Albrecht I of Habsburg (July 1255 – May 1, 1308) was
King of Germany, Duke of Austria, and eldest son of German King Rudolph
I of Habsburg and Gertrude of Hohenburg.
founder of the great house of Habsburg was invested with the duchies of
Austria and Styria, together with his brother Rudolph II, in 1282. In
1283 his father entrusted him with their sole government, and he appears
to have ruled them with conspicuous success. Rudolph I was unable to
secure the succession to the German throne for his son, and on his death
in 1291, the princes, fearing Albrecht's power, chose Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg
as king. A rising among his Swabian dependents compelled Albrecht to
recognize the sovereignty of his rival, and to confine himself for a
time to the government of the Habsburg territories.
He did not abandon his hopes of the throne,
however, which were eventually realised. In 1298, he was chosen German
king by some of the princes, who were dissatisfied with Adolf. The
armies of the rival kings met at the Battle of Göllheim near Worms,
where Adolf was defeated and slain. Submitting to a new election but
securing the support of several influential princes by making extensive
promises, he was chosen at Frankfurt on the July 27, 1298, and crowned
at Aachen on August 24.
Albrecht married Elizabeth, daughter of Meinhard
II, count of Gorizia and Tyrol, who was a descendant of the Babenberg
margraves of Austria who predated the Habsburgs' rule. The baptismal
name Leopold, patron saint margrave of Austria, was given to one of
their sons. Elisabeth was in fact better connected to mighty German
rulers than her husband: a descendant of earlier kings, for example
Emperor Henry IV, she was also a niece of dukes of Bavaria, Austria's
Elisabeth bore him seven sons, including Rudolph
III of Austria, Frederick I of Austria, Leopold I of Austria, Otto of
Austria and Albrecht II of Austria, and five daughters. Although a hard,
stern man, Albrecht had a keen sense of justice when his own interests
were not involved, and few of the German kings possessed so practical an
intelligence. He encouraged the cities, and not content with issuing
proclamations against private war, formed alliances with the princes in
order to enforce his decrees. The serfs, whose wrongs seldom attracted
notice in an age indifferent to the claims of common humanity, found a
friend in this severe monarch, and he protected even the despised and
persecuted Jews. Stories of his cruelty and oppression in the Swiss
cantons did not appear until the 16th century, and are now regarded as
Albrecht sought to play an important part in
European affairs. He seemed at first inclined to press a quarrel with
France over the Burgundian frontier, but the refusal of Pope Boniface
VIII to recognize his election led him to change his policy, and, in
1299, he made a treaty with Philip IV of France, by which his son
Rudolph was to marry Blanche, a daughter of the French king. He
afterwards became estranged from Philip, but in 1303, Boniface
recognized him as German king and future emperor; in return, Albrecht
recognized the authority of the pope alone to bestow the imperial crown,
and promised that none of his sons should be elected German king without
Albrecht had failed in his attempt to seize
Holland and Zeeland, as vacant fiefs of the Empire, on the death of
Count John I in 1299, but in 1306 he secured the crown of Bohemia for
his son Rudolph on the death of King Wenceslaus III. He also renewed the
claim made by his predecessor, Adolf, on Thuringia, and interfered in a
quarrel over the succession to the Hungarian throne. His attack on
Thuringia ended in his defeat at Lucka in 1307 and, in the same year,
the death of his son Rudolph weakened his position in eastern Europe.
His action in abolishing all tolls established on the Rhine since 1250,
led the Rhenish archbishops and the count palatine of the Rhine to form
a league against him. Aided by the towns, however, he soon crushed the
He was on the way to suppress a revolt in Swabia
when he was murdered on May 1, 1308, at Windisch on the Reuss River, by
his nephew Johann Parricida, afterwards called "the Parricide," whom he
had deprived of his inheritance.
Family and children
He was married Vienna 20 December 1274 Elisabeth
of Tirol, daughter of Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol. They children
1. Rudolph III (ca. 1282–4 July 1307, Horazdiowitz),
Married but line extinct and predeceased his father.
2. Frederick I (King Frederick III of Germany and
Duke Frederick III of Austria) (1289–13 January 1330, Gutenstein).
Married but line extinct.
3. Leopold I (4 August 1290–28 February 1326,
Strassburg). Married but line extinct.
4. Albrecht II (12 December 1298, Vienna–20 July
5. Heinrich (1299–3 February 1327, Bruck an der
Mur). Married but line extinct.
6. Meinhard, 1300 died young.
7. Otto (23 July 1301, Vienna–26 February 1339,
Vienna). Married but line extinct.
8. Anna (1275/1280, Vienna–19 March 1327,
1. in Graz ca. 1295 to Margrave Hermann of
2. in Breslau 1310 to Duke Heinrich VI of Breslau.
9. Agnes (18 May 1281–10 June 1364, Königsfelden),
married in Vienna 13 February 1296 King Andrew III of Hungary.
10. Elisabeth (d. 19 May 1353), married 1304
Frederick IV, Duke of Lorraine.
11. Katharina (1295–18 January 1323, Naples),
married 1316 Charles, Duke of Calabria.
12. Jutta (d. 1329), married in Baden 26 March
1319 Count Ludwig VI of Öttingen.
Text source: Wikipedia