Maria Luisa of Spain
Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain was Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Grand Duchess of Tuscany as the spouse of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor. Maria Luisa was born in Portici, in Campania, the site of the summer palace of her parents, King Charles, King of Naples and Sicily and Maria Amalia of Saxony, she was the fifth daughter, second surviving child, of her parents. Her father, the future Charles III of Spain, had become King of Naples and Sicily in 1735 after its occupation by the Spanish in the War of Polish Succession. After her father became King of Spain at the death of her half-uncle, Ferdinand VI of Spain, in 1759, she became known as Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain, she moved with her family to Spain. Maria Luisa was intended to marry the future Emperor Joseph II, but this was stopped by the discontent of Louis XV of France, who instead wished for Joseph to marry his granddaughter, Isabella of Parma. On 16 February 1764 she was married by proxy at Madrid to Leopold, the second son of Empress Maria Theresa I, Holy Roman Empress and Francis, Duke of Lorraine, the heir apparent to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Before her marriage, she was made to renounce her rights to the throne of Spain upon the wish of her father. After her wedding by proxy, she traveled to Austria by way of Barcelona and Bolzano; the next year, on 5 August, she married him in person at Innsbruck. Only a few days the death of Emperor Francis made Maria Luisa's husband the new Grand Duke of Tuscany, the newly married couple moved to Florence, where they would live for the next twenty-five years; the couple arrived to Florence 13 September 1765. They were settled in the Palazzo Pitti. By the time of her wedding, Maria Luisa was described as a blue-eyed beauty with a vivid charm and simple and with a disposition to be generous and kind, her natural warm friendliness was said to have contrasted to the somewhat cold nature of Leopold. By her strict Catholic upbringing, Maria Luisa was raised to endure any hardship of pregnancy and marriage without complaint, a role she fulfilled during her marriage; the relationship between Maria Luisa and Leopold has been described as happy, Maria Luisa as a supporting and loyal wife.
She accepted the infidelities of her spouse without complaints: among his most known lovers were Lady Anna Gore Cowper, another was the ballerina Livia Raimondi, with whom he had a son, Luigi von Grün, gave her own palace at Piazza San Marco. As Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Maria Luisa made herself appreciated the first year in Florence, during the famine of 1765, when she provided the poor and needing with food and medical aid, she was referred to as an ideal "model of feminine virtue", she was never crowned as Grand Duchess, though she was present at the coronation of Leopold in July 1768. She accompanied her consort and her sister-in-law, Maria Carolina of Austria, at the latter's marriage to her brother, the King of Naples: the couple remained there for the summer of 1768. In 1770, she accompanied Leopold on his visit to Vienna. Maria Luisa and Leopold neither enjoyed formal occasions and participated in representation or indeed upheld much of a ceremonial court life at all. Maria Luisa and her spouse gave their children a free upbringing, away from any formal court life, took them on trips to the country side and the coast.
She remained unknown in the local aristocracy, restricted her private social life to a small circle of friends. In 1790, on the death of Leopold's childless brother, Joseph II, Maria Luisa's husband inherited the Habsburg lands in Central Europe, was shortly thereafter elected Holy Roman Emperor. Taking the name of Leopold II, the new Emperor moved his family to Vienna, where Maria Luisa took on the role of imperial consort, being the penultimate one and the last to have had held the title until her husband's death. Leopold died scarcely two years on 1 March 1792. Maria Luisa followed her husband to the grave in less than three months, not living long enough to see her eldest son Francis elected as the last Holy Roman Emperor. Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito was commissioned by the Estates of Bohemia as part of the festivities that accompanied the coronation of Maria Luisa and her husband Leopold as king and queen of Bohemia in Prague on 6 September 1791. In musical circles, Maria Luisa is famous for her putative denigration of Mozart's opera, which she dismissed as "una porcheria tedesca", however no claim that she made this remark pre-dates the publication in 1871 of Alfred Meissner's Rococo-Bilder: nach Aufzeichnungen meines Grossvaters, a collection of stories about cultural and political life in Prague in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Maria Theresa of Austria had issue. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor had issue. Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany had issue. Maria Anna of Austria died unmarried. Charles of Austria had issue. Al
Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
Leopold, surnamed the Good, was Duke of Lorraine and Bar from 1690 to his death. He is the ancestor of all rulers of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, including all Emperors of Austria. Leopold Joseph Charles Dominique Agapet Hyacinthe was the son of Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, his wife Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria, a half-sister of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. At the time of Leopold's birth and Bar had been occupied by Louis XIV of France, forcing his parents to move into exile to Austria, where they lived under the protection of the Emperor. Therefore, Leopold was born in the palace of Innsbruck and received his first name in honour of the Emperor. Leopold grew up in Innsbruck, while his father would be engaged in defending Vienna against the Turks. In 1690, his father eleven-year-old Leopold inherited the still occupied Duchies, his mother, trying to fulfil her husband's last wishes of returning her children to their patrimony, appealed to the Reichstag in Regensburg to restore her son to Lorraine.
