Rudolf (Rútolf) II.(*1551 - †1616)
As a young boy, Rudolf was sent with his brother Ernest to Aragon, half as a hostage, half as a guest of Phillip I. of Aragon and Navarra. He was exposed to emotionally cold and bigot environment, which was totaly opposite to atmosphere in Vienna. On the other side he received fair education. After death of infante don Carlos, he realised that fear is not good counsellor, he became introvert, but energic. He was also silent supporter of Protestantism as his father was. Stay in Aragon not only confused him, but repelled him. When they both came back, they were quite different from Austrian princes who remain in Vienna, especially Mathias, who was very ambitious. Rudolf was colder, reserved, more cautious and less léger and popular.
As his father wished, he became Bohemian king in 1575, Roman king in 1575 and finally after Maxmillians's death also HRE emperor in 1576. As his very first important act, he signed a treaty with Agafon, son of last Dalmatian king Tomu, and in 1588 new state was established - the Austro-Bohemo-Dalmatian Monarchy, a three-ply monarchy. Rudolf thought that Dalmatia may balance the loss of Hungary in 1527. Although Dalmatia was in difficult situation under the constant pressure from Turks, with support of RTC/Hungary king Sigismund III. Vasa, Rudolf was successfull to hold Turks on south-east during 1593-1606 in so-called 15-years war.
In year 1583 Rudolf II., after moving the imperial capital from Vienna to Prague, get married to Isabel Clara Eugenia de Aragon y Navarra (daughter of Phillip I. of Aragon; *1566 - †1633), and one year later he have had a son, Maxmillian.
He decided in 1609 to well-prepare his son for role of ruler and so young Maxmillian became Margrave of Moravia. He was inspired by first Přemyslids and by king Jean de Luxembourg, who put his son Wenceslau (later king Karl IV.) into position of Moravian margrave to let him learn something about the job of ruler. It started to be a tradition for first-born sons.
Rudolf's aventuristic brother Mathias started to realise his political ambitions in 1578 in so-called "Aventeur in Netherlands". After its callapse, he lived for a short time quietly in Linz. When Ernest was called to pick up the governorship of Netherlands, Mathias became, because of strong push of his mother Maria of Aragon and Navarra, governor of Upper and Lower Austria. In 1598, an open conflict between Rudolf and Mathias started. Mathias approved unconsulted tough re-catholisation of Austrian lands with Melchior Khlesl as an bishop of Vienna and his personal chancellor. His terror leads in Austria to peasant revolts during 1594-1597. Rudolf ordered many times Mathias to stop these revolts; Mathias understood it by himself - he stopped them with violent intervention lead by Croatian ban Morakšić. Rudolf knew, that Mathias will soon or later ask his throne, so he mobilised his ally - Sigismund III. Vasa. They managed to keep Mathias quiet. When in 1599 Ernest died, Rudolf's brother and last close friend.
Being now the second oldest, Mathias again hoped to dethrone Rudolf. Accusing him to be insane and irresponcible, he tried to convince High Estates in Dalmatia and Austrian lands to rebel against his brother. His aim was to force Rudolf to sign abdication in favour of him.
As a King of Bohemia, Count of Silesia and Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia, Rudolf deliberately reacted on the thread of Mathias and being now enough strong and to prevent possible rebellion of protestant aristocracy, he signed in 1603 so-called Privilege (Privilegium libertas exercitii religionis), seeing it as a culmination of his father's endeavours in establishment of religious freedom. Privilege ensured freedom of religion, for Protestants right to build churches, right to found schools and right to take part on University of Prague. For Jews it means, that they were already not part of regalia, but legaly equal citizens to christians in Rudolf's realm. Privilege became valid in Moravia in 1604.
So Mathias' attempts to searched
for help from Bohemian, Moravian, Lusatian and Silesian Estates went void.
Only Dalmatian Estates and part of catholic Austrian aristocracy supported
him. After Mathias unsuccessfully attacked protestant Austrian aristocracy,
he was defeated by combined forces of Rudolf, Maxmillian and head of Austrian
protestants Leopold of Styria on his "March to Prague". Then
he was forced to sign Vienna Treaty: Rudolf claimed Kingdom of
Czech Crown Lands to secede and became independent of Austro-Dalmatian
Monarchy. Mathias became in 1612, as Mathias I., Austro-Dalmatian King
and Emperor of HRE, followed by his son Josef I. Bohemian Kingdom and its
crown lands were still formally members of Holy Roman Empire, but its elector
vote was mutus, as the Bohemian king as
elector automatically approves any election.
Havliš, Jan van Steenbergen, Ferenc