Ottokar I (Premysl Otakar I) was the first true King of Bohemia. Prior to his time, the country had been ruled by dukes. He was a member of the famous Premyslid dynasty that ruled the nation for centuries. Under the reign of Ottokar I, the German population of Bohemia grew steadily, with towns and cities springing up around the region. Bohemia was anything but a calm and peaceful place during the time of Ottokar. The future king was born circa 1155, but was not known as the ruler of Bohemia until 1192, when Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV granted him this recognition. Unfortunately, he was soon the former ruler, as he made the unwise decision to enter into a conspiracyRead more.

CONTINUED FROM PART I Having defeated Sigismund’s army and retaken Prague, Zizka was the owner of a small castle near the town of Litomerice. Unlike his contemporaries, Zizka did not seek to own large amounts of property. The castle was the only piece of property he would ever have. Zizka was already missing an eye, lost in an earlier battle. In 1421, while attacking Rabi Castle, he lost his remaining eye. His total blindness, however, did not prevent him from commanding his armies. Towards the end of that very eventful year, he and his followers were camped outside the city of Kutna Hora, valued for its silver mines. Sigismund managed to seize the city, and its inhabitants – mostly GermanRead more.

The Hussite Wars had a lasting effect on Bohemia and the surrounding area, not least of which was the succession to the throne. King Wenceslas (Vaclav) IV died in 1419, leaving the throne open. As Wenceslas had no children, his brother Sigismund, King of Hungary, King of Croatia, and King of the Romans, claimed the throne. The Bohemians, however, were still outraged that Jan Hus, the leader of the Hussites, had been guaranteed safe passage to the Council of Constance by Sigismund, only to be tried as a heretic and burned at the stake in 1415. (In all fairness to Sigismund, he was not in Constance when Hus was executed, and he protested when the reformer was imprisoned.) Given thatRead more.