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European Kingdoms

Central Europe

 

 

 

Bohemia & Moravia

MapSituated in the western two-thirds of the modern Czech Republic, Bohemia covered most of the western uplands, with the city of Prague at its core, while Moravia formed the eastern portion. Bohemia gained its name from the Celtic Boii tribe, who inhabited the region from around the fourth century BC. Rome later named the area they inhabited the Boiohæmum. The Boii were subjugated by Germanic tribes such as the Marcomanni, Buri, Gepids, Quadi, and Rugii, while the Slavs arrived in the sixth century AD.

The Bavarii confederation formed in this region towards the end of the fifth century AD before migrating southwards. Between then and the sixth century, the territory was settled by Slavs who filled the central European void left by the barbarian migrations and the rule of the Huns. These Slavs appear to have moved in as a new ruling elite, governing previous populations of Celts and Germans and creating an ethnic mixture that can still be seen today in Czechia. For a time the Slavs were governed by the Avars, until they were cleared by a short-lived Slav kingdom which covered parts of Carinthia, Hungary and Moravia. In the ninth and early tenth centuries, Bohemia was successively ruled by the Carolingian Franks, the Hungarians and the Holy Roman empire.

By the tenth century Bohemia-Moravia had fully emerged from its tribal Slavic origins and formed a state that was initially recognised as a (vassal) duchy (there are rulers before this time who claim the title of duke of Bohemia, but who perhaps weren't recognised as such. To make things more complicated, many Bohemian dukes were in fact siblings of reigning dukes, and almost certainly held no real power themselves. Nevertheless, the regnal numbering includes them, so they are shown here for reasons of completeness).

Bohemia was later elevated to a kingdom, but the exact date in which that occurred is a little confused, although Vratislav is the first ruler referred to as 'king'. This state, with Hungary and Poland, had at various times monarchs whose rules overlapped, and who sometimes ruled two or all three of the kingdoms at the same time.

(Additional information by Tomas Urban.)

454

The fall of the Huns allows the Heruli to rise up and free themselves. They set up a strong Roman foederati kingdom of their own in southern Moravia, near the rivers March and Theiss and covering later Brno and Vienna. They subdue all their neighbours, including the Langobards, turning them into vassals.

Bohemia
The landscape of Bohemia is and was defined by wooded mountainsides and extensive farming land - a green and fertile area at the centre of Europe

508

The Heruli and Gothic kingdom in southern Moravia is destroyed by the Langobards. Herulian fortunes wane after this disaster.

c.623 - 658

The local Slavs form a kingdom of their own with the intention of expelling the Avars. The Slav Kingdom achieves its aim, but is short lived.

658 - 830

The region dissolves into various Slavic territories without any overall control.

Kingdom of Great Moravia
AD 830 - 906

The Great Moravian Kingdom (or empire) was established along the River Morava by the Slavic leader Mojmír. Mojmír's successors expanded it to include today's Bohemia, Slovakia, southern Poland and western Hungary. The kingdom found itself at the crossroads between the Germanic people in the west and Byzantium in the east.

830 - 846

Mojmir I

846 - 870

Rastislav

c.867

Fearing Germanic influence and power, Rastislav requests the Byzantine emperor to send representatives in order to introduce Eastern Christianity into Moravia. Cyril (Constantine by birth) and Metodej (Methodius), two priors, arrive to establish the religion and convert the king's successor. They create the Slavonic script (the Cyrillic alphabet that is still in use in Russia and Bulgaria) and translated religious texts from Greek and Latin into the Old Slavonic language.

870 - 894

Sviatopluk

Converted to Byzantine Christianity.

885

After Methodius' death, the Roman Catholic religion is adopted and Cyrillic script is replaced by the Latin alphabet.

894 - 906

Mojmir II

Possibly struggled against his brothers for rule.

906

The Franks (perhaps remembering their defeat at the hands of Samo's Carinthian Slavs), urge the Magyars to attack Moravia. The Moravians are defeated and the kingdom falls. The emerging dukes of Bohemia annexe Moravia to their territory.