Leopold was sent to Vienna to receive a military education under the supervision of the Emperor. In Vienna, he grew up with the Archdukes Joseph and Charles, both future Emperors. Leopold was created a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece that year. Like his father before him, he entered the Imperial Army and, aged eighteen, took part in the Siege of Timişoara in 1694. Three years he received the command of the Army of the Rhine. On 30 October 1697, the Nine Years' War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ryswick; the treaty restored the Duchies of Lorraine and Bar to the House of Lorraine, as Leopold's mother had hoped. On 17 August 1698, Duke Leopold made a triumphant entry into his capital Nancy, he repopulated his war-stricken duchy, encouraging immigration. At the end of his reign the duchy was prosperous. In his foreign policy, Leopold tried to further good relations with France and to appease his powerful neighbor. On 13 October 1698 at the Palace of Fontainebleau, Leopold married Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans, the niece of Louis XIV, who had offered a dowry of 900,000 livres to the penniless Duke.
Elisabeth Charlotte turned out to be a caring mother and gave birth to fifteen children, of whom five survived into adulthood. Three of them died within a week in May 1711 due to a smallpox outbreak at the Château de Lunéville, the country seat of the Dukes of Lorraine. Despite Leopold's diplomatic attempts, his capital, was occupied by foreign troops during the War of the Spanish Succession. Fearing for his family, Leopold relocated the court to the Château de Lunéville, where Leopold rebuilt the castle as the "Versailles of Lorraine", it was here that his first child Leopold was born in 1700. In 1703, the Duke introduced the Code Léopold regulating the government of the Duchy, he tried to install his eldest daughter, Elisabeth Charlotte, as Abbess of Remiremont but failed due to the opposition of Pope Clement XI. Leopold's marital life was troubled in 1706, when he took Anne-Marguerite de Lignéville, Princess of Beauvau-Craon as his mistress, enriched her family. Elisabeth Charlotte however, following her mother's advice, remained silent.
In 1708, Leopold had claimed the Duchy of Montferrat as the closest relative of his cousin, Charles III Gonzaga, erstwhile Duke of Mantua, deposed and died without male issue. However, the Emperor had promised Montferrat to the Dukes of Savoy but wishing to compensate the House of Lorraine, he gave the Duchy of Teschen in Silesia to Leopold. In 1710, Leopold and his wife visited Paris to attend the marriage of Elisabeth Charlotte's niece Marie Louise Elisabeth to the Duke of Berry, were among the guests of the lavish banquet at the Palais du Luxembourg. During the visit, Leopold, as a foreign prince, received the style of Royal Highness. In 1719, Leopold bought the County of Ligny-en-Barrois from Charles Henry of Vaudemont. During his reign a new security system was put in place all around Lorraine, he tried to abolish serfdom but the redemption payments were too high for the peasantry when Leopold halved it. On New Year's Eve 1719 he freed his own serfs without redemption, hoping in vain the nobility would follow his example.
