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Wenceslaus II
King of Bohemia and Poland
Wenceslaus II from a manuscript
King of Bohemia
Reign 1278/1300-1305
Coronation 1297, Prague and 1300, Gniezno
Predecessor Ottokar II
Successor Wenceslaus III
Spouse Judith of Habsburg
Elisabeth Richeza of Poland
Wenceslaus III
Anne, Queen of Bohemia
Elisabeth, Queen of Bohemia
Margaret, Duchess of Wroclaw
Agnes, Duchess of Jawor
Father Ottokar II of Bohemia
Mother Kunigunda of Slavonia
Born September 27, 1271
Prague, Bohemia
Died June 21, 1305 (aged 33)
Prague, Bohemia

Wenceslaus II Premyslid (Czech: Václav II.; Polish: Wacław II Czeski; September 27[1], 1271 – June 21, 1305) was King of Bohemia (1278 - 1305), Duke of Cracow (1291 - 1305) and King of Poland (1300 - 1305).

He was the only son of King Ottokar II "the Great" of Bohemia and Ottokar's second wife Kunigunda. He was born in 1271, ten years after the marriage of his parents. Kunigunda was the daughter of Rostislav, lord of Slavonia, son of a Grand Duke of Kiev and Anna of Hungary, daughter of Béla IV of Hungary. His great-grandfather was the German king Philip of Swabia.


Early years

Wenceslaus II. Drawing by Jan Matejko

In 1276 Rudolf I, King of Romans, placed Ottokar under the ban of the empire and besieged Vienna. This compelled Otakar in November 1276 to sign a new treaty by which he gave up all claims to Austria and the neighbouring duchies, retaining for himself only Bohemia and Moravia. Ottokar's son Wenceslaus was also betrothed to Rudolph's daughter Judith. It was an uneasy peace. Wenceslaus's father died in battle August 26, 1278, shortly before Wenceslaus's seventh birthday.

Before Wenceslaus became of age, the government was handled by Otto IV Margrave of Brandenburg, who is said to have held Wenceslaus captive in several locations. He returned to Bohemia in 1283, at the age of twelve. His mother's secret husband, Záviš of Falkenštejn ruled for him.

On January 24, 1285, Wenceslaus married Judith of Habsburg, daughter of Rudolf I, to whom he had been betrothed since 1276. In 1290 Wenceslaus had Záviš beheaded for alleged treason and began ruling independently.

King of Bohemia and Poland

In 1291 Przemysł II, High Duke of Poland, ceded the sovereign duchy of Krakow to Wenceslaus. Kraków was associated with the overlordship of Poland, but Przemysł held the other duchies and in 1295 was crowned King of Poland. After Przemysł's death in 1296 Wenceslaus became overlord of Poland and in 1300 was in Gniezno crowned King of Poland.[2]

Silver in Kutná Hora

In 1298 silver was discovered at Kuttenberg, Hory Kutné (Kutná Hora in Central Bohemia. Wenceslaus took control of the mine by making silver production a royal monopoly, and issued the Prague groschen which became the most popular of the early Groschen-type coins. Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) was one of the richest European silver strikes ever: between 1300 and 1340 the mine may have produced as much as 20 tons of silver a year.

In 1300 Wenceslaus issued the new royal mining code Ius regale montanorum. This was a legal document that specified all administrative as well as technical terms and conditions necessary for the operation of mines.[3]

The Crown of Hungary and death

seal of Wenceslaus II

Queen Judith had died in 1297. Wenceslaus's second wife was Elisabeth Richeza, daughter of Przemysł II, King of Poland 1295 - 1296 (later she remarried to Rudolph of Habsburg, duke of Austria, who also became king of Bohemia for a brief period in those unruly years).

In 1301, Wenceslaus' kinsman Andrew III of Hungary died and with him the Árpád dynasty in male line. Wenceslaus was one of the relatives who claimed the throne, and he accepted it from a party of Hungarians on behalf of his young son. On August 27, 1301, Wenceslaus III was crowned in Székesfehérvár as the King of Hungary and as such assumed the name Ladislaus V (Hungarian: László [4], Czech, Slovak and Croatian: Ladislav).

At that time the Kingdom of Hungary was split into several de-facto principalities, and young Wenceslaus was only accepted as the King of Hungary by the rulers in modern Slovakia (Matthew Csák and the Abas), in Burgenland (the Güssings [Kőszegis]) and on territory around the capital, Buda. But the Abas and Matthew Csák switched sides in 1303 and started to support Wenceslaus' rival Charles Robert of Anjou. Consequently, the young Wenceslaus, in Ofen (Buda), became afraid and wrote to his father in Prague for help. His father took a large army and invaded Buda, but having considered the situation, he took his son and the Hungarian crown and returned to Bohemia (1304). Ivan of Güssing was named to represent Wenceslaus III in Hungary.

Wenceslaus II died in 1305, at the age of 34, probably of tuberculosis. He was planning to invade Austria at this time, but that never happened. He was succeeded by his son, Wenceslaus III (Václav III.), last of the Přemyslid kings in male line.


He was married twice[2]:

In 1285 in Eger (Cheb), he married Judith of Habsburg (1271–1297), daughter of Rudolph I of Germany and his wife Gertrude of Hohenburg. She died shortly after their 10th child was born:

In 1300, he married Elisabeth Richeza (1286 – 1335), daughter of Przemysł II. They had one child:

Wenceslaus has also numerous illegitimate children, including Jan Volek (?? - September 27, 1351), bishop of Olomouc

Ottokar I of Bohemia
Constance of Hungary
Philip of Swabia
Irene Angelina
Michael of Chernigov
Maria Romanovna
Béla IV of Hungary
Maria Laskarina
Wenceslaus I of Bohemia
Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen
Rostislav of Slavonia
Anna of Hungary
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Kunigunda of Slavonia
Wenceslaus II


  1. ^ K. Charvátová, Václav II. Král český a polský, Praha 2007, p. 18.
  2. ^ a b Profile of Wenceslaus II in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley
  3. ^ "Town history". Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  4. ^ This name isn't recognized in contemporary Hungarian historiography; the king is usually named simply Vencel and the fifth ordinal number is allocated to Ladislaus the Posthumous (V. Lázsló)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Premysl Ottokar II
King of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Wenceslaus III
Preceded by
Przemysl II of Poland
King of Poland
Succeeded by
Wenceslaus III

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