Born on February 15
, son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV
. Sigismund married Maria
, daughter of Louis I
after Louis' death in 1378
. In 1387
, Sigismund became king consort of Hungary
, while the Polish
crown went to Maria's sister Hedwig
In 1410, the German king and uncrowned Holy Roman Emperor Rupert died. Sigismund, his cousin Jobst of Moravia, and ousted German king (and half brother to Sigismund) Wenceslaus all laid claim to the throne. Jobst would die within a year, and Wenceslaus would step aside leaving Sigismund king of Germany and Holy Roman emperor-elect.
Being knee deep in the Great Schism, Sigismund got right to work. He convinced one of the three Popes, Pope John XXII, to summon what would be called the Council of Constance. After three years of deliberation, the Great Schism was ended, and Sigismund went on to prosecute Czech religious reformer John Huss for heresy, despite having assured Huss' safety for his appearance at the Council of Constance.
Huss would be burned at the stake, and Sigismund would sign the death sentence. This was not a big hit with the Czechs, so when Wenceslaus died in 1419 and Sigismund inherited the Bohemian throne, rebellion was the inevitable outcome. Sigismund sought papal support, and convinced Pope Martin V to declare a crusade against the Hussites.
In the Hussite Wars that would follow, Sigismund was deposed as king of Bohemia. To complicate matters, Sigismund found himself under attack in Hungary by the Turks. Sigismund never managed a military victory against the Hussites, and was eventually forced to settle the dispute by less violent means. The Council of Basel was convoked by Pope Martin V in 1431 to resolve this and other issues.
Although the council would eventually be declared heretical, it functioned for nearly 20 years, even after it was denounced by Pope Eugene IV in the bull Doctoris gentium in 1437. By this time, a compromise with the Hussites had been reached, and Sigismund was reinstated as king of Bohemia in 1436. He would die shortly afterward, in Znojmo, Bohemia.
It should also be noted that during his reign Sigismund founded the Order of the Dragon, a fraternal group of nobles loosely based on the Hungarian Court of the Dragon, possibly to consolidate power against the invading Turks. The order counted among its members one Vlad Tepes II of Romania, Prince of Wallachia and later military governor of Transylvania. Through this association, Vlad became known as Vlad Dracul, for the Romanian word for dragon. His son, Vlad III, would become known as Dracula, a name meaning "son of the dragon."