Charles IV.

Written by Jan Hanzlicek

Category: Notables

Charles IV.

Charles IV also known as Charles of Luxembourg was born 14th of May, 1316 as Wenceslaus, son of the Czech king, John of Luxembourg and Elizabeth of Bohemia. As an infant, he was already imprisoned in Krivoklat Castle and Loket castle. In the spring of 1323 young Wenceslaus was sent to France to his uncle, King Charles IV of France to be properly raised. On 15th of May, 1323, Wenceslaus at the age of seven, chose to be renamed Charles in honor of his uncle. On the same day, he also had a wedding with Blanche of Valois. He received French education and was literate and fluent in five languages (Latin, Czech, German, French, and Italian).

In 1333 Charles IV returned to the Czech lands and administered the lands of the Bohemian Crown due to his father’s frequent absence.

On the 11th of July, 1346 in Bonn, Charles was elected as the King of the Romans. In August, his father John sadly passed away in the Battle of Crecy at the age of 50. After his father’s death, he became the King of Bohemia.

The year 1348 was a big year for Czech lands. Prague was not just a city, but it became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. That is why Charles paid such attention to Prague. He founded the New City of Prague, then laid the basic building block for the city walls, also founded Charles University, which was the first the university north of the Alps and east of Paris. In June he decided to build Karlstejn Castle which should become a place for safekeeping the Bohemian Crown Jewels and other royal treasures. But this year was not without trouble, because on the 1st of August his beloved wife passed away at age 32. Also, at the end of that year, a plague pandemic hit Europe, the Black death.

Year after the tragic death of his wife Blanche, he concluded a marriage with Anne of Bavaria who gave birth to his first son Wenceslaus, but he sadly died a year later, and Anne passed away two years after. In 1353, he got married to Anne of Schweidnitz who gave birth to a son also named Wenceslaus IV, who later become heir to the throne. This marriage lasted about nine years. Anne passed away in 1362. A year later Charles had his last wedding with Elizabeth of Pomerania. Charles IV had a total of 12 confirmed children with his four wives and at least one illegitimate child. He passed away on the 29th of November, 1378 at the age of 62 in Prague. He is buried in a sarcophagus in the middle of the royal crypt in the St. Vitus Cathedral.

Charles IV. has greatly contributed to the political and cultural development of the Czech lands. In 2005 he won a Television competition called “The Greatest Bohemian,” where viewers chose the greatest figure in Czech history. He is also depicted on a Czech banknote with a value of 100 CZK.

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