Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor


August 11, 2022

Franz II (German: Franz II, February 12, 1768 - March 2, 1835) was a ruler from the Habsburg dynasty, the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which he ruled from 1792 to 1806. As Franz I, he was the first emperor of Austria from 1804 until his death in 1835. In addition, he was also king of Bohemia and king of Hungary. In 1804, Franz was proclaimed the first emperor of Austria. After his defeat in the battle with Napoleon in the Battle of Austerlitz in December 1805 to 1806, he held two imperial titles, and after the definitive abolition of the Holy Roman Empire, he ruled as Franz I of Austria. After another defeat inflicted on him by French troops in 1809, Franz had to give his daughter Marie Louise to Napoleon as his wife. Nevertheless, Austria joined the Sixth Coalition, which finally defeated Napoleon in 1814. The Congress of Vienna, in which one of the main roles was played by Franz's confidential minister Metternich, created the German Confederation, which was presided over by the Austrian emperor. This confirmed Austria's dominance among the disunited German states.

Childhood and growing up

Franz II was born in Florence in 1768, where his father Leopold II of Habsburg was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. His mother was Maria Luisa of Spain whose father was King Carlos III of Spain. In Tuscany, he spent a happy childhood together with his sisters and brothers until 1784, when he was sent to the court in Vienna with his uncle Joseph II to prepare for the future ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy (his uncle Joseph had no children to succeed him, so thus Franz became the heir to the throne). Unlike life at the court in Tuscany, Franz had to observe the strict discipline imposed on him by his uncle at the court in Vienna. Joseph II once wrote that Franz was "behind in development" and that he was "nothing less than a spoiled brat". Josef's methods were frightening and unpleasant. Young Franz was often isolated from the rest of the world in order to gain the confidence that his uncle said he did not have. He was eventually sent to a military boarding school in Hungary where young Franz fit in well. Despite all these strict and somewhat cruel measures, Franz admired his uncle Josef more than he feared him. After the death of Joseph II, Franz's father Leopold, to whom he was the head of the council, came to the throne