Maria Theresa (1717-1780), archduchess of Austria (1740-1780), Queen of Hungary

Maria Theresa (1717-1780), archduchess of Austria (1740-1780), Queen of Hungary

Maria Theresa (1717-1780), archduchess of Austria (1740-1780), Queen of Hungary

Daughter of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Despite her fathers efforts to secure her claim to Austria, her accession triggered the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), in which she lost Silesia to Frederick II of Prussia, but retained Austria against the threat of Charles of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor from 1742 until his death in 1745. She married Francis, duke of Lorraine, her cousin, in 1736, who succeeded Charles of Bavaria as Emperor Francis I., although he was always overshadowed by his wife. The loss of Silesia was one of the factors that led to the Seven Years War (1754-1763), when Maria Theresa was allied with Russia and France against Prussia and Britain, at the end of which Frederick of Prussia retained Silesia, and had gained increased power in Germany. Her son became the Emperor Joseph II in 1765, and succeeded her in Austria after her death.

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Maria Theresa was born on 13 May, 1717, the daughter of the German Emperor Charles VI (1711-1740) and his wife Elizabeth von Braunschweig-Wolfenbttel. Her elder brother Leopold had died a short time before and the emperor was left without male issue. As early as 1713 he had promulgated a family law, the Pragmatic Sanction, by virtue of which the possessions of the Hapsburgs were to remain undivided and, in default of a male heir, fall to his eldest daughter. He was constantly negotiating with foreign powers to secure their recognition of this Pragmatic Sanction. Maria Theresa was endowed with brilliant gifts, with beauty, amiability and intelligence, and was universally admired as a girl. On 14 February, 1736, she married Duke Francis Stephen of Lorraine, who by the Peace of Vienna, in 1738, received Tuscany instead of Lorraine. Charles VI died unexpectedly on 20 October, 1740, at the age of 56, and Maria Theresa came into possession of the territories of Austria without having any political training. Her husband was an amiable man, but of mediocre mental endowments and consequently of little assistance to her. Charles, moreover, left the internal affairs of his monarchy, particularly the finances and the army, in a lamentable condition. His family regarded the future with misgiving and perplexity. Maria Theresa was the first to recover her self-possession and to appreciate the problems before her. On the very day of her father's death, she received the homage of Privy Councillors and nobility as Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia, and Archduchess of Austria, and at her first cabinet meeting expressed her determination to uphold to the full every right she had inherited. All admired her firmness, dignity and strength of spirit. Certainly they were few who believed she would succeed.

At Vienna men were familiarizing themselves with the idea "of becoming Bavarian". The Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria, who had never recognized the Pragmatic Sanction, laid claim to Austria as the descendant of a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I (1556-1564), and referred to a testament of 1547, in which mention was made however not of the failure of "male" but of "legitimate" issue. He secured the support of France, which induced Spain and Saxony also to lay claims to the succession. A greater peril appeared in a quarter where it was least expected: King Frederick II of Prussia laid claim to Silesia. He promised to help Maria Theresa, provided she ceded to him Jgerndorf, Brieg, Wohlau and Leignitz, to which he pretended to have hereditary claims. Otherwise he would ally himself with France, Bavaria and Saxony and make war on her. He wanted, like a good merchant, to take advantage of the opportunity, and proposed a deal by which Maria Theresa and himself could settle the account between them. For in case of her acceptance of his proposal, Maria Theresa would have been spared the war arising out of the Austrian succession. Maria Theresa was, however, as convinced of her rights as she was determined to enforce them by action. That Prussia had a right to expect concessions from Austria, since, in 1686, indemnification had been promised her for the Duchies of Silesia, Maria Theresa did not take into account. The king hastily invaded Silesia and dispatched a disagreeable, conceited courtier as his representative. Thus the first Silesian war came about (1740-1742). Frederick II gained a great victory at Mollwitz (10 April, 1741). On 4 June he allied himself with France which now gave its support to the Elector of Bavaria, who aspired to the imperial dignity and won most of the electors to his side. Maria Theresa vainly strove to secure the crown for her spouse Francis Stephen. In her hereditary lands she found her principal support against the threats of her foes. The energetic bearing of the princess roused general enthusiasm. When in Pressburg she appealed to the chivalry of the Hungarians, the nobles cried out that they were ready to give their blood and life for their queen (September, 1741). However, as the Bavarians, French and Saxons were advancing against her, she was compelled to arrange a truce with Prussia in order to avoid danger from that side.

Charles Albert of Bavaria with the French had occupied Passau on 31 July and Linz on 15 September, and had been acknowledged by the Upper Austrian Diet. On 26 November he surprised Prague with Saxon assistance, and had himself crowned King of Bohemia on 7 December. On 24 January, 1742 he was also elected Roman emperor as Charles VII. His success however was short-lived. The queen's forces had already made an entry into his own country. Still, what was most needful was to rid herself of her most dangerous antagonist. Frederick II had broken the truce, had entered Moravia "to pluck the Moravian hens", and won a victory at Chotusitz (17 May, 1742). Maria Theresa concluded the peace of Breslau (6 June, 1742) and ceded to him Silesia except Teschen, Troppau and Jgerndorf. She now turned against the Bavarians and the French. Bohemia was retaken and Maria Theresa crowned queen (May, 1743). Her ally, King George II of England, marched forward with the "pragmatic army" and defeated the French at Dettingen (27 June, 1743). The emperor became a fugitive in Frankfort. His rival's advantageous position inspired Frederick II with the fear that he might again lose his recent conquests in Silesia. He therefore again allied himself with France and the emperor and broke the peace by invading Bohemia. But as the French failed to send the promised army and Charles VII died on 20 January, 1745, the King of Prussia was compelled to rely upon his own forces and to retreat to Silesia. The Bavarians made peace with Austria and in Dresden (May, 1745) Bavaria, Saxony and Austria agreed to reduce Prussia to its former condition as the Electorate of Brandenburg. The Prussian victories at Hohenfriedberg, Soor-Trautenau and Kesselsdorf (June, September and December, 1745) overthrew the allies, and the second Silesian war had thus to be settled by the Peace of Dresden, where Prussia was confirmed in its possession of Silesia. Meanwhile Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen, was chosen emperor on 4 October, 1745. Prussia acknowledged him. He took the name of Francis I (1745-1765). Thus the high-spirited woman had obtained what it was possible for her to obtain the imperial dignity remained in her family, and the pragmatic sanction was practically confirmed. War continued to be waged in the Netherlands and Italy, but this conflict was no longer formidable. The conclusion of peace at Aix la Chapelle, in 1748, put an end to the war of the Austrian succession. The relations of the European Powers were not vitally altered. What was important was that Prussia, though not recognized as a great power, had to be tolerated as such.


The 1780 Taler

The taler's weight and silver content was actually already determined at July 30, 1748, in an edict issued by Maria Theresia. Until above coinage convention was signed, its weight and silver content was only used for coins struck in areas ruled by Maria Theresia.

It should be mentioned that the Maria Theresia Taler had less weight and contained less silver than previously struck talers. With the amount of silver directly indicating the value of currency, one might also call this "inflation".

Talers with Maria Theresia's portrait were struck since 1741. Initially, the coins had a changing appearance. Starting with 1765 (after her husband died), the Taler was struck with Maria Theresia's portrait showing a widow's veil. The appearance started to be similar only after Maria Theresia died in 1780. Since then, the taler has been restruck with date 1780. Initially, there were easy to identify variations in the coin's appearance. Due to improvements in coin striking technology, the coin's appearance has been almost unchanged since 1850. For this reason, the strike date of coins struck after 1780 is often not easy - if at all - to determine.

