Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558, king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526, and king of Croatia from 1527 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his brother, Charles V. Also, he served as Charles representative in Germany and developed useful relationships with German princes. Ferdinand was able to defend his realm and make it more cohesive. His flexible approach to Imperial problems, mainly religious, finally brought more result than the more confrontational attitude of his brother, Ferdinands motto was Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus, Let justice be done, though the world perish. Ferdinand shared his customs and even his birthday with his maternal grandfather Ferdinand II of Aragon and he was born and educated in Spain, and did not learn German when he was young. In the summer of 1518 Ferdinand was sent to Flanders following his brother Charless arrival in Spain as newly appointed King Charles I the previous autumn.
He returned in command of his brothers fleet but en route was blown off-course and he was Archduke of Austria from 1521 to 1564. Though he supported his brother, Ferdinand managed to strengthen his own realm, by adopting the German language and culture late in his life, he grew close to the German territorial princes. After the death of his brother-in-law Louis II, Ferdinand ruled as King of Bohemia and Hungary. Ferdinand served as his brothers deputy in the Holy Roman Empire during his brothers many absences, according to the terms set at the First Congress of Vienna in 1515, Ferdinand married Anne Jagiellonica, daughter of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary on 22 July 1515. Therefore, after the death of his brother-in-law Louis II, King of Bohemia and of Hungary, at the battle of Mohács on 29 August 1526, the success was only partial, as the Diet refused to recognise Ferdinand as hereditary lord of the Kingdom. The Croatian nobles unanimously elected Ferdinand I as their king in the 1527 election in Cetin, in Hungary, Nicolaus Olahus, secretary of Louis, attached himself to the party of Ferdinand but retained his position with his sister, Queen Dowager Mary.
Ferdinand was elected King of Hungary by a rump Diet in Pozsony in December 1526, the throne of Hungary became the subject of a dynastic dispute between Ferdinand and John Zápolya, Voivode of Transylvania. They were supported by different factions of the nobility in the Hungarian kingdom, Ferdinand had the support of his brother, the Emperor Charles V. Ferdinand defeated Zápolya at the Battle of Tarcal in September 1527 and again in the Battle of Szina in March 1528. Zápolya fled the country and applied to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent for support, a further Ottoman invasion was repelled in 1533. In 1538, in the Treaty of Nagyvárad, Ferdinand induced the childless Zápolya to name him as his successor, but in 1540, just before his death, Zápolya had a son, John II Sigismund, who was promptly elected King by the Diet. Ferdinand invaded Hungary, but the regent, Frater George Martinuzzi, Bishop of Várad, Suleiman marched into Hungary and not only drove Ferdinand out of central Hungary, he forced Ferdinand to agree to pay tribute for his lands in western Hungary
Vladislaus II of Hungary
Vladislaus II, known as Vladislav II, Władysław II or Wladislas II, was King of Bohemia from 1471 to 1516, and King of Hungary and Croatia from 1490 to 1516. As the eldest son of Casimir IV Jagiellon, he was expected to inherit Poland, George of Poděbrady, the Hussite ruler of Bohemia, offered to make Vladislaus his heir in 1468. Poděbrady needed Casimir IVs support against the rebellious Catholic noblemen and their ally, Matthias Corvinus, the Diet of Bohemia elected Vladislaus king after Poděbradys death, but he could only rule Bohemia proper, because Matthias occupied Moravia and Lusatia. Vladislaus tried to reconquer the three provinces with his fathers assistance, but Matthias repelled them and Matthias divided the Lands of the Bohemian Crown in the Peace of Olomouc in 1479. The Estates of the realm had strengthened their position during the war between the two kings, Vladislauss attempts to promote the Catholics caused a rebellion in Prague and other towns in 1483, forcing him to acknowledge the dominance of the Hussites in the municipal assemblies.
The Diet confirmed the right of the Bohemian noblemen and commoners to freely adhere either to Hussitism or Catholicism in 1485, after Matthias Corvinus seized Silesian duchies to grant them to his illegitimate son, John Corvinus, Vladislaus made new alliances against him in the late 1480s. Vladislaus laid claim to Hungary after Matthiass death, the Diet of Hungary elected him king after his supporters defeated John Corvinus. The other two claimants, Maximilian of Habsburg and Vladislauss brother, John Albert, invaded Hungary, but they could not assert their claim and he settled in Buda, enabling the Estates of Bohemia, Moravia and Lusatia to take full charge of state administration. In Hungary, Vladislaus always approved the decisions of the Royal Council and they even annexed territories in Croatia after annihilating the united army of the Croatian barons in the Battle of Krbava Field in 1493. Vladislaus was the eldest son of Casimir IV, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania and she was the daughter of Albert, King of the Romans and Bohemia.
