Landshut War of Succession

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The Landshut War of Succession 1504/05 (also called Bavarian Feud or War of the Bavarian-Palatinate Succession ) was triggered by a dispute over the succession in Bavaria-Landshut when the last duke there died without male heirs.


The four Bavarian partial duchies after the division of the country in 1392
Image of Georg and Hedwig in the window in the main staircase of the Landshut town hall

Since Duke Georg the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut and his wife Hedwig of Poland did not have a male heir, he appointed his daughter Elisabeth , her future husband Ruprecht von der Pfalz and any sons as heirs in his will of September 19, 1496 . The marriage of the two took place on February 10, 1499. Elisabeth was Ruprecht's cousin. Ruprecht's mother, Margarete von Bayern-Landshut, was the sister of Duke Georg the Rich. Georg's inheritance, however, contradicted the Wittelsbach house contract , according to which if a male line died out, the property should fall to the other line. Albrecht IV , Duke of Bavaria-Munich, did not accept this breach of contract . After Georg's death on December 1, 1503, the conflict culminated in the Landshut War of Succession, especially since Georg had declared Elisabeth's husband to be his governor shortly before his death.

On December 13th, 1503, a state parliament was held in Landshut , which Georg had convened. Albrecht asserted his inheritance claims here through envoys, while Ruprecht, who had already taken over Landshut Castle , was present in person. It turned out that many members of the Löwlerbund against Albrecht had reservations about him.

The Lower Bavarian estates formed a Regency Council and appealed to the Imperial Court of Justice , whereupon King Maximilian I ruled the parties for February 5, 1504 in the Augsburg City Hall . Here and at other meetings, he made territorial claims to both sides in return for his mediation efforts. In April 1504 Albrecht agreed to cede the courts of Kufstein , Kitzbühel and Rattenberg , whereupon Maximilian promised 10,000 auxiliary troops and financial support. On April 23, he enfeoffed the Munich dukes Albrecht and Wolfgang with Georg's lands in Augsburg.

In the meantime, Elisabeth and Ruprecht in Landshut had declared the Regency Council dissolved on April 17th. Ruprecht's Palatinate troops occupied Landshut, the royal seat of Burghausen and several other cities. After Ruprecht's father, Count Palatinate Philipp the Sincere , took the side of his son, the war was also fought on Palatinate territory. Even the kings of France and Bohemia and the Margrave of Baden supported Ruprecht, so that he had a total of around 30,000 men available.

In contrast, Albrecht was able to field around 60,000 men. In addition to Maximilian's troops, he was supported by the Swabian Confederation , Duke Ulrich von Württemberg , Margrave Friedrich II and the imperial city of Nuremberg , which alone provided 5,000 men. King Maximilian declared about Ruprecht and his father Philip because of starting the war on May 5, 1504, the imperial ban .

The Landshut War of Succession, however, was the end of a conflict that had been building up within the Wittelbach family for many decades. The main participants were the lines Bayern-Landshut and Bayern-Munich as well as King Maximilian I from the House of Habsburg. Originally Albrecht IV of Munich was more likely to take a more offensive and risky course towards the Habsburg royal family, but the Landshut dukes were not friendly to the Habsburgs either. The traditionally close relationship between Dukes Georg and Albrecht deteriorated rapidly from 1493. Albrecht's succession seemed secured with the birth of his son Wilhelm . Georg, on the other hand, tried to secure his succession by changing political course: he stood on the side of the Electoral Palatinate , a step that Albrecht could not accept. King Maximilian sided with Albrecht without losing sight of his own interests, which were always based on the dynastic claim to the Habsburg hegemony .

Course of war

With his own army of 12,000 foot troops and 2,000 horsemen, Albrecht besieged Landau on June 21, 1504, and conquered it after being bombarded with bombs. On July 13th, the first major battle between Albrecht and Ruprecht's troops took place on the meadows of Altdorf near Landshut, with Götz von Berlichingen , who was on Albrecht's side, losing his hand (see also “ Iron Hand ”). The battle ended with Albrecht's victory. Ruprecht had to retire to Landshut, where he died of dysentery on August 20 . His widow Elisabeth nevertheless continued the war.

Battle of Wenzenbach in the Codex Germanicus

On August 9th, troops from the Palatinate took Kufstein and about 14 days later, after a fierce battle, Braunau . In the Upper Palatinate , Margrave Friedrich's troops conquered Freystadt and devastated the Waldsassen monastery under the abbot Georg I. Engel , but at Ebnath they were defeated by an army from Baden. The Nuremberg people conquered Lauf , Hersbruck and Altdorf near Nuremberg . In the course of this two-year war, many villages around Landshut were burned, including Ergolding .

After his victory at Landshut, Duke Albrecht besieged Neuburg an der Donau without success . A Bohemian army advanced through the Upper Palatinate, but Maximilian's army came to the rescue in time, and on September 12, 1504, in the only major battle of the war, the Battle of Wenzenbach, northeast of Regensburg, the Bohemians were defeated by the united armies . Countess Palatine Elisabeth died three days after the battle.

On behalf of their underage sons, the Palatine councils further led to war yet, and succeeded her commander Georg von Wisbeck , vohburg to conquer. Maximilian took Kufstein , after which Rattenberg , Schwaz , the Ziller and Brixental , Traunstein , Kitzbühel and Reichenhall surrendered. Wisbeck besieged Munich in vain and then set fire to Neumarkt , Schärding , Pfarrkirchen , Vilsbiburg and Burghausen , which burned down completely.

The war also wreaked havoc in the Palatinate, as almost all of the Count Palatine’s neighbors took sides against him and invaded his country. On August 30, 1504, the Limburg monastery near Bad Dürkheim was occupied by the troops of Count Emich IX. from Leiningen burned to the ground. About 300 Palatinate places were destroyed. On September 10, 1504, Count Palatine Philip concluded an armistice. However, the first peace negotiations on December 10th in Mittenwald failed. On January 23, 1505 Wisbeck was defeated by the Bavarian troops near Gangkofen , on February 9 an armistice came into force.


Contemporary representation of the Cologne arbitration award

On July 30, 1505, the war ended with the Cologne arbitration ruling by the Roman-German King Maximilian at a Reichstag in Cologne .

Duke Georg's two grandsons, Ottheinrich and Philipp , received the Young Palatinate , a fragmented area from the Upper Danube via Franconia to the northern Upper Palatinate . Neuburg an der Donau was chosen as the capital of the new state . Since the two heirs were not yet of legal age, Count Palatine Friedrich II ruled there as guardian. The later Count Palatine Ottheinrich had Neuburg an der Donau expanded into a residence with enormous funds. He later became elector of the Palatinate through succession, where he rose to become one of the most important builders of the German Renaissance with the Ottheinrichsbau of Heidelberg Castle.

Maximilian I reserved the area around Kufstein , Kitzbühel and Rattenberg as the price of his mediation. The Zillertal and Mondseeland were also lost to the Habsburgs in Bavaria. The imperial city of Nuremberg gained significant areas east of the city, including the offices of Lauf, Hersbruck and Altdorf. The rest of the Bayern-Landshut area went to the Munich line of the Wittelsbach family.

However, the war was also costly for the Electoral Palatinate: As a result of the war, most of the Alsatian possessions were lost to the Habsburgs and other areas to Hesse and Württemberg.

Both the Wittelsbachers in Bavaria and the Palatinate had thus lost extensive areas.

From 1504 on, rumors about the events of the Landshut War of Succession were spread with songs and agitational rhymes.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Landshut War of Succession. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume V, Col. 549 ff.