Frederick V of the Rhine - Encyclopedia

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FREDERICK V. (1596-1632), elector palatine of the Rhine and king of Bohemia, son of the elector Frederick IV. by his wife, Louisa Juliana, daughter of William the Silent, prince of Orange, was born at Amberg on the 26th of August 1596. He became elector on his father's death in September 1610, and was under the guardianship of his kinsman, John II., count palatine of Zweibriicken (d. 1635), until he was declared of age in July 1614. Having received a good education, Frederick had married Elizabeth, daughter of the English king James I., in February 1613, and was the recognized head of the Evangelical Union founded by his father to protect the interests of the Protestants. In 1619 he stepped into a larger arena. Before this date the estates of Bohemia, Protestant in sympathy and dissatisfied with the rule of the Habsburgs, had been in frequent communication with the elector palatine, and in August 1619, a few months after the death of the emperor Matthias, they declared his successor, Ferdinand, afterwards the emperor Ferdinand II., deposed, and chose Frederick as their king. After some hesitation the elector yielded to the entreaties of Christian I., prince of Anhalt (1568-1630), and other sanguine supporters, and was crowned king of Bohemia at Prague on the 4th of November 1619. By this time the emperor Ferdinand was able to take the aggressive, while Frederick, disappointed at receiving no assistance either from England or from the Union, had few soldiers and little money. Consequently on the 8th of November, four days after his coronation, his forces were easily routed by the imperial army under Tilly at the White Hill, near Prague, and his short reign in Bohemia ended abruptly. Soon afterwards the Palatinate was overrun by the Spaniards and Bavarians, and after a futile attempt to dislodge them, Frederick, called in derision the "Winter King," sought refuge in the Netherlands. Having been placed under the imperial ban his electorate was given in 1623 to Maximilian I. of Bavaria, who also received the electoral dignity.

The remainder of Frederick's life was spent in comparative obscurity, although his restoration was a constant subject of discussion among European diplomatists. He died at Mainz on the 29th of November 1632, having had a large family, among his children being Charles Louis (1617-1680), who regained the Palatinate at the peace of Westphalia in 1648, and Sophia, who married Ernest Augustus, afterwards elector of Hanover, and was the mother of George I., king of Great Britain. His third son was Prince Rupert, the hero of the English civil war, and another son was Prince Maurice (1620-1652), who also assisted his uncle Charles I. during the civil war. Having sailed with Rupert to the West Indies, Maurice was lost at sea in September 1652.

In addition to the numerous works which treat of the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War see A. Gindely, Friedrich V. von der Pfalz (Prague, 1884); J. Krebs, Die Politik der evangelischen Union im Jahre 7618 (Breslau, 1890-1901); M. Ritter, "Friedrich V.," in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, Band vii. (Leipzig, 1878); and Deutsche Lieder auf den Winterkonig, edited by R. Wolkan (Prague, 1899).

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