Wenceslas (in Czech, Václav) I was a king with a notable reign, preceded and followed by two of the most famous kings in Czech history. However, Wenceslas himself did a great deal to raise the standard of living and the international prestige of Bohemia, causing him to be ranked among the top Czech kings. Like his son, Ottokar II (the “King of Iron and Gold”), he encouraged German craftsmen and merchants to settle in Bohemia, creating an influx of emigrants that increased the population of Bohemia considerably. He also founded the towns and cities of Loket, Brno, Cheb, Jihlava, Olomouc, and Žatec, as well as giving Prague’s Old Town the privileges of a township. Wenceslas, the son of Ottokar I
The last member of the famous Premyslid dynasty to rule Bohemia was Wenceslas (Vaclav) III. His mysterious death has given rise to many theories. Wenceslas was born in Prague on October 6, 1289. He was one of ten children, and the only male to survive childhood. His parents were Wenceslas II and Judith of Habsburg. When he was only 8 years old, Wenceslas was betrothed to Elizabeth of Hungary, the only child of Andrew III of Hungary. Conflict over the Hungarian throne began less than three years later. Andrew III died on January 14, 1301, and, as he had no male heir, Charles of Anjou hurried to Hungary to have himself crowned king. (Charles’s claim to the throne was that
Unlike her brother, Wenceslas IV, Anne of Bohemia was a kind and thoughtful monarch, and one whose early death was mourned by many, including her husband, King Richard II of England. Anne was born on May 11, 1366. She was the oldest daughter of the King of Bohemia (and, later, Holy Roman Emperor) Charles IV and his fourth wife, Elizabeth of Pomerania. Her marriage to Richard II was, as all royal marriages in those days, an arranged one. Politics played a heavy part in the match; Wenceslas IV supported Pope Urban VI, as did the English. Both countries hoped that, by marrying Anne to Richard, they could form an alliance against the French, who supported Clement, the Pope of Avignon.