Vladislaus was born in Kraków on 1 March 1456 and his mother and father laid claim to Hungary and Bohemia after her childless brother, Ladislaus the Posthumous, died on 23 November 1457. However, their claims were ignored in both Hungary and Bohemia, the Diet of Hungary elected Matthias Corvinus king on 24 January 1458. The Bohemian Estates of the realm proclaimed the Hussite George of Poděbrady king on 2 March, Vladislaus was his fathers heir in Poland and Lithuania. Casimir IV wanted to prepare all his sons for ruling a realm, the historian Jan Długosz was Vladislauss tutor. Pope Paul II excommunicated George of Poděbrady in late 1466 and proclaimed a crusade against him, the Czech Catholic noblemen rose up against the heretic Poděbrady and sought assistance from Matthias Corvinus. Matthias declared war in March 1468 and invaded Moravia, on 16 May 1468, Poděbrady offered Casimir IV to make Vladislaus his heir if Casimir mediated a peace treaty between Bohemia and Hungary. Matthias refused Casimirs offer, but Poděbrady forced him to sign a truce in early 1469, fearing of losing Matthiass support, the Catholic nobles proclaimed him king of Bohemia in Olomouc on 3 May.
After Poděbrady repeated his offer of bequeathing Bohemia to Vladislaus, Casimir IV entered into negotiations with the Holy Roman Emperor, Poděbrady died on 22 March 1471
Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the region of Flanders or Wallonia. The region has a population of 1.2 million and an area with a population of over 1.8 million. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, the secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are located in Brussels. Today, it is considered an Alpha global city, historically a Dutch-speaking city, Brussels has seen a language shift to French from the late 19th century onwards. Today, the majority language is French, and the Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. All road signs, street names, and many advertisements and services are shown in both languages, Brussels is increasingly becoming multilingual with increasing numbers of migrants and minority groups speaking their own languages.
The most common theory of the origin of Brussels name is that it derives from the Old Dutch Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning marsh, Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695 when it was still a hamlet. The origin of the settlement that was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580. The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel, Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island. Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven gained the County of Brussels around 1000 by marrying Charles daughter, as it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant at about this time, in the 13th century, the city got its first walls.
After the construction of the city walls in the early 13th century, to let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Today, traces of it can still be seen, mostly because the small ring, Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Low Countries, and flourished. In 1516 Charles V, who had been heir of the Low Countries since 1506, was declared King of Spain in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 and it was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg that Charles V abdicated in 1555. This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant. In 1695, during the Nine Years War, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery, together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II, called the Catholic, was King of Sicily from 1468 and King of Aragon from 1479 until his death. As a consequence of his marriage to Isabella I, he was King of Castile as Ferdinand V from 1474 until her death in 1504 and he was recognised as regent of Castile for his daughter and heir, from 1508 until his own death. In 1504, after a war with France, he became King of Naples as Ferdinand III, reuniting Naples with Sicily permanently, in 1512, he became King of Navarre by conquest. Ferdinand is today best known for his role in inaugurating the discovery of the New World, since he and that year he fought the final war with Granada which expunged the last Islamic state on Iberian soil, thus bringing to a close the centuries-long Reconquista. At his death he was succeeded by Joanna, who co-ruled with her son, Charles V, Ferdinand was born in Sada Palace, Sos del Rey Católico, Kingdom of Aragon, as the son of John II of Aragon by his second wife, Juana Enríquez. He married Infanta Isabella, the half-sister and heiress of Henry IV of Castile, on 19 October 1469 in Valladolid, Kingdom of Castile, Isabella belonged to the royal House of Trastámara, and the two were cousins by descent from John I of Castile.
They were married with a prenuptial agreement on sharing power. He became jure uxoris King of Castile when Isabella succeeded her brother in 1474 to be crowned as Queen Isabella I of Castile. The two young monarchs were initially obliged to fight a war against Joan of Castile, the purported daughter of Henry IV. When Ferdinand succeeded his father as King of Aragon in 1479, the Crown of Castile, for the first time since the 8th century, this union created a single political unit referred to as España, the root of which is the ancient name Hispania. The various states were not formally administered as a single unit, the completion of the Reconquista was not the only significant act performed by Ferdinand and Isabella in that year. That document was signed with the defeated Moorish Emir of Granada Muhammad XII and it allowed Mudéjar Moors and converso Marrano Jews to stay, while expelling all unconverted Jews from Castile and Aragon. 1492 was the year in which the monarchs commissioned Christopher Columbus to find a maritime route for access to Asia.
