emperor franz i of austria

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On November 21st, 1916, Franz Joseph I of Austria died of pneumonia at the age of 86. He had been on the throne for 67 years, 355 days, longer than any other Austrian Emperor. The only reigns longer than his in the recorded history of Europe were Louis XIV of France and Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein.

You see in me the last European monarch of the old school.“

On the evening of 21 November 1916, Emperor Franz Joseph died in Schönbrunn Palace at the aged of 86. He ruled for nearly 68 years, the third-longest in the recorded history of Europe. His reign had witnessed a lot of significant events in history among this is the First World War.

The picture above is dated 22nd November 1916 and shows Emperor Franz Joseph one day after his death.

@Neoprusiano
Emperador Francisco José I de Austria y I Rey de Hungría
Imperator Franciscus Iosephus I Austriae et I Rex Hungariae
Kaiser Franz Joseph I. von Österreich und I. König von Ungarn
Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria and I King of Hungary
Empereur François Joseph I d'Autriche et I Roi de Hongrie

Franz Schrotzberg (1811-1889), 1870.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)
“Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria” (1865)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Elisabeth was the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I, and thus Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Queen consort of Croatia and Bohemia. She would often visit Hungary and came to develop a deep kinship with the country, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867. She was the longest serving Empress-consort of Austria, at 44 years.

World Head of States in 1889

SpecularAWG:

A photomontage made in 1889 featuring the heads of state of several countries at that time.

From left to right: Yohannes IV (Emperor of Ethiopia), Tewfik Pasha (Khedive of Egypt), Abdülhamit II (Sultan of the Ottoman Empire), Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (Shah of Persia), Christian IX (King of Denmark), Dom Luís I (King of Portugal), Willem III (King of the Netherlands), Dom Pedro II (Emperor of Brazil), Milan I (King of Serbia), Leopold II (King of the Belgians), Aleksandr III (Emperor of Russia), Wilhelm I (German Emperor & King of Prussia), Franz Joseph I (Emperor of Austria & King of Hungary), Victoria (Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland & Empress of India), Jules Grévy (President of the French Republic), Leo XIII (Pope), Meiji (Emperor of Japan), Guangxu (Emperor of China), Umberto I (King of Italy), Don Alfonso XII (King of Spain), Oscar II (King of Sweden and Norway) and Chester A. Arthur (President of the United States).

@Neoprusiano
Emperador Francisco José I de Austria y I Rey de Hungría
Imperator Franciscus Iosephus I Austriae et I Rex Hungariae
Kaiser Franz Joseph I. von Österreich und I. König von Ungarn
Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria and I King of Hungary
Empereur François Joseph I d'Autriche et I Roi de Hongrie

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), 1865.

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Crown Prince Rudolf, the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, was born on 21 August 1858. In 1889, he died in a alleged suicide pact with his mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera at the Mayerling hunting lodge. His death had a devastating effect on the already compromised marriage of the Imperial couple and interrupted the security inherent in the immediate line of Habsburg dynastic succession. As Rudolf had no sons, his cousin Archduke Franz Ferdinand eventually became the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand lead to Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, starting World War I.

Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary Dies

Empress Zita (1892-1989), Crown Prince Otto (1912-2011), and Emperor Charles (1887-1922), pictured at Emperor Franz Joseph’s funeral.  An earlier photo of Otto and Charles is used as this blog’s avatar.

November 21 1916, Vienna–The Emperor Franz Joseph had acceded to the throne of Austria at the age of 18 during the last period of great upheaval in Europe–the revolutions of 1848.  He had brought the Empire largely intact through the events of 1848 and 1849, wars with Italy and Prussia, and the Augsleich which created the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

After nearly 68 years on the throne, he commanded a great personal loyalty among most of his subjects, and still largely had absolute authority in all matters, especially in Austria.  On the evening of November 21, he died after a brief bout of pneumonia at the age of 86.  His death was a blow to Austro-Hungarian morale after a year of disasters.  It hit the troops on the Isonzo especially hard; this was Franz Joseph’s fourth war against Italy (and its predecessor, the Kingdom of Sardinia).  Even though Austria had lost territories in the previous wars, they had largely been successful against the Italians on the battlefield.

The new Emperor was Franz Joseph’s grandnephew, the Archduke Charles, who had become heir after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand that sparked the war.  He thought of himself as a reformer, and wanted to solve many of the social and national issues that were untouchable while Franz Joseph was on the throne.  Paramount, of course, was the war, which Austria-Hungary needed to survive intact if Charles was to keep his throne.  Charles, perhaps influenced by his Italian wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, was in full agreement with Foreign Minister Burián’s plans for a negotiated peace, and within days had asked him to continue with all haste.

Earlier Today:  HMHS Britannic, Sister to Titanic, Sinks in Aegean
Today in 1915: British Recon Flight Shot Down Near Ctesiphon After Spotting Turkish Reinforcements 
Today in 1914: Turks Beat Back Russians in the Caucasus

Sources include: John R. Schindler, Isonzo; Mark Thompson, The White War; József Galántai, Hungary in the First World War.