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Přemysl Otakar II

* circa 1233 (probably Prague), †1278 (Dürnkrut, Austria)

King of Bohemia and member of the Přemyslid family, he was one of the greatest rulers in Czech history. In 1247 he became Margrave of Moravia after initial disputes with his father, Wenceslaus I. He won the Duchy of Austria for the Bohemian crown in 1251 and, after his father’s death in 1253, he became king. He gradually expanded his empire, gaining, in addition to Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and other regions. He attached Chebsko and Sušicko to Bohemia and lead two crusades to Prussia. During the relatively long reign of the Přemyslid dynasty, Bohemia became a supremely feudal state, where the power was concentrated in the king. Local courts were established, civic charters laid down, castles were built, as were a number of news towns and monasteries, border areas and forests were colonized and his nickname of “the Iron and Golden King” was justified. Přemysl’s growing power encouraged him to attempt to win the election for the Imperial German throne, but in 1273 Rudolf I of Habsburg was elected king. Přemysl was forced to submit to this vote and had to relinquish all his lands with the exception of Bohemia and Moravia, which he received in fiefdom. During his subsequent attempt to regain these lands by force he fell in battle on Moravian soil. Ota V. Braniborský then ruled for Přemysl’s infant son, Wenceslaus II. The remains of Přemysl Otakar II have been laid to rest in St. Vitus’ Cathedral.

 

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