Albert II: Duke of Austria and Styria

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Albert II was Duke of Austria and Styria for more than two decades in the 14th Century, sharing power with his brother Otto.

Albert II, Duke of Austria and Styria

Albert was born on Dec. 12, 1298, in Habsburg Castle, in Swabia. His father was Germany's Albert I, and his mother was Elizabeth of Carinthia. Albert had three older brothers, all of whom ruled Austria and Styria before he did. When his next oldest brother, Frederick II, died, in 1330, Albert took over the ruling duties of the duchies of Austria and Styria. By that time, Albert had a younger brother, Otto. Those two brothers shared the rule of those two duchies.

Albert was a strong ally of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV and supported him against intrigues from other European powers, turning down an appeal from King Philip VI of France to join him in opposing Louis IV. Albert also, in 1350, inserted himself into a struggle between two Swiss factions, opposing the Swiss Confederacy and besieging Zürich.

Albert had married Joanna of Pfirt in 1324. They had six children, five of whom lived into adulthood: Rudolf (1339), Catherine (1342), Margaret (1346), Albert (1349), and Leopold (1351). Their son Frederick, born in 1347, briefly served as Duke of Austria but died when he was 15.

With his mind on succession, Albert established the Albertinian House Rule, stipulating that the principle of primogeniture (the right of the firstborn child–and, ideally, son–to inherit his father's main estate, lands, and titles) should apply. That is what happened when Albert died, on Aug. 16, 1358, in Vienna. His oldest son, Rudolf, succeeded him.

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