The Maria Theresia Taler was official currency in Austria until October 31, 1858. It was used as currency in large parts of Africa until after the second world war. It was common from North Africa to Somalia, Aethiopia, Kenia, all the way to the coastline of Tansania. It could also be found everywhere in the muslim areas of Asia and in India.

On September 19, 1857, Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria declared the Maria Theresia Taler to be an official trade coinage. Subsequently, it was restruck not only in Austria, but also in Rome, London, Paris, Brussels, Bombay, and other locations. This can be seen as an indicator for the importance of this coin.

Several hundred Million pieces of the Maria Theresia Taler were struck since 1751. In the first two hundred years alone the confirmed count reaches 320,000,000. Some sources even claim that more than 800,000,000 pieces have been struck. Today, the Maria Theresia Taler is still struck as needed in the Vienna mint.


Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa
Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, German Empress and Archduchess of Austria
1717 – 1780 A.D.

Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, German Empress, and Archduchess of Austria, born in Vienna, was the oldest daughter of the Emperor Charles VI.

In 1736 she married Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, who was named joint regent with her after her accession to the throne of Hungary, Austria and Bohemia in 1740. Her reign was filled with many struggles against opposing parties, notably the Seven Years’ War between Austria and Prussia.

After peace was restored in 1763 the empress instituted many reforms in army, justice, and education opened to trade the ports of Trieste and Fiume, expelled the Jesuits, and abolished legal torture. she was a woman of noble character, strikingly beautiful in her youth. She was the other of sixteen children, among them the Emperors Joseph II and Leopold II, and the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

Although a zealous Roman Catholic, she maintained the rights of the crown against the papal power and endeavored to correct some of the worst abuses in the Church. She prohibited the presence of priests at the making of wills, abolished the rights of asylum in churches and convents, and suppressed the Inquisition in Milan.

Reference: Famous Women An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.


Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa
The Greatest of Austrian Rulers
1717 – 1780 A.D.

This noted woman, archduchess of Austria, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, and empress of Germany, born at Vienna, May 13, 1717, was the eldest daughter of George VI of Austria, emperor of Germany. In 1724 Charles, by his will, known as the Pragmatic Sanction, regulated the order of succession in the House of Austria, declaring that, in default of male issue, his eldest daughter should be heiress of all the Austrian dominions, and her children after her. The Pragmatic Sanction was guaranteed by the Diet of the Empire, and by all German princes, and by several powers of Europe, but not by the Bourbons. In 1736 she married Francis of Lorraine, to whom she gave equal share in the government upon the death of her father in 1740.

At the time of her accession the monarchy was exhausted, the finances embarrassed, the people discontented and the army weak. To add to the gravity of the situation, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Sardinia, abetted by France, put forward claims to the whole or to portions of her dominions. Maria Theresa, however, went immediately to Vienna, and took possession of Austria, Bohemia, and her other German states. She then repaired to Presburg, took the oaths to the Constitution of Hungary, and was solemnly proclaimed queen of that kingdom in 1741. Frederick of Prussia offered the young queen his friendship on condition of her giving up to him Silesia, which she resolutely refused, and he then invaded that province. The Elector of Bavaria, assisted by the French, also invaded Austria and pushed his troops as far as Vienna. The queen took refuge in Presburg, where she convoked the Hungarian Diet and appearing in the midst of them with her infant son in her arms, she made a heart-stirring appeal to their loyalty. The Hungarian nobles, drawing their swords, unanimously exclaimed, “We will die for our queen, Maria Theresa!” Any they raised an army and drove the French and Bavarian’s out of the hereditary states.

In the meantime, Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria, was chosen emperor of German, under the name Charles VII and Frederick of Prussia soon made peace with Maria Theresa, who was obliged to surrender Silesia to him.

In 1745 Charles VII died, and Francis, Maria Theresa’s husband, was elected emperor. Three years later the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle terminated the war of the Austrian succession, and there ensued a period of peace. During this period, Maria Theresa instituted important financial reforms, did her utmost to foster agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, and improved and nearly doubled the national revenues, whilst the burdens were diminished.

In 1756 began the Seven Years’ War, between France, Austria, and Russia on the one side, and Prussia on the other, to confirm Frederick in the possession of Silesia. This was ended i 1763, leaving Austria and Prussia with the same boundaries as before. On the conclusion of hostilities the empress renewed her efforts to promote the national prosperity, ameliorating the condition of the peasantry, mitigating the penal code, founding schools, organizing charitable societies, in short, promoting the welfare of her subjects by all the wise arts of peaceful progress.

After the death of her husband, in 1765, the queen mother associated her son Joseph, elected king of the Romans in 1764, with herself in the government of the hereditary states. She, however, retained the administration of the government until her death, November 29, 1780.

Personally, Maria Theresa was a woman of majestic and winning appearance, and she was animated by truly regal sentiments and an undaunted spirit by this rare union of feminine tact with masculine energy and restless activity, she not only won the affection and even enthusiastic admiration of her subjects, but she raised Austria from the most wretched condition to a position of assured power. Although a zealous Roman Catholic, she maintained the rights of her own crown against the court of Rome, and endeavored to correct some of the worst abuses of the Church.

Maria Theresa was the mother of sixteen children, all born within twenty years, ten of whom survived her. Among these, Joseph II succeeded her Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, followed his brother on the imperial throne as Leopold II Ferdinand became Duke of Modena and Marie Antoinette was married to Louis XVI of France.

Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.


Foreign relations

Neither the peace of 1745 (by which Austria ceded Silesia to Prussia) nor the peace of 1748 (which ended Maria Theresa’s war with the rest of her enemies) ended her efforts to modernize the army. The dazzling ideas of her new chancellor, Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz, fired her determination to recover Silesia, indeed, to destroy Prussia. In a famous “ reversal of alliances” (1756) she threw over England, the old ally and “banker” of the Habsburgs, and allied herself with France, their ancient foe. Moreover, she had entered into a treaty with Russia, a newcomer to European rivalries. She paid but scant attention to the global ramifications of the ensuing Seven Years’ War. When its end sealed the loss of Silesia and left the monarchy with a mountain of debts, she became a champion of peace. As late as 1779 she single-handedly frustrated another full-scale war with Prussia, risked by her self-opinionated firstborn, Joseph II, who on his father’s demise had become co-regent in the Habsburg dominions (and been elected emperor).

Though Francis had not been a faithful husband, Maria Theresa never wavered in her love, and his sudden death in 1765 plunged her into prolonged grief. She emerged from it, her zeal for activity nowise impaired. A new public-debt policy, the settlement of the empty spaces of Hungary, the drafting of a penal code to supplant the tangle of local systems, and a kind of poor law—these were but some of the innovations in which she herself took a hand, with her common sense doing service for the book learning she lacked. In step with the enforced retreat of the church from secular affairs, she came to feel that it was incumbent on the state to control the intellectual life of its subjects. It was she who institutionalized government censorship on the other hand, it was she, too, who launched plans for compulsory primary education.


