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Joanna of Pfirt

Joanna of Pfirt

Duchess consort of Austria
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Duchess consort of Austria
Gender female
Birth 1 January 1300 (Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland)
Death 15 November 1351 (Vienna, Austria)
Mother: Joanna of Burgundy
Spouse: Albert IIDuke of Austria
Children: Rudolf IVDuke of AustriaAlbert IIIDuke of AustriaLeopold IIIDuke of AustriaFrederick IIIDuke of AustriaMargaret of Austria
The details

Countess Joanna of Pfirt (1300 – 15 November 1351) was Duchess consort of Austria and a member of the House of Habsburg by marriage. She was the elder daughter of Ulrich III of Pfirt and his wife, Joanna of Burgundy.



When Reginald of Burgundy died in 1322, his daughter, Joanna (Joanna of Pfirt's mother) inherited her father's domains. Joanna and Ulrich had 4 daughters and no sons. When Ulrich died in 1324, Joanna sold her domains (including Belfort) to Albert II, Duke of Austria. Ulrich's surviving legacy was his two surviving daughters Joanna and Ursula.

Joanna's mother was however remarried to Rudolf Hesso, Margrave of Baden-Baden and had two more daughters: Margaret and Adelaide.

When Albert's brother, Leopold I, Duke of Austria found out that the late Count of Pfirt's daughter, Joanna was still unmarried and with the lands of Pfirt, Joanna was an attractive party. He had his brother, Albert who had taken away Joanna's inheritance, marry her.


Joanna married Albert II, Duke of Austria, son of Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol in Vienna on 26 March 1324.

Statue of Joanna in Saint Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

At first the marriage was not very good. Albert and Joanna didn't have children for many years into the marriage and Joanna was not as young as she once was so they needed to have children quickly. The couple did have children earlier on in their marriage, but they were all short-lived, they are all buried in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. In total, Albert and Joanna had five short-lived children throughout their marriage. Then Albert had an accident and paralyzed his legs. It seemed impossible after that for Albert and Joanna to ever have surviving children. In 1339, however, when Joanna was in her late thirties, she gave birth to a son and continued to have children.

In total Albert and Joanna had six surviving children:

  1. Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria (November 1, 1339, Vienna – July 27, 1365, Milan). Married but line extinct.
  2. Catherine (1342, Vienna – 10 January 1381, Vienna), Abbess of St. Klara in Vienna.
  3. Margaret (1346, Vienna – 14 January 1366, Brno), married:
    1. in Passau 4 September 1359 Count Meinhard III of Gorizia-Tyrol;
    2. in Vienna 1364 Margrave Johann Heinrich of Moravia.
  4. Frederick III, Duke of Austria (1347, Vienna – 1362, Vienna). Died unmarried.
  5. Albert III, Duke of Austria (September 9, 1349, Vienna – August 29, 1395, Castle Laxenburg).
  6. Leopold III (November 1, 1351, Vienna – July 9, 1386, Sempach).

Joanna was described as wise and prudent. She was said to be politically talented and smart. In 1336, Joanna mediated the peace between the Habsburg family and the House of Luxembourg. The Habsburgs later gained possession of Adria. Through Joanna, Albert and the Habsburgs gained more lands since she was an heiress. Even though there was peace, wars could break out if it promised benefits for Albert and the Habsburgs, whom were growing to be one of the most powerful royal families in Europe. After Albert purchased Carinthia and Carniola, he did not need allies anymore.

Joanna had children unusually late. When she was fifty-one, she gave-birth to her final child, a son, Leopold III, Duke of Austria, and died soon after. She is buried in the Gaming Charterhouse with her husband and daughter-in-law, Elisabeth of Bohemia.


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