In 1721, Leopold arranged for Leopold Clement, to receive an education at Vienna. He intended to forge relations with Archduchess Maria Theresa, the heiress of Emperor Charles VI. However, Leopold Clement died shortly afterwards at Lunéville and in his stead, the younger son Francis Stephen went to Vienna, where he married Maria Theresa. Francis would become Emperor and his descendants, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, would rule Austria until 1918. In 1725, Leopold tried to marry off his daughter Anne Charlotte to the young King Louis XV, but Louis Henry, Duke of Bourbon prime minister, prevented a union with a descendant of the rival House of Orléans. Elisabeth Charlotte tried to arrange her daughter's marriage to her first cousin, the widowed Louis, Duke of Orléans, but Louis refused. All proposals of marriage being either ignored or declined, Anne Charlotte became Abbess of the monasteries Remiremont and Essen. In March 1729, Leopold caught a fever while walking at the Château at Ménil near Lunéville.
He returned to Lunéville where he died on 27 March, aged 49. Leopold had 15 children: Léopold Elisabeth Charlotte Louise Christine Marie Gabrièle Charlotte Louis Josepha Gabrièle Gabrièle Louise Léopold Clement Charles (25 Apr
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Croatia, Transylvania, Milan and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Holy Roman Empress, she started her 40-year reign when her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in October 1740. Charles VI paved the way for her accession with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and spent his entire reign securing it, he neglected the advice of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who averred that a strong military and a rich treasury were more important than mere signatures. He left behind a weakened and impoverished state due to the War of the Polish Succession and the Russo-Turkish War. Moreover, upon his death, Prussia and France all repudiated the sanction they had recognised during his lifetime. Frederick II of Prussia promptly invaded and took the affluent Habsburg province of Silesia in the seven-year conflict known as the War of the Austrian Succession.
In defiance of the grave situation, she managed to secure the vital support of the Hungarians for the war effort. Over the course of the war, despite the loss of Silesia and a few minor territories in Italy, Maria Theresa defended her rule over most of the Habsburg empire. Maria Theresa unsuccessfully tried to reconquer Silesia during the Seven Years' War. Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had eleven daughters, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma, five sons, including two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II. Of the sixteen children, ten survived to adulthood. Though she was expected to cede power to Francis and Joseph, both of whom were her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia, Maria Theresa was the absolute sovereign who ruled with the counsel of her advisers. Maria Theresa promulgated institutional and educational reforms, with the assistance of Wenzel Anton of Kaunitz-Rietberg, Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz and Gerard van Swieten.
She promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, reorganised Austria's ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria's international standing. However, she despised the Jews and the Protestants, on certain occasions she ordered their expulsion to remote parts of the realm, she advocated for the state church and refused to allow religious pluralism. Her regime was criticized as intolerant by some contemporaries; the second and eldest surviving child of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Archduchess Maria Theresa was born on 13 May 1717 in Vienna, a year after the death of her elder brother, Archduke Leopold, was baptised on that same evening. The dowager empresses, her aunt Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg and grandmother Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, were her godmothers. Most descriptions of her baptism stress that the infant was carried ahead of her cousins, Maria Josepha and Maria Amalia, the daughters of Charles VI's elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, before the eyes of their mother, Wilhelmine Amalia.
It was clear that Maria Theresa would outrank them though their grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, had his sons sign the Mutual Pact of Succession, which gave precedence to the daughters of the elder brother. Her father was the only surviving male member of the House of Habsburg and hoped for a son who would prevent the extinction of his dynasty and succeed him. Thus, the birth of Maria Theresa was the people of Vienna. Maria Theresa replaced Maria Josepha as heir presumptive to the Habsburg realms the moment she was born. Charles sought the other European powers' approval for disinheriting his nieces, they exacted harsh terms: in the Treaty of Vienna, Great Britain demanded that Austria abolish the Ostend Company in return for its recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction. In total, Great Britain, Saxony, United Provinces, Prussia, Denmark, Sardinia and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire recognised the sanction. France, Saxony and Prussia reneged. Little more than a year after her birth, Maria Theresa was joined by a sister, Maria Anna, another one, named Maria Amalia, was born in 1724.