In 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world beyond Europe between Portugal and Castile for conquest and dominion purposes – by a north–south line drawn down the Atlantic Ocean. Ferdinand violated the 1492 Alhambra Decree peace treaty in 1502 by dismissing the clearly guaranteed religious freedom for Mudéjar Muslims, Ferdinand forced all Muslims in Castile and Aragon to convert, converso Moriscos, to Catholicism, or else be expelled. Some of the Muslims who remained were mudéjar artisans, who could design and this was practised by the Spanish inquisitors on the converso Marrano Jewish population of Spain. The main architect behind the Spanish Inquisition was King Ferdinand II, Ferdinand destroyed over ten thousand Arabic manuscripts in Granada alone, burning them. The latter part of Ferdinands life was taken up with disputes with successive Kings of France over control of Italy
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II, a member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death. He was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague on 14 May 1562, on 8 September 1563 he was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in the Hungarian capital Pressburg. On 25 July 1564 he succeeded his father Ferdinand I as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, maximilians rule was shaped by the confessionalization process after the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. Though a Habsburg and a Catholic, he approached the Lutheran Imperial estates with a view to overcome the denominational schism and he was faced with the ongoing Ottoman–Habsburg wars and rising conflicts with his Habsburg Spain cousins. According to Fichtner, he failed to achieve his three major aims, rationalizing the government structure, unifying Christianity, and evicting the Turks from Hungary and he was named after his great-grandfather, Emperor Maximilian I. At the time of his birth, his father Ferdinand succeeded his brother-in-law King Louis II in the Kingdom of Bohemia, having spent his childhood years at his fatherss court in Innsbruck, Tyrol, he was educated principally in Italy.
Among his teachers were humanist scholars like Kaspar Ursinus Velius and Georg Tannstetter, Maximilian came in contact with the Lutheran teaching and early on corresponded with the Protestant prince Augustus of Saxony, suspiciously eyed by his Habsburg relatives. From the age of 17, he gained experience of warfare during the Italian War campaign of his uncle Charles V against King Francis I of France in 1544. On 13 September 1548 Emperor Charles V married Maximilian to Charless daughter Mary of Spain in the Castile residence of Valladolid, by the marriage his uncle intended to strengthen the ties with the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs, but to consolidate his nephews Catholic faith. Maximilian temporarily acted as the representative in Spain, however not as stadtholder of the Habsburg Netherlands as he had hoped for. He returned to Germany in December 1550 in order to part in the discussion over the Imperial succession. However, Charles brother Ferdinand, who had already designated as the next occupant of the imperial throne.
Maximilian sought the support of the German princes such as Duke Albert V of Bavaria and even contacted Protestant leaders like Maurice of Saxony and Duke Christoph of Württemberg. At length a compromise was reached, Philip was to succeed Ferdinand, the relationship between the two cousins was uneasy. While his cousin was reserved and shy, Maximilian was outgoing and his adherence to humanism and religious tolerance put him at odds with Philip who was more committed to the defence of the Catholic faith. Also, he was considered a promising commander, while Philip disliked war, the two remained committed to the unity of their dynasty. In Vienna, he had his Hofburg residence extended with the Renaissance Stallburg wing, the site of the Spanish Riding School, the court held close ties to the University of Vienna and employed scholars like the botanist Carolus Clusius and the diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. Maximilians library curated by Hugo Blotius became the nucleus of the Austrian National Library and he implemented the Roman School of composition with his court orchestra, his plans to win Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina as Kapellmeister foundered on financial reasons
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, and King of Hungary. His acts started the Thirty Years War, Ferdinands aim, as a zealous Catholic, was to restore Catholicism as the only religion in the Empire and to suppress Protestantism. He was born at Graz, the son of Charles II, Archduke of Austria and he was educated by the Jesuits and attended the University of Ingolstadt. After completing his studies in 1595, he acceded to his lands and made a pilgrimage to Loreto. Shortly afterwards, he began the suppression of Protestantism in his territories, with the Oñate treaty, Ferdinand obtained the support of the Spanish Habsburgs in the succession of his childless cousin Matthias, in exchange for concessions in Alsace and Italy. In 1617, he was elected King of Bohemia by the Bohemian diet, in 1618, King of Hungary by the Hungarian estates and his devout Catholicism and negative regard of Protestantism caused immediate turmoil in his non-Catholic subjects, especially in Bohemia.
Additionally, Ferdinand was an absolutist monarch and infringed several historical privileges of the nobles, given the relatively great number of Protestants in the kingdom, including some of the nobles, the kings unpopularity soon caused the Bohemian Revolt. The Second Defenestration of Prague of 22 May 1618 is considered the first step of the Thirty Years War, in the following events he remained one of the staunchest backers of the Anti-Protestant Counter Reformation efforts as one of the heads of the German Catholic League. Ferdinand succeeded Matthias as Holy Roman Emperor in 1619, supported by the Catholic League and the Kings of Spain and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ferdinand decided to reclaim his possession in Bohemia and to quench the rebels. On 8 November 1620 his troops, led by the Flemish general Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, smashed the rebels of Frederick V, in 1625, despite the subsidies received from Spain and the Pope, Ferdinand was in a bad financial situation.
