Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire


August 13, 2022

Franz II Joseph Karl (born 12 February 1768 in Florence, died 2 March 1835 in Vienna) was Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1792 to 1806, and as Franz I Emperor of Austria from 1804 until his death in 1835. He is also known as Franz of Habsburg. He became the last Holy Roman Emperor when, under pressure from the French ruler Napoléon Bonaparte, he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.

Life and work


He was the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (1747–1792) and Maria Luisa of Spain (1745–1792).


As the leader of a large and multi-ethnic nation, he felt threatened by Napoléon Bonaparte's rhetoric about freedom and equality in Europe. He entered the French Revolutionary Wars and was defeated by Napoléon Bonaparte. By the Treaty of Campo Formio he had to cede the area west of the Rhine to France in exchange for Venice and Dalmatia. He fought against France again during the Second Coalition, but after being defeated at Austerlitz he had to agree to the Treaty of Lunéville, which dissolved the Holy Roman Empire after about a thousand years of existence, weakened his crown land of Austria and decentralized Germany. In 1809 Franz attacked France again, hoping to take advantage of the conflict Napoleon was in Spain. Defeated again, he was forced to ally himself with Napoleon, cede territory, join the Continental System, and marry his daughter Maria Luise to him. In effect, he was made a vassal under the Emperor of France. The Napoleonic Wars drastically weakened Austria and reduced the country's prestige, which would later help Prussia emerge victorious in the battle to dominate Germany. In 1813 Austria went against France for the fourth time, joining the coalition of England, Russia and Prussia in their war against Napoleon, Austria played a major role in the final defeat of France, and in recognition of this it was the Austrians, represented by Klemens von Metternich, who presided over the Congress of Vienna, helped form the Concert of Europe and the Holy Alliance, leading the continent into a new era of conservatism and reaction. He was married four times: 6 January 1788, with Elisabeth of Württemberg (21 April 1767 – 18 February 1790), who died after giving birth to her daughter Ludovika (1790–1791) 15 August 1790, with Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (6 June 1772 – 13 April 1807), with whom he had twelve children, including his successor Ferdinand I and Empress Marie-Louise of France 6 January 1808, with Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este (14 December 1787 – 7 April 1816) 29 October 1816, with Karoline Charlotte Auguste of Bavaria (8 February 1792 – 9 February 1873)



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