Maria Theresia

Article

May 17, 2022

Maria Theresia Walburga Amalia Christina (13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the only female ruler ever in Habsburg history. He was also the last ruler of the Habsburgs, as the Habsburgs were technically succeeded by the Habsburg-Lorraines after his death. In addition, he was ruler of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Böhmen, Transylvania, Mantova, Milan, Galicia and Lodomeria, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. Thanks to her marriage, she also became Duchess of Lorraine, Archduke of Tuscany, and Empress of the Holy Romans. Her 40-year reign began after her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in October 1740. Charles VI had paved the way for Maria Theresia to succeed by enacting the Sanctio Pragmatica 1713, and the late emperor had also worked hard to keep the decree alive. enforced. However, he ignored Prince Eugène de Savoie's suggestion that a strong army and a generous budget were more important than signatures from other countries. In the end, Charles VI left a destitute country with a weak army, mainly due to the War of Polish Inheritance and the Russo-Turkish War (1735–1739). After Charles VI's death, Saxony, Prussia, Bavaria and France rejected the Sanctio Pragmatica even though they had recognized it during Charles VI's reign. Frederick II of Prussia (later mortal enemy of Maria Theresia) launched an immediate attack and captured the wealthy Habsburg province of Schlesien in a seven-year conflict known as the War of the Austrian Inheritance. To deal with the threat from these countries, Maria Theresia managed to get very important support from Hungary. Later, during this war, Maria Theresa was able to defend most of her territory, although she had to give up Schlesien and some small territories in Italy. Maria Theresia then tried to retake Schlesien during the Seven Years' War, but these efforts were fruitless. Maria Theresia and her husband, Franz Stephan, had eleven daughters (including Marie Antoinette who would later become Queen of France, Maria Karolina who later became Queen of Naples and Sicily, and Maria Amalia who would become Duchess of Parma), and five sons , including two who would later become Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II. Of the sixteen children, only ten were able to survive to reach adulthood. Although Maria Theresia was expected to hand power to Franz and Joseph (both officially serving as co-rulings in Austria and Böhmen), Maria Theresia was an absolute ruler who ran the government on the advice of her advisers. He criticized and opposed many of the actions taken by Joseph. Maria Theresia launched government, financial, and educational reforms with support from Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg, Graf Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz, and Gerard van Swieten. He also promoted trade and developed agriculture, and overhauled the Austrian military, so that he succeeded in strengthening Austria's position in the eyes of the world. However, he disliked Jews and Protestants so much that he once ordered that they be expelled to remote areas of the Habsburg region. He also advocated Catholicism as the state religion and rejected religious pluralism, resulting in his regime being labeled intolerant.

Birth and childhood

Archduke Maria Theresia was born on May 3, 1717 in the city of Vienna. He was the second child of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Elisabeth Christine of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, as well as the eldest surviving child because his older brother, Archduke Leopold, died a year before Maria Theresia was born. He was immediately opened