Duchy of Opava

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Red and silver heraldic shield of the Duchy of Troppau
Duchy of Troppau on a map from 1645

Between 1260 and 1269, the Bohemian King Ottokar II. Přemysl assigned the province of Opava , which belonged to the Margraviate of Moravia , to his illegitimate son Nicholas I. The elevation to an independent Duchy of Opava did not take place until 1318 for his son of the same name, Nicholas II. In 1377, the Duchy of Opava was divided, with the partial duchies of Jägerndorf , Freudenthal and Leobschütz being created. The Duchy of Opava, reduced in size, was ruled by the Opava branch of the Bohemian Přemyslids until 1464 . Then it came to the Bohemian King George of Podebrady and during the dispute over his successor to the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus . After further changes of ownership and direct sovereign possession in the 16th century, it fell to the House of Liechtenstein after the Battle of the White Mountain in 1622 . The place of residence was the town of Opava , located in the border area with Silesia , which was founded around 1200 as part of the German settlement in the east .


Between 1260 and 1269, the Bohemian King Ottokar II transferred the sovereign Moravian province of Opava to his illegitimate son Nicholas I , who in 1269 was first named Lord of Opava and founded the Troppau line of the Přemyslids . After the battle on the Marchfeld , in which Ottokar II was killed in 1278, Nicholas I was taken prisoner in Hungary, from which he was only released in 1280. Although he was reinstated in his rights by the Roman-German King Rudolf I , there were armed struggles for power with his stepmother Kunigunde , who received the income from the province of Opava and from 1279 in a secret love affair with the Witigonen Zawisch von Falkenstein on the Troppauer Herzogsburg Grätz lived. From 1281 he held the office of burgrave there. It was not until after Kunigunde's death in 1285 that Nikolaus I was installed in his rights with the support of Rudolf I and promoted to influential positions in Lesser Poland and governor of Greater Poland by his stepbrother Wenceslaus II . After the murder of King Wenceslaus III. , with the 1306 the direct line of the Přemyslids in the male line extinguished, Nicholas I remained in possession of his Troppau area. In 1308, however, it was passed by the Bohemian King Heinrich of Carinthia to the step-brother-in-law of Duke Nicholas I, Boleslaw III. of Liegnitz , pledged. He was married to Margarethe, a daughter of King Wenceslas II, from whom he had not received the promised dowry. That is why he was compensated in this way. In 1311 Heinrich's successor Johann von Luxemburg recognized the pledge, but after payment of the pledge demanded it be returned to the Crown of Bohemia , whereby the Troppau area fell back to the sovereign as a settled fief . Shortly before the death of Nicholas I in 1318, King John enfeoffed his son of the same name, Nicholas II, with the Troppau area, which he also raised to an independent duchy. As a result, Troppau was legally separated from Moravia. After coming to power, he moved the residence from Grätz to Opava.

After the Ratibor branch of the Silesian Piasts with Duke Lestko expired in 1336, Duke Nicholas II, who was married to Lestko's sister Anna, received the Duchy of Ratibor from King John in 1337 , which had also been a fiefdom of the Crown of Bohemia since 1327 and for the period the Premyslid rule as the Duchy (Troppau) -Ratibor. As a result of the dual rule, Nicholas II rose to become one of the most powerful princes on the upper reaches of the Oder . In 1348 Johann's son and successor Charles IV confirmed the Duchy of Opava together with the Diocese of Olomouc and the Margraviate of Moravia as a Bohemian fiefdom.

After the death of Duke Nicholas II in 1365, his eldest son John I , who was the only one from the marriage of Nicholas II with Anna of Ratibor, inherited the Duchy (Opava) -Ratibor as the sole heir. At the same time, he administered the Duchy of Opava for himself and his younger brothers Nicholas III. , Wenzel I. and Přemysl / Přemko I. It was not until 1377 that the areas belonging to Opava were divided. The dukes Přemysl I and Wenceslaus I received the eastern area with the towns of Troppau and Hultschin and the castles of Grätz and Landek . Johann I received Jägerndorf and Freudenthal as well as Fürstenwalde Castle and remained the sole owner of (Troppau) -Ratibor. Nicholas III received Leobschütz and Edelštejn Castle . After the early death of Duke Wenceslaus I in 1381, his share came to Přemysl I. However, he had to cede Landek and other areas to the Dukes of Oels and Grätz to the Lords of Kravarn . After the death of Duke Nicholas II in 1394, he inherited Leobschütz.

