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Rudolph I of Austria (1218 - 1291) was the King of Germany from 1271 until 1291, the Duke of Austria from 1278 until 1282, the Duke of Carinthia from 1276 until 1286, Margrave of Carniola from 1276 until 1282, the Count of Habsburg (as Rudolph IV) from 1239 until 1291, and the Count of Löwenstein from 1281 until 1282.

Early lifeEdit

He was the son of Count Albert IV the Wise of Habsburg and Hedwig, the daughter of Count Ulrich of Kyburg. He inherited his family estates in Alsace after his father died in 1239, co-ruling the County of Habsburg with Albert V. He married Gertrude, the daughter of Count Burchard III of Zollern and Hohenberg. Albert made frequent visits to the court of his godfather, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Stupor Mundi and his son Conrad IV. His loyalty to the Emperors was rewarded by large tracts of lands, but was punished by Pope Innocent IV with excommunication.

Rudolph further increased his possessions following the fall of the Hohenstaufens. His wife was an heiress and he inherited through her the County of Kyburg after the death of Count Hartmann VI in 1264. His successful feuds with the Bishops of Strasbourg and Basel further increased his wealth and reputation. He also purchased significant lands from local abbots and lords throughout Alsace and former Swabia. The vast lands and wealth he wielded made Rudolph the most powerful ruler of southwestern Germany.

King of GermanyEdit

Rudolph was elected the King of Germany in Frankfurt on 29 September 1273, although his election was largely due to the influence of his brother-in-law Burgrave Frederick III of Nuremberg and the marriage of two of his daughters to Duke Albert III of Saxe-Ratzeburg and Count Palatine Louis II of Upper Bavaria. This left King Ottokar II of Bohemia alone in opposition. Rudolph gained the support of the Pope by renouncing all of his Imperial rights on Rome, the Papal States and Sicily and by promising to lead a crusade, despite the protests of Ottokar, and he soon convinced King Alphonse the Wise of Castile (who was elected a rival king in 1257) to recognise him also.

Ottokar continued to resist Rudolph. In 1274 the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg ruled that Ottokar must restore the lands which he had seized following the death of the Emperor Frederick II, and must answer to the diet for not recognising Rudolph as king. Ottokar refused to appear, and also refused to restore Styria, Austria, Carinthia and Carniola. He was placed under the Imperial Ban, and in 1276 war was declared against him. Rudolph managed to break Duke Henry I of Lower Bavaria from an alliance with Ottokar, and in November 1276 he compelled Ottokar to cede the four provinces, in exchange for the investment of Bohemia and one of Rudolph's daughters to marry Ottokar's heir Wenceslaus. Ottokar raised questions about the execution of the treaty, however, and after gaining alliance with several Polish and German chiefs, and Duke Henry I resumed war. Rudolph on the other hand allied with King Wladislaus IV of Hungary and gave several privileges to the city of Vienna.

The rival armies met on the banks of the River March at the Battle of Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen. Ottokar was defeated and killed. Moravia was entrusted to represantives and Wenceslaus, now king of Bohemia, was again betrothed to one of Rudolph's daughters. Rudolph then turned his attention to the four new territories which he had gained from Ottokar. He spent several years establishing his authority, although it was not until 1282 that he managed to overcome the opposition of the German princes in making these provinces hereditary to the House of Habsburg. In 1282 he gave Austria and Styria to his sons Albert I and Rudolph II in Augsburg.

In 1281 he forced the Count Palatine of Burgundy, Philip to cede several lands to him and forced the citizens of Bern to pay him tribute. His wife Gertrude also died that year. In 1284 he married Isabella, the daughter of Duke Hugh IV of Burgundy. In 1286 he gave Carinthia and Carniola to Count Meinhard II of Tyrol. He marched against Otto IV, Philip's successor, in 1289.

Rudolph was not successful in restoring peace to Germany. Despite giving orders for the establishments of land pacts in Franconia, Swabia and Bavaria, and later all of Germany, he had neither the power nor will to enforce them. Although in December 1289 he led a coalition which destroyed the castles of several Robber-Barons in Thuringia. In 1291 he attempted to have the diet recognise his son Albert as his heir to the crown of Germany. The diet refused officially for the reasons that there cannot be two kings at one time, however it is believed that they refused out of fear of the rising power of the Habsburgs. Rudolph died on 15 July 1291 in Speyer and was buried in that cities' Cathedral.

ChildrenEdit

With Gertrude of HohenbergEdit

  1. Matilda (1251/3–23 December 1304)
  2. Albert (July 1255 - 1 May 1308)
  3. Katherine (1256 - 4 April 1282)
  4. Agnes (1257 - 11 October 1322)
  5. Hedwig (12.. - 1285/6)
  6. Klementia (1262 - 1293)
  7. Hartmann (1263 - 21 December 1281)
  8. Rudolph (1270 - 10 May 1290)
  9. Jutte (13 March 1271 - 18 June 1297)

With Isabella of BurgundyEdit

none

Illegitimate ChildrenEdit

  1. Albert of Schenkenberg (? - 1304)



Preceded by:

Rudolph of Austria

Succeded by:

Richard of Cornwall
rival
King of Germany
1273 - 1291
Adolph of Nassau
Alphonse the Wise
rival
Ottokar Duke of Austria
1278 - 1282
Albert I & Rudolph II
Ottokar Duke of Carinthia
1276 - 1286
Meinhard IV
Ottokar Duke of Styria
1278 - 1282
Albert I
Ottokar Margrave of Carniola
1276 - 1282
Meinhard
Albert IV the Wise Count of Habsburg
1239 - 1291
with Albert V
1239 - 1256
Eberard I
Rudolph III
Hartmann VI Count of Kyburg
1264 - 1272
Anne
Godfrey III Count of Löwenstein
1281 - 1282
Albert I of Schenkenberg

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