House of Luxembourg

House of Luxembourg
Armoiries Comtes de Luxembourg.svg
Coat of arms
Country Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Germany
Kingdom of Bohemia
County of Luxembourg
Ancestral house House of Limburg
Titles Holy Roman Emperor
King of the Romans
King of Bohemia
Counts of Luxembourg
Founder Henry V, Count of Luxembourg
Final sovereign Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Founding 1247
Dissolution 1437

The House of Luxembourg was a late medieval German dynasty, which between 1308 and 1437 ruled the Holy Roman Empire, twice interrupted by the rivaling House of Wittelsbach.



It initially was a cadet branch of the ducal House of Limburg, when in 1247 Henry, younger son of Duke Waleran III inherited the County of Luxembourg upon the death of his mother Countess Ermesinde, a scion of the House of Namur. Her father, Count Henry IV of Luxembourg, was related on his mother's side with the Ardennes-Verdun dynasty (also called the Elder House of Luxembourg), which had ruled the county since the late 10th century.

Count Henry V's grandson Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg upon the death of his father Henry VI at the 1288 Battle of Worringen, was elected Rex Romanorum in 1308. The election was necessary after the Habsburg king Albert I of Germany had been murdered, and Henry, backed by his brother Prince-Archbishop Baldwin of Trier, prevailed against Count Charles of Valois. Henry arranged the marriage of his son John with the Přemyslid heiress Elisabeth of Bohemia in 1310, whereupon the House of Luxembourg gained the vast Kingdom of Bohemia as a significant power basis to compete with the Habsburg and Wittelsbach dynasties. One year after being crowned Holy Roman Emperor at Rome, Henry VII, still on campaign in Italy, died in 1313.

Holy Roman Empire under Charles IV

The Prince-electors, perturbed by the steep rise of the Luxembourgs, disregarded the claims raised by Henry's heir King John, and the rule over the Empire was assumed by the Wittelsbach duke Louis of Bavaria. John instead concentrated on securing his rule in Bohemia and gradually vassalized the Piast dukes of adjacent Silesia from 1327 until 1335. His son Charles IV, in 1346 again gained the Imperial crown, the most capable ruler of the Luxembourg dynasty, whose Golden Bull of 1356 served as a constitution of the Empire for centuries. Charles not only acquired the duchies of Brabant and Limburg in the west, but also the former March of Lusatia (Lower Lusatia) and even the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1373, then holding two votes in the electoral college.

The family's decline began under Charles' son King Wenceslaus, who was deposed by the Prince-electors in 1400, who chose the Wittelsbach Elector Palatine Rupert. In 1410 the rule was assumed by Wenceslaus' brother Sigismund, who once again stabled the rule of the Luxembourgs and even contributed to end the Western Schism in 1417; however, with his death in 1437, the dynasty became extinct. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, the Habsburg archduke Albert V of Austria. The Habsburgs finally prevailed as Luxembourg heirs, ruling the Empire until their extinction upon the death of Maria Theresa in 1780.

Notable members

Luxemburg family tree

Staufen dynasty.JPG


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