As the sole heir of the Duchy of Racibórz, John I founded the Přemyslid lineage of Troppau-Ratibor . While the direct main line of Opava expired around 1485, the main line of Opava-Ratibor, the last of which was Duke Valentin von (Opava) -Ratibor , existed until 1521. Through the reign of the Opava Přemyslids in the Duchy of Ratibor, the Duchy of Opava also turned to Silesia , whereby it was subsequently counted among the Silesian duchies , although these were originally all ruled by the Silesian Piasts .

During the Hussite Wars , the Opava area was devastated several times, but Duke Přemysl I was able to largely protect the city of Opava until 1431. After his death in 1433, the eldest son took over Wenceslas II. The guardianship of his younger stepbrothers Wilhelm , Ernst and Premysl / przemysław of racibórz II. , While also already full-year second-born brother Nicholas IV. As a gentleman on Zuckmantel dubbed. Although her father stipulated in his will that his territories should not be separated in order to prevent further fragmentation, they divided the inherited property around 1435. Wenceslaus II received the Duchy of Leobschütz and part of Opava, while Wilhelm and Ernst each received part of Opava and Přemysl / Primislaus II, who belonged to the clergy, probably got nothing.

In 1451 Wilhelm, who had in the meantime come to the Duchy of Munsterberg , transferred the inheritance claim to Munsterberg to his younger brother Ernst and in return he acquired his third share in the Duchy of Troppau. As a result, Wilhelm now owned two thirds of Troppau. After Wilhelm's death only a year later, his brother Ernst took over the guardianship of his children. After 1454, as their guardian, he sold the two-thirds share they were entitled to in Troppau to Duke Bolko V of Opole . After his death in 1460, the Bohemian King George of Podebrady , who initially moved in the Duchy of Opole as a settled fief, succeeded from Bolko's brother Nikolaus I. To get the two-thirds share from Troppau. In return, he again awarded him the Duchy of Opole. In 1464 Georg von Podiebrad acquired the last third of Troppau from Duke Johann II "Pius" , who remained in the possession of Leobschütz.

The Duchy of Opava thus obtained was transferred to King Georg von Podiebrad in 1465 to his sons Viktorin , Heinrich d. Ä. and Heinrich d. J. , who, together with their father and the Troppauer provincial governor Bernhard Birka von Nassiedel ( Bernard Bírka z Násilé ), fought against the rival king Matthias Corvinus . During his move to Silesia in 1469, Duke Viktorin was taken prisoner in Hungary. Since Matthias Corvinus demanded a large ransom for the release of Viktorine, the brothers had to share their inheritance after the death of their father George of Podebrady in 1471. The Duchy of Opava received Viktorin, who now supported his former enemy Matthias Corvinus. Nevertheless, he had to cede the Duchy of Opava in 1485 in exchange for less significant areas to Matthias Corvinus, who transferred it to his illegitimate son Johann Corvinus , who after the death of the last Opava Přemyslid Johann II. "Pius" around 1485 also came to the Duchy of Leobschütz he in turn connected with Troppau. Although Viktorin von Podiebrad requested the return after the death of King Matthias Corvinus in 1490, Johann Corvinus remained in the possession of Troppau until 1501. In that year it was drawn in by the Bohemian King Vladislav II as a settled fiefdom and lent to his brother Sigismund , who became king of Poland in 1506 and did not return the Troppauer fief until 1511. It then fell back to the Crown of Bohemia as a hereditary principality, which came to the Habsburgs in 1526 .

In 1614, King Matthias transferred the hereditary principality of Troppau to the convert Karl I of Liechtenstein , restricting his ducal rights. In addition to paying a deposit of 125,000 thalers, he had to commit to the Catholic faith. Presumably because he immediately began counter-Reformation measures, he was rejected by the Troppau estates, which at the same time demanded that Troppau belong to Moravia under the law. During the Bohemian Estates uprising , the Catholic and Habsburg supporter Karl von Liechtenstein was expropriated by the Estates-Protestant opposition. After the defeat in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 and the Dresden Accord of February 28, 1621, with which the defection of Silesia from Habsburg was lightly regulated and the state of 1618 was restored, the Silesian estates recognized Emperor Ferdinand II as their rightful master, at the same time their previous privileges were confirmed. Since there were no similar advantages for Moravia, the Troppau estates and the Troppau knighthood wanted to be reckoned to Silesia again. That is why they took part on November 3, 1621 in Wroclaw in the pledge of loyalty that was accepted by Governor Georg Ludwig von Liegnitz .

