Duchy of Munsterberg

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Coat of arms of the Duchy of Münsterberg

The Silesian Duchy of Münsterberg was created in 1321 by dividing the Duchy of Schweidnitz . It was founded by Duke Bolko II , who recognized the Bohemian fiefdom in 1336 . Until 1428 it was used by the Silesian Piast dynasty ruled and then fell to the crown of Bohemia home , which subsequently repeatedly pledged or verlehnte. From 1456 to 1569, with short interruptions, it was lent to Georg von Podiebrad and his descendants and from 1654 to 1791 to the Counts of Auersperg . After the First Silesian War in 1742, like almost all of Silesia, it fell to Prussia. The place of residence was the city of Münsterberg, which was first mentioned in 1234 (since 1945 Ziębice in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in Poland).


After the death of the Breslau Duke Heinrich IV. In 1290 Bolko I of Jauer-Löwenberg inherited the cities of Münsterberg and Frankenstein, among others . Around 1300 he built a castle in Münsterberg. After his death in 1301 his possessions were divided among his three sons. The youngest son, Bolko II, received Münsterberg in 1321 and called himself the first Duke of Münsterberg . He was thus the founder of the Münsterberg ducal line and resided at the castle. After he made claims on the diocese , there was a long-standing dispute with the Bishop of Wroclaw . He then imposed the interdict several times over the duchy and banned the duke . Since Bolko II refused to become a vassal of the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg , his son, the Moravian Margrave and later Emperor Charles IV , besieged Frankenstein. Thereupon Bolko II recognized on August 29, 1336 in the Treaty of Straubing the Bohemian fiefdom, which had already been agreed in 1335 with the Treaty of Trenčín between the kings of Bohemia and Poland. Bolko II died in 1341; he was buried in the church of the Heinrichau monastery, which he had strongly promoted during his lifetime.

Bolko's son Nikolaus was Duke of Münsterberg until 1358. In 1341, the year his father died, he paid homage to the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg and his son Karl IV. Nikolaus' successor Bolko III. died in 1410. The next dukes, the brothers Heinrich II († 1410) and Johann († 1428), ruled the duchy together until 1420, afterwards Duke Johann alone. He died on December 27, 1428 at the Battle of Altwilmsdorf , which he led against the Hussites . With him, the Münsterberg line of the Silesian Piasts in the male line became extinct and the duchy fell as a settled fief to the Bohemian sovereign Sigismund . He pledged it to Puta the Elder in 1429 . J. von Častolowitz . After his death in 1434, his widow Anna von Kolditz kept the Pfandbriefe. Nevertheless, the Münsterberg estates campaigned for Eufemie, married von Öttingen, who was a niece of the last Piast Johann von Münsterberg. It was acquired by Münsterberg in 1435, but waived a year later because of the ongoing disputes. Although Anna von Kolditz sold her possessions and the liens in 1440 to Hynek Kruschina von Lichtenburg , whom she married shortly afterwards, there were again succession disputes with the Münsterberg estates, which were supported by several Silesian princes. In order to emphasize his claims on Münsterberg, Hynek Kruschina plundered the Heinrichau monastery in 1442, which was particularly connected to the class opposition. After long negotiations, the Ziębice estates elected on April 25, 1443 the Troppauer Duke Wilhelm . His claims to Münsterberg were justified in two ways: He was the son of the Přemyslid Přemysl I of Troppau and Katharina, who was a sister of the last Piast from Münsterberg, Johann († 1428). In addition, he had recently married Salome, a daughter of Anna von Kolditz and Puta the Elder, who died in 1434. J. von Častolowitz. Wilhelm allied himself with the Bishop of Breslau and the Silesian princes, who fought against Hynek Kruschina, so that his claims to Münsterberg were still denied. Although Kruschina had not legally waived the claims, the disputes between Wilhelm and Kruschina were settled in 1444.

The Duchy of Münsterberg around 1750–1800
View of the city of Münsterberg in the 18th century
Frankenstein Castle , seat of the governors and later the sovereigns

After Wilhelm's death in 1452, the Duchy of Münsterberg passed to his brother Ernst , who sold it in 1456 to the Bohemian King George of Podebrady . This inherited his property in 1471 to his sons Viktorin , Heinrich d. Ä. and Heinrich d. J. The Duchy of Münsterberg inherited Heinrich the Elder. Ä., Who was married to Ursula von Brandenburg , a daughter of the Elector Albrecht Achilles . This also received Frankenstein , the County of Glatz , the rule Hummel and the rule Nachod as well as the former East Bohemian possessions of Puta d. J. von Častolowitz. In 1488 he built a castle in Münsterberg; In 1495 he had the Podiebrad Castle and the Podiebrad rule , which after the death of his brother Heinrich d. J. had passed to him, exchanged with the Bohemian King Vladislav II for the Duchy of Oels . Heinrich d. Ä. resided in Glatz , where he died in 1498.

He was followed in joint government by the sons Albrecht I , Georg I and Karl I , who from 1527 held the post of governor of Silesia. In 1530 he moved the residence to Frankenstein, where he died six years later and was buried in the parish church. His sons Joachim , Heinrich II. , Johann and Georg II. Supported the Reformation and ruled together until 1542. In that year they pledged the indebted Duchy to their uncle, Duke Friedrich II. Von Liegnitz. After his death in 1547, the Bohemian sovereign King Ferdinand I redeemed Münsterberg from the Liegnitz Piast in 1551, with the Heinrichau monastery and governor Hans von Oppersdorff granting him advances to redeem the pledge . In 1552 Ferdinand I pledged it to Queen Isabella of Hungary . In 1559 it went to Duke Johann , who had owned the Duchy of Oels since 1542 and the Duchy of Bernstadt since 1548 .

After Johann's son and successor Karl Christoph died childless in 1569, Münsterberg again fell back to the Crown of Bohemia as a settled fiefdom, whereby the Lords of Podiebrad received the right to continue to use the title of duke of the principality of Münsterberg, which they had lost. Subsequently, the estates of Münsterberg and Frankenstein submitted directly to the Crown of Bohemia by buying themselves out of their heavily indebted sovereign. In return, they received a promise from the Bohemian King Maximilian II in 1570 that their land would always remain a hereditary principality in the future and would never be loaned or pledged again.

In 1581 the Bohemian Chamberlain Wilhelm von Rosenberg acquired the cities of Silberberg and Reichenstein , which belonged to the duchy, and which his brother Peter Wok von Rosenberg inherited in 1592 . He sold both cities in 1599 to Duke Joachim Friedrich von Liegnitz - Brieg , which made them permanently detached from the hereditary principality of Münsterberg and connected with the Duchy of Liegnitz-Brieg.

Against the express promise of King Maximilian II from 1570 never to forgive Münsterberg again, the Bohemian sovereign Ferdinand III transferred. 1654 the Duchy of Münsterberg inherited and peculiar to the imperial prince Johann Weikhard von Auersperg , who had earned services to the House of Habsburg . Nevertheless, Münsterberg was included in the provisions of the Altranstädter Convention in 1707 , which enabled the largely alienated churches to be returned to the Evangelicals. Of the 14 churches that they had lost there in 1653/54, those nine whose landlords were Protestant were given back to them.

After the First Silesian War and the constitutional transfer of most of Silesia to Prussia in 1742 , the Auersperg kept their possessions, which were converted into a civil status. In 1791 Prince Karl Joseph Anton von Auersperg sold the property to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II.

Dukes of Munsterberg


Web links

Commons : Duchy of Münsterberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of Silesia . Vol. 2, pp. 25 and 67.