Sigismund (alternatives: Siegmund, Sigmund) (1427 - 1496) was the Count of the Tyrol from 1446 until 1490.
Sigismund was the only son and heir of Count Frederick of the Empty Pocket and Anne of Brunswick. He was born in the Tyrolian capital of Innsbruck on 26 October 1427. After his father died in 1446, Sigimsund was made the Count of the Tyrol and the regent of Further Austria, a string of Habsburg territories in Switzerland, Swabia, and Alsace which had been decreased in size during the reign of his father. He married Eleanor Stuart, the daughter of King James I of Scotland in 1449.
In 1469 he sold his Alsatian and Rhenish territories to Duke Charles I the Bold of Burgundy, although it is not known if he sold them to pay debts from his extravagant lifestyle, or if to have them better protected from the expansion of the Swiss Confederacy. Either way, he repurchased the territories in 1474 and allied with the Swiss against Charles at the Battle of Héricourt. In 1477 Sigismund was given the title of "Archduke" by his cousin Frederick V of Austria. Eleanor died in 1480, and he married the sixteen year old Catherine of Saxony in 1484. He had no children from either marriage.
In c. 1480 Sigismund developed a radical economic reform with the introduction of the guldengroschen, Europe's first large silver coin. Later in Bohemia the Habsburgs developed it into thaler, and it eventually formed the basis of all future silver coinage in Europe. The coin reactivated Tyrol's dormant silver mines, and soon afterwards neighbouring states followed suit. The proliferation of silver coinage increased dramatically even further when Spain's colonies in South America flooded Europe with silver. In 1487 he entered into war against the Republic of Venice. It ended in a standoff, but public opinion forced him to abdicate Tyrol in favour of Maximilian I of Austria in 1490.
Sigismund died on 4 March 1496.
|new creation||Duke of Lower Austria|
1439 - 1493
|annexed to Austria|
|Frederick IV of the Empty Pocket||Count of Tyrol|
1446 - 1490