The first written record of the Kolowrat lineage dates from the end of the 13th century. Nevertheless, the true founder of the lineage, and the first historically recorded Lord Kolowrat is recognised to be Albrecht of Kolowraty (†1391), whose ancestors came from the village of Kolovraty (near Uhříněves). He was Governor and Marshal to Queen Anne of Świdnica (Svídnice, Schweidnitz), who was the wife of King Charles IV, and Assessor at the provincial and royal feudal court, and entered the history books in 1347, appearing as a witness in the sale of Rožmitál (Rosenthal). He was thrice married and fathered eight children, six of them sons who laid the foundations of one of the most ramified among Czech aristocratic families.
During the 14th and 15th century the Kolowrat line divided into eight family lines:
- Libštejn (Liebenstein)
- Kornhauz (Mšec)
- Žehrovice (Zehrowicz)
- Bezdružice (Weseritz)
- Novohrady (Neuschloß)
- Maštov (Maschau)
- Černonice (Cernonitz)
- and the last surviving - Krakowsky
The Kolowrat-Krakowsky line derives its name from Krakovec Castle near Rakovník, which was bought in 1443 by Albrecht of Kolowraty (1422–1470) at the inception of the most vigorous Kolowrat line. Vilém Albrecht Kolowrat-Krakowsky (1600–1688), the Supreme Chancellor, attained the title of Habsburg imperial Count in 1671, adding the Czech countship three years later.
The Lords of Kolowraty have always played a prominent part in Czech history and politics. We find among them Burgraves, Hetmen, Chief Judges of the provinces, Church dignitaries, as well as Royal Governors and Supreme Chancellors.
In modern times the ancestral legacy has been borne by Jindřich Vilém Kolowrat-Krakowsky who returned from exile after 1989 along with his son František Tomáš back to the former Czechoslovakia, to take up the good husbandry of the ancestral estate.
The present successors of this ancient Bohemian aristocratic family are Maximilian Alexander and Francesca Dominika Kolowrat-Krakowsky, the progeny of František Tomáš Kolowrat-Krakowsky.