Descendants of Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress

Maria Theresa (05/13/1717, Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Wien, Austria - 11/29/1780, Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Wien, Austria) was Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Hungary, of Bohemia, of Dalmatia, of Croatia, of Slavonia, of Galicia, of Lodomeria, Archduchess of Austria, Margravine of Moravia, of Burgau, of Upper and Lower Lusatia, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Grand Princess of Transylvania, Princess of Swabia, Duchess of Burgundy, of Styria, of Carinthia, of Carniola, of Brabant, of Limburg, of Luxemburg, of Guelders, of Württemberg, of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Milan, of Mantua, of Parma, of Piacenza, of Guastalla, of Auschwitz, of Zator, of Lorraine and of Bar, Princely Countess of Habsburg, of Flanders, of Tyrol, of Hainault, of Kyburg, of Gorizia and of Gradisca and of Namur, and Lady of the Wendish Mark and of Mechlin. In 1736 Maria Theresa married Francis III, Duke of Lorraine. They had 16 children.

- Maria Elisabeth, Archduchess of Austria (02/05/1737 - 06/07/1740)

- Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria (10/06/1738 - 11/19/1789)

- Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria (01/12/1740 - 01/25/1741)

- Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor (03/13//1741 - 02/20/1790)

- Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Teschen (05/13/1742 - 06/24/1798)

- Maria Elisabeth, Archduchess of Austria (08/13/1743 - 09/22/1808)

- Charles Joseph, Archduke of Austria (02/01/1745 - 01/18/1761)

- Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Parma (02/26//1746 - 06/18/1804)

- Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (05/05/1747 - 03/01/1792)

- Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria (09/17/1748)

- Maria Johanna Gabriela, Archduchess of Austria (02/04/1750 - 12/23/1762)

- Maria Josepha, Archduchess of Austria (03/19/1751 - 10/15/1767)

- Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Naples and Sicily (08/13/1752 - 09/08/1814)

- Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Briesgau (06/01/1754 - 12/24/1806)

- Marie Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of France (11/02/1755 - 10/16/1793)

- Maximilian Franz, Archduke of Austria (12/08/1756 - 07/26/1801)

By Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria (03/20/1762 - 01/23/1770)

- Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria (11/20/1763)

By Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria

- Maria Theresa of Teschen (05/16/1767)

By Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Parma

- Maria Carolina, Princess of Parma and Crown Princess of Saxony (11/22/1770 - 03/01/1804)

- Louis I, Duke of Parma and King of Etruria (08/05/1773 - 05/27/1803)

- Maria Antonia, Princess of Parma (11/28/1774 - 02/20/1841)

- Charlotte, Princess of Parma (09/07/1777 - 04/05/1813)

- Phillip, Prince of Parma (05/22/1783 - 07/02/1786)

- Antonia, Princess of Parma (10/21/1784)

- Maria Luisa, Princess of Parma (04/17/1787 - 11/22/1789)

By Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Saxony (06/14/1767 - 11/07/1827)

- Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor (02/12/1768 - 03/02/1835)

- Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (05/06/1769 - 06/18/1824)

- Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria (04/21/1770 - 10/01/1809)

- Charles, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Teschen (09/05/1771 - 04/30/1847)

- Leopold, Archduke of Austria (08/14/1772 - 07/12/1795)

- Albert, Archduke of Austria (12/19/1773 - 07/22/1774)

- Maximilian, Archduke of Austria (12/23/1774 - 03/09/1778)

- Joseph, Archduke of Austria (03/09/1776 - 01/13/1847)

- Maria Clementina, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Calabria (04/24/1777 - 03/11/1801)

- Anton, Archduke of Austria (08/31/1779 - 04/02/1835)

- Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria (10/15/1780 - 12/25/1798)

- Johann, Archduke of Austria (01/16/1782 - 05/11/1859)

- Joseph Johann, Archduke of Austria (09/30/1783 - 01/16/1853)

- Ludwig, Archduke of Austria (12/13/1784 - 12/21/1864)

- Rudolf, Archduke of Austria (01/08/1788 - 07/23/1831)

By Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Naples and Sicily

- Maria Theresa, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Holy Roman Empress (06/06/1772 - 04/13/1807)

- Luisa, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Grand Duchess of Tuscany (07/27/1773 - 09/19/1802)

- Carlo, Duke of Calabria (01/04/1775 - 12/17/1778)

- Maria Anna, Princess of Naples and Sicily (11/23/1775 - 02/22/1780)

- Francis I, King of the Two-Sicilies (08/14/1777 - 11/08/1830)

- Maria Christina, Queen of Sardinia (01/17/1779 - 11/03/1849)

- Francesco, Prince of Naples and Sicily (04/12/1780 - 01/02/1789)

- Maria Amalia, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Queen of France (04/26/1782 - 03/24/1866)

- Carlo, Prince of Naples and Sicily (06/18/1781 - 02/19/1783)

- Maria Christina, Princess of Naples and Sicily (07/19/1783)

- Maria Antonia, Princess of Asturias (12/14/1784 - 05/21/1806)

- Maria Clotilde, Princess of Naples and Sicily (02/18/1786 - 09/10/1792)

- Henrietta Maria, Princess of Naples and Sicily (07/31/1787 - 09/20/1792)

- Carlo Francesco, Prince of Naples and Sicily (08/26/1788 - 02/01/1789)

- Leopold, Prince of Salerno (07/02/1790 - 03/10/1851)

- Alberto, Prince of Naples and Sicily (05/02/1792 - 12/25/1798)

- Maria Elisabeth, Princess of Naples and Sicily (12/02/1793 - 04/23/1801)

By Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Briesgau

- Joseph Franz of Austria (1772)

- Maria Theresa, Queen of Sardinia (11/01/1773 - 03/29/1832)

- Josepha, Archduchess of Austria (03/13/1775 - 08/20/1777)

- Marie Leopoldine, Duchess of Bavaria (12/10/1776 - 06/23/1848)

- Franz IV, Duke of Modena and Reggio (10/06/1779 - 01/21/1846)

- Ferdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este (04/25/1781 - 11/05/1850)

- Maximilian Joseph, Archduke of Austria-Este (07/14/1782 - 06/01/1863)

- Maria Antonia, Archduchess of Austria-Este (10/21/1784 - 04/08/1786)

- Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este (10/21/1785 - 09/02/1809)

- Maria Ludovika, Empress of Austria (12/14/1787 - 04/07/1816)

By Marie Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of France

- Marie Thérèse Charlotte, Queen of France (12/19/1778 - 10/19/1851)

- Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France (10/22/1781 - 06/04/1789)

- Louis XVII, Titular King of France (03/27/1785 - 06/08/1795)

- Sophie, Princess of France (07/09/1786 - 06/19/1787)

By Maria Carolina, Princess of Parma and Crown Princess of Saxony

- Amalia, Princess of Saxony (08/10/1794 - 09/18/1870)

- Maria Ferdinanda, Grand Duchess of Tuscany (04/27/1796 - 01/03/1865)

- Frederick Augustus II, King of Saxony (05/18/1797 - 08/09/1854)

- Clemens, Prince of Saxony (05/01/1798 - 01/04/1822)

- Maria Anna, Grand Duchess of Tuscany (11/15/1799 - 03/24/1832)

- John I, King of Saxony (12/12/1801 - 10/29/1873)

- Maria Josepha Amalia, Queen of Spain (12/06/1803 - 05/18/1829)

By Louis I, Duke of Parma and King of Etruria

- Charles II, Duke of Parma and King of Etruria (12/22/1799 - 04/16/1883)

- Maria Luisa, Hereditary Princess of Saxony (10/02/1802 - 03/18/1857)

By Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Saxony (01/14/1767 - 11/07/1827)

- Maria Ludovika Auguste, Princess of Saxony (03/14/1795 - 04/15/1796)

- Frederick Augustus, Prince of Saxony (04/05/1796)

