Background of Lives and Marriages from Emperor Charlemagne to Kaiser Wilhelm II, plus the build up in Russia and Germany to World War Two

Go to Francis II, the emperor who abdicated in 1806 in the face of Napoleon, and to Queen Victoria and her descendants who have reigned in England from 1837.

Go to WW1 (The Great War), and WW2.

First an Introduction, some background to this Empire, seen after Emperor Charlemagne as the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire

Germania, the name that is still used in modern Italy was the original Roman word for Germany. Its capital was mostly at Aachen (Aix la Chapelle) on Germany's modern border with Belgium and the Netherlands 794-1327, then Munich 1328-1347, Prague in Bohemia 1355-1437, Vienna in Austria 1438-1576, Prague 1576-1611, Vienna 1611-1866, then Berlin. The last papal coronation of the Roman Emperor ("Romanorum Imperator") was for Charles V in 1530, in Bologna. From 1562 to 1792, the coronation of the emperor as King of the Romans was as far as it went, and took place in Frankfurt Cathedral by the Archbishops of Cologne, Mainz and Trier.

The Roman language (i.e. Latin) was the international language used in its administration, taught in all schools, colleges and universities. It lasted right up until 1784, when the controversial decision was made in Vienna that all teaching and administration would be henceforth in German (i.e. Deutsch).

The German language itself was called "Theodisca" and "Teutonica" in Latin around the year 800, two adjectives based on an old German word "Di-utisc" — of the People, perhaps with the original meaning De-udders, The-other-ones. It evolved into "Tedesco" in modern Italian, "Deutsch" in German, and "Dutch" in English (up to 1600).

In the play Othello by Shakespeare in 1604, Shakespeare used another word Almaine derived from a French word Allemande ("All the men") that referred to the German people. In English after 1808, the word Allemande became a figure in country or square dancing. But in 1600 with the rise of the Netherlands Republic as a Protestant country, the English adjective "Dutch" (Hollands) became a word referring just to them. And they referred to the name "Germany", as a people comprising many states, much as "the Balkans" or "America" is used today.

Further south west, a bit closer to France and the English Channel was the Southern Netherlands, an area that included Flanders where the people spoke Flemish (Vlaams), a separately evolving version of Dutch. The Southern Netherlands, mostly Catholic and with many French speakers, refused to be merged into the Hollands-speaking Northern Republic. It became the "Spanish" Netherlands, after 1713 the "Austrian" Netherlands, after 1795 part of Napoleon's French Empire, in 1814 forced to be part of the "United" Netherlands, then finally, finally in 1831 it became Belgium, another name altogether, from the ancient "Belgae" tribe that used to inhabit the land.

Following Napoleon and the abdication of Holy Roman Emperor Francis in 1806, the German states formed a confederation, a Deutscher Bund (People Band) at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In 1871 Germany became a nation-state under Prussian initiative with the name Deutsches Kaiserreich (People Empire). It became Deutschland in 1949 after World War 2.

"Huns" as a word was applied to Germans after a notorious speech by Emperor Wilhelm II in July 1900, when he bade farewell to German soldiers sailing to China to assist with the putting down of the Boxer Uprising, urging them to be ruthless, and to take no prisoners.

Translated into English – "Just as 1,000 years ago, the Huns made a name for themselves, so shall you establish the name of Germans in China for 1,000 years, in such a way that a Chinese will never again dare to look askance at a German," he said. The epithet stuck after it was used by Kipling in his 1914 poem, "For All We Have and Are", after the Kaiser's troops embarked on the sacking and burning of Louvain in Belgium in the Great War (World War 1) in August 1914.

Timeline of events that led to the Great War.

