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Wenceslaus (Wenceslas; Wenzel; Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, "The Drunkard&)

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Born: 1361 AD
Died: 1419 AD, at 58 years of age.

Nationality: Unknown
Categories: King

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1361 - Born on February 26th in Nürnberg. A German king and, as Wenceslas IV, king of Bohemia, whose weak and tempestuous, though eventful, reign was continually plagued by wars and princely rivalries that he was unable to control, plunging his territories into a state of virtual anarchy until he was stripped of his powers altogether by a rebellious nobility.

1363 - Son of the Holy Roman emperor Charles IV, Wenceslas was crowned king of Bohemia.

1367 - He was crowned as king of the Romans, proving a largely incompetent ruler after his father's death.

1378-1389 - He was a peace-loving man and held frequent diets in Germany, but he could not prevent the continuing wars between town leagues and princes that reduced Germany to anarchy for almost a decade.

         - The diet at Eger (modern Cheb) finally settled most conflicts by a general peace, but, because the King spent most of his time in Prague to the detriment of Germany, the empire's princes repeatedly demanded the appointment of a Reichsverweser (imperial governor) for Germany, a request consistently refused by Wenceslas.

         - Wenceslas left Germany largely to its own devices.

         - Wenceslas' first wife, Joanna of Lower Bavaria died.

         - Wenceslas was married to Sophia of Bavaria. He had no children, and the Bohemian crown passed to Sigismund.

1394 - Wenceslas' reign in Bohemia was even less successful than that in Germany. Constantly beset by jealous and ambitious relatives, he was faced by a revolt of magnates led by his cousin Jobst, margrave of Moravia, who held the King prisoner in Austria.

1396 - Wenceslas was shortly restored with German help but was stripped of virtually all his power, when he was forced to appoint Jobst governor of the realm and to entrust the government to a royal council mainly consisting of nobles.

1397 - Returned to hear the princes' complaints before travelling to France to attempt to resolve the Western Schism that was dividing Christendom.

1400 - When Wenceslas refused to attend another meeting of the princes, they deposed him and elected Rupert (Ruprecht) III, elector Palatine, king of the Romans. Wenceslas was, however, able to retain the title of German king for the rest of his life.

1402 - His younger half brother Sigismund (later Holy Roman emperor), whom the King had aided in his successful quest for the Hungarian crown, deposed Wenceslas in Bohemia.

1415 - He initially supported the Bohemian religious reformers around Jan Hus, after the reformer's condemnation by the church, characteristically, the King did nothing to prevent his execution as a heretic.

1419 - He died on August 16th in Prague.

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Page last updated: 9:43pm, 11th Mar '07