In 1622, Karl von Liechtenstein received the Duchy of Opava back. At the same time he was enfeoffed with the neighboring duchy of Jägerndorf, which the Protestant Georg von Brandenburg had lost. After Karl's death, he was followed in 1629 by his son Karl Eusebius , who successfully continued the re-Catholicization of his territories, which his father had pursued. With the death of his son Johann Adam Andreas in 1712 Troppau passed to Anton Florian von Liechtenstein and thus to the Gundakarian line of the princes of Liechtenstein .

After the First Silesian War in 1742, most of Silesia fell to Prussia . The Duchy of Oppa lost its territories north of the Oppa to Prussia. The remaining area was incorporated into Austrian Silesia and remained in the possession of the House of Liechtenstein until Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. The respective ruling Prince of Liechtenstein continues to bear the title "Duke of Troppau".

Dukes of Troppau from the Premyslid line of Troppau

  1. Nicholas I († 1318); ⚭ 1285 Adelheid von Habsburg , a niece of Emperor Rudolf I ; 1260 / 69–1318 Lord of Troppau
    1. Wenceslas († 1367), canon in Prague and Olomouc since 1324
    2. Johann († 1325)
    3. Nicholas II († 1365); ⚭ 1. around 1318 Anna († around 1340), a daughter of Duke Primislaus of Ratibor ; ⚭ 2. around 1342/5 Hedwig († 1359), a daughter of Duke Conrad I of Oels († 1366); ⚭ 3. 1360 Jutta († after 1378), a daughter of Duke Boleslaw II of Falkenberg ; 1318–1365 Duke of Troppau, 1337–1365 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor
      1. Johann I († 1380/82), ⚭ 1361 Anna, a daughter of Duke Heinrich V of Glogau-Sagan († 1369); 1365–1380 / 82 Duke of ´ (Troppau) -Ratibor, 1367–1377 Duke of Troppau and from 1377 Duke of Jägerndorf and Freudenthal . As the sole heir of the Duchy of Racibórz, he founded the Přemyslid family line Troppau-Ratibor , which existed until 1521.
      2. Nicholas III († 1394); 1367–1377 Duke of Troppau and 1377–1394 Duke of Leobschütz
      3. Wenceslas I († 1381), 1367–1381 Duke of Troppau
      4. Přemysl / Primislaus I († 1433); ⚭ around 1395 Anna von Lutz († 1405); ⚭ 2. Katharina von Münsterberg († 1422), a sister of the last Piast from Münsterberg, Johann I ; ⚭ 3. Helen of Bosnia († 1435); 1365–1433 Duke of Troppau, from 1394 also Duke of Leobschütz
        1. Wenceslas II († 1446); ⚭ around 1420 Elisabeth von Krawarn ; from around 1435 Duke of Leobschütz and Lord of Fulnek
          1. Johann I. Hanuš († 1454); 1445 / 47–1454 part-Duke of Troppau and Leobschütz and Lord of Fulnek
          2. John II Pius ; 1445/47 to 1464 part-Duke of Troppau and Lord of Fulnek, 1445 / 47–1485 Duke of Leobschütz; ⚭ with Katharina NN Sold his third share of Troppau in 1464 to Georg von Podiebrad. With Johann II's death around 1485, the direct line of the Troppauer Přemyslids became extinct.
        2. Nikolaus IV. († 1437), 1433–1437 Duke of Troppau, Lord on Zuckmantel
        3. Wilhelm von Troppau († 1452), 1433–1452 Duke of Troppau and 1443–1452 Duke of Münsterberg
          1. Friedrich († 1470)
          2. Wenceslaus III († 1474)
          3. Přemysl / Primislaus III. († 1493)
        4. Ernst von Troppau († 1464), 1433–1461 Duke of Troppau and 1452–1456 Duke of Münsterberg
        5. Přemysl / Primislaus II. († 1478), canon in Breslau

