William, known as William the Courteous (German: der Freundliche), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1386. As head of the Leopoldian line, he ruled over the Inner Austrian duchies of Carinthia, Styria and Carniola as well as the County of Tyrol and Further Austria from 1396 until his death.
Born in Vienna, William was the oldest son of Duke Leopold III of Austria and his consort Viridis Visconti, a daughter of Lord Bernabò of Milan. Leopold III had already acted as regent over the Tyrol and the Further Austrian possessions in Swabia; in 1379 he signed the Treaty of Neuberg with his elder brother Duke Albert III, whereupon he also received the Inner Austrian lands.
In 1386, Leopold III was killed in the Battle of Sempach. William and his brother Leopold IV succeeded him as Duke of Austria, ruling jointly with their uncle Albert III. A fierce inheritance dispute arose when Duke Albert III died in 1395 and was succeeded by his only son Albert IV, William's first cousin. An agreement was reached in the following year, based on the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg, whereupon William left the rule over Austria proper to Albert IV and, as eldest members of the Habsburg Leopoldian line, went on to rule over the three Inner Austrian duchies and the County of Tyrol taking his residence in Graz.
In 1404, his cousin Albert IV died, leaving the lands of the elder Albertinian line to his seven-year-old son Duke Albert V. William acted as an Austrian regent and again tried to take the Albertinian territories from his minor nephew, but did not succeed before his death.
William died in 1406 without heirs in Vienna. He is buried in the Ducal Crypt in Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral. Upon his death, another division of the Habsburg hereditary lands took place, whereafter William's brother Leopold IV took over the regency in Austria proper, the third-born Ernest the Iron inherited the Inner Austrian duchies, and Frederick IV, the youngest, Tyrol and Further Austria.
|Reigned as||In Country||From||To||Coins Issued|
|Herzog Wilhelm (Duke William of Inner and Further Austria)||Austria, Duchy and Archduchy||November 1386||15 July 1406|