Ottokar II of Bohemia (1233-1278) and Kunigunda of Slovonia (1245-1285)

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Ottokar II of Bohemia and Kunigunda of Slovonia

After the death of his brother, Ottokar, the second son destined for the church became the heir to the Kingdom of Bohemia. It is a thing that commonly played out time and time again. First son dies in in battle, or of some fatal illness, or some horrible accident, and an ill prepared second son takes his place. This was such a case. Ottokar not only was a son destined for the ecclesiastical life, but he was also a son who had hardly any ambition, and almost no interest in politics whatsoever. Finally some men at odds with the King, Ottokar’s father, managed to get him to rebel.

The end result was that the son was imprisoned. Eventually all was well, as the King decided he wanted the Duchy of Austria. What better way to annex a Duchy, than by some political marriage. The King decided that his son and heir would marry Margaret of Austria, the sister and closest living relative to the late Duke of Austria. Margaret only happened to be thirty years older than Ottokar. Prefect match or not Ottokar’s father, Wenceslaus I died, and Ottokar was now King of Bohemia and Duke of Austria.

Margaret of Austria, so much older than her husband and only able to offer him a title and wealth was soon in danger of losing everything as she was not able to produce any children. Then the Bohemian King has a falling out with his cousin, Bela IV of Hungary, over territory in Styria. Eventually the main truce between the cousins came when Ottokar had his marriage to Margaret repudiated and Bela released his claims to Styria marrying his granddaughter, Kunigunda of Slovenia to Ottokar.

Born in Ruthenia, Kunigunda’s paternal grandfather was the last grand prince of Kiev, who was deposed by the Mongol Empire. She was married to Ottokar to not only settle territorial disputes, but to also provide heirs to the throne of the Kingdom of Bohemia. She gave birth to at least three children who lived past infancy. One was Ottokar’s only living son, Wenceslaus II.

Ottokar is considered the greatest King of Bohemia. He founded many new towns in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Austria, and Styria. Under his rule trade flourished and civil law was improved. He also encouraged open immigration policies, as he knew this would only improve the wealth and success of the Kingdom of Bohemia. His law influenced Czech law all throughout her future from his reign and beyond.

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