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Biography of Wenceslas, or Wenzel

Wenceslas, or Wenzel (ven'-tsel). A German emperor of the house of Luxemburg. Born in Nuremberg in 1361. He was the eldest son of Charles IV, was crowned King of Bohemia in his third year, and in 1378 succeeded his father as emperor. He annulled all debts due to Jews on the payment to himself of 15-30 per cent of the amount. The mob of Prague having slaughtered 3,000 Jews, he appropriated their property. In 1394, he was imprisoned at Prague by a conspiracy among the nobles, headed by Jodocus of Moravia, but the German princes secured his release. He joined France in urging the abdication of Boniface IX and Benedict XIII, in order that a new pope might take their place. Hereupon several German princes deposed him in 1400, electing Rupert of the Palatinate. He abdicated his claims to the imperial crown in favor of his brother Sigismund in 1410, and indulged in excesses until he died of apoplexy in 1419.

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