  1. June 28 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austria's throne, assassinated together with his wife by a young Bosnian Serb militant, after Bosnia was occupied by Austria in 1878, then annexed in 1908.
  2. July 6 Fearing that Russia would come to Serbia's aid if Austria invaded Serbia, Austria seeks German assurance that it would be prepared to go to war against Russia. Austria receives that assurance, but Germany advises Austria to act quickly while it still had public sympathy.
  3. July 23 Austria sends Serbia a harsh ultimatum with a long list of demands.
  4. July 25 Russia begins partial mobilization of its troops. Emboldened, Serbia responds to the ultimatum by accepting just a couple of the demands but somewhat politely refusing the majority.
  5. July 28 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
  6. July 31 Germany asks France to stay neutral in the event of war with Russia, and sends an ultimatum to Russia insisting that it stop all mobilization within 12 hours, a demand that was not met.
  7. August 1 Germany declares war on Russia.
  8. August 3 When France refuses to remain neutral, Germany declares war on France, and seeing it as the greater threat, prepares to invade France first. Germany insists Belgium support German troops by allowing them free passage through its land. However, earlier on July 31 Great Britain had asked that Belgium be allowed to remain neutral, a request ignored by Germany.
  9. August 4 As Germany prepares to invade Belgium, at midnight Great Britain supporting Belgium declares war on Germany.
  10. August 5 Battle of Liege, the opening engagement of the German invasion of Belgium and the first battle, eventually won by Germany, in World War 1.

Following Germany's eventual defeat in 1918, click here for some of the background to the rise of Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, the Battle of Britain, the Battle in the Pacific, and World War 2.

End of Introduction

Ok, let's get started with Charlemagne

Click here for the build up to his reign, with Europe watching with dismay the nearly total defeat of Spain by the Arabic speaking Moors (founders of Morocco in north-western Africa) in the years 711 - 718.

Carolingian Dynasty (Franks) 711-1120
Charlemagne's grandfather Charles Martel 686-741 also known as Charles the Hammer was famous for defeating their invading army at Tours in France in 732 and halting their expansion into western Europe.

At this time, the Pope in Rome acknowledged a single Roman Empire, under the reign of the Greek Emperor based in Constantinople in the East. In terms of territory, the Lombard dynasty ruled Northern Italy (Lombardy Major) and Southern Italy (Lombardy Minor) leaving just Rome and Ravenna in Central Italy (referred to as Romagna) to be directly ruled by Constantinople. The Lombard kingdom ended in 774 with their defeat by Charlemagne, King of the Franks, probably speaking an early Rhenish dialect of High German. But he also spoke Latin "as well as his native tongue" and according to his biographer Einhard, he understood Greek "better than he could pronounce it".

Click here for the history of Venice, not a part of the Roman Empire in the west, nor the Greek Empire in the east, instead an intermediary between the two.

Charlemagne 742-814 King of the (East and West) Franks and the Lombards (Italy), Emperor

Charlemagne: Following a breakdown in communication with the eastern church in Constantinople that had culminated with their crowning of a lady emperor (or empress) in 797 AD, Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope on Christmas Day at the close of 800 AD as he knelt in prayer in Saint Peter's Church in Rome. It was said to be to his surprise, even his anger, and that had he known what was in store, he would not have come. In Encyclopaedia Britannica "the coronation of Charlemagne was an extralegal, indeed an illegal and revolutionary, proceeding", simply benefiting the pope.

However, in retrospect, the coronation can be seen to be the recommencement of the Holy Roman Empire in the West. Speaking Latin as their international tongue. When Charlemagne learned about the Archbishop Bede's work on a standard calendar and history timeline over in Northumbria, England, he continued Bede's work by strongly supporting its general usage throughout the empire. And with a mint now firmly established at Dorestad on the Rhine with access to a significant quantity of silver, Charlemagne joined forces with King Offa of Mercia in England to standardise the silver penny (pfennig) at a set weight of just under 1½ grams of silver with 240 pennies making up a pound-weight (i.e. tower pound) containing about 350 grams.

Louis the Pious 814-840 and Charlemagne's only surviving son. King of Aquitaine in France.

Louis was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 816. Crowned his eldest son Lothair in 817 as joint emperor with himself. After Louis's death, the kingdom broke into three realms