Duchy of Bohemia-Moravia (House of Przemysl)
AD 845 - 1212

Bohemia and Moravia were joined by Silesia and Upper and Lower Luzice (the two Luzice countries were located in eastern Germany and were very small. Something of their culture and language survives into the modern age). Together, these lands formed an equivalent of the United Kingdom in that they were individual territories united under one ruler, and they were known as the Czech kingdom.

Boriwoj was not the first ruler of the duchy, but its origins, and the first four or five rulers, are shadowy, barely-known figures.

The Czech lands were never fully independent but were part of the Holy Roman empire with enough independence to govern themselves. They just provided troops and other services to the HRE when required.

845 - 895

Boriwoj I / Borivoi Przemysl

895 - 907

Spytihnev I

Son?

907 - 921

Vratislav / Wratislaw I

Son of Boriwoj.

921 - 929

Vaclav/St Wenceslas I/Ladislav/ Laszlo

Son. Annexed Moravia. Murdered by Boleslav.

929 - 967

Boleslav I Przemysl the Cruel

Brother.

962

With the accession of the Saxon king, Otto I, the power of the Germanic Roman empire is confirmed. Otto is quite vigorous in establishing new counties and border areas within and without the empire's borders. The county of Ardennes under Sigfried gains the stronghold of Lucilinburhuc (the later Luxemburg), Arnulf I the Elder is restored in Flanders, and the March of Austria is formed from territory already captured from Hungary (around 960, and on Bohemia's southern border).

Map of Germany AD 962
Germany in AD 962 may have had its new emperor to govern the territories shown within the dark black line, but it was still a patchwork of competing interests and power bases, most notably in the five great stem duchies, many of which were attempting to expand their own territories outside the empire, creating the various march or border regions to the east and south (click on map to show full sized)

At the same time, Saxony gains Hermann Billung as its duke, charged with maintaining the duchy's eastern borders and expanding them further to the east, alongside the recently-created North March. Perhaps as a reaction to this or as the culmination of a process that is already heading that way, the duchy of Poland is formed around the same time (on Bohemia's north-eastern border).

967 - 999

Boleslav II the Pious

Son.

982

References to Vnnd.r and N.nd.r. in 982 and 1094 respectively remark upon a Christian 'nation' of Rum that is located between the lands of the 'Madjgharî' and the MIRV (M.rdât). The Pechenegs lie to the east (around the north-west corner of the Black Sea coast), while above them and leading north-eastwards are the Kievan Rus and the Bulgars of the Volga respectively.

The Madjgharî are the Magyars, a people who contribute to the populating of Hungary. Rum is Rome, although the people are not specifically being labelled as Romans - they are simply more civilised than their neighbours in terms of being settled farmers with an element of presumed sophistication. The MIRV are Moravians, living to the north, but seemingly not yet having fully migrated far enough to settle next to the more westerly Bohemians, although their territory has already been annexed to Bohemia. The Vnnd.r are tentatively linked to the Venedi.

999 - 1002

Boleslav III the Blind

d.1003. Deposed.

1002 - 1003

Vladivoi

1003

Boleslav III the Blind

Restored.

1003 - 1012

Jaromir

1012 - 1034

Oldrich / Udalrich

Son of Boleslav II. d.1037?

1012 - 1034

Oldrich fights several border wars against the Germans to maintain nominal Czech independence, and so secures its survival until it is strong enough to form a kingdom.

1034 - 1055

Brestislav I Achilles

Son.

1038

During a period of anarchy in Poland, Duke Brestislav I captures, plunders and destroys the cities Gniezno and nearby Poznan in 1038. As a result, the Polish capital is moved to Krakow.

1055 - 1061

Spytihnev II

Son.

1061 - 1092

Vratislav / Wratislaw II

Brother. King of Bohemia (1082-1092).

1082 - 1092

A year after attempting to claim the Polish throne for himself, Vratislav wins the personal title of king, but it is not an hereditary one. His successors remain dukes until 1212.

1092

Konrad I Brnesky (of Brno)

Brother. Margraf of Moravia.

1092 - 1100

Brestislav II

Son of Vratislav II. Duke of Bohemia. No offspring. d.1110?

1101 - 1107

Borivoj II

Brother. Duke of Bohemia.

1107 - 1109

Svatopluk

1109 - 1117

Vladislav I

Brother. Duke of Bohemia.

1117 - 1120

Borivoj II

Restored. d.1124.