Wallenstein was able to recruit some 30,000 men, with whom he was able to defeat the Protestants in Silesia and his military success caused the tottering Protestants to call in Gustavus II Adolphus, King of Sweden. Soon, some of Ferdinands allies began to complain about the power exercised by Wallenstein. Ferdinand replied by firing the Bohemian general in 1630, the leadership of the war thenceforth passed to Tilly, who was however unable to stop the Swedish march from northern Germany towards Austria. Tilly died in battle in 1632, Wallenstein was recalled, being able to muster an army in only a week, and expelled the Swedes from Bohemia. However, in November 1632 the Catholics were defeated in the Battle of Lützen, a period of minor operations followed, perhaps because of Wallensteins ambiguous conduct, which ended with his assassination in 1634. Despite Wallensteins fall, the imperial forces recaptured Regensburg and were victorious in the Battle of Nördlingen, in 1635 Ferdinand signed his last important act, the Peace of Prague, yet this did not end the war.
Ferdinand died in 1637, leaving to his son Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II was buried in his Mausoleum in Graz. His heart was interred in the Herzgruft of the Augustinian Church, in 1600, Ferdinand married Maria Anna of Bavaria, daughter of Duke William V of Bavaria
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV KG of the Jagiellonian dynasty was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440 and King of Poland from 1447, until his death. He was an opponent of aristocracy, and helped to strengthen the importance of Parliament. The great triumph of his reign was bringing Prussia under Polish rule, the long and brilliant rule of Casimir corresponded to the age of “new monarchies” in western Europe. By the 15th century Poland had narrowed the distance separating it from western Europe, the demand for raw materials and semi-finished goods stimulated trade, producing a positive balance, and contributed to the growth of crafts and mining in the entire country. Casimir Jagiellon was the third and youngest son of King Władysław II Jagiełło and his fourth wife and his father was already 65 at the time of Casimir’s birth, and his brother Władysław III, three years his senior, was expected to become king before his majority. Strangely, little was done for his education, he was never taught Latin, nor was he trained for the responsibilities of office, despite the fact he was the only brother of the rightful sovereign.
He often relied on his instinct and feelings and had little political knowledge, the sudden death of Sigismund Kęstutaitis left the office of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania empty. The Voivode of Trakai, Jonas Goštautas, and other magnates of Lithuania, however many Polish noblemen hoped that the thirteen-year-old boy would become a Vice-regent for the Polish King in Lithuania. Since the young Grand Duke was underage, the control over the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was in the hands of the Council of Lords. Casimir had been taught Lithuanian language and the customs of Lithuania by appointed court officials, during Casimirs rule the rights of the Lithuanian nobility—dukes and boyars, irrespective of their religion and ethnicity—were put on an equal footing to those of the Polish szlachta. Additionally, Casimir promised to protect the Grand Duchys borders and not to appoint persons from the Polish Kingdom to the offices of the Grand Duchy and he accepted that decisions on matters concerning the Grand Duchy would not be made without the Council of Lords consent.
He granted the region of Samogitia the right to elect its own elder. Casimir was the first ruler of Lithuania baptised at birth, becoming the first native Roman Catholic Grand Duke, Casimir succeeded his brother Władysław III as King of Poland after a three-year interregnum on 25 June 1447. In 1454, he married Elisabeth of Austria, daughter of the late King of the Romans Albert II of Habsburg by his late wife Elisabeth of Bohemia and her distant relative Frederick of Habsburg became Holy Roman Emperor and reigned as Frederick III until after Casimirs own death. The marriage strengthened the ties between the house of Jagiellon and the sovereigns of Hungary-Bohemia and put Casimir at odds with the Holy Roman Emperor through internal Habsburg rivalry, when the insurgent cities rebelled against the Order, it resisted and the Thirteen Years War ensued. Casimir and the Prussian Confederation defeated the Teutonic Order, entering its abandoned capital at Marienburg, Elisabeths only brother Ladislaus, king of Bohemia and Hungary, died in 1457, and after that Casimir and Elisabeths dynastic interests were directed towards her brothers former kingdoms.
King Casimir IV died on 7 June 1492 in the Old Grodno Castle in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was in a personal union with Poland. The intervention of the Curia, which hitherto had been hostile to Casimir because of his steady, the pope was anxious to get rid of the Hussite King of Bohemia, George Podebrad, as the first step towards the formation of a league against the Turk
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany.
In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province