  1. West Francia (France) ruled by Charles II (the Bald) 840-877, Louis II 877-879, Louis III 879-882, Carloman II 882-884, Emperor Charles III (the Fat) 884-887, Odo 888-898, Charles III (the Simple) 898-922, Robert I 922-923, Rudolph 923-936, Louis IV 936-954
  2. East Francia (made up of Saxony in the north, Franconia in the centre, Swabia and Bavaria in the south. These later became known as "stem" duchies). Ruled by Louis II of Germany 843-876, Emperor Charles III (the Fat) 876-887, Arnulf of Carinthia 887-899, Louis III (the Child) 899-911 with Hatto as regent, Conrad I 911-918
  3. and the middle kingdom of Lotharingia (later known as Lorraine) which included Northern Italy and Rome which were ruled by his son Lothair 818-855, followed by his son Emperor Louis II of Italy 855-875, Emperor Charles II (the Bald) King of West Francia 875-877, then after a war with Carloman of Bavaria, Emperor Charles III (the Fat) 880-887, Berengar I of Italy 887-924, declared Emperor in 915, was dethroned and murdered by his enemies in 924.
Ottonian Dynasty (Saxony) 919-1024
Now to trace Otto I, the Saxon king who restored the united Holy Roman Empire in 962.
King Louis's daughter Gisela (born 821) married Eberhard I 815-866 Duke of Friuli in north-east Italy
Their daughter Ingeltrude (born 837) is said to have married Henry Count of Saxony and Duke of Franconia.
Their daughter Hedwiga married Otto I 851-912 Duke of Saxony
Their son was Henry the Fowler 876-936 who became Duke of Saxony and King of East Francia following Conrad's death in 918
Otto I 912-973 Duke of Saxony initially (as Otto II), then King of the Franks and of the Lombards (Italy), and Emperor

How did Otto become emperor? Notes compiled from WikiAnswers
In 936 when Otto became Duke of Saxony, rich silver mines were developed in Rammelsberg in Saxony, and these provided him with the money he needed to build up his military. Various subject dukes had rebelled against his father Henry, but Otto was able to defeat them and strengthen himself in the process. These rebellions had included alliances with Louis IV of France, and Louis was also now defeated. There were rebellions by Hungarian tribes in the east, but these were also defeated. When Adelaide of Italy inherited the throne of that country in 950, she was abducted by Berengar of Ivrea, who took the throne in Italy and tried to marry Adelaide to his son. She escaped and requested Otto's aid. In the confusion that followed, Otto invaded Italy in 951, married Adelaide himself and assumed the title King of the Lombards. Berengar and his son Adalbert were allowed to remain as joint Kings of Italy, provided they became Otto's vassals. In 960 Berengar invaded the Papal States in Rome and the pope appealed to Otto again. Otto marched against Berengar, Berengar's troops deserted him, and Otto this time declared Berengar deposed. Otto now proceeded to Rome, where the pope crowned him Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962.

Otto II 955-983 joint-ruler of the Franks and the Lombards in 961, and Holy Roman Emperor in 973 with his father's death.
Otto III 980-1002 King of the (east) Franks (with his mother a regent) in 983, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor in 996.

Otto III: Being only a small child when his father died, Theophanu his mother, a Roman princess from Constantinople in the east became regent until her death in 991. Otto III was then still a child, so his grandmother, Adelaide of Italy, served as regent until 994. France then speedily broke away, with Hugh Capet (Hugh the Great) being declared King of the (west) Franks in 987. Then, following Otto's sixteenth birthday in 996 when he was able to be crowned as emperor, he made Rome the administrative centre of his Empire, reviving elaborate Roman customs and the court ceremonies practised in Constantinople. He built an imperial palace on the Palatine Hill and established a regular administrative system of government for the capital, naming a patrician, a prefect, and a body of judges who were commanded to recognize only Roman law. He died around the time of his 22nd birthday and was immediately succeeded by his second cousin Henry (see below) who continued his work.

Henry II 972-1024 (his grandfather Henry was the younger brother of Otto I) King of the (east) Franks in 1002, King of Italy in 1004, then Emperor in 1014.

Henry continued Otto's work of church-state relations and ecclesiastic administration throughout the rest of the Empire. He supported the bishops against the monastic clergy, aiding them in establishing their temporal rule over broad territories. He also strongly enforced clerical celibacy in order that the public land and offices he granted the church would not be passed on to heirs. In 1007 he founded the Diocese of Bamberg in Bavaria, which quickly became a centre of scholarship and art. Though married, Henry and his wife had no children.

