Margraviate of Moravia

The Margraviate of Moravia (Czech: Markrabství moravské; German: Markgrafschaft Mähren) was one of the lands of the Bohemian Crown existing from 1182 to 1918. It was officially administrated by a margrave in cooperation with a provincial diet. It was variously a de facto independent state, and also subject to the Duchy, later the Kingdom of Bohemia. It comprised the region called Moravia within the modern Czech Republic.

Margraviate of Moravia

Markrabství moravské  (Czech)
Markgrafschaft Mähren  (German)
The Margraviate of Moravia and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown within the Holy Roman Empire (1618)
The Margraviate in 1893
StatusCrown land of the Bohemian Crown
Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire (1198–1806)
Crown land of the Habsburg Monarchy (1526–1804), of the Austrian Empire (1804–67), and of the Cisleithanian part of Austria-Hungary (1867–1918)
CapitalOlomouc (1182–1641)
Brno (1641–1918)
Common languagesMoravian dialects of Czech
Roman Catholic
 1182–1191 (first)
Conrad II of Bohemia
 1916–1918 (last)
Charles I of Austria
LegislatureProvincial Diet
191822,222 km2 (8,580 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Bohemia
First Czechoslovak Republic
Today part of


The Margraviate lay east of Bohemia proper, with an area about half that region's size. In the north, the Sudeten Mountains, which extend to the Moravian Gate, formed the border with the Polish Duchy of Silesia, incorporated as a Bohemian crown land upon the 1335 Treaty of Trentschin. In the east and southeast, the western Carpathian Mountains separated it from present-day Slovakia. In the south, the winding Thaya River marked the border with the Duchy of Austria.

Moravians, usually considered a Czech people that speak Moravian dialects, made up the main part of the population. According to a 1910 Cisleithanian census, 27.6% identified themselves as German Moravians.[1] These ethnic Germans would later be expelled after the Second World War. Other ethnic minority groups included Poles, Roma and Slovaks.


After the early medieval Great Moravian realm had been finally defeated by the Árpád princes of Hungary in 907, what is now Slovakia was incorporated as "Upper Hungary" (Felső-Magyarország), while adjacent Moravia passed under the authority of the Duchy of Bohemia. King Otto I of Germany officially granted it to Duke Boleslaus I in turn for his support against the Hungarian forces in the 955 Battle of Lechfeld. Temporarily ruled by King Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland from 999 until 1019, Moravia was re-conquered by Duke Oldřich of Bohemia and ultimately became a land of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas held by the Přemyslid dynasty.[1]

In 1182, the Margraviate was created at the behest of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa by merger of the three Přemyslid appanage principalities of Brno, Olomouc and Znojmo, and given to Conrad II, the son of Prince Conrad of Znojmo. As heir apparent, the future King Ottokar II of Bohemia was appointed Moravian margave by his father Wenceslaus I in 1247. Along with Bohemia, Moravia was ruled by the House of Luxembourg from the extinction of the Přemyslid dynasty until 1437. Jobst, nephew of Emperor Charles IV inherited the Margraviate in 1375, ruled autonomously and was even elected King of the Romans in 1410. Shaken by the Hussite Wars, the Moravian nobles remained loyal supporters of the Luxembourg emperor Sigismund.[1]

In 1469, Moravia was occupied by the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus, who had allied with the Catholic nobility against the rule of George of Poděbrady and had himself elected rival king of Bohemia at Olomouc. The rivalry with King Vladislaus II was settled in the 1479 Peace of Olomouc, whereby Matthias renounced the royal title but retained the rule over the Moravian lands.[2]

With the other lands of the Bohemian Crown, the Margraviate was incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy upon the death of King Louis II in the 1526 Battle of Mohács. Moravia was ruled as a crown land within the Austrian Empire from 1804 and within Cisleithanian Austria from 1867.[3]

During the foundation of Czechoslovakia after World War I, the Margraviate was transformed into “Moravia Land”, later “Moravia-Silesia Land” in 1918. This autonomy was eliminated in 1949 by the communist government and has not been re-established since.[1]


The margrave held ultimate authority in Moravia, throughout the history of the margraviate. This meant that as its margraves became more foreign, so too did governance of the margraviate.

Moravia possessed a legislature, known as the Moravian Diet. The assembly has its origins in 1288, with the Colloquium generale, or curia generalis.[4] This was a meeting of the upper nobility, knights, the Bishop of Olomouc, abbots and ambassadors from royal cities. These meetings gradually evolved into the diet.

The power of this diet waxed and waned throughout history. By the end of the margraviate, the diet was almost powerless. The diet consisted of three estates of the realm: the estate of upper nobility, the estate of the lower nobility, and the estate of prelates and burghers.[5] With the February Patent of 1861, the diet was reformed into a more egalitarian body. It still retained the same structure, but the members changed. It consisted of assembly seats for landowners, city-dwellers, and rural farmers. This was retained until the diet was abolished after the fall of the Dual Monarchy.[5]

Moravian eagle

The coat of arms of Moravia is charged with a crowned silver-red chequered eagle with golden claws and tongue. It first appeared in the seal of Margrave Přemysl (1209-1239), a younger son of King Ottokar I of Bohemia. After 1462 is Moravian eagle gold-red chequered,[2] but never accepted by moravian assembly.