- Maria Johanna, Princess of Saxony (04/05/1798 - 10/30/1799)

- Maria Theresa, Princess of Saxony (10/15/1799)

By Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Holy Roman Empress

- Maria Luisa, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of France (12/12/1791 - 12/17/1847)

- Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria (04/19/1793 - 06/29/1875)

- Marie Caroline, Archduchess of Austria (06/04/1794 - 03/17/1795)

- Caroline Ludovika, Archduchess of Austria (12/22/1795 - 06/30/1797)

- Caroline Josepha Leopoldine, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of Brazil (01/22/1797 - 12/11/1826)

- Maria Clementina, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Salerno (03/01/1798 - 09/03/1881)

- Joseph Franz Leopold, Archduke of Austria (04/09/1799 - 06/30/1807)

- Maria Carolina, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Saxony (04/08/1801 - 05/22/1832)

- Franz Karl, Archduke of Austria (12/17/1802 - 03/08/1878)

- Marie Anne, Archduchess of Austria (06/08/1804 - 12/28/1858)

- Johann, Archduke of Austria (08/30/1805 - 02/19/1809)

- Amalie Theresa, Archduchess of Austria (04/06/1807 - 04/09/1807)

By Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Luisa, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Grand Duchess of Tuscany

- Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany (10/03/1797 - 01/29/1870)

- Maria Luisa, Archduchess of Austria (08/30/1798 - 06/15/1857)

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Sardinia (03/21/1801 - 01/12/1855)

By Charles, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Teschen

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of the Two-Sicilies (07/31/1816 - 08/08/1867)

- Albert, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Teschen (08/03/1817 - 02/18/1895)

- Karl Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (07/29/1818 - 11/20/1874)

- Frederick Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (05/14/1821 - 10/05/1847)

- Maria Karoline, Archduchess of Austria (09/10/1825 - 07/17/1915)

- Wilhelm Franz, Archduke of Austria (04/21/1827 - 04/29/1894)

By Joseph, Archduke of Austria

- Alexandrine, Archduchess of Austria (03/08/1801)

- Franz, Archduke of Austria (09/14/1817 - 02/19/1867)

- Amalie Marie, Archduchess of Austria (09/14/1817 - 02/13/1842)

- Marie Elisabeth, Archduchess of Austria (07/31/1820 - 08/23/1820)

- Alexander, Archduke of Austria (06/06/1825 - 11/12/1837)

- Elisabeth Franciska, Archduchess of Austria (01/17/1831 - 02/14/1903)

- Joseph Karl Ludwig, Archduke of Austria (03/02/1833 - 06/13/1905)

- Marie Henriette, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Belgium (08/23/1836 - 09/19/1902)

By Maria Clementina, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Calabria and Francis I, King of the Two-Sicilies

- Maria Carolina, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Duchess of Berry (11/05/1798 - 04/17/1870)

- Ferdinand Francesco, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (08/27/1800 - 07/01/1801)

By Johann, Archduke of Austria

- Franz Ludwig, Count of Meran (03/11/1839 - 03/27/1891)

By Joseph Johann, Archduke of Austria

- Maria Karolina, Archduchess of Austria (02/06/1821 - 01/23/1844)

- Maria Adelaide, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Sardinia (06/03/1822 - 01/20/1855)

- Leopold, Archduke of Austria (06/06/1823 - 05/24/1898)

- Ernest, Archduke of Austria (08/08/1824 - 04/04/1899)

- Sigismund, Archduke of Austria (01/07/1826 - 12/15/1891)

- Rainer Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (01/11/1827 - 01/27/1913)

- Heinrich, Archduke of Austria (05/09/1828 - 11/30/1891)

- Maximilian, Archduke of Austria (01/16/1830 - 03/16/1839)

By Francis I, King of the Two-Sicilies

- Louise Charlotte, Princess of the Two-Sicilies (10/24/1804 - 01/29/1844)

- Maria Christina, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Queen of Spain (04/27/1806 - 08/22/1878)

- Ferdinand II, King of the Two-Sicilies (01/12/1810 - 05/22/1859)

- Charles Ferdinand, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (11/10/1811 - 04/22/1862)

- Leopold, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (05/22/1813 - 12/04/1860)

- Maria Antonia, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Grand Duchess of Tuscany (12/19/1814 - 11/07/1898)

- Antonio, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (09/23/1816 - 01/12/1843)

- Maria Amalia, Princess of the Two-Sicilies (02/25/1818 - 11/06/1857)

- Maria Ferdinanda, Princess of the Two-Sicilies (02/29/1820 - 01/13/1861)

- Teresa Christina, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Empress of Brazil (03/14/1822 - 12/28/1889)

- Luigi Carlo, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Aquila (07/19/1824 - 03/05/1897)

- Francesco, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Trapani (08/13/1827 - 09/24/1892)

By Maria Amalia, Princess of Naples and Sicily and Queen of France

- Ferdinand Phillip, Prince of France and Duke of Orlບns (09/03/1810 - 07/13/1842)

- Louise, Princess of France and Queen of Belgium (04/03/1812 - 10/11/1850)

- Marie Christine, Princess of France and Duchess of Württemberg (04/12/1813 - 01/06/1839)

- Louis Charles, Prince of France and Duke of Nemours (10/25/1814 - 06/26/1896)

- Françoise of Orlບns (03/28/1816 - 05/20/1818)

- Clementine, Princess of France (06/03/1817 - 02/16/1907)

- Francis Ferdinand, Prince of Joinville (08/14/1816 - 06/16/1900)

- Charles, Prince of France and Duke of Orlບns (01/01/1820 - 07/26/1828)

- Henri, Prince of France and Duke of Aumale (01/16/1822 - 05/07/1897)

- Antoine, Prince of France and Duke of Montpensier (07/31/1824 - 02/04/1890)

By Leopold, Prince of Salerno and Maria Clementina, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Salerno

- Leopold, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (07/25/1816 - 12/12/1875)

- Maria Carolina Augusta, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Duchess of Aumale (04/26/1822 - /12/06/1869)

- Ludovico Carlo, Prince of the Two-Sicilies (07/19/1824 - 08/07/1824)

By Maria Theresa, Queen of Sardinia

- Maria Beatrice, Princess of Sardinia and Duchess of Modena and Reggio (12/06/1792 - 09/15/1840)

- Maria Theresa, Princess of Sardinia and Duchess of Parma (09/19/1803 - 07/16/1879)

- Maria Anna, Princess of Sardinia and Empress of Austria (09/19/1803 - 05/04/1884)

- Maria Christina, Princess of Sardinia and Queen of the Two-Sicilies (11/14/1812 - 01/21/1836)

By Marie Leopoldine, Duchess of Bavaria

- Aloys, Count of Arco-Steppberg (12/06/1808 - 12/10/1891)

- Maximilian, Count of Arco-Zinneberg (12/13/1811 - 11/13/1885)

- Caroline, Countess of Arco-Zinneberg (12/26/1814 - 01/18/1815)

By Franz IV, Duke of Modena and Reggio and Maria Beatrice, Princess of Sardinia and Duchess of Modena and Reggio

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria-Este and Countess of Chambord (07/14/1817 - 03/25/1886)

- Franz V, Archduke of Austria-Este and Duke of Modena and Reggio (06/01/1819 - 11/20/1875)

- Ferdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este (07/20/1821 - 12/15/1849)

- Maria Beatrice, Archduchess of Austria-Este (07/14/1824 - 03/18/1906)

