The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest contiguous land empire in history. Originating from Mongolia, the Mongol Empire stretched from Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe to the Sea of Japan, extending northwards into Siberia and southwards into the Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau; the Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of several nomadic tribes in the Mongol homeland under the leadership of Genghis Khan, whom a council proclaimed ruler of all the Mongols in 1206. The empire grew under his rule and that of his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction; the vast transcontinental empire connected the East with the West with an enforced Pax Mongolica, allowing the dissemination and exchange of trade, technologies and ideologies across Eurasia. The empire began to split due to wars over succession, as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from his son and initial heir Ögedei or from one of his other sons, such as Tolui, Chagatai, or Jochi.
The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of Ögedeid and Chagataid factions, but disputes continued among the descendants of Tolui. A key reason for the split was the dispute over whether the Mongol Empire would become a sedentary, cosmopolitan empire, or would stay true to their nomadic and steppe lifestyle. After Möngke Khan died, rival kurultai councils elected different successors, the brothers Ariq Böke and Kublai Khan, who fought each other in the Toluid Civil War and dealt with challenges from the descendants of other sons of Genghis. Kublai took power, but civil war ensued as he sought unsuccessfully to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ögedeid families. During the reigns of Genghis and Ögedei, the Mongols suffered the occasional defeat when a less skilled general was given a command; the Siberian Tumads defeated the Mongol forces under Borokhula around 1215–1217. In each case, the Mongols returned shortly after with a much larger army led by one of their best generals, were invariably victorious.
The Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee in 1260 marked the first time that the Mongols would not return to avenge a defeat, due to a combination of the death of Möngke Khan, the Toluid Civil War between Arik Boke and Khubilai, Berke of the Golden Horde attacking Hulegu in Persia. Although the Mongols launched many more invasions of the Levant occupying it and raiding as far as Gaza after a decisive victory at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar in 1299, they withdrew due to various geopolitical factors. By the time of Kublai's death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives: The Golden Horde khanate in the northwest; the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia. The Ilkhanate in the southwest; the Yuan dynasty in the east based in modern-day Beijing. In 1304, the three western khanates accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Yuan dynasty, but in 1368 the Han Chinese Ming dynasty took over the Mongol capital; the Genghisid rulers of the Yuan retreated to the Mongolian homeland and continued to rule there as the Northern Yuan dynasty.
The Ilkhanate disintegrated in the period 1335–1353. The Golden Horde had broken into competing khanates by the end of the 15th century whilst the Chagatai Khanate lasted in one form or another until 1687. What is referred to in English as the Mongol Empire was called the Ikh Mongol Uls. In the 1240s, one of Genghis's descendants, Güyük Khan, wrote a letter to Pope Innocent IV which used the preamble "Dalai Khagan of the great Mongolian state". After the succession war between Kublai Khan and his brother Ariq Böke, Ariq limited Kublai's power to the eastern part of the empire. Kublai issued an imperial edict on 18 December 1271 to name the country Great Yuan to establish the Yuan dynasty; some sources state. The area around Mongolia and parts of North China had been controlled by the Liao dynasty since the 10th century. In 1125, the Jin dynasty founded by the Jurchens overthrew the Liao dynasty and attempted to gain control over former Liao territory in Mongolia. In the 1130s the Jin dynasty rulers, known as the Golden Kings resisted the Khamag Mongol confederation, ruled at the time by Khabul Khan, great-grandfather of Genghis Khan.
