Figure 1.--One of the principal palaces of the Hapsburgs was the Summer Palace of Schönbrunn. It was here Mozart played harpsichortd in the " Chambre des glaces " for Maria Theresia (October 1762). She was very impresed by this little prodigy of only 6 years old. At the end of his performance , he climbed on her knees, throwd his arms round her neck and kissed Maria Theresia! Wolfgang ( Wolfi was his nickname ) became popular and appreciatedd by the Court of Francis (Franz) I. Maria Theresia wanted Wolfi was present on a huge painting made on the occassion of the marriage of her son Joseph II with Isabella von Bourbon Parma (1760). I think this is the Empress next to Wofi. A detail of that painting is seen here. Wolfi is the only child in the painting. He couldn't be present the day of the marriage in 1760. He was too young and unknow ti the court. Later when the painting was done, Maria Theresia insisted that he be added. This is a detail of one of the four paintings covering each of the four walls of the " Salle des Carrousel " with many detail on garments, porcelain , rooms, ect. The paintings were the work of Martin van Meytens who needed several years to complete the project.
Maria Theresia was born in 1717. She played a central part in the history of the 18th century. She became Archduchess of Austria at the death of her father Charles VI when she was only 23. She also became Queen of Hungary in 1741 and Queen of Bohemia in 1743. During her reign she was always actively involved in state affairs and Austria went through major social and economic reforms. Austria under Maria Thresa lost several military engagements with the expanding Prussian power to the north, especially during the reign of Frederick the Great. The Emperess had to make territorial concessions. She married Francis of Lotharingen in 1736. He was elected Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and crowned in Frankfurt during 1745. They had 16 children, providing numerous dynastic links to the royal houses throughout Europe. One of her children was the unfortunate Marie-Antoinette who mairred Louis XVI of France. Maria Theresia is also remembered as the monarch before whom the prodigy Mozart performed in 1762.
Maria Theresia's father was Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685.
His parents were Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (1640- ) and Eleanor Magdalene of Neuburg (Wittelsburg) (1655- ). Maria Theresia's mother was Elizabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1691-1750). Her father was Louis Rodolph, Prince of Blackenbourg (1671- ). Her mother was Christine Luise von (1671- ).
We do not yet have a complete list od the children of Charles VI and his wife Elizabeth. We do know that Maria Theresia was the eldest daughter. Their omly son was son was Leopold, but he died in 1711. This created a significant problem in the Hapsburg Austrian succession which was limited to male heirs.
Maria Theresia was born in 1717. The death of her brother before she was born created a serious problem in the Austrian succession.
Charles despite the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 did not prepare his daughter to rule. He assumed that she would relinquish power to her future husband. Charles made no effort to train Maria in the operation of government or the monarchy.
A pramatic sanction (pragmaticae sanctiones) in French and German history is a decession of state with the force of law on an important matter. Charles VI in 1713 issued a pragmatic sanction altering Hapsburg family law. The sanction authorized a daughter to inherit Hapsburg family lands (but not the position of Holy Roman Emperor which was elective and involved the other German states) if there was no male heir. Charrles during his reign succeeded in getting most European monarchs and the diets in the various Hapsburg territories to recognize the Pragmatic Sanction and thus the legitimacy of his daughter's rule. Maria Theresia was able to inherit the Hapsburg territories, but had to defend her rights in the War of the Austrian Succession because of objections of some neighboring states.
Some rulers had refused to recognize the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and others who had accepted it changed their minds opportunistically after the death of Charles (1740) questioning Maria Theresia's right to rule. These included Augustus III of Poland and Saxony and Charles Albert of Bavaria (later Emperor Charles VII). Both had married nieces of Charles VI and thus had dynastic claims to the Hapsburg lands. They and others, especially Frederick the Great who becameMaria's principal adversary, seeing an opportunity to benefit from the succession. Maria because she was a woman they assumed would be weak and inefectual. Maria Theresa succeeded her father Emperor Charles VI as ruler of his Hapsburg dominions (1740). Maria was not in a strong position. The Austrian Army had been weakened and the treasury depleted by wars Charles fought at the end of his long reign. She launched a series of reforms to strngthen the Austrian Army and the Austrian monarchy. The war began when Frederick the Great of Prussia invaded the invasion of the eastern Hapsburg territories in Silesia (1740). Within a year nearly all the powers of Europe were involved in the conflict. Bavaria and France also invaded and occupied Austrian territories in the west. The heart of the War, however, was the struggle between Prussia and Austria for Silesia. Battles were also fought in southwest Germany, the Low Countries and Italy. Major battles were also fought between Austria and France. France and Prussia were supported by Spain and Bavaria. Austria was supported by Britain and the Netherlands. Sardinia and Saxony also at times supported Austria. The war was ended by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) (1748).