By Marie Thérèse Charlotte, Queen of France

- Charlotte, Princess of France (06/23/1813 - 12/19/1883)

By Maria Anna, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany

- Maria Karoline Augusta, Archduchess of Austria (11/19/1822 - 10/05/1841)

- Augusta Ferdinande, Archduchess of Austria and Princess Regent of Bavaria (04/01/1825 - 04/26/1864)

- Marie Maximiliane, Archduchess of Austria (01/09/1827 - 05/18/1834)

- Marie Auguste, Princess of Saxony (01/22/1827 - 10/08/1857)

- Albert, King of Saxony (04/23/1828 - 06/19/1902)

- Elisabeth, Princess of Saxony and Duchess of Genoa (02/04/1830 - 08/14/1912)

- Frederick Augustus, Prince of Saxony (04/05/1831 - 05/12/1847)

- Geoge, King of Saxony (08/08/1832 - 10/15/1904)

- Maria Ludovika, Princess of Saxony (08/16/1834 - 03/01/1862)

- Anne Marie Maximiliane, Princess of Saxony (01/04/1836 - 02/10/1859)

- Margaret Karoline, Princess of Saxony and Archduchess of Austria (05/24/1840 - 09/15/1858)

- Sophie Marie, Princess of Saxony and Duchess in Bavaria (03/15/1845 - 03/09/1867)

By Charles II, Duke of Parma and King of Etruria

- Luisa, Princess of Parma (10/29/1821 - 09/08/1823)

- Charles III, Duke of Parma (01/14/1823 - 03/27/1854)

By Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of France

- Napoleon II, King of Rome (03/20/1811 - 07/22/1832)

- Albertine of Montenuovo, Countess of Fontanelatto (05/01/1817 - 12/26/1867)

- William Albert, Prince of Montenuovo (08/08/1819 - 04/07/1895)

By Caroline Josepha Leopoldine, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of Brazil

- Maria II, Queen of Portugal (04/04/1819 - 11/15/1853)

- Miguel, Prince of Beira (26/04/1820)

- John Carlos, Prince of Beira (03/06/1821 - 02/04/1822)

- Januaria, Princess of Brazil and Countess of Aquila (03/11/1822 - 03/13/1901)

- Paula, Princess of Brazil (02/17/1823 - 01/16/1823)

- Francisca, Princess of Brazil and Princess of Joinville (08/02/1824 - 03/27/1898)

- Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil (12/02/1825 - 12/05/1891)

By Franz Karl, Archduke of Austria

- Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria (08/18/1830 - 11/21/1916)

- Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico (07/06/1832 - 06/19/1867)

- Karl Ludwig, Archduke of Austria (07/30/1833 - 05/19/1896)

- Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria (10/27/1835 - 02/05/1840)

- Ludwig, Archduke of Austria (05/15/1842 - 01/18/1919)

By Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Maria Antonia, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Grand Duchess of Tuscany

- Maria Isabella, Archduchess of Austria and Countess of Trapani (05/21/1834 - 07/14/1901)

- Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany (06/10/1835 - 01/17/1908)

- Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria (06/29/1836 - 08/05/1838)

- Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria (02/05/1838 - 09/01/1849)

- Karl, Archduke of Austria (04/30/1839 - 01/18/1892)

- Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria (06/09/1840 - 08/13/1841)

- Rainer, Archduke of Austria (05/01/1842 - 08/13/1844)

- Maria Luisa, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Isenburg-B࿍ingen (10/31/1845 - 08/27/1917)

- Ludwig, Archduke of Austria (08/04/1847 - 10/12/1915)

- Johann, Archduke of Austria (11/25/1852 - ?)

By Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Sardinia

- Victor Amadeus II, King of Italy (03/14/1820 - 01/09/1878)

- Ferdiand, Duke of Genoa (11/15/1822 - 02/10/1855)

By Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of the Two-Sicilies and Ferdinand II, King of the Two-Sicilies

- Ludovico, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Trani (08/01/1838 - 06/08/1886)

- Alberto, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Castrogiovanni (09/17/1839 - 07/12/1844)

- Alfonso, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Caserta (03/28/1841 - 05/26/1934)

- Maria Annunciata, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Archduchess of Austria (03/24/1843 - 05/04/1871)

- Maria Immaculata, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Archduchess of Austria (04/14/1844 - 02/18/1899)

- Gaetano, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Girgenti (01/12/1846 - 11/26/1871)

- Giuseppe, Prince of the Two-Sicilies and Count of Lucera (03/04/1848 - 09/28/1851)

- Maria, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Duchess of Parma (08/21/1849 - 09/29/1882)

- Vicenzo, Prince of the Two Sicileis and Count of Melazzo (04/26/1851 - 10/13/1854)

- Pasquale, Prince of the Two-Sicileis and Count of Bari (09/15/1852 - 12/21/1904)

- Maria Louisa, Princess of the Two-Sicilies and Countess of Bardi (01/21/1855 - 02/23/1874)

- Gennaro, Prince of the Two-Sicileis and Count of Caltagirone (02/28/1857 - 08/13/1867)


Maria Theresa

Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, Roman-German Empress, born 1717 died 1780.

I. FROM 1717 TO 1745

Maria Theresa was born on 13 May, 1717, the daughter of the German Emperor Charles VI (1711-1740) and his wife Elizabeth von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Her elder brother Leopold had died a short time before and the emperor was left without male issue. As early as 1713 he had promulgated a family law, the Pragmatic Sanction, by virtue of which the possessions of the Hapsburgs were to remain undivided and, in default of a male heir, fall to his eldest daughter. He was constantly negotiating with foreign powers to secure their recognition of this Pragmatic Sanction. Maria Theresa was endowed with brilliant gifts, with beauty, amiability and intelligence, and was universally admired as a girl. On 14 February, 1736, she married Duke Francis Stephen of Lorraine, who by the Peace of Vienna, in 1738, received Tuscany instead of Lorraine. Charles VI died unexpectedly on 20 October, 1740, at the age of 56, and Maria Theresa came into possession of the territories of Austria without having any political training. Her husband was an amiable man, but of mediocre mental endowments and consequently of little assistance to her. Charles, moreover, left the internal affairs of his monarchy, particularly the finances and the army, in a lamentable condition. His family regarded the future with misgiving and perplexity. Maria Theresa was the first to recover her self-possession and to appreciate the problems before her. On the very day of her father's death, she received the homage of Privy Councillors and nobility as Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia, and Archduchess of Austria, and at her first cabinet meeting expressed her determination to uphold to the full every right she had inherited. All admired her firmness, dignity and strength of spirit. Certainly they were few who believed she would succeed.

