Franz Josef I. Emperor of Austria
(18.08.1830 - 21.11.1916)
place of birth: Wien, Österreich
Seine Majestät der Kaiser und König,
Emperor Franz Josef I, also
referred to as Francis Joseph, ruled Austria from 1848 to 1916 and
was also King of Hungary from 1867. He fought the constant struggle to hold
together the many different nationalities of his empire. In 1849 he was
able to subdue both Hungary and Sardinia's Victor Emmanuel II., but in
1859 he lost Lombardy to Napoleon III. During the
Austro-Prussian War of 1866 his only territorial loss was that of Venetia
to Italy, but this crushing defeat resulted in the loss of Austrian
influence over German affairs and was the precursor to the ascendancy of
Prussia. In February 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II. named him an honorary
general field marshal in the Prussian Army.
pressure from Hungary led to the reorganization of the empire as a
dual monarchy in 1867. In 1879 he joined Germany and Italy in the Triple
Entente. His reign brought material prosperity but was marked by
perpetual discontent on the part of some national minorities, notably
the Serbs. And there were personal tragedies as well. In 1889 his only
son and heir, Archduke Rudolf, committed suicide. In 1898 his wife was
assassinated by an Italian anarchist. When Russian Pan-Slavism backed
Serbia, particularly after the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
in 1908, a situation arose which helped contributed to the base causes
of World War I. In 1914 his nephew and heir apparent Franz
Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, an incident which proved
to be the spark which would set Europe ablaze. Franz Josef I. died in
November 1916 before his empire actually fell apart under the impact of
military defeat. His grand-nephew Karl I. then assumed the throne as the
last Habsburg monarch until November 1918.
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