Alternate History

John I of Luxembourg (The Kalmar Union)

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John I
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John I
Count of Luxembourg
Reign 2nd July, 1314 - 9th June, 1346
Predecessor Henry VII
Successor Charles I
King of Bohemia
Reign 3rd December, 1310 - 9th June, 1346
Predecessor Henry of Carinthia
Successor Charles I
Spouse Elizabeth of Bohemia

Joan of Berry

Issue Margaret

Charles I
John Henry

House Luxembourg-Limburg
Father Henry VII
Mother Margaret of Brabant
Born August 1296
Died 9th June, 1346
Monthermé, Luxembourg

John I, Jan I, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg, and titular King of Poland, was the eldest son of Emperor Henry VII and a central figure of European politics. Though he would not be Emperor himself he deeply influenced the development of not only the Luxembourg territories but also those of Poland, Hungary, France and Anglia.

Born in 1296 to Henry VII and Margaret of Brabant, John was schooled in Cologne while his father slowly accrued the necessary power, wealth and contacts to be elected Emperor. In 1307 at the age of eleven John was betrothed to the only surviving child of Wenceslaus II, Elizabeth of Bohemia. Finally married in 1310 at Spires the couple, along with a considerable Imperial contingent, entered Prague throwing out the forces of Henry of Carinthia. The marriage however was not an immediate success. It took 6 years for a male heir to be born and Elizabeth was frequently side-lined.

John was little better at ruling Bohemia and was widely disliked by the nobility. In return he gave up direct administration and left it in the hands of the nobles while he pursued aims elsewhere. He would be unable to prevent them implementing various laws which gave them electoral rights over the crown, decisions over extraordinary taxes and freedom to choose whether to support the king in foreign wars. Meanwhile he acted as regent for his father in Northern Italia and had been named Vicar General, effectively making him deputy governor of the Empire.

The first most pressing matter was to handle Hungary. In the chaos left by Wenceslaus II's death the capable Charles I Bezier had moved in and as Henry VII had started an avoidable war with his nephew Charles II of Naples Bohemia and Prague was now threatened with invasion from Hungary. Henry VII eventually nullified the threat by marrying off his daughter Beatrix to Charles I in 1312. Now brothers-in-law, John and Charles settled down to peace and would in time create an anti-Hapsburg alliance.

The struggle for Poland would take much longer. In a state of civil war until Wladyslaw I gained recognition in 1320 and John made good use of an alliance with the Teutonic Knights to keep his rival from exercising full power as well as frustrate the minor irritation of another claimant: Elizabeth's cousin John III of Gothenland. Eventually in 1335 the newly-crowned Casimir III paid John off and he relinquished his claim to the Polish throne, joining the anti-Hapsburg alliance in the process. John would subsequently crusade in Lithuania.

In his last remaining years John fell into dispute with Louis IV who had alienated many with his seizure of Holland as well as voiding several Luxembourg dynastic marriages. The two men had previously been friendly and John had used his kingdom and electorate to prevent Louis' rival Frederick of Hapsburg from becoming Emperor. Although it not expressly mentioned by John or his contemporary biographers it is highly likely that by the mid 1340s he was seeking to depose Louis and seize the Imperial crown by being seen as a champion of state's rights. He had already rallied to Liege's side when threatened by Anglia and had won a widely praised victory over Louis' nominal ally Henry I in 1334. The scent of civil war lingered through the 1340s as John made common cause with France and took Joan of Berry, Louis XI's niece, as his second wife.

Another war with Anglia promised greater prestige, however at the Battle of Monthermé in June 1346 John and his French allies were tactically outclassed. John was unhorsed and killed by a cadre of Flemish knights attempting to capture him as the battle turned in Anglia's favour. Bohemia would be inherited by his son Charles. It is assumed he meant to give the County of Luxembourg to his youngest son Wenceslaus, however Charles withheld the title as the young boy had been captured by the Anglian army and they were holding out for a considerable ransom.

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