At Vienna men were familiarizing themselves with the idea "of becoming Bavarian". The Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria, who had never recognized the Pragmatic Sanction, laid claim to Austria as the descendant of a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I (1556-1564), and referred to a testament of 1547, in which mention was made however not of the failure of "male" but of "legitimate" issue. He secured the support of France, which induced Spain and Saxony also to lay claims to the succession. A greater peril appeared in a quarter where it was least expected: King Frederick II of Prussia laid claim to Silesia. He promised to help Maria Theresa, provided she ceded to him Jägerndorf, Brieg, Wohlau and Leignitz, to which he pretended to have hereditary claims. Otherwise he would ally himself with France, Bavaria and Saxony and make war on her. He wanted, like a good merchant, to take advantage of the opportunity, and proposed a deal by which Maria Theresa and himself could settle the account between them. For in case of her acceptance of his proposal, Maria Theresa would have been spared the war arising out of the Austrian succession. Maria Theresa was, however, as convinced of her rights as she was determined to enforce them by action. That Prussia had a right to expect concessions from Austria, since, in 1686, indemnification had been promised her for the Duchies of Silesia, Maria Theresa did not take into account. The king hastily invaded Silesia and dispatched a disagreeable, conceited courtier as his representative. Thus the first Silesian war came about (1740-1742). Frederick II gained a great victory at Mollwitz (10 April, 1741). On 4 June he allied himself with France which now gave its support to the Elector of Bavaria, who aspired to the imperial dignity and won most of the electors to his side. Maria Theresa vainly strove to secure the crown for her spouse Francis Stephen. In her hereditary lands she found her principal support against the threats of her foes. The energetic bearing of the princess roused general enthusiasm. When in Pressburg she appealed to the chivalry of the Hungarians, the nobles cried out that they were ready to give their blood and life for their queen (September, 1741). However, as the Bavarians, French and Saxons were advancing against her, she was compelled to arrange a truce with Prussia in order to avoid danger from that side.

Charles Albert of Bavaria with the French had occupied Passau on 31 July and Linz on 15 September, and had been acknowledged by the Upper Austrian Diet. On 26 November he surprised Prague with Saxon assistance, and had himself crowned King of Bohemia on 7 December. On 24 January, 1742 he was also elected Roman emperor as Charles VII. His success however was short-lived. The queen's forces had already made an entry into his own country. Still, what was most needful was to rid herself of her most dangerous antagonist. Frederick II had broken the truce, had entered Moravia "to pluck the Moravian hens", and won a victory at Chotusitz (17 May, 1742). Maria Theresa concluded the peace of Breslau (6 June, 1742) and ceded to him Silesia except Teschen, Troppau and Jägerndorf. She now turned against the Bavarians and the French. Bohemia was retaken and Maria Theresa crowned queen (May, 1743). Her ally, King George II of England, marched forward with the "pragmatic army" and defeated the French at Dettingen (27 June, 1743). The emperor became a fugitive in Frankfort. His rival's advantageous position inspired Frederick II with the fear that he might again lose his recent conquests in Silesia. He therefore again allied himself with France and the emperor and broke the peace by invading Bohemia. But as the French failed to send the promised army and Charles VII died on 20 January, 1745, the King of Prussia was compelled to rely upon his own forces and to retreat to Silesia. The Bavarians made peace with Austria and in Dresden (May, 1745) Bavaria, Saxony and Austria agreed to reduce Prussia to its former condition as the Electorate of Brandenburg. The Prussian victories at Hohenfriedberg, Soor-Trautenau and Kesselsdorf (June, September and December, 1745) overthrew the allies, and the second Silesian war had thus to be settled by the Peace of Dresden, where Prussia was confirmed in its possession of Silesia. Meanwhile Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen, was chosen emperor on 4 October, 1745. Prussia acknowledged him. He took the name of Francis I (1745-1765). Thus the high-spirited woman had obtained what it was possible for her to obtain the imperial dignity remained in her family, and the pragmatic sanction was practically confirmed. War continued to be waged in the Netherlands and Italy, but this conflict was no longer formidable. The conclusion of peace at Aix la Chapelle, in 1748, put an end to the war of the Austrian succession. The relations of the European Powers were not vitally altered. What was important was that Prussia, though not recognized as a great power, had to be tolerated as such.

II. THE PEACE INTERVAL (1746-1756)

Directly after the Peace of Dresden the empress applied herself to the reform of the administration. In a memorandum dated 1751 she herself says: "Since the Peace of Dresden it has been my sole aim to acquaint myself with the condition and strength of my states, and then honestly to become acquainted with the abuses existing in them and in the Dicasteriis (courts of justice) where everything was found to be in the utmost confusion". The initiative came from the queen herself. Her assistant was Count Frederick William von Haugwitz. Finances and the army were in sorest need of reorganization. The greatest necessity was the raising of money needed for a standing army of 108,000 men in the hereditary states and in Hungary. For this purpose 14 millions of gulden were required. The diets were to raise them by regular grants for a number of years, and in return would be free from all taxes in kind. The rights of the several diets were thus restricted for the benefit of the country. Against this opposition arose. Maria Theresa, however, came forth energetically in support of the authority of the government and by her personal influence carried out the project. For the present the people of the several countries made grants for a period of ten years, and when these had passed the new conditions had become habitual and become settled. To the credit of the empress it ought not to be forgotten that in the levying of this contribution for the army she did not permit any oppression of the working class. A much more important measure from the point of view of the well-being of the state was the separation of administration and justice. The Austrian and Bohemian court chancelleries, hitherto separate, were combined into a single supreme administrative office. On the other hand, for the administration of the law, the supreme court was established. In 1753 the empress appointed a commission to compile a new civil code. It was only in 1811, however, that it was published. During her reign (1768) the "Constitutio criminalis Theresiana" was also promulgated for criminal law. Up to that time a heterogeneous procedure prevailed in the different countries. Centralization was also aided by the creation of new district officials who were to carry out the measures of the government in the several countries. As they had often to protect the subjects against the oppression of the lords, the people became much more devoted to the government.

For the promotion of trade and industry a bureau of commerce was established in 1746, but its development was hindered by the internal duties. The oversea trade greatly increased. The army was improved, the Prussian army being taken as a model in 1752 a military academy, and in 1754 an academy of engineering science were established. The empress also gave her attention to education and especially to the middle and higher schools. The gymnasia received a new curriculum in 1752. The medical faculty of the University of Vienna, after being long neglected, was raised to greater efficiency. The legal faculty also became a strong body. Moreover, the empress founded the academy of the nobles (Theresianum) and the academy for Oriental languages as well as the archives for the imperial family, court and state, which since 1749, had been a model of its kind. In her dealings with Catholicism the empress adopted the principle "cujus regio, ejus religio", and defended unity of faith in the State not only for Christian and religious, but also for political reasons. The Jews were not regarded by her with favour. After 1751 Protestants were not permitted to sell their property and emigrate, but all, who declined solemnly to become Catholics, were required to emigrate to Transylvania where the Evangelical worship was permitted. "Transmigration" took the place of "emigration". Later she came to the conclusion that compulsion ought to be avoided, but that those who had gone astray should be led to conversion by argument and careful instruction. At court she was strict in regard to attendance at church, frequent communion, and fasting. She broke up the Freemason lodges by force in 1743.

III. THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR (1756-1763)

Maria Theresa would have carried out many more useful measures had she not again turned to foreign politics. But she was irresistibly impelled to punish Prussia and to reconquer Silesia. Her court and state chancellor, Count Kaunitz (since 1753) recognized at times that it was better to come to an agreement with Prussia, but he had not the courage to oppose the empress's designs. The opportunity of taking revenge on Prussia came when England and France made war on each other in North America and looked about for European allies. In 1755 England received the assurance of aid from Russia. To make Russia's assistance useless and in fact to paralyze her, Frederick the Great made the Westminster Treaty of Neutrality in January, 1756 with England, by which the two Powers bound themselves to prevent their respective allies, namely France and Russia, from attacking the territory of the Confederates. This allowed the old rivals, Austria and France, to combine. Maria Theresa was annoyed that England had joined Prussia, and France was disgusted with Prussia's independent policy, for she had reckoned on Frederick's help. Thus France and Austria made the defensive treaty of Versailles on 1 May, 1756. As to the origin of the Seven Years' War, whether it was an offensive or defensive war on the part of Frederick the Great, this has been the subject of much debate. It must be granted that Austria called upon France to participate actively in a war against Prussia, and in return had offered concessions in the Low Countries. She had also come to a similar agreement with Russia. The new war was an unfortunate undertaking. The prospects of regaining Silesia were not great, and the hope of weakening Prussia was an absolute chimera. Besides, France had no great interest in weakening Prussia, and her active participation was doubtful from the beginning. In Russia the death of the empress and a consequent change of policy was imminent.

