Franz Joseph I
(Franz Joseph of Austria)1830–1916
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
Key events during the life of Franz Joseph I:
||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.
||Birth of brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, later Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.
||Birth of brother Archduke Karl Ludwig (father of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria).
||Birth of sister Maria Anna, who died four years later.
||Birth of brother Archduke Ludwig Viktor.
||Began career as Colonel in the Austrian Army.
||Appointed Governor of Bohemia on April 6th, but never took up the post.
||Sent to Italian front, present at Battle of Santa Lucia.
||Uncle abdicates Austrian throne, father formally renounces all claim to the throne, Franz Joseph becomes Emperor of Austria.
||Grants constitution, Italy declares war again.
||Death of Prime Minister Schwartzenberg, king takes over as Prime Minister.
||Survives assassination attempt by Hungarian nationalists.
||Marries Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria, age sixteen.
||Birth of daugher, Sophie, who dies at age two.
||Birth of daugher, Gisela, who later marries Prince Leopold of Bavaria.
||Birth of son, Rudolf.
||Second Italian War of Independence, Austria defeated.
||Birth of daugher, Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie.
||Unification of Germany under Prussia, Austria loses no territory as long as they stay out of German affairs.
||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.
||Dissolution of League of Three Emperors.
||Death of Crown Prince Rudolf in the Mayerling Incident.
||Franz Joseph issues veto against Cardinal Rampolla's election to the papacy. Last use of such a veto.
||Assissination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austrian throne. Outbreak of World War I.
||Death of Franz Joseph I from pneumonia in Schonnbrun Palace. Austrian monarchy disolved two years later at the conclusion of WWI.
|Elizabeth of Barvaria
||Empress of Austria who was influential in 19th century society and known as a free spirit.
|Otto von Bismarck
||Prussian statesman and mastermind of German Unification. Strategically provoked wars against Austria and France.
||Nineteenth century Russian Czar who instituted many reforms, but was assassinated by Nihilists.
|Kaiser William I
||First Kaiser of a United German Empire. With Bismarck as Chancellor, defeated Austria and France.