Count Rudolph IV
Who was he: Rudolph IV of Austria is not a well-known historical character even in Switzerland where an earlier Rudolf I had much to do with making Switzerland, and Zurich in particular, the leading banking center for private wealth in the world today. Rudolph's claim to fame was his lifelong effort to make Vienna one of the greatest cities in Europe and specifically to eclipse the competing city of Prague.
Finally, he created a fake document called the "Privilegium Maius," which basically empowered the Habsburg Monarchy to the throne of Austria and neighboring holdings where they ruled for almost 600 years. Actually, the last Habsburg ruler in Hungary abdicated in 1919 but this black nobility of questionable origin continues to retain power and privilege today in the public and private sector through banking and high finance positions.
For example, Otto von Habsburg is President of the Pan European Union, an honorary professor of the University of Jerusalem and recipient of many awards. Also, Archduke Rudolf of Austria, named after Count Rudolph IV, passed away on May 15, 2010 after a career on Wall Street and as a bank director. One can see how for these wealthy families, the political control of monarchy has been replaced simply by the more powerful and lucrative attraction of money power. They often still control nations and events with their vast financial wealth while hiding behind the curtain of debt and regulatory democracy which claim to represent the will of the voter but are in actuality just fronts for the same special interests behind the former monarchies.
Background: Rudolph IV was born on November 1, 1339, the third generation of Habsburg dukes in Austria but the first to be born there. Rudolph always considered Austria home and was very popular with his subjects. He was the oldest son of Duke Albert II of Austria and sought to restore to the family the Imperial Crown which was lost when his grandfather had been assassinated.
In 1357 he married Catherine of Luxembourg and became very jealous of his father-in-law, who ruled from his capital in Prague. Rudolph wanted to make his city, Vienna, equal to or greater than Prague so he embarked on a building program, adding to St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna to compete with Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral. Rudolph IV also tried to compete with Charles University in Prague by founding the University of Vienna in 1365, which is today the longest-running university in the German-speaking world. Rudolph IV also protected property from being owned by the Church and introduced a stable currency called the Wiener Pfennig (the Vienna Penny).
Rudolf IV died while visiting Milan in 1365 at the early age of 26. It is certain he would have accomplished far more for the Habsburgs and Austria had he lived longer.