Frederick the Great foresaw the intentions of Maria Theresa in good time, and anticipated her before the preparations of his enemy were completed. As the empress made an evasive reply or no reply at all to his enquiries as to her aims he entered Saxony on 28 August, 1756, and Bohemia in September and defeated the Austrians on 1 October, at Lobositz. The attack, which was clearly a breach of the peace, brought about the immediate conclusion of the alliances. Frederick made an alliance with England in January, 1757. France and Austria came to an agreement (on 1 May, 1757) in regard to the partition of Prussia, after Austria had come to an understanding with Russia in January. Frederick had to defend himself on every side. He was on the offensive only in 1757 and 1758. Later he had to confine himself to acting on the defensive. The Seven Years' War was a long struggle in which fortune alternately favoured either side. In contrast with Frederick the Great's victories at Prague (6 May, 1757), at Rossbach (5 November, 1757), at Leuthen (15 December, 1757), at Torgau (3 November, 1760) stand his serious defeats at Kolin (18 June, 1757), at Hochkirch (14 October, 1758), and at Kunersdorf (12 August, 1759). In the West the allies effected very little against the English. In the East on the other hand, Frederick seemed on the point of succumbing (1761). The English did not renew the agreement to subsidize Frederick. His opponents, it is true, were equally exhausted financially , as well as weary and disappointed. The decisive turn of events was brought about by the death of the Russian Empress Elizabeth (1762). Her successor, Peter III, an admirer of Frederick's, made peace with him and even sought his alliance and sent him 20,000 men. When Peter lost his throne and life, the Empress Catharine, it is true, withdrew from the Prussian alliance, but the last successes of Frederick were largely due to the Russians (Burkersdorf, 21 July Freiberg, 29 October). As France and England concluded peace in Paris on 10 February, 1763, the empress was compelled to do the same. The Peace of Hubertsburg (15 February, 1763) restored to each belligerent the possessions he had held before the war. But apart from the loss in men and treasure, the war injured the policy of the empress and Count Kaunitz by strengthening the position of Prussia as a great power. Frederick the Great had maintained Prussia's power in a severe ordeal.

IV. THE EVENING OF LIFE (1763-1780)

The empress had still seventeen years to rule. However, this period no longer exclusively bore the impress of her personality. She did not indeed give up the reins, but she could not make headway against the passionate impulses of her son Joseph II, or entirely carry out her own views. Thus the Theresian period gradually became the "Josephine" period. On 27 March, 1763, Joseph was chosen as Roman king. Francis I, to whom Theresa was really devoted, and to whom she had borne sixteen children (eleven daughters and five sons), died suddenly, fifty-seven years old (1765). Joseph II became emperor (1765-1790), and in Austria co-regent with his mother. To her ambitious son, brimful of projects, the liberal-minded autocrat who with the noblest intentions was able to effect nothing, she could not transmit her political talent. In many respects their views differed, particularly on religious affairs. Joseph had entirely different ideas on the treatment of non-Catholics. Indeed even under Maria Theresa the politico-ecclesiastical policy known as "Josephinism" had its rise, though the empress was a pious woman and attended strictly to her religious duties. Papal Bulls were only to be made public with the consent of the government, and intercourse with Rome was to be conducted through the Foreign Office. Festivals were reduced in number. The jurisdiction of the Church over the laity ceased, as well as the immunity from taxes enjoyed by the clergy. The number of monasteries was restricted. The Jesuits lost their standing as confessors at the court, as well as the direction of the theological and philosophical faculties at the University of Vienna, and were confined to the lower schools.

The empress maintained a neutral attitude towards the dissolution of the Jesuit Order. Her fortune was devoted to the care of souls and to education. In foreign politics a conflict of views between mother and son arose on the occasion of the first partition of Poland. The empress not only doubted that the acquisition of Polish territory would be an advantage, but she also recoiled from doing wrong to others. At last she yielded to the pressure of her son and Count Kaunitz, but later she often regretted having given her assent. Nor did she approve of the War of the Bavarian Succession, clearly foreseeing that Prussia would interfere. She could not sufficiently thank Providence for the fortunate issue of the affair. In the last ten years of her life she developed an unremitting activity on behalf of the improvement of the primary schools. The excellent Abbot Felbiger, the father of the Catholic primary schools of Germany, was summoned from Silesia. She also tried to improve the condition of the peasantry, and to put an end to the oppression of the landlords. When she sought to abolish the serfdom in Bohemia she encountered unexpected opposition from the emperor, whom the landlords had caused to hesitate.

She was tireless in her care for the welfare and education of her children. When they were at a distance she carried on a busy correspondence with them and gave them wise instruction and advice. Marie Antoinette, the Dauphiness, and afterwards Queen, of France, with her light and thoughtless temperament, her frivolous disregard of dignity, her love of pleasure and her extravagance, caused her much anxiety. Nearest to her heart was her daughter Maria Christina who was happily married to Prince Albert of Saxony-Teschen. Death was made hard for the courageous woman. On 15 October, 1780, she made her will and in it directed, which was characteristic of her, besides generous bequests to the poor, the granting a month's pay to the soldiers. On 8 November she was present at a hunt and appears to have caught a cold in the pouring rain. Night and day she suffered from a racking cough and choking fits, nevertheless she was but little in bed, but busied herself by putting her papers in order, and consoling her children. On the 25th she received Communion on the 28th extreme unction was given to her, and with her own hand she put certain bequests on paper, among them, again, characteristic of her disposition, 100,000 florins for the funds of the normal schools. during the night of 29 November, 1780, she died, at the age of sixty-three years.

She was the last and beyond doubt the greatest of the Hapsburgs. She is not only, as Sonnenfels described her as early as 1780, the restorer, but rather the foundress of the Austrian monarchy, which with a skillful hand she built up out of loose parts into a well rivetted whole, while in all essential respects she left the administration radically improved. In her personal character she was a thorough German, always proud of her German descent and nationality, intelligent, affable, cheerful, pleasant, fond of music, and at the same time thoroughly moral and deeply religious. In her character were united, as v. Zwiedineck-Südenhorst says, all that was amiable and honourable, all that was worthy and winning, all the strength and gentleness of which the Austrian character is capable. Klopstock was right when he appraised her as "the greatest of her line because she was the most human", and even Frederick the Great recognized her merits when he said: "She has done honour to the throne and to her sex I have warred with her but I have never been her enemy."

VON ARNETH, Geschichte Maria Theresias, I-X (Vienna, 1863-1879) WOLF AND ZWIEDINECK-SÜDENHORST, Oesterreich unter Maria Theresia, Josef II. und Leopold II. (Berlin, 1884) VON ARNETH in the Allg. deutsche Biographie, XX (Leipzig, 1884), p. 340-365 KHUEN in WETZER AND WELTE, Kirchenlex., 2nd ed., VIII (Freiburg, 1891), 777-786 V. ZWIEDINECK-SÜDENHORST, Maria Theresia (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1905) The Cambridge Modern History, vol. VI (Cambridge, 1909).


Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria, and Queen of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina, Archduchess of Austria was born at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria on May 13, 1717, the second and eldest surviving child of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Her only brother died several weeks before she was born and her two younger siblings were sisters. The fact that Maria Theresa’s father did not have a male heir caused many problems. For more information see the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and the War of the Austrian Succession.
Maria Theresa married Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine on February 12, 1736, in the Augustinian Church in Vienna. Throughout his reign, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI expected to have a male heir and never really prepared Maria Theresa for her future role as sovereign. Upon her father’s death in 1740, Maria Theresa became Queen of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia in her own right. She was unable to become the sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire because she was female. Maria Theresa’s right to succeed to her father was the cause of the eight-year-long War of the Austrian Succession. The Habsburgs had been elected Holy Roman Emperors since 1438, but in 1742 Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII from the German House of Wittelsbach was elected. He died in 1745 and via a treaty Maria Theresa arranged for her husband Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine to be elected Holy Roman Emperor. Despite the snub, Maria Theresa wielded the real power.

Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen at their wedding breakfast, by Martin van Meytens Credit – Wikipedia

Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen had 16 children. Their youngest daughter was Queen Marie Antoinette of France, wife of King Louis XVI.

Maria Theresa with her family, 1754, by Martin van Meytens Credit – Wikipedia

Even though he had 16 children with his wife, Francis was not faithful during his marriage and had a number of affairs. Despite being the nominal Holy Roman Emperor, he was content to leave the act of reigning to his wife. Francis died suddenly in 1765 at the age of 56 in his carriage while returning from the opera. His son Joseph succeeded him as Holy Roman Emperor although Maria Theresa continued to wield the real power.
In 1767, Maria Theresa had smallpox and after that, her health deteriorated. She died on November 29, 1780, at Hofburg Palace, after a reign of 40 years and surrounded by her surviving children. Maria Theresa was the last of the House of Habsburg. The Imperial House thereafter was the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Her son Joseph, Holy Roman Emperor since his father’s death, succeeded his mother as King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. Maria Theresa was buried alongside her husband in a magnificent tomb in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.

Tomb of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Franz I Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer


Waiter, I'd like a Maria Theresa please!

Those ordering a "Maria Theresa" at a Vienna coffee house can expect a strong double coffee, topped with whipped cream and containing a shot of orange liquor. To this day there are some 150 traditional coffee houses in the Austrian capital, with wooden floors, simple chairs and plush sofas. In 2011, Viennese coffee house culture was officially declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Author: Frederike Müller (sc)

First of all, Maria Theresa (1717-1780) was never actually crowned empress. As the only female ruler in the House of Habsburg, she was the Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia.

Maria Theresa was only 23 years old when she ascended to the Austrian throne in 1740. Though the official ruler was actually her husband, Francis I, she governed the Habsburg monarchy single-handedly.

When her husband became the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1945, Maria Theresa acquired the title of empress, as suits the wife of an emperor. The only female sovereign in the history of the House of Habsburg became pivotal during the era of enlightened absolutism, which served as a precursor to the Enlightenment and saw rulers in Europe increasingly valuing rationalism and supporting human rights.

The beautiful muse, Maria Theresa

No other woman of her time was painted as often as Maria Theresa, which not only had to do with her position of power. Her contemporaries described her as a very beautiful woman, especially when she was young. She had a round face, slightly reddish blonde hair, large, vivid, light blue eyes, and an upbeat expression - that's how a Prussian emissary at the Vienna court described her. However, he also stated: "After going through childbirth numerous times and filling out, she has become somewhat sluggish."

Maria Theresa is featured at Madame Tussauds in Vienna

The darlings of the empress

That, however, didn't affect the relationship between Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I. Their marriage was to guarantee a balance of power within the spectrum of European politics. When they married in 1736, they already knew each other well, as the groom had lived at the Vienna court for a long time.

They not only appreciated each other, but felt a deep love for one another - and had 16 children together. The marriage was considered a happy one, although Francis I was said to have had numerous affairs. When the emperor died unexpectedly in 1765 after 29 years of marriage, Maria Theresa wrote: "I lost a husband, a friend, the only object of my love."

She took care of her 11 daughters and five sons, who were given a strict and comprehensive education. Only 10 of the 16 children reached adulthood, among them two future emperors, an elector of Cologne and Marie Antoinette, the future wife of King Louis XVI of France.

Maria Theresa's biggest foe

Maria Theresa's first major challenge came shortly after she had ascended the throne: Other European rulers started making territorial claims after she had assumed authority over the House of Hapsburg in 1740. Among them was the King of Prussia, Frederick II, who triggered the Silesian Wars and with them the War of the Austrian Succession.

When the latter ended in 1748, Maria Theresa had lost the region of Silesia forever. Furthermore, she was forced to give up the duchies of Parma and Piacenza. She did succeed, however, in keeping all other territories of the Habsburg Empire. Maria Theresa gained a great deal of respect by asserting her power in trying times. King Frederick II of Prussia remained her biggest enemy. In her view, he was a "monster" and a "miserable king."

Comprehensive state reforms

Maria Theresa was one of the most frequently painted women of her time

It's quite likely that Maria Theresa, who called herself Roman Empress from 1745 onwards, actually admired the Prussian king in secret. After all, she carried out long-term reforms that mirrored those made in Prussia, which were marked to some extent by the spirit of enlightened absolutism.

She doubled the size of the army, reformed the military and the judiciary, and established a high court. She also set up new structures in the educational system with the objective of introducing compulsory schooling, and standardized measurements and weights.

The capital city Vienna got a facelift and the stock exchange (Boerse) and Burgtheater were built. Streets in the city were paved, and the Schönbrunn Palace, originally a hunting lodge, was enlarged and transformed into a prestigious landmark. It became Maria Theresa's favorite palace.

Faithful and intolerant

In some regards, the conservative Catholic ruler applied a strict zero tolerance policy. She had no sympathy for non-Catholics. Under her rule, Protestants were even persecuted and expelled to be resettled in thinly populated regions of what is now Romania.

She also displayed no tolerance for Jews. Roughly four years after she had ascended to the throne, she expelled 20,000 Jews from Prague and other parts of Bohemia in 1744. The monarch remained intolerant until the end of her life.

Maria Theresa, Francis I, and their children in 1754

During her entire life, the devout Catholic showed no tolerance at all towards immorality. She went so far as to introduce a chastity court that charged prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites and even sexual intercourse between members of different religions. Depending on the crime, the sentence could include whipping, deportation or even the death penalty.

Someone who was never charged by the chastity court was her own adulterous husband. From 1765 onwards, the handling of what was seen as immorality became less strict. After the death of her husband, her son Joseph II became the Holy Roman Emperor and a co-regent of the House of Habsburg. The relationship between mother and son was difficult and full of conflicts: Joseph followed the humanistic principles of Enlightenment, whereas his mother partially rejected some of these concepts as anti-Catholic.

Austria celebrates its empress

Maria Theresa died of pneumonia on November 29, 1780, at the age of 63 in her hometown, Vienna. The most enigmatic regent of the House of Habsburg has remained unforgotten until today.

Starting on March 15, Austria is celebrating her 300th anniversary of her birth on May 13, 1717, with an exhibition taking place in four different locations. The show "300 Years Maria Theresa: Strategist - Mother - Reformer" looks at all aspects of the ruler's life, including her family life and political achievements, as well as the aftermath of her rule. The exhibition will end on November 29, 2017, the anniversary of her death.

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