1120 - 1125

Vladislav I

Restored. d.1125.

1125 - 1140

Sobeslav I

Brother. Duke of Bohemia.

1140 - 1172

Vladislav II

Son of Vladislav I. Duke (1140-1156), then king. d.1174.

1158

The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, grants Vladislav the hereditary title of king of Bohemia, but then refuses to acknowledge his successors. Vladislav has already improved his dynastic connections by marrying first Gertrude of Babenburg and then Judith of Thuringia, daughter of Landgrave Louis I.

1172 - 1173

Bedrzich / Friedrich

Son of Vladislav II.

1173 - 1178

Sobeslav II

Son of Sobeslav I. No offspring. d.1180?

1178 - 1189

Bedrzich / Friedrich

Restored.

1189 - 1191

Konrad II Ota / Conrad Otto

1191 - 1192

Wenceslas II

Son of Sobeslav I. No offspring.

1192 - 1193

Ottokar I

Son of Vladislas II. First acknowledged King of Bohemia.

1193 - 1197

Jindrich Bretislav / Henry Bretislav

1197

Vladislav III

Brother of Ottokar.

1198 - 1212

Ottokar I

Restored. First acknowledged King of Bohemia in 1212.

Kings of Bohemia-Moravia (House of Przemysl)
AD 1212 - 1310

Bohemia achieved the status of an hereditary kingdom. With a series of tough warrior kings on the throne, the country became very successful - and feared - in Central Europe. Neighbouring Moravia became a margraviate, a junior partner in the kingdom with the title margrave of Moravia usually being bestowed upon the heir to the Bohemian throne.

(Additional information from Meinhard der Zweite. Tirol, Kärnten und ihre Nachbarländer am Ende des 13. Jhs, Hermann Wiesflecker, 1955 (1995), and from Eines Fürsten Traum. Meinhard II. - Das Werden Tirols, Catalogue, 1995.)

1212 - 1230

Przemysl I Ottokar

First acknowledged king of Bohemia.

1213

Under Bernard of Spanheim the duchy of Carinthia reaches the height of its power and influence. He now marries Judith, daughter of Ottokar I, thereby allying the Spanheimers to the powerful Czech Przemysls.

1230 - 1253

Wenceslas I

Son.

1241 - 1242

Mongol leaders Batu Khan and Subedei turn their attention farther into Europe. They enter Galicia, capturing the capital and destroying the cathedral there and ending any hopes that the Galicians might have had of holding onto Kiev. Both Poland and Hungary are also conquered, with European defeats at Liegnitz and the River Sajo (the Battle of Mohi). Austria, Dalmatia, and Moravia also fall under Mongol domination, and the tide seems unstoppable. However, the death of Ogedei Khan causes the Mongols to withdraw, with Batu Khan intent on securing his conquests in the lands of the Rus thanks to the possibility that his rival, Guyuk Khan, could be elected great khan.

1247

The heir to the throne, Vadislaus, suddenly dies and his younger brother, Ottakar, is thrust into the limelight. He is appointed margrave of Moravia, charged with restoring the Moravian lands following the ravaging attacks of the Mongols in 1242.

1253 - 1278

Przemysl II Ottokar the Great

Son. Also held Austria, Carinthia, Slovenia, & Styria.

1253

Ottokar II is also known as the Golden and the Iron, as he greatly enriches and strengthens the country. Unfortunately, under his rule the Czechs destroy the gold market in Europe by oversupplying it with their own intensive mining. They also supply the silver coins which they call Tolar (from which the modern word 'dollar' originates).

Ottokar the Great of Bohemia-Moravia
King Przemysl II Ottokar the Great, the 'Golden and Iron', was an inspirational empire-builder for his Czech kingdom of Bohemia-Moravia - he was also a capable politician, who managed to bring the state out of crisis and greatly strengthen it

1269

The previous duke of Carinthia, Ulrich III, had secretly agreed in 1268 to be succeeded by Ottokar, his Bohemian wife's nephew. This is despite also having formally recognised his own brother as his successor, Philip, archbishop of Salzburg. Ottokar now makes good on his agreement upon Ulrich's death, with the old duke having outlived his own children. The duchy of Carinthia is appended to Ottokar's own powerful Bohemian kingdom. As he already holds Austria (since 1250), this gives him a continuous corridor of territory down into neighbouring Styria.

