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Frederick V of Austria

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Frederick of Habsburg (1415 - 1493) was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1452 until 1493, the King of Germany from 1440 until 1493, the Archduke of Austria from 1458 until 1493, and the Duke of Carinthia and Styria, and Margrave of Carniola from 1424 until 1463.

Frederick was the elder surviving son of Archduke Ernest the Iron and Cymburgis of Masovia. Frederick was born in Innsbruck in the Tyrol on 21 September 1415. When his father died in 1424, Frederick was made co-ruler of his territories with his younger brother Albert VI. In 1440 Frederick was elected the King of Germany. Also that year he began his imprisonment of his infant nephew Wladislaus Posthumous, who was the King of Hungary and Bohemia, and the Archduke of Austria. He entered into the contract known as the "Vienna Concordat" with the Vatican in 1446 which regulated the relationship between the Habsburgs and the Holy See, and remained in force until 1806.

In 1452, after continued resistance against releasing Wladislaus, the nobility of Lower Austria rebelled and forcefully freed Wladislaus. He was elected the Holy Roman Emperor in 1452 and was the last Emperor to be crowned in Rome, although Frederick was opposed to reforming the Empire and struggled to resist the Imperial Electors electing a new king. Also that year he married Eleanor of Portugal, with whose dowry Frederick was able to pay his debts and fortify his power. In 1457 Wladislaus died and Frederick inherited Austria, although Bohemia and Hungary elected new kings. Frederick's brother Albert meanwhile began military against Frederick, and captured Upper Austria in 1458. In 1462 Albert also conquered Lower Austria, although the following year Albert died and Frederick regained those lands and full rulership of Carinthia, Styria and Carniola through inheritance.

In 1469 Frederick established bishoprics in Vienna and Wiener Neustadt, a feat which the Habsburgs had strived for almost two hundred years, becoming one of the few successes of Frederick's reign. In the Siege of Neuss in 1474/5, Frederick forced Duke Charles I the Bold of Burgundy to marry his daughter Mary of Burgundy to Frederick's son Maximilian. The eventual inheritance of Burgundy made the Habsburgs the most powerful dynasty of Europe. In 1485 the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus besieged and captured Vienna, and resided in the city until he died later that year. The marriage of his daughter Kunigunde to Duke Albert IV the Wise of Bavaria-Munich in 1487 proved an embarrassing disaster which Albert seized Regensburg.

Frederick died on 19 August 1493 in Linz during an attempted leg amputation. Frederick was buried in the Cathedral of St. Stephan in Vienna, in an elaborate grave constructed by Niclaes Gerhaert van Leyden. In many ways Frederick was a failure. He never won a battle or siege, he faced popular insurrections, lost all of the lands he ruled, and he was constantly moving his court between cities. One the other hand his reign was a success. He ensured the Habsburgs would inherit Burgundy, which eventually made Austria the most powerful state in Europe, and he eventually won all his conflicts by outliving his opponents and sometimes inheriting the lands they left behind. Frederick was succeeded by his son Maximilian.



Preceded by:

Frederick V

Succeeded by:

Sigismund Holy Roman Emperor
1452 - 1493
Maximilian I
Albert II King of Germany
1440 - 1493
Maximilian I
Wladislaus Posthumous Archduke of Austria
1458 - 1493
Maximilian I
Ernest I the Iron Duke of Carinthia
1424 - 1493
with... Albert VI
1424 - 1463
Maximilian I
Ernest I the Iron Duke of Styria
1424 - 1493
with... Albert VI
1424 - 1463
Maximilian I
Ernest I the Iron Margrave of Carniola
1424 - 1493
with... Albert VI
1424 - 1463
Maximilian I

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