Wenceslaus II, 1271–1305, king of Bohemia (1278–1305) and of Poland (1300–1305), son and successor of Ottocar II. From the death (1278) of his father until 1283 the regency was exercised by Otto, margrave of Brandenburg, appointed by the German king Rudolf I of Hapsburg. Otto abused his power, and the Bohemians suffered greatly until Rudolf's intervention reestablished order. After Wenceslaus's entry (1283) into Prague, his mother's secret husband, Zavis of Falckenstein, rose to power. Zavis's intrigues and his hostility to Rudolf I, whose daughter Judith was the wife of Wenceslaus, led to Zavis's downfall. In 1290, Wenceslaus had Zavis beheaded and began his personal rule. Although poorly educated, Wenceslaus planned to codify Bohemian law, and he reformed the currency. Wenceslaus soon adopted Zavis's anti-Hapsburg policy and greatly extended his power. At the invitation of some Polish lords he accepted (1291) the duchy of Kraków and in 1300 was crowned king of all Poland. In 1301 he accepted for his son (later Wenceslaus III) the crown of Hungary. The new German king, Albert I of Hapsburg, and Pope Boniface VIII demanded that Wenceslaus give up Poland and Hungary and the rights to the rich silver mines of Kutna Hora, key to Bohemian strength. Wenceslaus repulsed Albert's invasion (1304) and was preparing to invade Austria when he died.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Czech and Slovak History: Biographies