Wenceslaus, King of the Romans

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Wenceslaus (also Wenceslas) (Czech: Václav; German: Wenzel, nicknamed der Faule ("the Idle")[1]) (26 February 1361 – 16 August 1419) was, by election, German King (formally King of the Romans) from 1376 and, by inheritance, King of Bohemia (as Wenceslaus IV) from 1378. He was the third Bohemian and second German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty. Wenceslaus was deposed in 1400 as German King, but continued to rule as King of Bohemia.



Wenceslaus was born at the Imperial city of Nuremberg, the son of Emperor Charles IV by his third wife Anna von Schweidnitz, a scion of the Silesian Piasts, and baptized at St. Sebaldus Church. He was raised by the Prague Archbishops Arnošt of Pardubice and Jan Očko z Vlašimi. His father had the two-year-old crowned King of Bohemia in 1363 and in 1373 also obtained for him the Electoral Margraviate of Brandenburg. When in 1376 Charles IV asserted Wenceslaus' election as King of the Romans by the prince-electors, two of seven votes, those of Brandenburg and Bohemia, were held by the emperor and his son themselves.

In order to secure the election of his son, Charles IV revoked the privileges of many Imperial Cities that he had earlier granted, and mortgaged them to various nobles. The cities, however, were not powerless, and as executors of the public peace, they had developed into a potent military force. Moreover, as Charles IV had organised the cities into leagues, he had made it possible for them to cooperate in large-scale endeavors. Indeed, on 4 July 1376, two days after Wenceslaus' election, fourteen Swabian cities bound together into an independent Swabian League to defend their rights against the newly elected King, attacking the lands of Count Eberhard II of Württemberg. The city league soon attracted other members and until 1389 acted as an autonomous state within the Empire.

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