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Ferdinand I of Austria

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Ferdinand I Emp

Ferdinand I (1503 - 1564) was the Holy Roman Emperor (1558 - 1564), King of Bohemia and Hungary (1526 - 1564), and Archduke of Austria (1520 - 1564).

Ferdinand was born in Madrid on 10 March 1503 to Philip the Handsome of the House of Habsburg and Queen Joanna the Mad of Castile. After the death of Ferdinand's uncle, the Emperor Maximilian I, Ferdinand received the hereditary Habsburg lands of Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, Styria, and the Tyrol. On 25 May 1521 he married Anne of Bohemia, the daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary. Ferdinand's elder brother was the Emperor Charles V, but as he spent most of his time ruling his possessions in Spain Ferdinand found himself ruling in his absence.

When King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia was killed at the Battle of Mohács on 29 August 1526 by the Ottoman emperor Suleiman the Magnificent, Ferdinand was elected the King of Bohemia on October 24 while his inheritance in Hungary led to a succession dispute with John I Zápolya, a Transylvanian prince. Both Ferdinand and John had about equal support from the Hungarian nobility, but with his brother's help Ferdinand won the Battle of Tokaj against him in 1527, although it was not enough to ensure his succession in Hungary. From 1527 Ferdinand began the process of the Habsburgs in converting the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary into hereditary positions.

In 1529 Ferdinand's army repelled the Ottomans at the siege of Vienna, although Ferdinand had already fled (noticeably) to Bohemia. In 1533 Ferdinand signed a peace treaty with the Ottomans, which split the Kingdom of Hungary between a Habsburg half in the west and Zápolya's half in the east. The Treaty of Nagyvárad in 1538 guaranteed that Ferdinand would be Zápolya's heir, however he was unable to enforce the treaty as John II Sigismund Zápolya was elected the King of Hungary in 1540 after John's death. John II was supported by King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland-Lithuania, but after Sigismund II Augustus married Elizabeth of Habsburg, Ferdinand's daughter, he became neutral in the succession.

Ferdinand worked for the centralisation of his territories. In 1527 he issued a constitution for all of Austrian domain, Bohemia, and Hungary, and established Austrian-style institutions in Pressburg (in Hungary), Breslau (in Silesia) and Prague (in Bohemia). Strong noble opposition forced Ferdinand to make the institutions independent of Vienna's in 1559. The Bohemian estates rebelled in 1547 after he ordered the Bohemian army to attack German Protestant states. The revolt was put down with assistance from his brother's Spanish troops and he used the opportunity to establish a new system of governance to control urban areas. In 1551 he invited the Jesuits to Vienna, and in 1556 to Prague. Ferdinand was a strong supporter of the Counter-Reformation, and he reestablished the Archbishopric of Prague in 1561.

After his brother abdicated most of his titles, Ferdinand assumed the titles of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany. Ferdinand died in Vienna on 25 July 1564 and was buried in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

Children with Anne of BohemiaEdit

  1. Elizabeth (1526 - 1545)
  2. Maximilian (1527 - 1576)
  3. Anne (1528 - 1590)
  4. Ferdinand (1529 - 1595)
  5. Maria (1531 - 1581)
  6. Catherine (1533 - 1572)
  7. Eleanor (1534 - 1594)
  8. Barbara (1539 - 1572)
  9. Charles (1540 - 1590)
  10. Joanna (1547 - 1578)



Preceded by:

Ferdinand I

Succeeded by:

Charles I Holy Roman Emperor
1558 - 1564
Maximilian II
Louis II King of Hungary
1526 - 1563
opposed John I
1526 - 1540
opposed John II Sigismund
1540 - 1563
Maximilian
opposed John II Sigismund
Louis King of Bohemia
1526 - 1562
Maximilian
Charles I King of Germany
1558 - 1564
Maximilian II
Charles I Archduke of Austria
1520 - 1564
Maximilian II
Charles I Duke of Carinthia
1521 - 1564
Charles II
Charles I Duke of Styria
1521 - 1564
Charles II
Charles I Margrave of Carniola
1521 - 1564
Charles II
Maximilian I Count of Tyrol
1519 - 1564
Ferdinand II

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