Albert IV of Austria (19 September 1377 – 14 September 1404) was a Duke of Austria.
He was born in Vienna, the son of Albert III of Austria and Beatrix of Nuremberg. He was the Duke of Austria from 1395 until 1404, which then included roughly today’s Lower Austria and most of Upper Austria, as the other Habsburg dominions were at that time ruled by his relatives of the Leopoldinian Line of the family.
Albert’s rule was characterized by quarrels with that part of his family and with members of the Luxemburg dynasty, Wenceslaus and Sigismund.
Albert died at Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, in 1404. He is buried in the Ducal Crypt in the Stephansdom in Vienna. He was succeeded by his son Albert. Through his maternal grandmother, Elisabeth of Meissen, Albert IV descended from Babenberg dukes of Austria.
He was married in Vienna 24 April 1390 to Joanna Sophia of Bavaria, daughter of Albrecht I, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing and Margarete of Brieg.
I have not mentioned the House of Babenburg on this blog and since Albert IV of the House of Habsburg brings the blood of the House of Babenburg back into Austria, I’ll give some basic information on this Royal House.
House of Babenberg
The House of Babenberg was a noble dynasty of Austrian margraves and dukes. Originally from Bamberg in the Duchy of Franconia (present-day Bavaria), the Babenbergs ruled the Imperial Margraviate of Austria from its creation in 976 AD until its elevation to a duchy in 1156, and from then until the extinction of the line in 1246, whereafter they were succeeded by the House of Habsburg.
The Babenberg family can be broken down into two distinct groups: 1) The Franconian Babenbergs, the so-called Elder House of Babenberg, whose name refers to Babenburg Castle, the present site of Bamberg Cathedral. Also called Popponids after their progenitor Count Poppo of Grapfeld (d. 839-41), they were related to the Frankish Robertian dynasty and ancestors of the Franconian Counts of Henneberg and of Schweinfurt.
The aforementioned Robertians, (sometimes called the Robertines in modern scholarship), are the proposed Frankish family which was ancestral to the Capetian dynasty, and thus to the royal families of France and of many other countries.
2) The Austrian Babenbergs, descendants of Margrave Leopold I, who ruled Austria from 976 onwards. This second group claimed to have originated from the first, however, scholars have not been able to verify that claim. This branch of the House of Babenburg is theorized to be connected to the The Luitpoldings who were a medieval dynasty which ruled the German stem duchy of Bavaria from some time in the late ninth century off and on until 985. The Babenburg and Luitpoldings May have an affiliation with the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach is possible though not proven.
Leopold V (1157 – 1194), was Duke of Austria from 1177 and Duke of Styria from 1192 until his death. He was a member of the House of Babenberg and was the Austrian Duke who captured King Richard I of England and held him for ransom after the Second Crusade.
The Babenbergs and the Habsburgs
The next dynasty in Austria—the Habsburgs—were originally not descendants of the Babenbergs. It was not until the children of Albert I of Germany that the Babenberg blood was brought into the Habsburg line, though this blood was from the pre-ducal Babenbergs. A side effect of this marriage was the use of the Babenberg name Leopold by the Habsburgs for one of their sons.
The Habsburgs did eventually gain descent from the Babenberg dukes, though at different times. The first Habsburg line to be descended from the Babenbergs was the Albertine line. This was achieved through the marriage of Albert III, Duke of Austria to Beatrix of Nuremberg. As such, their son, Albert IV, Duke of Austria, was the first Habsburg duke who was descended from the Babenberg dukes. However, the male line of that branch of the Habsburgs died out in 1457 with Ladislas V Posthumus of Bohemia.
The next Habsburg line to gain Babenberg blood was the Styrian line, which occurred with the children of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, the latter of whom descended from Babenberg dukes. It was actually from Elizabeth of Austria, the sister of Ladislas V Posthumus of Bohemia, that the Styrian line gained their Babenberg blood.
The Spanish line was the last Habsburg line to gain Babenberg blood. Again it was via the previous Habsburg line to gain Babenberg blood (i.e. the Styrian) that the Spanish Habsburg gained their descent from the Babenbergs — Anna of Austria, the wife of Felipe II of Spain and mother of Philip (from whom all subsequent Spanish Habsburgs were descended), was a male-line granddaughter of Ferdinand and Anna. As a result, after 1598, all Habsburg scions descended from the Babenberg Dukes.