In 870, the Duchy of Bohemia was formed, and by 1198, it was later on renamed the Kingdom of Bohemia. Several non-hereditary kings ruled in Bohemia before earning the title of king in 1085. Bohemia was a member of the Holy Roman Empire from 1004 until 1806, and its monarch was an elector. Did you know that Bohemia had a Foreign King?
Czechs today sometimes refer to John of Luxembourg as the “foreigner king.” Despite spending much of his life abroad and not getting along with his Czech subjects, he supervised a successful foreign policy that enlarged Bohemia’s frontiers.
Who was John of Luxembourg?
John of Luxembourg, or John of Bohemia, From 1310 until his death, was King of Bohemia and one of the most famous heroic characters of his day, campaigning across Europe from Toulouse to Prussia.
In 1310, he was named count of Luxembourg. He was the son of the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII of the family of Luxembourg. John was also named King of Bohemia about the same time, and on Feb. 7, 1311, he was officially crowned in Prague. When his father passed in 1313, John was too young to succeed as Emperor. Thus he backed Louis the Bavarian’s nomination as Emperor Louis IV.
John stood with Louis in his war against Frederick of Austria; nevertheless, he grew distant from the Emperor in later years, especially following Louis’s Hundred Years’ War alliance with England against France.
He had sent his son, the future emperor Charles IV, to be educated in Paris and had fought for France on multiple occasions. John campaigned against the Lithuanians and Russians, Hungary, England, and Austria, as well as in northern Italy and the Tirol, during his reign.
His extravagant spending, high taxes, and constant peregrinations, on the other hand, cost him popularity at home and bolstered the authority of the Bohemian nobles. (Source: English Radio)
How Did John Become King?
When John of Luxembourg was born in August 1296, Bohemia had been controlled by the Pemyslid dynasty for over four centuries, and there was little indication that this would change anytime soon.
Pemyslid dynasty ruled, and on the other hand, was in shreds by the time John reached his tenth year. Wenceslas II was the king of Bohemia and Moravia at the time. His son had been murdered a year before he himself died.
There was no surviving male successor. At the time, John, who was studying in Paris at the time, could not have predicted that he would become the king of faraway Bohemia in just four years. John was the Count of Luxembourg then, but he was also the son of Henry VII, the Holy Roman Emperor.
Henry was initially apprehensive when a Czech delegation approached him with the proposition since he had heard that the previous Bohemian king had been assassinated, but he eventually settled to grant his consent and have his son marry the Bohemian princess. John and Elisabeth married in Speyer a year later and became the King of Bohemia. (Source: English Radio)