The Mongolian plateau was occupied by five powerful tribal confederations: Keraites, Khamag Mongol, Naiman and Tatar. The Jin emperors, following a policy of divide and rule, encouraged disputes among the tribes between the Tatars and the Mongols, in order to keep the nomadic tribes distracted by their own battles and thereby away from the Jin. Khabul's successor was Ambaghai Khan, betrayed by the Tatars, handed over to the Jurchen, executed; the Mongols retaliated by raiding the frontier, resulting in a failed Jurchen counter-attack in 1143. In 1147, the Jin somewhat changed their policy, signing a peace treaty with the Mongols and withdrawing from a score of forts; the Mongols resumed attacks on the Tatars to avenge the death of their late khan, opening a long period of active hostilities. The Jin and Tatar armies defeated the Mongols in 1161. During
Rostislav Mikhailovich was a Rus' prince, a dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary. He was prince of Novgorod, of Halych, of Lutsk, of Chernigov; when he could not strengthen his rule in Halych, he went to the court of King Béla IV of Hungary, married the king's daughter, Anna. He was the Ban of Slavonia, he became the first Duke of Macsó, thus he governed the southern parts of the kingdom. In 1257, he thenceforward he styled himself Tsar of Bulgaria. Rostislav was the eldest son of Prince Mikhail Vsevolodovich and his wife Elena Romanovna, a daughter of Roman Mstislavich, prince of Volhynia and Halych; the Russian annals mentioned him for the first time in 1229 when the Novgorodians invited his father to be their prince. Rostislav underwent the ritual hair-cutting ceremony in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod on May 19, 1230, his father installed him on the throne; the postrig conferred on Rostislav the official status of prince of Novgorod and thus he ruled Novgorod as a fledged prince after the ceremony.
Rostislav, in keeping with his father's policy, continued to pass legislation favoring the Novgorodians. In September a frost destroyed the crops in the Novgorod district causing a great famine. Novgorodians opposed to his father's rule took advantage of the calamity to foment unrest, they incited the townsmen to plunder the court of Posadnik Vodovik, his father's man. Although the posadnik forced the rival boyars to swear oaths of allegiance on November 6, but a month when he and Rostislav visited Torzhok, the Novgorodians looted Vodovik's court and those of his supporters. Shortly afterwards Rostislav was forced to flee to his father; the Novgorodians considered themselves free to invite another prince, they summoned Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir, who came on December 30. Towards the end of September 1235, Mikhail Vsevolodovich occupied Halych whose prince Daniil Romanovich had fled from the principality. In the spring of 1236, Rostislav accompanied his father who attacked the principality of Volhynia, still under the rule of Daniil Romanovich.
However, in the meantime the Cumans plundered the Galician lands forcing Mikhail Vsevolodovich to abandon his campaign. At the beginning of the summer of 1236, Daniil Romanovich and his brother Vasilko Romanovich rallied their troops to march against Mikhail Vsevolodovich and Rostislav, but they barricaded themselves in Halych with their retinue, the local militia, a contingent of Hungarians sent by king Béla IV, thus their opponents had to withdraw. After the Hungarian troops had departed, Daniil Romanovich tried again, Mikhail Vsevolodovich attempted to placate him by giving him Przemyśl. Shortly afterwards, Rostislav was appointed to rule Halych by his father, about departing for Kiev, occupied by Yaroslav Vsevolodovich. After Mikhail had reoccupied Kiev, he and Rostislav attacked Przemyśl and took it back from Daniil Romanovich. Rostislav retained the loyalty of the Galician boyars but he was not as capable a military commander as his father. Around 1237, he rode against the Lithuanians who had pillaged the lands of duke Conrad of Mazovia, his ally against Daniil Romanovich.
He took all the boyars and horsemen with him and only a skeleton force remained behind to defend Halych. The people of Halych installed him as prince. On hearing the news, Rostislav fled to king Béla IV. In the winter of 1237, the Tatar troops led by Batu Khan devastated Ryazan. During the first half of 1240, Mikhail Vsevolodovich defied Batu Khan by putting his envoys, who were seeking to coax him into submitting, to death; the only allies to whom he could turn for aid were the Hungarians and the Poles, therefore he fled to Hungary. He attempted to arrange a marriage for Rostislav with the king's daughter, but Béla IV saw no advantage to forming an alliance and evicted the two princes from Hungary. Rostislav and his father went to Masovia where his father decided that the expedient course of action was to seek reconciliation with Daniil Romanovich, controlling his domains by that time and holding Mikhail Vsevolodovich's wife captive. Mikhail Vsevolodovich sent envoys to his brother-in-law admitting that he had sinned against him on many occasions by waging war and by reneging on his promises.