The portraits of the imperial family show that Maria Theresa resembled Elisabeth Christine and Maria Anna. The Prussian ambassador noted that she had large blue eyes, fair hair with a slight tinge of red, a wide mouth and a notably strong body. Unlike many other members of the House of Habsburg, neither Maria Theresa's parents nor her grandparents were related to each other. Maria Theresa was a reserved child who enjoyed singing and archery, she was barred from horse riding by her father, but she would learn the basics for the sake of her Hungarian coronation ceremony. The imperial family staged opera productions conducted by Charles VI, in which she relished participating, her education was overseen by Jesuits. Contemporaries thought her Latin to be quite good, but in all else, the Jesuits did not educate her well, her spelling and punctuation were unconventional and she lacked the formal manner and speech which had characterised her Habsburg predecessors. Maria Theresa developed a close relationship with Countess Marie Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia and Archduke of Austria in 1711. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain following the death of his relative, Charles II, In 1708 He married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, the last Habsburg sovereign, Maria Anna, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands. Four years before the birth of Maria Theresa, faced with his lack of male heirs, Charles provided for a male-line succession failure with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713; the Emperor favoured his own daughters over those of his elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, in the succession, ignoring the decree he had signed during the reign of his father, Leopold I. Charles sought the other European powers' approval, they exacted harsh terms: Britain demanded that Austria abolish its overseas trading company. In total, Great Britain, Saxony-Poland, the Dutch Republic, Venice, States of the Church, Russia, Savoy-Sardinia and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire recognised the sanction.
France, Saxony-Poland and Prussia reneged. Charles died in 1740, sparking the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued his successor, Maria Theresa, for eight years. Archduke Charles, the second son of the Emperor Leopold I and of his third wife, Princess Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, was born on 1 October 1685, his tutor was Anton Prince of Liechtenstein. Following the death of Charles II of Spain, in 1700, without any direct heir, Charles declared himself King of Spain—both were members of the House of Habsburg; the ensuing War of the Spanish Succession, which pitted France's candidate, Duke of Anjou, Louis XIV of France's grandson, against Austria's Charles, lasted for 14 years. The Kingdom of Portugal, Kingdom of England, Scotland and the majority of the Holy Roman Empire endorsed Charles's candidature. Charles III, as he was known, disembarked in his kingdom in 1705, stayed there for six years, only being able to exercise his rule in Catalonia, until the death of his brother, Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor.
Not wanting to see Austria and Spain in personal union again, the new Kingdom of Great Britain withdrew its support from the Austrian coalition, the war culminated with the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt three years later. The former, ratified in 1713, recognised Philip as King of Spain. To prevent a union of Spain and France, Philip was forced to renounce his right to succeed his grandfather's throne. Charles was discontented at the loss of Spain, as a result, he mimicked the staid Spanish Habsburg court ceremonial, adopting the dress of a Spanish monarch, according to British historian Edward Crankshaw, consisted of "a black doublet and hose, black shoes and scarlet stockings". Charles's father and his advisors went about arranging a marriage for him, their eyes fell upon Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, the eldest child of Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. She was held to be strikingly beautiful by her contemporaries. On 1 August 1708, in Barcelona, Charles married her by proxy.
She gave him two daughters that survived to Maria Theresa and Maria Anna. When Charles succeeded his brother in 1711, he was the last male Habsburg heir in the direct line. Since Habsburg possessions were subject to Salic law, barring women from inheriting in their own right, his own lack of a male heir meant they would be divided on his death; the Pragmatic Sanction of 19 April 1713 abolished male-only succession in all Habsburg realms and declared their lands indivisible, although Hungary only approved it in 1723. Charles had Maria Theresa, Maria Anna and Maria Amalia but no surviving sons; when Maria Theresa was born, he disinherited his nieces and the daughters of his elder brother Joseph, Maria Josepha and Maria Amalia. It was this act that undermined the chances of a smooth succession and obliged Charles to spend the rest of his reign seeking to ensure enforcement of the Sanction from other European powers, they exacted harsh terms. However, by 1735 he had secured approvals from key states, most the Imperial Diet, which in theory bound all its members including Prussia and Bavaria.