1271

Ottokar and Stephen of Hungary sign the First Peace of Pressburg (Pozny to the Hungarians, modern Bratislava in Slovakia). This follows another battle between the two over Hungarian claims to areas of Austria and Slovakia (to the east of Moravia, sandwiched between that and Hungary), and Bohemian-captured territory in Hungary itself. Each claim is dropped so that Bohemia unquestionably rules Austria and Slovakia, and Hungary is fully restored to its rulers.

1276 - 1278

Rudolf of Habsburg wrests the duchies of Austria and Carinthia from Ottokar in 1276. Then he goes further by killing the Przemysl king just two years later in battle on the Moravia Field, on the right bank of the River Morava in Austria.

1278 - 1283

Rudolph I

Duke of Austria (1273-1282), HRE (1273-1291).

1278 - 1283

Otto of Brandenburg

Appointed governor by Rudolf I of Austria.

1283 - 1305

Wenceslas II

Son of Ottokar II. Also king of Hungary & Poland.

1305 - 1306

Wenceslas III

Son. Also of Poland. Assassinated as a teenager. Last Przemysl.

1306

Jindrich / Heinrich von Tirol

Forced to step down by Rudolf. Later Henry II of Tyrol.

1306 - 1307

Henry, youngest brother of Otto and Albert, counts of Tyrol, briefly becomes king of Bohemia as Jindrich (or Heinrich in its German form), but is quickly forced to step down by the powerful and ambitious Rudolph III of Austria. Rudolph is not at all welcome as far as the Bohemian nobles are concerned, and his early death in 1307 allows them to re-select Henry for the title.

Crest of Henry V of Carinthia
Otto of Tyrol and Carinthis was succeeded by his younger brother, Henry, who enjoyed some success in his own career, becoming king of Bohemia for a short time before gaining Carinthia - his crest is show here

1306 - 1307

Rudolf (III) of Habsburg

Uncrowned pretender to the HRE. Duke of Austria.

1307 - 1310

Jindrich / Heinrich IV of Kaernten / Tirol

Uncrowned pretender to the HRE. Henry II of Tyrol.

1310

Once it has been weakened by a lack of strong leadership and internal conflict, Bohemia becomes integrated into the Holy Roman empire. Jindrich (Heinrich, or Henry, of Tyrol) loses his title but as a form of compensation gains Carinthia following the death of his elder brother, Otto.

Kingdom of Bohemia (House of Luxembourg)
AD 1310 - 1437

1310 - 1346

Jan / Jean of Luxembourg 'the Blind'

Son of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

1347 - 1378

Karel IV / Charles / Karl of Luxembourg

Son. Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

1347

Karel is the son of Eliska of Przemysl, who herself was the daughter of Wenceslas II. He spends most of his childhood in Prague and is regarded as the true successor to the Czech crown.

1378 - 1419

Wenceslas IV of Luxembourg

Son. Holy Roman Emperor Wenzel.

1419 - 1437

Sigismund of Luxembourg

Holy Roman Emperor. King of Hungary (1387-1437).

1420

One of Pope Martin's most notable acts is to issue a bull excommunicating Hussites and Wycliffites, along with other heretics in Bohemia. He effectively initiates the Hussite Wars.

1431

With Pope Martin V having called for the Council of Basel a few weeks before his death, the council is confirmed and convened by his successor, Eugenius IV. Two major problems are discussed: the question of papal supremacy and the Hussite heresy, the latter being followers of the Bohemian religious reformer, Jan Hus. Despite intending to foster the reintegration of the eastern Orthodox church, the council instead descends into bickering and loss of prestige, before it excommunicates the pope himself and proposes a fresh anti-pope in Felix V.

Kingdom of Bohemia (Non-Dynastic)
AD 1437 - 1564

1437 - 1439

Albert of Austria

Duke of Austria (1404-1439). King of Hungary (1437-1439).

1439 - 1457

Ladislas I Posthumus

Archduke of Austria & Ladislas V of Hungary (1444-1457).