He pledged never again to antagonize Daniil Romanovich and forswore making any future attempts on Halych. Daniil Romanovich invited him to Volhynia, returned his wife, relinquished control of Kiev and he gave Lutsk to Rostislav, evidently, in compensation for taking away Halych. Meanwhile, the Tatars sacked Kiev which fell on December 6, 1240. On learning Kiev's fate, Mikhail Vsevolodovich and his family withdrew from Volhynia and for the second time imposed himself on Conrad of Mazovia's graces. In the spring of 1241, Mikhail Vsevolodovich gave Chernigov to Rostislav. Boyar greed gave Rostislav the pretext for reviving his quest for Halych where the local magnates acknowledged Daniil Romanovich as their prince, but appropriated authority to themselves. In 1241, Rostislav marshaled the princes of Bolokhoveni, besieged Bakota, an important purveyor of salt; when he failed to take the city, he withdrew to Chernigov, but he redirected his attack a
The Morava is a river in Central Europe, a left tributary of the Danube. It is the main river of Moravia; the river originates on the Králický Sněžník mountain in the north-eastern corner of Pardubice Region, near the border between the Czech Republic and Poland and has a vaguely southward trajectory. The lower part of the river's course forms the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia and between Austria and Slovakia. Though the German name March may refer to Mark, "border, frontier", the river's name more is derived from Proto-Indo-European *mori, "waters", it was first documented as Maraha in an 892 deed. The shores of the Morava have been inhabited for a long time; the village of Stillfried, in the Austrian part of the river course, has been the place of a human settlement 30,000 years ago. Agriculture began to be practiced in the Morava valley 7,000 years ago. Fortified settlements began to appear in the river valley during the New Stone Age; the lower part of the river, downstream of the confluence with the Thaya at Hohenau an der March, which today marks the Austro-Slovakian border, is one of the oldest national boundaries still extant in continental Europe: it was the eastern boundary of the Carolingian Empire with the Avar Khaganate around 800 and from the 10th century onwards marked the border of the Imperial marcha orientalis Duchy of Austria with the Kingdom of Hungary.
At the times of the Cold War, this section of the river was part of the Iron curtain, being the frontier between Austria and Czechoslovakia. In July 1997, the Morava basin was affected by heavy stratiform raining, which lasted several days and caused catastrophic floods on the Oder River basin in Poland and Germany. In the Czech Republic, 49 people lost their life, more than 250 villages had to be evacuated and the total damage cost 63 billion crowns; the river originates in the Králický Sněžník mountains in north-western Moravia, not far from the border with Poland. The lowlands formed by the river are the Upper Moravian Vale or Hornomoravský úval and the Lower Moravian Vale or Dolnomoravský úval in Moravia, the Moravian Field or Marchfeld in Lower Austria, the Záhorie Lowland or Záhorská nížina in Slovakia; the latter three are continuous parts of one large basin, forming the major part of the Vienna Basin. In the Czech Republic, there are some larger towns lying upon Morava Olomouc, Kroměříž, Uherské Hradiště and Hodonín.
Brno, the second largest city of Czech Republic, lies within the river basin. The catchment area of the river has a population of c. 3,5 million people. Downstream from Hodonín, the river flows along sparsely inhabited, forested border area, all the way to its outfall into the Danube, just below the Devín Castle at the outskirts of the Slovak capital Bratislava. After 354 km of its course, Morava feeds the Danube by an average discharge rate of 120 m3/s, gathered from a drainage area of 26 658 km2; the river's longest tributary by far is the Thaya or Dyje, flowing in at the tripoint of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The biggest tributary from the left is Bečva; the Morava is a lowland river with a basin. The average slope of the river is 1.8‰ and at the confluence 4‰. The bedrock of the river basin is crystalline bedrock and flysch; the Morava river is unusual in. The Morava river forms an important link between the Danube Valley and the plains of northern Europe, for animals as well as, at least for humans.
