbach in 1314. He later would support Louis in his rivalry with Frederick the Fair of Habsburg, culminating in the 1322 Battle of Mühldorf and in return receive the Egerland as lien.

Like his predecessor Henry the object of the hostility of the Czech nobility, "alien king" John soon gave up the administration of Bohemia and embarked on a life of travel, spending time in Luxembourg and the French court. His travels took him to Silesia, Poland, Lithuania, Tyrol, Northern Italy and Papal Avignon. A rival of King Władysław I the Elbow-high to the Polish crown, John supported the Teutonic Knights in the Polish–Teutonic War from 1326 to 1332. He also made several Silesian dukes swear an oath of allegiance to him until the conflict was settled by the 1335 Treaty of Trentschin: Władysław's successor King Casimir III the Great of Poland renounced all claims to Silesia in exchange for John's waiver of the Polish throne, confirmed by the Congress of Visegrád in the same year.

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