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Wenceslaus III of Bohemia (The Kalmar Union)

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Wenceslaus III
Wenzel3.jpg
Wenceslaus III
King of Hungary (as Wenceslaus I)
Reign August 1301 - October 1305
Predecessor Andrew III of Hungary
Successor Otto III of Bavaria (Bela V)
King of Bohemia
Reign 21st June 1305 - 15th October, 1306
Predecessor Wenceslaus II
Successor Henry of Carinthia
King of Poland
Reign 21st June 1305 - 15th October, 1306
Predecessor Wenceslaus II
Successor Wladyslaw I 'the Elbow-High'
Spouse Anna of Hungary
House Přemyslid
Father Wenceslaus II
Mother Judith of Hapsburg
Born 6th October, 1289
Prague
Died 15th October, 1306

Wenceslaus III was the last king of Bohemia from the Přemyslid dynasty. He would briefly nominally rule over a huge area of Central Europe, however his authority was never readily accepted in either Hungary or Poland and he would die before he was able to cement his rule.

The eldest surviving son of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Hapsburg, Wenceslaus was only 11 when he was promoted as the rightful king of Hungary. A great-great-grandson of Bela IV, he was also betrothed to Andrew III's daughter Anna. However the death of Andrew III in 1301 had left the kingdom in turmoil and his rule had been challenged by Charles Bezier (another great-great-grandson of Bela IV). Many lords had taken the opportunity to invite Charles over from Naples to seize the throne and so Wenceslaus' father would join the young couple to help secure the kingdom.

Charles w‎as not deterred however and with the support of the papacy and Austria would launch a full-blooded campaign to take the throne. Meanwhile in June 1305 Wenceslaus II died leaving the younger Wenceslaus in control of Bohemia and Poland too. Bohemia was a relatively safe throne however Přemyslid control of Poland was severely threatened by the machinations of Wladyslaw 'the Elbow-High' who had put himself at the head of an Hungarian army and invaded Poland in September 1304. The relentlessness of Charles Bezier's campaign, plus other pressures on his possessions would mean Wenceslaus would abandon Hungary in October 1305, handing his claim not to Charles, but to a cousin, Otto III of Hungary.

To attempt to secure Poland he scrabbled around for allies, granting vast tracts of land to German nobles who were willing to provide him support. This did not buy him any respite however; Krákow was captured by Wladyslaw in early 1306. Yet Wenceslaus, paralysed by indecision, did not offer any opposition and no invasion was raised. Whether he could have eventually become moot, he was murdered in October 1306. The assassin of the last Přemyslid king is unknown, however he was hardly lacking in enemies; pro-Wladyslaw Poles, pro-Bezier Hungarians perhaps frightened by false reports of Anna's pregnancy, or even Czech nobles.

While Hungary would succumb to Charles of Bezier by 1310 after considerable upheaval, Lesser Poland would pass into Wladyslaw I's hands and he would spend the rest of his reign attempting to gather together the Polish lands under his rule, only being crowned king of Poland in 1320. Bohemia meanwhile would be taken by the Luxembourg dynasty as Wenceslaus' sister Elizabeth was married to John, son of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII.

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