1444 - 1449

Bernard VII of Lippe concludes a treaty with Duke Adolph I of Cleves-Mark in which he cedes to Adolph a fifty per cent share of the city of Lippstadt, which is already mortgaged to Cleves. At the same time, he joins an alliance that makes him part of the 'Feud of Soest' against his own great-uncle, Archbishop Dietrich II of Cologne. In 1447, Dietrich calls in a Bohemian army that devastates the countryside in Lippe and levels the town of Blomberg. The Bohemians also besiege the cities of Lippstadt and Soest, but are unsuccessful in taking them. Detmold also suffers severe damage during the conflict.

1459 - 1471

Jiri / George Podiebrad

Non-dynastic. Regent (1452-1457).

1471

The Lithuanian and Polish Jagiello dynasty gains control of Bohemia (Czechia) in the form of Ladislas II. His successor is a member of the same dynasty.

1471 - 1516

Ladislas II Vladimir Jagiello

Also became Ladislas VI of Hungary (1490-1516).

1490

Ladislas gains the throne of Hungary.

1516 - 1526

Louis

Louis II of Hungary (1516-1526). Killed by Turks at Mohács.

1526

Following a devastating defeat at the Battle of Mohács and the death of Louis, the Lithuanian Jagiellos lose Hungary and Bohemia to the Habsburgs.

1526 - 1564

Ferdinand of Austria

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary (1526-1564).

1526 - 1540

[Jan Zapolsky]

Claimant.

1564

Control of Bohemia, Moravia and Hungary is taken fully by the Habsburgs in their guise of Holy Roman Emperors, although they still undergo a separate coronation to be confirmed as kings of Bohemia.

1564 - 1576

Maximilian II

HRE (1564-1576).

1576 - 1611

Rudolf II

HRE (1576-1612).

1611 - 1619

Matyas / Matthias

HRE (1612-1619).

1619 - 1620

Fridrich Falcky / Frederick Winter's King

Of Wittelsbach (RhinePfalz), d.1632.

1620 - 1621

Bethlen Gabor z Iktaru

1620

Bohemia is absorbed fully into the Holy Roman empire, where it remains until the empire's termination in its Austrian form in 1918-1919. From the ruins of the empire, the republic of Czechoslovakia is formed.

Elizabeth Stuart of England, wife of Frederick of the Palatinate, is also 'queen of Bohemia'.

Modern Czech Republic & Slovakia
AD 1918 - Present Day

The new state of Czechoslovakia was declared on 28 October 1918 from the merging of the former regions of Bohemia and Moravia, and the Hungarian Slovak territory at the end of the First World War, as the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed. However, the new state was compromised by the integration of the Sudetenland into its western border, a German minority region which would form the basis for Adolf Hitler's 1938 invasion.

1918 - 1920

In touch with the provisional Czechoslovakian government, a force of 40,000 Czech former prisoners of war in Russian Ukraine organises itself to evacuate to France via Vladivostok, where it is hoped it will join the Allied forces on the Western Front. Although the force initially maintains neutrality between the Bolsheviks and the White Russians in the civil war, attempts by the Bolsheviks to disarm it leads to the Czech Legion taking command of the entire Trans-Siberian railway and cutting off Siberia and the Urals from Soviet control. This allows White Russian forces to assemble under Admiral Kolchak and to pose a severe threat to Moscow's authority. In the end, the Czech Legion is extracted by a joint American-Japanese bridgehead established at Vladivostok in 1920.

1938

Nazi Germany uses the excuse of 'protecting' the German Sudetenland minority from Czechoslovakians to invade the country.

1939 - 1945

Following Adolf Hitler's invasion of Prague, Nazi Germany creates the German Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia.

1945 - 1989

Soviet Russia creates the Communist Republic of Czechoslovakia.

1955

The USSR forms the Warsaw Pact in direct response to the admission of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) into NATO whilst itself being barred from joining. The states involved in the founding of this eastern alliance are Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Russia.

Warsaw Pact meeting
The Warsaw Pact allies signed the treat of establishment in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on 14 May 1955

1989 - 1993

Independence from Russia is achieved. The republic of Czechoslovakia now follows western ideals.

1993

The Czech and Slovak halves of the republic elect to split along traditional lines. The Czech Republic (Czechia to its populace) and the Slovak Republic continue independently of one another.