Frederick I of the Rhine - Encyclopedia

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FREDERICK I. (1425-1476), elector palatine of the Rhine, surnamed "the Victorious," and called by his enemies "wicked Fritz," second son of the elector palatine Louis III., was born on the 1st of August 1425. He inherited a part of the Palatinate on his father's death in 1439, but soon surrendered this inheritance to his elder brother, the elector Louis IV. On his brother's death in 1449, however, he became guardian of the young elector Philip, and ruler of the land. In 1451 he persuaded the nobles to recognize him as elector, on condition that Philip should be his successor, a scheme which was disliked by the emperor Frederick III. The elector was successful in various wars with neighbouring rulers, and was a leading member of the band of princes who formed plans to secure a more efficient government for Germany, and even discussed the deposition of Frederick III. Frederick himself was mentioned as a candidate for the German throne, but the jealousies of the princes prevented any decisive action, and soon became so acute that in 1459 they began to fight among themselves. In alliance with Louis IX., duke of BavariaLandshut, Frederick gained several victories during the struggle, and in 1462 won a decisive battle at Seckenheim over Ulrich V., count of Wurttemberg. In 1472 the elector married Clara Tott, or Dett, the daughter of an Augsburg citizen, and by her he had two sons, Frederick, who died during his father's lifetime, and Louis (d. 1524), who founded the line of the counts of Lowenstein. He died at Heidelberg on the 12th of December 1476, and was succeeded, according to the compact, by his nephew Philip. Frederick was a cultured prince, and, in spite of his warlike career, a wise and intelligent ruler. He added largely to the area of the Palatinate, and did not neglect to further its internal prosperity.

See N. Feeser, Friedrich der Siegreiche, Kurfurst von der Pfalz (Neuburg, 1880); C. J. Kremer, Geschichte des Kurfiirsten Friedrichs I. von der Pfalz (Leipzig, 1765); and K. Menzel, Kurfurst Friedrich der Siegreiche von der Pfalz (Munich, 1861).

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