Its weak slope across flat plains furthermore means that the river is prone to meander and flood, creating vast floodplains. Because of these reasons, the floodplains of the Morava river are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems in Europe, its richness in plant and animal species ranks it second in diversity only to the Danube Delta. During the 20th century however, large tracts of the river downstream from Litovel, have been regulated with the ensuing effect of loss of inundation areas. Since the river basin is densely populated and the Czech part, the river receives a lot of wastewater. Agriculture contributes to spreading nitrogen and other nutrients into the river; the central part of the river has retained much of its natural character and in years conscious efforts have been made to protect the nature and ecosystem of the river basin. March of Austria March of Moravia Geographic data related to Morava at OpenStreetMap
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings. Bohemia was a duchy of Great Moravia an independent principality, a kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire, subsequently a part of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire. After World War I and the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, Bohemia became a part of Czechoslovakia. Between 1938 and 1945, border regions with sizeable German-speaking minorities of all three Czech lands were joined to Nazi Germany as the Sudetenland; the remainder of Czech territory became the Second Czechoslovak Republic and was subsequently occupied as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, In 1969, the Czech lands were given autonomy within Czechoslovakia as the Czech Socialist Republic. In 1990, the name was changed to the Czech Republic, which became a separate state in 1993 with the split of Czechoslovakia.
Until 1948, Bohemia was an administrative unit of Czechoslovakia as one of its "lands". Since administrative reforms have replaced self-governing lands with a modified system of "regions" which do not follow the borders of the historical Czech lands. However, the three lands are mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution of the Czech Republic: "We, citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia and Silesia…"Bohemia had an area of 52,065 km2 and today is home to 6.5 million of the Czech Republic's 10.5 million inhabitants. Bohemia was bordered in the south by Upper and Lower Austria, in the west by Bavaria and in the north by Saxony and Lusatia, in the northeast by Silesia, in the east by Moravia. Bohemia's borders were marked by mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, the Krkonoše, a part of the Sudetes range. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans were competing for dominance in northern Italy with various peoples including the Gauls-Celtic tribe Boii; the Romans defeated the Boii at the Battle of Mutina.
After this, many of the Boii retreated north across the Alps. Much Roman authors refer to the area they had once occupied as Boiohaemum; the earliest mention was by Tacitus' Germania 28, mentions of the same name are in Strabo and Velleius Paterculus. The name appears to include the tribal name Boi- plus the Germanic element *haimaz "home"; this Boiohaemum was isolated to the area where King Marobod's kingdom was centred, within the Hercynian forest. Emperor Constantine VII in 10th century De Administrando Imperio mentioned the region as Boïki; the Czech name "Čechy" is derived from the name of the Slavic ethnic group, the Czechs, who settled in the area during the 6th or 7th century AD. Bohemia, like neighbouring Bavaria, is named after the Boii, who were a large Celtic nation known to the Romans for their migrations and settlement in northern Italy and other places. Another part of the nation moved west with the Helvetii into southern France, one of the events leading to the interventions of Julius Caesar's Gaulish campaign of 58 BC.
