Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor

Francis II & I
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor by Friedrich von Amerling 003.jpg
Portrait by Friedrich von Amerling, 1832
Reign 1 March 1792 – 2 March 1835
Coronations
Predecessor Leopold II
Successor Ferdinand V
Holy Roman Emperor
King in Germany
Reign 5 July 1792 – 6 August 1806
Coronation 14 July 1792, Frankfurt
Predecessor Leopold II
Successor Napoleon (as Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine)
Emperor of Austria
Reign 11 August 1804 – 2 March 1835
Successor Ferdinand I
King of Lombardy–Venetia
Reign 9 June 1815 – 2 March 1835
Successor Ferdinand I
Born (1768-02-12)12 February 1768
Florence, Tuscany
Died 2 March 1835(1835-03-02) (aged 67)
Vienna, Austria
Burial Imperial Crypt, Vienna
Spouses
Issue
Detail
Full name
Franz Joseph Karl
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Luisa of Spain
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Francis II & I's signature

Francis II ( German: Franz; 12 February 1768 – 2 March 1835) was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation after the decisive defeat at the hands of the First French Empire led by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1804, he had founded the Austrian Empire and became Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, ruling from 1804 to 1835, so later he was named the one and only Doppelkaiser (double emperor) in history. [1] For the two years between 1804 and 1806, Francis used the title and style by the Grace of God elected Roman Emperor, ever Augustus, hereditary Emperor of Austria and he was called the Emperor of both the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. He was also Apostolic King of Hungary and Bohemia as Francis I. He also served as the first president of the German Confederation following its establishment in 1815.

Francis II continued his leading role as an opponent of Napoleonic France in the Napoleonic Wars, and suffered several more defeats after Austerlitz. The proxy marriage of state of his daughter Marie Louise of Austria to Napoleon on 10 March 1810 was arguably his most severe personal defeat. After the abdication of Napoleon following the War of the Sixth Coalition, Austria participated as a leading member of the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna, which was largely dominated by Francis's chancellor Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich culminating in a new European map and the restoration of Francis' ancient dominions (except the Holy Roman Empire which was dissolved). Due to the establishment of the Concert of Europe, which largely resisted popular nationalist and liberal tendencies, Francis became viewed as a reactionary later in his reign.

Early life

Archduke Francis at the age of 2, 1770. by Anton Raphael Mengs

Francis was a son of Emperor Leopold II (1747–1792) and his wife Maria Luisa of Spain (1745–1792), daughter of Charles III of Spain. Francis was born in Florence, the capital of Tuscany, where his father reigned as Grand Duke from 1765–90. Though he had a happy childhood surrounded by his many siblings, [2] his family knew Francis was likely to be a future Emperor (his uncle Joseph had no surviving issue from either of his two marriages), and so in 1784 the young Archduke was sent to the Imperial Court in Vienna to educate and prepare him for his future role. [3]

Emperor Joseph II himself took charge of Francis's development. His disciplinarian regime was a stark contrast to the indulgent Florentine Court of Leopold. The Emperor wrote that Francis was "stunted in growth", "backward in bodily dexterity and deportment", and "neither more nor less than a spoiled mother's child". Joseph concluded that "the manner in which he was treated for upwards of sixteen years could not but have confirmed him in the delusion that the preservation of his own person was the only thing of importance". [3]

Joseph's martinet method of improving the young Francis were "fear and unpleasantness". [4] The young Archduke was isolated, the reasoning being that this would make him more self-sufficient as it was felt by Joseph that Francis "failed to lead himself, to do his own thinking". Nonetheless, Francis greatly admired his uncle, if rather feared him. To complete his training, Francis was sent to join an army regiment in Hungary and he settled easily into the routine of military life. [5]

After the death of Joseph II in 1790, Francis's father became Emperor. He had an early taste of power while acting as Leopold's deputy in Vienna while the incoming Emperor traversed the Empire attempting to win back those alienated by his brother's policies. [6] The strain told on Leopold and by the winter of 1791, he became ill. He gradually worsened throughout early 1792; on the afternoon of 1 March Leopold died, at the relatively young age of 44. Francis, just past his 24th birthday, was now Emperor, much sooner than he had expected.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Frans II
Alemannisch: Franz II. (HRR)
azərbaycanca: II Frans
Bân-lâm-gú: Franz 2-sè
башҡортса: Франц II
беларуская: Франц II
български: Франц II
eesti: Franz II
한국어: 프란츠 2세
íslenska: Frans II (HRR)
ქართული: ფრანც II
Nederlands: Keizer Frans II
日本語: フランツ2世
Plattdüütsch: Franz II. (HRR)
русский: Франц II
Simple English: Francis I of Austria
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Franz II od Svetog Rimskog Carstva
українська: Франц II
West-Vlams: Frans II (HRR)