Conrad IV, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire

Conrad IV, 1228–54, German king (1237–54), king of Sicily and of Jerusalem (1250–54), son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. He was elected (1237) king of the Romans at his father's instigation after Frederick had deposed Conrad's older brother Henry in Germany. Archbishop Siegfried II of Mainz was regent for Conrad until 1241, when he was replaced by Henry Raspe, count of Thuringia. The struggle for supremacy between Frederick and Pope Innocent IV resulted in the election (1246) of Raspe as antiking at the behest of the pope. Germany was plunged into disorder; after Raspe's death (1247) William, count of Holland became antiking. When Frederick II died (1250) Conrad carried on the struggle with the pope, who was determined to bring about the downfall of the house of Hohenstaufen and to rule in Italy. In 1251, Conrad went to Italy in order to subdue the pope's supporters. He had some successes, but Innocent IV refused to give up his scheme for papal control in Italy. He offered the crown of Sicily to Richard, earl of Cornwall, and to Charles of Anjou (later Charles I, king of Naples and Sicily), who both refused, and to King Henry III of England for his second son, Edmund. He accepted. In 1254 Conrad was excommunicated. Just as war was about to erupt he died of fever. It was left for his son, Conradin, to witness the final downfall of the house of Hohenstaufen.

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