The emigration of the Helvetii and Boii left southern Germany and Bohemia a inhabited "desert" into which Suebic peoples arrived, speaking Germanic languages, became dominant over remaining Celtic groups. To the south, over the Danube, the Romans extended their empire, to the southeast in present-day Hungary, were Dacian peoples. In the area of modern Bohemia the Marcomanni and other Suebic groups were led by their king Marobodus, after suffering defeat to Roman forces in Germany, he took advantage of the natural defenses provided by its forests. They were able to maintain a strong alliance with neighbouring tribes including the Lugii, Hermunduri and Buri, sometimes controlled by the Roman Empire, sometimes in conflict with it, for example in the second century when they fought Marcus Aurelius. In late classical times and the early Middle Ages, two new Suebic groupings appeared to the west of Bohemia in southern Germany, the Alemanni, the Bavarians. Many Suebic tribes from the Bohemian region took part in such movements westwards settling as far away as Spain and Portugal.
With them were tribes who had pushed from the east, such as the Vandals, Alans. Other groups pushed southwards towards Pannonia; the last known mention of the kingdom of the Marcomanni, concerning a queen named Fritigil is in the 4th century, she was thought to have lived in or near Pannonia. The Suebian Langobardi, who moved over many generations from the Baltic Sea, via the Elbe and Pannonia to Italy, recorded in a tribal history a time spent in "Bainaib". After this migration period, Bohemia was repopulated around the 6th century, Slavic tribes arrived from the east, their language began to replace the older Germanic and Sarmatian ones; these are precursors of today's Czechs, though the exact amount of Slavic immigration is a subject of debate. The Slavic influx was divided into three waves; the first wave came from the
Rudolf II, Duke of Austria
Rudolf II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 to 1283, jointly with his elder brother Albert I, who succeeded him. Rudolf II was born in Rheinfelden, the youngest son of Count Rudolf of Habsburg and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenberg to survive infancy. In 1273 his father was elected King of the Romans, the first of the Habsburg dynasty, whereafter he seized the "princeless" duchies of Austria and Carinthia from the Bohemian king Ottokar II. After King Ottokar was defeated and killed in the 1278 Battle on the Marchfeld, King Rudolf in December 1282 vested his sons Albert and Rudolf II with the Austrian and Styrian duchies. However, in the Treaty of Rheinfelden on 1 June 1283 Rudolf II had to relinquish his share in favour of his elder brother Albert. In compensation Rudolf II was designated as future King of the Romans and his father appointed him a "Duke of Swabia" - more or less an honorific title, as the former stem duchy had been in long-term disarray after the last Hohenstaufen duke, the underage Conradin, was killed in 1268.
In Swabia the former Counts of Habsburg only held various smaller home territories summed up as Further Austria, of which Rudolf II never got hold. In the course of the reconciliation process with the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty, Rudolf II in 1289 married Agnes of Bohemia, daughter of the late King Ottokar II, they had John of Swabia. Rudolf II died at the age of 20 in Prague, where he stayed at the court of his brother-in-law King Wenceslaus II, husband of his sister Judith of Habsburg. In the same year his son was born, his brother's failure to ensure that Rudolf II would be adequately compensated for relinquishing his claim on the throne caused strife in the Habsburg dynasty, leading to the assassination of Albert I by Rudolph's son John Parricida in 1308
Rudolf I of Germany
Rudolf I known as Rudolf of Habsburg, was Count of Habsburg from about 1240 and King of Germany from 1273 until his death. Rudolf's election marked the end of the Great Interregnum in the Holy Roman Empire after the death of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II in 1250. A Swabian count, he was the first Habsburg to acquire the duchies of Austria and Styria in opposition to his mighty rival, the Přemyslid king Ottokar II of Bohemia, whom he defeated in the 1278 Battle on the Marchfeld; the territories remained under Habsburg rule for more than 600 years, forming the core of the Habsburg Monarchy and the present-day country of Austria. Rudolf was the first king of the Romans of the Habsburg dynasty, he played a vital role in raising the comital house to the rank of Imperial princes, he was the first of a number of late medieval count-kings, so called by the historian Bernd Schneidmüller, from the rival noble houses of Habsburg and Wittelsbach, all striving after the Roman-German royal dignity, taken over by the Habsburgs in 1438.
