Sigizmund Luxemburgskiy

Sigizmund Luxemburgskiy

Holy Roman Emperor
Date of Birth: 14.02.1368
Country: Czech

  1. Biography of Sigismund of Luxembourg
  2. Rise to Power in Hungary
  3. Struggles for Power
  4. Challenges and Accomplishments
  5. Struggles in Bohemia
  6. Later Years and Legacy

Biography of Sigismund of Luxembourg

Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Hungary and Bohemia, was the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from the Luxembourg dynasty. He was born as the second son of Emperor Charles IV and Elizabeth, the daughter of Duke Bogusław V of Pomerania.

Rise to Power in Hungary

After his father's death in 1378, Sigismund inherited Brandenburg. In 1385, he became engaged to Maria, the daughter of King Louis (Lajos) I of Hungary and Poland. Despite facing numerous obstacles, Sigismund ascended to the throne of Hungary in 1387. During his reign, he focused primarily on Hungarian affairs until 1410. He attempted to seize Dalmatia, a region along the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, from the Venetians. He also led several campaigns against the Turks, with the most famous being the disastrous Crusade of Nicopolis in 1396. Sigismund was one of the few Christian leaders who managed to escape death or capture.

Struggles for Power

Sigismund's first wife died in 1395, and in 1400, the electors removed him from the throne of the Holy Roman Empire in favor of his less capable older brother, Wenceslaus (also known as Wenzel or Václav). They elected Rupert of the Palatinate as his successor. Sigismund refused to aid his brother in reclaiming the throne and even participated in his imprisonment from 1402 to 1403. After Rupert's death in 1410, Sigismund was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, although he was only crowned many years later.

Challenges and Accomplishments

As emperor, Sigismund faced numerous challenges but was unable to solve any of them. With Hungary and Bohemia as his main territories, he concentrated his efforts on the southeastern regions of the empire, often at the expense of his northern lands. In 1415, he sold Neumark to Frederick of Hohenzollern and simply handed over Brandenburg. During Sigismund's reign, the Swiss Confederation further strengthened its independence. The Christian world was in a state of disheartening division due to the presence of multiple rival popes and the growing popularity of religious reformers like Jan Hus. In an effort to resolve these issues, the Council of Constance was convened from 1414 to 1418. Sigismund, who played a significant role in initiating the council, attended its sessions for several months. He provided guarantees of safety to Jan Hus, which were later disregarded when Hus was arrested, condemned, and burned as a heretic. Sigismund also supported the election of Pope Martin V, which ended the Great Schism.

Struggles in Bohemia

Meanwhile, Wenceslaus regained the throne of Bohemia. Sigismund inherited the title after his brother's death in 1419, and his coronation took place in 1420, sparking massive uprisings among the Czechs who considered him a perjurer and blamed him for Hus' death. The Diet of Český Brod in 1421 declared Sigismund deposed, and he could only return to the throne after many years of launching unsuccessful crusades against the Hussites, some of which ended in embarrassing defeats. The emperor wandered across Europe from one court to another, often without money and sometimes without a substantial entourage. Finally, in 1436, when a split emerged among the Hussites, Sigismund entered Prague. However, he was forced to agree to a series of conditions known as the Compactata, which included a complete amnesty, communion for laypeople under both kinds (bread and wine), the removal of Germans and Catholics from high positions, the incorporation of Moravia into Bohemia, and the restoration of ancient rights to the nobility and cities.

Later Years and Legacy

Sigismund's Italian campaigns in 1412-1414 and 1431-1433 were also largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, in 1433, Pope Eugene IV finally crowned him as Emperor in Rome. Sigismund died on December 9, 1437, in Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he had taken refuge from his disgruntled subjects who were dissatisfied with his failure to fulfill his obligations. As Sigismund had no sons, the Hungarian Kingdom and the imperial crown passed to his son-in-law, Albert V, Duke of Austria (who became Emperor Albert II), from the House of Habsburg.