Other signatories included Britain, the Dutch Republic, Russia and Savoy-Sardinia but subsequent events underlined Eugene of Savoy's comment that the best guarantee was a powerful army and full Treasury. His nieces were married to the rulers of Saxony and Bavaria, both of whom refused to be bound by the decision of the Imperial Diet and despite publicly agreeing to the Pragmatic Sanction in 1735, France signed a secret treaty with Bavaria in 1738 promising to back the'just claims' of Charles Albert of Bavaria. In the first part of his reign, Austrian continued to expand; this extended Austrian rule to the lower Danube. The War of the Quadruple Alliance followed, it too ended in an A
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis I was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife Maria Theresa executed the real powers of those positions. They were the founders of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. From 1728 until 1737 he was Duke of Lorraine. Francis traded the duchy to the ex-Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as one of the terms ending the War of the Polish Succession in November 1738; the duchy and the ducal title to Lorraine and Bar passed to King Louis XV of France upon Leszczynski's death in 1766, though Francis and his successors retained the right to style themselves as dukes of Lorraine and Bar. Francis was born in Nancy, the oldest surviving son of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, his wife Princess Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans, he was connected with the Habsburgs through his grandmother Eleonore, daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III. He was close to his brother Charles and sister Anne Charlotte. Emperor Charles VI favoured the family, besides being his cousins, had served the house of Austria with distinction.
He had designed to marry his daughter Maria Theresa to Francis' older brother Leopold Clement. On Leopold Clement's death, Charles adopted the younger brother as his future son-in-law. Francis was brought up in Vienna with Maria Theresa with the understanding that they were to be married, a real affection arose between them. At the age of 15, when he was brought to Vienna, he was established in the Silesian Duchy of Teschen, mediatised and granted to his father by the emperor in 1722. Francis succeeded his father as Duke of Lorraine in 1729. In 1731 he was initiated into freemasonry by John Theophilus Desaguliers at a specially convened lodge in The Hague at the house of the British Ambassador, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. During a subsequent visit to England, Francis was made a Master Mason at another specially convened lodge at Houghton Hall, the Norfolk estate of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole. Maria Theresa arranged for Francis to become "Lord Lieutenant" of Hungary in 1732.
He was not excited about this position. In June 1732 he agreed to go to Pressburg; when the War of the Polish Succession broke out in 1733, France used it as an opportunity to seize Lorraine, since France's prime minister, Cardinal Fleury, was concerned that, as a Habsburg possession, it would bring Austrian power too close to France. A preliminary peace was concluded in October 1735 and ratified in the Treaty of Vienna in November 1738. Under its terms, Stanisław I, the father-in-law of King Louis XV and the losing claimant to the Polish throne, received Lorraine, while Francis, in compensation for his loss, was made heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which he would inherit in 1737. Although fighting stopped after the preliminary peace, the final peace settlement had to wait until the death of the last Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737, to allow the territorial exchanges provided for by the peace settlement to go into effect. In March 1736 the Emperor persuaded Francis, his future son-in-law, to secretly exchange Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
France had demanded that Maria Theresa's fiancé surrender his ancestral Duchy of Lorraine to accommodate the deposed King of Poland. The Emperor considered other possibilities before announcing the engagement of the couple. If something were to go wrong, Francis would become governor of the Austrian Netherlands. Elisabeth of Parma had wanted the Grand Duchy of Tuscany for her son Charles III of Spain; as a result, Elisabeth's sons could claim by right of being a descendant of Margherita. On 31 January 1736 Francis agreed to marry Maria Theresa, he hesitated three times. His mother Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans and his brother Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine were against the loss of Lorraine. On 1 February, Maria Theresa sent Francis a letter: she would withdraw from her future reign, when a male successor for her father appeared, they married on 12 February in the Augustinian Vienna. The wedding was held on 14 February 1736; the treaty between the Emperor and Francis was signed on 4 May 1736.
