Habsburg Dynastic War (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Control of the Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, and Hungary, as well as Austrian territories. Result: Frederick III’s victory; yet the costs and ravages of war left his position weak, leading to later conflicts.
The energetic and martial Duke Albrecht V of Austria had become the virtual successor to his father-in-law King Sigismund, who died in late 1437. The Hungarians crowned Albrecht king on January 1, 1438; the electors of the Holy Roman Empire elected him king in March; and the majority of Bohemians supported his election as king in May. Some in Bohemia, however, as a legacy of the Hussite Wars, prepared to oppose Albrecht by battle. On October 17, 1439, Albrecht’s sudden death of dysentery in Serbia while fighting the Turks precipitated a crisis. His wife, Elizabeth, was pregnant with his only child and heir, born in February, 1440, and named László V (“Posthumous”). Albrecht’s nephew, the lethargic and bookish Duke Frederick V of Styria (later Holy Roman emperor Frederick III) became the protector of the infant László and his mother, claiming his cousin’s vast inheritance. Frederick likewise gained the guardianship of the young Duke Sigismund of the Tyrol. The disputes over the heirs and their inheritances provoked conflicts for the next two decades.
Frederick could do little to influence events in Hungary and Bohemia. The...
(The entire section is 670 words.)
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