Dukes of Troppau from 1464 to 1918

Dukes of (Troppau) -Ratibor from the Premyslid lineage Troppau-Ratibor

  1. Nicholas II († 1365); 1318–1365 Duke of Troppau, 1337–1365 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor
    1. Johann I († 1380/82), ⚭ 1361 Anna, a daughter of Duke Heinrich V of Glogau-Sagan († 1369). With her he founded the Přemyslid trunk line Troppau-Ratibor .
    2. John II "the Iron" († 1424); ⚭ 1407 Helene of Lithuania, niece of the Polish king Władysław II. Jagiełło , Duke of (Opava) -Ratibor, Jägerndorf and Freudenthal . 1388–1397 governor and 1397–1422 pledger of Glatz and Frankenstein .
      1. Nicholas V († 1452); ⚭ 1. around 1435 Margarethe Clemm von Ellguth; ⚭ 2. Barbara Rockenberg († 1452), Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor and Jägerndorf
        1. Johann IV. D. Ä. († 1483); 1452 until the expropriation by Matthias Corvinus in 1474 Duke of Jägerndorf, 1464–1483 Duke of Loslau .
        2. Wenzel von Rybnik († 1479), 1452–1464 Duke of Jägerndorf, 1464–1474 Duke of Rybnik
      2. Wenzel († 1456); ⚭ 1437 Margareta († 1464), daughter of the Meseritzer Kastelans Vinzenz von Szamotuły; 1424–1437 together with his brother Nikolaus V. Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor and Jägerndorf and from 1437 until his death sole Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor.
        1. Johann III. d. J. († 1493), ⚭ around 1478 Magdalena († 1501), daughter of Opole Duke Nicholas I ; 1456–1493 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor.
          1. Nicholas VI († 1506), ⚭ 1505 Anna († around 1530), daughter of the Krakow chamberlain Zbigniew Tęczyński ; 1493–1506 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor
          2. John IV († 1506); 1493–1506 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor
          3. Valentin († 1521); 1493–1521 Duke of (Troppau) -Ratibor. With him, the main line Troppau-Ratibor of the Troppauer Přemyslids died out. According to a contract of inheritance, the Duchy (Troppau) -Ratibor fell to the Piast Duchy of Opole .


  • Ludwig Petry among others: History of Silesia . Volume 1: From prehistoric times to the year 1526 . Sigmaringen 1988, ISBN 3-7995-6341-5 , pp. 1426, 128 f., 133, 138, 140, 143, 146, 176, 184f., 187, 191, 197, 208, 224, 289, 354 and 419 .
  • Ders .: History of Silesia . Volume 2: The Habsburg Period 1526–1740 . Sigmaringen 1988, ISBN 3-7995-6342-3 , p. 48 f. and 55 f.
  • Elmar Seidl: The late medieval settlement crisis in the Troppauer Land and in the adjacent north-east Moravia. In: Yearbook of the Silesian Friedrich Wilhelms University in Breslau. Volume 38/39, 1997/98, pp. 67-160.
  • Joachim Bahlcke , Winfried Eberhard, Miloslav Polívka (eds.): Handbook of historical places . Volume: Bohemia and Moravia (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 329). Kröner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-520-32901-8 , pp. 625-631.
  • Hugo Weczerka (Hrsg.): Handbook of the historical places. Volume: Silesia (= Kröner's pocket edition. Volume 316). Kröner, Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-520-31601-3 , p., Family tables on p. 600–601.
  • Rudolf Žáček: Dějiny Slezska v datech . Praha 2004, ISBN 80-7277-172-8 , pp. 436-439.
  • Gottlieb Biermann : History of the Duchies of Troppau and Jägerndorf. Prochaska, Teschen 1874.

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ E. Seidl: The Troppauer Land between the five southern borders of Silesia - basics of political and territorial history up to the middle of the 19th century . Berlin: Gebr. Mann. ISBN 3-7861-1626-1 , p. 17.
  2. Pavel Sedláček: Vztahy river made Kladskem a Frankenšteijnskem ve 14. a 15. Stoleti . In: Kladský sborník 2, 1998, p. 119.
  3. Joachim Bahlcke, Winfried Eberhard, Miloslav Polívka (eds.): Handbook of historical sites. Volume: Bohemia and Moravia (= Kröner's pocket edition. Volume 329). Kröner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-520-32901-8 , S. XCVI.