Until 1848

In the mid 14th century Emperor Charles IV, also King of Bohemia and Margrave of Moravia, established administrative divisions called kraje. These subdivisions were named for their capitals, some of which were:

After 1848

After the 1848 revolutions, the kraje were replaced by political districts (politický okres), which were largely retained by the Czechoslovak administration after 1918:

Rulers of Moravia

Dukes of Moravia

Přemyslid dynasty

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Bretislaus I1002/51019/29-103310 January 1055MoraviaJudith of Schweinfurt
four children
Son of Ulrich of Bohemia. First separation of Moravia from Bohemia. His father usurped his place for a year.
Ulrich I9751033-10349 November 1034MoraviaUnknown
no children

one child
After his death, his son was replaced in Moravia.
Bretislaus I1002/51034-105510 January 1055MoraviaJudith of Schweinfurt
four children
Recovered his throne. After his death his sons shared the inheritance.
Conrad Ic.10351055-10566 September 1092BrnoWirpirk of Tengling
two children
Received Brno after the partition of 1055. In the next year his brother Spytihněv ascended to Bohemia and reunited it with all Moravian lands.
Vratislaus Ic.10351055-105614 January 1092OlomoucMaria
before 1057
no children

Adelaide of Hungary I
four children

Świętosława of Poland
five children
Received Olomouc after the partition of 1055. In the next year his brother Spytihněv ascended to Bohemia and reunited it with all Moravian lands.
Otto I the Fair10451055-10569 June 1087ZnojmoEuphemia of Hungary
before 1073
two children
Received Znojmo after the partition of 1055. In the next year his brother Spytihněv ascended to Bohemia and reunited it with all Moravian lands.
Spytihněv I10311056-106128 January 1061MoraviaIda of Wettin
one child
United Bohemian and Moravian lands.
Conrad Ic.10351061-10926 September 1092Brno and ZnojmoWirpirk of Tengling
two children
Received Brno and Znojmo. In 1092 divided the land between his two sons.
Otto I the Fair10451061-10879 June 1087OlomoucEuphemia of Hungary
before 1073
two children
Received Olomouc after the partition of 1061.
Boleslaus10621087-109111 August 1091OlomoucUnmarriedReceived Olomouc after the partition of 1061.
Svatopluk I the Lion10751091-110921 September 1109OlomoucUnknown
one child
Leopold I?1092-111215 March 1112ZnojmoIda of Austria
one child
Son of Conrad I. Received Znojmo after the partition of 1092. Left no descendants, and his lands was reunited with Brno
Ulrich II c.1035 1092-1112 5 January 1113 Brno Adelaide
two children
Son of Conrad I. Received Brno after the partition of 1092. In 1112 reunited Brno and Znojmo.
1112-1113Brno and ZnojmoSophia of Berg
three children
Sobeslaus Ic.10751113-112314 February 1140Brno and ZnojmoAdelaide of Hungary II
five children
Son of Vratislaus I.
Conrad IIc.10751123-116114 February 1140ZnojmoMaria of Serbia
four children
Son of Vratislaus I.
Otto II the Black 1085 1109-1123 18 February 1126 Olomouc Unknown
one child
Ruled in Olomouc, since 1091 with his brother Svatopluk. Acquired Brno in 1123.
1123-1126Olomouc and Brno
Wenceslaus Henry11071126-11301 March 1130OlomoucUnmarried
Vratislaus IIc.11111126-11461146BrnoA Russian princess
three children
Leopold II11021130-11371143OlomoucUnmarriedSon of Bořivoj II, Duke of Bohemia.
Vladislaus?1137-11401165OlomoucUnmarriedSon of Sobeslaus I.
Otto III11221140-116012 May 1160OlomoucDurancia
five children
Son of Otto II.
Spytihněv II?1146?-11821199BrnoUmarriedIn 1182 abdicated for Conrad III.
Frederick I11421160-117325 March 1189OlomoucElizabeth of Hungary
six children
Son of Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia.
Ulrich III11341173-117718 October 1177OlomoucCecilia of Thuringia
no children

Sophia of Meissen
no children
Son of Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia.
Wenceslaus11371177-1178after 1192OlomoucUnmarriedSon of Sobeslaus I. Abdicated for Conrad III.
Conrad III Otto c.1136 1161-1178 9 September 1191 Znojmo Hellicha of Wittelsbach
before 1176
no children
Son of Conrad II. United Znojmo and Olomouc. Brno joined in 1182, when he also became the first Margrave of Moravia.
1178-1182Znojmo and Olomouc

Margraves of Moravia

Přemyslid dynasty

united with Bohemia 1189-1197

directly held by King Rudolph I of Germany 1278-1283

Various dynasties


Various dynasties



Under the united rule of the Bohemian kings from 1611 (see List of rulers of Bohemia).


  1. Pánek, Jaroslav; Tůma, Oldřich (2009). A History of the Czech Lands. Prague: Charles University Press. ISBN 978-80-246-1645-2.
  2. Prinz, Friedrich (1993). Deutsche Geschichte in Osten Europas: Böhmen und Mähren. Berlin: Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag GmbH. p. 381. ISBN 3-88680-200-0. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  3. Urban, Otto (1998). "V.". Czech Society 1848–1918. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43155-7. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  4. Válka, Josef (1995). Dějiny Moravy: Morava reformace, renesance a baroka (in Czech). Brno: Muzejní a vlastivědná společnost v Brně. ISBN 9788085048629. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  5. David, Jiří (2009). "Moravian estatism and provincial councils in the second half of the 17th century". Folia historica Bohemica. 1. 24: 111–165. ISSN 0231-7494.

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