In January 1737, the Spanish troops withdrew from Tuscany, were replaced by 6,000 Austrians. On 24 January 1737 Francis received Tuscany from his father-in-law; until Maria Theresa was Duchess of Lorraine. Gian Gastone de' Medici, who died on 9 July 1737, was the second cousin of Francis, who had Medici blood through his maternal great-great-grandmother Marie de' Medici, Queen consort of France and Navarre. In June 1737 Francis went to Hungary again to fight against the Turks. In October 1738 he was back in Vienna. On 17 December 1738 the couple travelled south, accompanied by his brother Charles to visit Florence for three months, they arrived on 20 January 1739. In 1744 Francis' brother Charles married a younger sister of Maria Theresa, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. In 1744 Charles became governor of the Austrian Netherlands, a post he held until his death in 1780. Maria Theresa secured in the Treaty of Füssen his election to the Empire on 13 September 1745, in succession to Charles VII, she made him co-regent of her hereditary dominions.
Francis was well content to leave the wielding of power to his able wife. He had a natural fund of good sense and brilliant business c
Laxenburg castles are imperial palaces and castles outside Vienna, in the town of Laxenburg, Lower Austria. The castles became a Habsburg possession in 1333 and served as a summer retreat, along with Schönbrunn palace, for the imperial Habsburg dynasty. Blauer Hof Palace was the birthplace of some members of the royal family, including Crown Prince Rudolf. Another castle nearby is named Franzensburg castle. Today the castles are used for events and concerts; the castles acts as a museum in preserving the various paintings and furnishings contained within. Old Laxenburg Castle became a Habsburg possession in 1333 and was extended in the 17th century by Lodovico Burnacini; the Blauer Hof or Neues Schloss was built around 1745 during the reign of empress Maria Theresa and has a Rococo interior. The church of Laxenburg, the first building north of the Alps containing swung facade components, was built between 1693 and 1703 by Carlo Antonio Carlone and continued between 1703 and 1724 by Matthias Steinl.
After 1780, the castle garden was rearranged as an English landscape garden. It contains several artificial ponds, and, on an island, the Franzensburg castle, named after emperor Franz I, can be found. In 1919, the city of Vienna took over the war-damaged castle and became the property owner of the park area of Laxenburg. After the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, the municipality of Laxenburg became part of the city Vienna. In 1954, the place was returned to Lower Austria. In 1972, Schloss Laxenburg became the home to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, brought together the best scientists from either side of the iron curtain to study global problems. After the Cold War, the Institute broadened its mandate from the East and West to a global focus and, today, it brings together researchers from all over the world to provide science-based insights into critical policy issues in international and national debates on global change. Several members of the imperial family were born at Laxenburg: Archduchess Gisela of Austria, Archduchess of Austria-Hungary, daughter of Franz Joseph I of Austria and Elisabeth of Bavaria.
Crown Prince Rudolf - son of Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth. Archduchess Elisabeth Marie of Austria, daughter of Crown Prince Rudolf. Archduke Maximilian married at Laxenburg in 1917. Wolfgang Häusler. Laxenburg: Franzenburg Castle. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg. ISBN 3-7954-6630-X Media related to Laxenburg castles at Wikimedia Commons Schloss Laxenburg Homepage Laxenburg castle
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence. Tuscany was nominally a state of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797. Tuscany was ruled by the House of Medici until the extinction of its senior branch in 1737. While not as internationally renowned as the old republic, the grand duchy thrived under the Medici and it bore witness to unprecedented economic and military success under Cosimo I and his sons, until the reign of Ferdinando II, which saw the beginning of the state's long economic decline, it peaked under Cosimo III. The Medicis' only advancement in the latter days of their existence was their elevation to royalty, by the Holy Roman Emperor, in 1691. Francis Stephen of Lorraine, a cognatic descendant of the Medici, succeeded the family and ascended the throne of his Medicean ancestors. Tuscany was governed by Marc de Beauvau-Craon, for his entire rule.