Rudolf was born on 1 May 1218 at Limburgh Castle near Sasbach am Kaiserstuhl in the Breisgau region of present-day southwestern Germany. He was the son of Count Albert IV of Habsburg and of Hedwig, daughter of Count Ulrich of Kyburg. Around 1232, he was given as a squire to his uncle, Rudolf I, Count of Laufenburg, to train in knightly pursuits. At his father's death in 1239, he inherited large estates from him around the ancestral seat of Habsburg Castle in the Aargau region of present-day Switzerland as well as in Alsace. Thus, in 1240 in order to quell the rising power of Rudolf and in an attempt to place the important "Devil’s Bridge" across the Schöllenenschlucht under his direct control, Emperor Frederick II, granted Schwyz Reichsfreiheit in the Freibrief von Faenza. In 1242, Hugh of Tuffenstein provoked Count Rudolf through contumelious expressions. In turn, the Count of Habsburg failed to take his seat of power; as the day passed on, Count Rudolf bribed the sentinels of the city and gained entry, killing Hugh in the process.
In 1244, to help control Lake Lucerne and restrict the neighboring forest communities of Uri and Unterwalden, Rudolf built near its shores Neuhabsburg Castle. In 1245 Rudolf married Gertrude, daughter of Count Burkhard III of Hohenberg, he received as her dowry the castles of Oettingen, the valley of Weile, other places in Alsace, he became an important vassal in Swabia, the former Alemannic German stem duchy. That same year, Emperor Frederick II was excommunicated by Pope Innocent IV at the Council of Lyon. Rudolf sided against the Emperor; this gave them a pretext to damage Neuhabsburg. Rudolf defended it and drove them off; as a result, Rudolf, by siding with the Pope, gained influence. Rudolf paid frequent visits to the court of his godfather, the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II, his loyalty to Frederick and his son, King Conrad IV of Germany, was richly rewarded by grants of land. In 1254, he engaged with other nobles of the Staufen party against Bishop of Basle; when night fell, he burnt down the local nunnery.
Pope Innocent IV excommunicated him and all parties involved. As penance, he took up the cross and joined Ottokar II, King of Bohemia in the Prussian Crusade of 1254. Whilst there, he oversaw the founding of the city of Königsberg, named in memory of King Ottokar; the disorder in Germany during the interregnum after the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty afforded an opportunity for Count Rudolf to increase his possessions. His wife was a Hohenberg heiress. Successful feuds with the Bishops of Strasbourg and Basel further augmented his wealth and reputation, including rights over various tracts of land that he purchased from abbots and others; these various sources of wealth and influence rendered Rudolf the most powerful prince and noble in southwestern Germany. In the autumn of 1273, the prince-electors met to choose a king after Richard of Cornwall had died in England in April 1272. Rudolf's election in Frankfurt on 1 October 1273, when he was 55 years old, was due to the efforts of his brother-in-law, the Hohenzollern burgrave Frederick III of Nuremberg.
The support of Duke Albert II of Saxony and Elector Palatine Louis II had been purchased by betrothing them to two of Rudolf's daughters. As a result, within the electoral college, King Ottokar II of Bohemia, himself a candidate for the throne and related to the late Hohenstaufen king Philip of Swabia, was alone in opposing Rudolf. Other candidates were Prince Siegfried I of Anhalt and Margrave Frederick I of Meissen, a young grandson of the excommunicated Emperor Frederick II, who did not yet have a principality of his own as his father was still alive. By the admission of Duke Henry XIII of Lower Bavaria instead of the King of Bohemia as the seventh Elector, Rudolf gained all seven votes. Rudolf was crowned in Aachen Cathedral on 24 October 1273. To win the approbation of the Pope, Rudolf renounced all imperial rights in Rome, the papal territory, Sicily, promised to lead a new crusade. Pope Gregory X, despite the protests of Ottokar II of Bohemia, not only recognised Rudolf himself, but persuaded King Alfonso X of Castile, chosen German