Margraviate of Moravia
|Margraviate of Moravia
Markrabství moravské (cs)
Markgrafschaft Mähren (de)
|Land of the Bohemian Crown|
Map of Margraviate of Moravia and Duchy of Silesia from 1897.
Brno (from 1641)
|-||1182–1191 (first)||Conrad II of Bohemia|
|-||1916–1918 (last)||Charles I of Austria|
|-||1918||22,222 km² (8,580 sq mi)|
|Density||119.8 /km² (310.3 /sq mi)|
The Margraviate of Moravia (Czech: Markrabství moravské; German: Markgrafschaft Mähren) or March of Moravia was a marcher state existing in various forms from 1182 to 1918. It was officially administrated by a margrave in cooperation with a provincial diet. It was variously a de facto independent state, and also subject to the Duchy, later the Kingdom of Bohemia. It comprised the region called Moravia within the modern Czech Republic.
The Margraviate laid east of Bohemia proper, with an area about half that region’s size. In the north, the Sudeten Mountains, which extend to the Moravian Gate, formed the border with the Polish Duchy of Silesia, incorporated as a Bohemian crown land upon the 1335 Treaty of Trentschin. In the east and southeast, the western Carpathian Mountains separated it from present-day Slovakia. In the south, the winding Thaya River marked the border with the Duchy of Austria.
Moravians, usually considered a Czech people that speak Moravian dialects, made up the main part of the population. According to a 1910 Cisleithanian census, 27.6% identified themselves as German Moravians. These ethnic Germans would later be expelled after the Second World War. Other ethnic minority groups included Poles, Roma and Slovaks.
After the early medieval Great Moravian realm had been finally defeated by the Árpád princes of Hungary in 907, nowadays Slovakia was incorporated as "Upper Hungary" (Felső-Magyarország), while adjacent Moravia passed under the authority of the Bohemian dukes. King Otto I of Germany officially granted it to Duke Boleslaus I in turn for his support against the Hungarian forces in the 955 Battle of Lechfeld. Temporarily ruled by King Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland from 999 until 1019, Moravia was re-conquered by Duke Oldřich of Bohemia and ultimatively became a land of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas held by the Přemyslid dynasty.
In 1182, the Margraviate was created at the behest of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa by merger of the three Přemyslid appanage principalities of Brno, Olomouc and Znojmo, and given to Conrad II, the son of Prince Conrad of Znojmo. As heir apparent, the later King Ottokar II of Bohemia was appointed Moravian margave by his father Wenceslaus I in 1247. With Bohemia, Moravia was ruled by the House of Luxembourg from the extinction of the Přemyslid dynasty until 1437. Jobst, nephew of Emperor Charles IV inherited the Margraviate in 1375, ruled autonomously and was even elected King of the Romans in 1410. Shaken by the Hussite Wars, the Moravian nobles remained loyal supporters of the Luxembourg emperor Sigismund.
In 1469, Moravia was occupied by the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus, who had allied with the Catholic nobility against the rule of George of Poděbrady and had himself elected antiking of Bohemia at Olomouc. The rivalry with King Vladislaus II was settled in the 1479 Peace of Olomouc, whereby Matthias renounced the royal title but retained the rule over the Moravian lands. With the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, the Margraviate was incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy upon the death of King Louis II in the 1526 Battle of Mohács. Moravia was ruled as a crown land within the Austrian Empire from 1804 and Cisleithanian Austria from 1867.
During the foundation of Czechoslovakia after World War I, the Margraviate was transformed into “Moravia Land”, later “Moravia-Silesia Land” in 1918. This autonomy was eliminated in 1949 by the communist government and has not been re-established since.
The Margrave held ultimate authority in Moravia, throughout the history of the Margraviate. This meant that as its Margraves became more foreign, so too did governance of the Margraviate.
Moravia possessed a legislature, known as the Provincial Diet. The assembly has its origins in 1288, with the Colloquium generale, or curia generalis. This was a meeting of the upper nobility, knights, the Bishop of Olomouc, abbots and ambassadors from royal cities. These meetings gradually evolved into the diet.
The power of this diet waxed and waned throughout history. By the end of the Margraviate, the diet was almost powerless. The diet consisted of three estates of the realm: the estate of upper nobility, the estate of the lower nobility, and the estate of prelates and burghers. With the February Patent of 1861, the diet was reformed into a more egalitarian body. It still retained the same structure, but the members changed. It consisted of assembly seats for landowners, city-dwellers, and rural farmers. This was retained until the diet was abolished after the fall of the Dual Monarchy.
The coat of arms of Moravia is charged with a crowned white-red chequered eagle with golden claws and tongue. It first appeared in the seal of Margrave Přemysl (1209-1239), a younger son of King Ottokar I of Bohemia.
From 1272 onwards, it was also displayed in the town seal of Znojmo, bearing a 'Z' as escutcheon. In the days of the Habsburg Monarchy, the eagle's colours changed to gold and red, the Habsburg family colours. In 1758, the citizens of Olomouc were granted the Moravian coat of arms by Maria Theresa in thanks for their defence against Prussian troops under King Frederick the Great during the Seven Years' War, then with the initials 'F' (for Emperor Francis I), 'M' and ’T' (for Maria Theresa).
Margraves of Moravia
- Conrad II Otto 1182-1191
united with Bohemia 1189-1197
- Vladislaus Henry 1197-1222, second son of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Thuringia
- Vladislaus 1223-1227, son of King Ottokar I of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary
- Přemysl 1227-1239, son of King Ottokar I of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary
- Vladislaus III 1239-1247, son of King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia and Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen
- Ottokar II 1247-1278, son of King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia and Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen
directly held by King Rudolph I of Germany 1278-1283
- Wenceslaus II 1283-1305, son of King Ottokar II of Bohemia and Kunigunda of Halych
- Wenceslaus III 1305-1306, son of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Habsburg
- Rudolf I of Habsburg 1306-1307, son of King Albert I of Germany and Elizabeth of Carinthia
- Henry of Carinthia 1307-1310, son of Duke Meinhard of Carinthia and Elisabeth of Bavaria
- John 1310-1333, son of Emperor Henry VII and Margaret of Brabant
- Charles IV 1333-1349, son of King John of Bohemia and Elizabeth
- John Henry 1349-1375, enfeoffed by his brother King Charles IV
- Jobst of Moravia 1375-1411, son of John Henry, with his brothers John Sobieslaus (until 1394) and Prokop (until 1405)
- Sigismund 1419-1423, son of Emperor Charles IV and Elizabeth of Pomerania
- Albert V of Austria 1423-1439, son-in-law of Sigismund
- Ladislaus the Posthumous 1440-1457, son of Albert and grandson of Sigismund
- George of Poděbrady 1458-1468
- Matthias Corvinus 1468-1490, second son of John Hunyadi und Erzsébet Szilágyi
- Vladislaus II 1490-1516, son of King Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland and Elisabeth of Habsburg
- Louis II 1516-1526, son of King Vladislaus II
- Ferdinand I 1527-1564, fourth child of Philip I and Joanna of Castile
- Maximilian II 1564-1576, son of Emperor Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia and Hungary
- Rudolf II 1576-1608, son of Emperor Maximilian II
- Matthias II 1608-1617, son of Emperor Maximilian II
Under the united rule of the Bohemian kings from 1611 (see List of rulers of Bohemia).
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