His descendants ruled, resided in, the grand duchy until its end in 1859, barring one interruption, when Napoleon Bonaparte gave Tuscany to the House of Bourbon-Parma. Following the collapse of the Napoleonic system in 1814, the grand duchy was restored; the United Provinces of Central Italy, a client state of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont, annexed Tuscany in 1859. Tuscany was formally annexed to Sardinia in 1860, as a part of the unification of Italy, following a landslide referendum, in which 95% of voters approved. In 1569, Cosimo de' Medici had ruled the Duchy of Florence for 32 years. During his reign, Florence purchased the island of Elba from the Republic of Genoa, conquered Siena and developed a well-equipped and powerful naval base on Elba. Cosimo banned the clergy from holding administrative positions and promulgated laws of freedom of religion, which were unknown during his time. Cosimo was a long-term supporter of Pope Pius V, who in the light of Florence's expansion in August 1569 declared Cosimo Grand Duke of Tuscany, a title unprecedented in Italy.
The international reaction to Cosimo's elevation was bleak. Queen Catherine of France, though herself a Medici, viewed Cosimo with the utmost disdain. Rumours circulated at the Viennese court. Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and his cousin King Philip II of Spain reacted quite angrily, as Florence was an Imperial fief and declared Pius V's actions invalid. However, Maximilian confirmed the elevation with an Imperial diploma in 1576. During the Holy League of 1571, Cosimo fought against the Ottoman Empire, siding with the Holy Roman Empire; the Holy League inflicted a crushing defeat against the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto. Cosimo's reign was one of the most militaristic Tuscany had seen. Cosimo experienced several personal tragedies during the years of his reign, his wife, Eleanor of Toledo, died in 1562, along with four of his children due to a plague epidemic in Florence. These deaths were to affect him which, along with illness, forced Cosimo to unofficially abdicate in 1564; this left Francesco, to rule the duchy.
Cosimo I died in 1574 of apoplexy, leaving a stable and prosperous Tuscany behind him, having been the longest ruling Medici yet. Francesco had little interest in governing his realm, instead participating in scientific experiments; the administration of the state was delegated to bureaucrats. He continued his father's Austrian/Imperial alliance. Francesco is best remembered for dying on the same day as his second wife, Bianca Cappello, spurring rumours of poisoning, he was succeeded by his younger brother, whom he loathed. Ferdinando eagerly assumed the government of Tuscany, he commanded the draining of the Tuscan marshlands, built a road network in Southern Tuscany, cultivated trade in Livorno. To augment the Tuscan silk industry, he oversaw the planting of Mulberry trees along the major roads, he shifted Tuscany away from Habsburg hegemony by marrying the first non-Habsburg candidate since Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence, Christina of Lorraine, a granddaughter of Catherine de' Medici.
The Spanish reaction was to construct a citadel on their portion of the island of Elba. To strengthen the new Tuscan alliance, he married the deceased Francesco's younger daughter, Marie, to Henry IV of France. Henry explicitly stated that he would defend Tuscany from Spanish aggression, but reneged. Ferdinando was forced to marry his heir, Cosimo, to Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria to assuage Spain. Ferdinando sponsored a Tuscan colony in America, with the intention of establishing a Tuscan settlement in the area of what is now French Guiana. Despite all of these incentives to economic growth and prosperity, the population of Florence, at dawn of the 17th century, was a mere 75,000 souls, far smaller than the other capitals of Italy: Rome, Venice and Naples. Francesco and Ferdinando, due to lax distinction between Medici and Tuscan state property, are thought to be wealthier than their ancestor, Cosimo de' Medici, the founder of the dynasty; the Grand Duke alone had the prerogative to exploit the state's salt resources.
The fortunes of the Medici were directly tied to the Tuscan economy. Ferdinando, despite no longer being a cardinal, exercised much influence at successive Papal conclaves. In 1605, Ferdinando succeeded in getting his candidate, Alessandro de' Medici, elected as Pope Leo XI. Leo XI died