King Louis XV concluded an alliance with Austria in 1756, and the two went to war with Great Britain and Prussia in the fateful Seven Years' War (1756-63), one of the most disatrous in French history. The War was actually precipitated with a young colonel in the Virginia militia, George Washington, chanced accross a French military force in the disputed territory west of the Apalachens. Louis' commitments to the Austrians prevented him from concentrating on the colonial struggle with Britain and as a result, by 1763, France had lost to Britain almost all her colonial possessions in North America and India. Later, the failure of his secret diplomacy resulted in the near elimination of French influence in central Europe. The French defeat was so crushing that it stirred a desire for revenge, a major factor in Louis
XV's grandson, Louis XVI's decission to support the colonists in the American Revolution.
Maria Theresia lost Silesia to Prussia but obtained much of southern Poland in the partition of 1772 which she is said to have signed with tears although she was one of the oprimary beneficiaries.
Maria Theresia played a central part in the history of the 18th century. Her royal titles were a little complicated. She inherited the Haapsburg lands and titles from her father and became Holy Roman Empress by marriage. She was Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia (1740/43-1780).She became Archduchess of Austria at the death of her father Charles VI when she was only 23 (1740). She also became Queen of Hungary (1741) and Queen of Bohemia (1743). During her reign she was always actively involved in state affairs and Austria went through major social and economic reforms. Austria under Maria Thresa lost several military engagements with the expanding Prussian power to the north, especially during the reign of Frederick the Great. The Emperess had to make territorial concessions. She was ably assisted by Chancellor Kaunitz. She is generally see to have been a wise and progressive ruler. Despite two major wars, her reign was an era of properity for Austria. She was devoutlely Catholic. Despite her ingrained conservatism promoted important land reforms. She remained popular with her people throughout her reign.
The Enlightenment was the 18th cebntury intelectual movement led by French writers like Diderot, Montesquieu, Rosseau and Voltaire. It was based on reason and sciehnce and had liberal, hunanitarian goals. It was stringly associated with the scientific achievenents of the era. Several European monarchs endorsed the Enligtenment. Maria and herc son JosephbII were two of rulers during the 18th century known as the "enlightened monarchs" preceeding the French Revolution. These included Frederich II of Prussia and Catherine of Russia. After thec French Revolution (1789) most European monarchs rejected the teaching of the enlightement and supported reactionary policies. This was especially true in Austria where Foreign Minister Meternich presiding over the Congress of Vienna (1815) became the symbol of reactionary monarchy.
Maria Theresa married Francis Stephen of Lorraine (Lotharingen) in 1736. Before her father died. Francis was elected Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and crowned in Frankfurt during the War of the Austrian Succession (1745).
Maria and Francis had 16 children, By all accounts she was a kind hearted if not doting mother. Their 16 children provided Austria numerous dynastic links to the royal houses throughout Europe. Their first child a son Joseph (1741- ) became Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. She ruled jointly with her son Joseph II when he became emperor (1765). We do not have a complete lst of the childre, but they included: Marie Amalie (1746- ), Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (1747- ), Maria Carolina (1752- ), Frederick Ferdinand, Duke of Modena (1754- ), and Marie Antoinette (1755- ). Their youngestv daughter was the unfortunate princess who married Louis XVI of France.
Maria Theresia gave considerable attention to the arts. Under her reign with such lunimaries as Mozart and Gluck. Vienna became the foremost center of misic in Europe. Maria Theresia is also remembered as the monarch before whom the prodigy Mozart performed in 1762.
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