Franz Joseph I

(Franz Joseph of Austria)

1830–1916
Civilization: European — Austria
   Field of Renown:  monarch — Emperor
Era:  Rise of Italy

Franz Joseph I of Austria came to power at a very young age. It was understood from the time that he was born that he was expected to succeed his uncle as ruler of Austria. His mother, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, raised him to be a good and pious ruler on that expectation. Although Franz was only 18 years old when he took the Austrian throne, his excellent training and personal values gave him a solid background from which to rule. Although he was unable to stop the expansion of Prussia or the events that led to World War I, Franz Joseph I is widely recognized as one of the most progressive and effective Austrian rulers. He was also the last, as the Austrian monarchy was effectively dissolved after WWI.


Key events during the life of Franz Joseph I:


Year
Event
1830
Born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the oldest son of Archduke Franz Karl (the younger son of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II), and his wife Princess Sophie of Bavaria.
1832
Birth of brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, later Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.
1833
Birth of brother Archduke Karl Ludwig (father of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria).
1835
Birth of sister Maria Anna, who died four years later.
1842
Birth of brother Archduke Ludwig Viktor.
1843
Began career as Colonel in the Austrian Army.
1848
Appointed Governor of Bohemia on April 6th, but never took up the post.
1848
Sent to Italian front, present at Battle of Santa Lucia.
1848
Uncle abdicates Austrian throne, father formally renounces all claim to the throne, Franz Joseph becomes Emperor of Austria.
1849
Grants constitution, Italy declares war again.
1852
Death of Prime Minister Schwartzenberg, king takes over as Prime Minister.
1853
Survives assassination attempt by Hungarian nationalists.
1854
Marries Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria, age sixteen.
1855
Birth of daugher, Sophie, who dies at age two.
1853-56
Crimean War.
1856
Birth of daugher, Gisela, who later marries Prince Leopold of Bavaria.
1858
Birth of son, Rudolf.
1859
Second Italian War of Independence, Austria defeated.
1868
Birth of daugher, Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie.
1871
Unification of Germany under Prussia, Austria loses no territory as long as they stay out of German affairs.
1873
Enters into League of Three Emperors with Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and Tsar Alexander II of Russia (who was succeeded by Tsar Alexander III in 1881). League designed by Otto von Bismarck.
1887
Dissolution of League of Three Emperors.
1889
Death of Crown Prince Rudolf in the Mayerling Incident.
1903
Franz Joseph issues veto against Cardinal Rampolla's election to the papacy. Last use of such a veto.
1914
Assissination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austrian throne. Outbreak of World War I.
1916
Death of Franz Joseph I from pneumonia in Schonnbrun Palace. Austrian monarchy disolved two years later at the conclusion of WWI.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
The Expansion of Germany  in  Nations of Europe and the Great War  by  Charles Morris
The German War  in  The History of Prussia  by  John S.C. Abbott


Contemporary
Short Biography
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Otto von Bismarck Prussian statesman and mastermind of German Unification. Strategically provoked wars against Austria and France.
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Kaiser William I First Kaiser of a United German Empire. With Bismarck as Chancellor, defeated Austria and France.