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Holy Roman Emperor
Austria coat of arms simple.svg Holy Roman Empire Arms-single head.svg
Albert I of Habsburg
King of Germany (formally King of the Romans)
Reign 27 July 1298 - 1 May 1308
Coronation Uncrowned
German Albrecht I, römisch-deutscher König, Herzog von Österreich und der Steiermark, Markgraf von Meißen
Titles Duke of Austria
Duke of Styria
Margrave of Meißen
Born July , 1255(1255-07-00)
Rheinfelden, Free Imperial City
Died May 1, 1308 (aged 52)
Königsfelden, Breisgau, Further Austria
Predecessor Adolf of Nassau
Successor Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg
Consort Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol
Offspring Rudolph I, King of Bohemia
Frederick the Fair, King of the Romans
Leopold I, Duke of Austria
Albert II, Duke of Austria
Anna, Duchess of Brieg
Agnes, Queen of Hungary
Elisabeth, Duchess of Lorraine
Catherine, Duchess of Calabria and three others
Royal House House of Habsburg
Father Rudolph I, King of the Romans
Mother Gertrude of Hohenburg

Albert I of Habsburg (German: Albrecht I; July 1255 – May 1, 1308) was King of the Romans, Duke of Austria, and eldest son of German King Rudolph I of Habsburg and Gertrude of Hohenburg.

He was the founder of the great house of Habsburg invested with the duchies of Austria and Styria, together with his brother Rudolph II, in 1282. In 1283 his father entrusted him with their sole government, and he appears to have ruled them with conspicuous success. Rudolph I was unable to secure the succession to the German throne for his son, and on his death in 1291, the princes, fearing Albert's power, chose Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg as king. A rising among his Swabian dependents compelled Albert to recognize the sovereignty of his rival, and to confine himself for a time to the government of the Habsburg territories.

He did not abandon his hopes of the throne, however, which were eventually realised. In 1298, he was chosen German king by some of the princes, who were dissatisfied with Adolf. The armies of the rival kings met at the Battle of Göllheim near Worms, where Adolf was defeated and slain. Submitting to a new election but securing the support of several influential princes by making extensive promises, he was chosen at Frankfurt on July 27, 1298, and crowned at Aachen on August 24.

Albert married Elizabeth, daughter of Meinhard II, count of Gorizia and Tyrol, who was a descendant of the Babenberg margraves of Austria who predated the Habsburgs' rule. The baptismal name Leopold, patron saint margrave of Austria, was given to one of their sons. Elisabeth was in fact better connected to mighty German rulers than her husband: a descendant of earlier kings, for example Emperor Henry IV, she was also a niece of dukes of Bavaria, Austria's important neighbors.

Although a hard, stern man, Albert had a keen sense of justice when his own interests were not involved, and few of the German kings possessed so practical an intelligence. He encouraged the cities, and not content with issuing proclamations against private war, formed alliances with the princes in order to enforce his decrees. The serfs, whose wrongs seldom attracted notice in an age indifferent to the claims of common humanity, found a friend in this severe monarch, and he protected even the despised and persecuted Jews. Stories of his cruelty and oppression in the Swiss cantons did not appear until the 16th century, and are now regarded as legendary.

Albert sought to play an important part in European affairs. He seemed at first inclined to press a quarrel with France over the Burgundian frontier, but the refusal of Pope Boniface VIII to recognize his election led him to change his policy, and, in 1299, he made a treaty with Philip IV of France, by which his son Rudolph was to marry Blanche, a daughter of the French king. He afterwards became estranged from Philip, but in 1303, Boniface recognized him as German king and future emperor; in return, Albert recognized the authority of the pope alone to bestow the imperial crown, and promised that none of his sons should be elected German king without papal consent.

Albert had failed in his attempt to seize Holland and Zeeland, as vacant fiefs of the Empire, on the death of Count John I in 1299, but in 1306 he secured the crown of Bohemia for his son Rudolph on the death of King Wenceslaus III. He also renewed the claim made by his predecessor, Adolf, on Thuringia, and interfered in a quarrel over the succession to the Hungarian throne. His attack on Thuringia ended in his defeat at Lucka in 1307 and, in the same year, the death of his son Rudolph weakened his position in eastern Europe. His action in abolishing all tolls established on the Rhine since 1250, led the Rhenish archbishops and the count palatine of the Rhine to form a league against him. Aided by the towns, however, he soon crushed the rising.

He was on the way to suppress a revolt in Swabia when he was murdered on May 1, 1308, at Windisch on the Reuss River, by his nephew John of Swabi, afterwards called "the Parricide" or "John Parricida", whom he had deprived of his inheritance.



Albert, by the grace of God king of the Romans, duke of Austria and Styria, lord of Carniola, over the Wendish Mark and of Port Naon, count of Habsburg and Kyburg, landgrave of Alsace


Albert and his wife Elizabeth had twelve children:

  1. Rudolph III (ca. 1282 – 4 July 1307, Horažďovice), Married but line extinct and predeceased his father.
  2. Frederick I (1289 – 13 January 1330, Gutenstein). Married but line extinct.
  3. Leopold I (4 August 1290 – 28 February 1326, Strassburg). Married, had issue.
  4. Albert II (12 December 1298, Vienna – 20 July 1358, Vienna).
  5. Heinrich (1299 – 3 February 1327, Bruck an der Mur). Married but line extinct.
  6. Meinhard, 1300 died young.
  7. Otto (23 July 1301, Vienna – 26 February 1339, Vienna). Married but line extinct.
  8. Anna 1280?, Vienna – 19 March 1327, Breslau), married:
    1. in Graz ca. 1295 to Herman, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel;
    2. in Breslau 1310 to Duke Henry VI the Good.
  9. Agnes (18 May 1281 – 10 June 1364, Königsfelden), married in Vienna 13 February 1296 King Andrew III of Hungary.
  10. Elisabeth (d. 19 May 1353), married 1304 Frederick IV, Duke of Lorraine.
  11. Catherine (1295 – 18 January 1323, Naples), married Charles, Duke of Calabria in 1316.
  12. Jutta (d. 1329), married Ludwig V, Count of Öttingen in Baden, 26 March 1319.


References and external links

Albert I of Germany
Born: 1255 Died: 1308
German royalty
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Germany
(formally King of the Romans)

Succeeded by
Henry VII
Margrave of Meißen
With: Dietrich II (1291–1307)
Friedrich I (1291–1323)
Succeeded by
Friedrich II
Preceded by
King Rudolph I
Duke of Austria and Styria
With: Rudolph II (1282–83)
Rudolph III (1298-1307)
Succeeded by
Frederick III the Fair
and Leopold I


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