Germany History – The Affirmation of the Predominance of the Electorate Part I

The general need to get out of a situation, which was becoming more and more confused, pushed the electors to put an end to the interregnum, by giving the crown to those who were not so foreign to Germany, as Alfonso X of Castile had always remained. The power of the Wittelsbachs and the king of Bohemia, however, induced them to reject both Ottokar II and Ludwig II, Count Palatine of the Rhine, who, beyond the lands of his palatinate in the corner between the Rhine, the Moselle and the Saar, also ruled the Upper Bavaria (he had ceded Lower Bavaria to his brother Henry in 1255). The choice (Frankfurt, 1 October 1273; coronation in Aachen, 24 October) fell on Count Rudolf of Habsburg, much less powerful than them, despite his extensive dominions in the Aare and Reuss valleys, in the lands of Lake Constance., And, on both banks of the Upper Rhine, in Alsace and in the Black Forest region. The only dissenter was the king of Bohemia; but the battle on the fields of Morava, in which Ottocaro was defeated by his rival and lost his life (26 August 1278), allowed the Habsburg citizen to establish the power of his house on a secure basis. The investiture of the duchies of Austria and Styria with Carniola to the sons of Rodolfo I (1282) was the fruit of the victory; a double nuptial bond between the sons of the two kings opened to the Habsburgs the possibility of taking over from the Premislidi also in the kingdom of Bohemia. The Duchy of Carinthia passed to Count Mainardo of Tyrol; but the Habsburgs did not lose sight of this either. Alarmed by such rapid fortunes, the electors did not want to access the desire of Rudolph I, that his eldest son Alberto was recognized as his successor (1291). The energy shown by the new sovereign against the brigandage of the knights; the establishment of courts, with particular competence in the matter of transgressions to the rules of Landfrieden, chaired by a judge (Landfriedenrichter) chosen from among the local lords; the reorganization of the administration of the assets of the crown with the establishment of special royal officials (Reichslandvögte) for the most important complexes, they marked a certain revival of the monarchical authority. But on the other hand, the weakness of its financial bases remained incurable, given the withering of the incomes of the crown as well as their transfer to the princes and cities with the immunity concessions, as well as the dispersion that occurred with the catastrophe of the Hohenstaufen. The electoral princes effectively divided the government of the Empire with the sovereign, and with his sanction they tended to exclude the others. In 1281 they obtained a privilege, for which the validity of the king’s decisions regarding the alienation of rights and assets of the crown subsisted only with their written ratification (Willebriefe); the other principles were not mentioned. On the other hand, the need to be able to calmly wait for the consolidation of the new fortunes of his family prevented Rudolf I from hindering the continuous progress of French influence in the regions of the western border in the kingdom of Arles and in the fiefs dependent on the counts of Flanders.

According to Aparentingblog, the very firm intention of the electoral princes to prevent the reconstitution of a hereditary monarchy determined, on the death of Rodolfo I (July 15, 1291), the election, instead of his son Albert, of a modest Rhenish noble, Count Adolfo di Nassau (Frankfurt, May 5, 1292). But then a part of the same electors resorted to Albert, proclaiming him king in Mainz (23 June 1298), after having deposed Adolfo, when he saw himself threatened in his interests by the latter’s politics, who, with the support of the Wittelsbachs of the media nobility from which it emerged, and of the cities, aimed to form its own domain at the expense of the Wettin, Margrave of Thuringia and Misnia. On 2 July 1298 Adolfo was defeated and killed in Göllheim. Immediately afterwards, the Rhine electors coalesced against Albert I, over the question of duties on navigation in the Rhine, from which they drew large profits, and which the sovereign wanted to abolish to free the trade of the cities from their weight. If Albert I was able to bend them with arms (1301-1302), the Wettins proved to be stronger than him, who victoriously defended (1307) their Margraviati against Habsburg ambitions, and Henry, Duke of Carinthia, brother-in-law of the last Bohemian Premislide, Wenceslaus III, who, in the conflict over the succession that broke out on the death of the latter (1306), had the upper hand over his other brother-in-law, Rudolph, Duke of Austria, son of Albert I, who had been invested with the kingdom of Bohemia. Even the Comte de Hainault managed to prevent Albert I from taking over the inheritance of the counts of Holland. Significant for the regression of German influence on the western border in comparison with the French one were the help given to the Count of Hainault by Philip IV the Fair, the annexation by the French king of Vivarais (1305) and the Lionese (1307), which was definitive, and the county of Burgundy, or Franche Comté, which was temporary (1307-1322). Also on the southern borders, in the same ancient Habsburg dominions, there were symptoms of the tendency of the Swiss lands to detach themselves from the body of the Empire, with the cantonal confederation of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (The August 1291), and his revolt in the beginning of 1308. Soon after (the May 1308), Albert I fell under the knife of a grandson; and only after one hundred and thirty years did the Habsburgs rise to the throne with another Albert.

Germany History - The Affirmation of the Predominance of the Electorate 1