Salian Dynasty (Franconia) 1024-1125

Conrad II 990-1039 King of the (east) Franks in 1024, King of Italy in 1026, King of Burgundy in 1032, Emperor in 1027

Conrad: He was related to Otto I through Otto's daughter Liutgarde. Orphaned young, Conrad grew up poor by the standards of the nobility and was raised by Burchard, Bishop of Worms. Married Gisela, also descended from Charlemagne. Upon Henry II's death in 1024, Conrad appeared as a candidate before the electoral assembly of princes at Kamba, opposite to the German town Oppenheim on the east banks of the Rhine. He was crowned king in Mainz, then went to Milan where he was crowned king of Italy. In Rome, the Pope crowned him emperor in 1027. In 1028 at Aachen he had his son Henry elected and anointed King of the Romans. This procedure, election first, then crowning as king, then later travelling to Rome to become emperor upon his father the previous emperor's death, became the standard practice.

Henry III 1017-1056 Duke of Bavaria, King of the Romans in 1028, King of Italy and Burgundy in 1039, Emperor in 1046
Henry IV 1050-1106 Duke of Bavaria, King of the Romans in 1054, King of Italy and Burgundy in 1056, Emperor in 1084

Henry IV: During his reign, the pope treated him as an enemy and referred to him as Rex Teutonicorum, King of the Teutons, the German tribe defeated by Rome in 101BC. Related to their modern word for themselves Deutsch.

Henry V 1086-1125 King of Italy in 1098, King of the Romans in 1099, Emperor in 1111
Lothair III 1075-1137 Duke of Saxony in 1106, King of the Romans in 1125, Emperor in 1133

College of Electors: Henry had no surviving children and Lothair, the Duke of Saxony was chosen by a small group of eminent nobles. Shortly afterwards, the right to choose the monarch was settled on an exclusive group of seven: three archbishops — Mainz, Trier and Cologne and four dukes — Bohemia, Brandenburg, Palatine of the Rhine and Saxony - subsequently referred to as the College of Electors. Lothair had only one surviving child, a daughter Gertrude, born 1115. Lothair married Gertrude to Henry (Duke of Bavaria) in 1127.

Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Swabia) 1138-1254

Conrad III 1093-1152 Crowned King of Italy in 1128 (in opposition to Lothair), Crowned King of the Romans in 1138

Conrad: Upon Lothair's death, the electors chose Conrad, whose mother Agnes was the sister of Henry V, the previous emperor to Lothair. Lothair's son-in-law Henry refused to acknowledge Conrad, and was deprived of all his territories. Conrad was never crowned emperor and styled himself "King of the Romans" until his death. On his deathbed, in the presence of only two witnesses, his nephew Frederick Barbarossa and the Bishop of Bamberg, he allegedly designated Frederick Barbarossa, the son of his elder brother as his successor, rather than his own surviving six-year-old son Frederick. Frederick Barbarossa, who had accompanied Conrad on the unfortunate second crusade, forcefully pursued his advantage and was duly elected King in Cologne a few weeks later.

Frederick I 1122-1190 King of the Romans in 1152, King of Italy and Emperor in 1155
Henry VI 1165-1197 King of the Romans in 1169, King of Italy in 1186, Emperor in 1191, King of Sicily in 1194
Otto IV 1175-1218 King of the Romans 1198-1209, King of Italy 1208-1212, King of Burgundy 1208-1215, Emperor 1209-1215

Otto: The previous emperor Henry VI had one son Frederick, at that time two years old, but who later became Emperor Frederick II. For now the electors, with the encouragement of King Richard of England, elected Richard's nephew Otto, great grandson of the earlier emperor Lothair. Richard's sister Matilda had married Henry (the Lion) who was the grandson of Lothair through Henry (Duke of Bavaria) and Lothair's daughter Gertrude.

Frederick II 1194-1250 King of Sicily in 1198, King of the Romans and Italy in 1212, Emperor in 1220, King of Jerusalem 1225-1228. Excommunicated by the Pope in 1247.
Henry VII 1211-1242 King of Sicily in 1212, King of the Romans and Italy in 1220 co-reigning with Frederick II his father
Conrad IV 1228-1254 King of Jerusalem in 1228, King of the Romans and Italy in 1237 also co-reigning with Frederick II his father, King of Sicily in 1250
William II 1228-1256 King of the Romans in 1247 (in opposition to Frederick II and Conrad his son)

William: Son of Floris IV, Count of Holland. Elected King of the Romans in 1247 after Frederick II was excommunicated by the Pope. Importantly, a castle he built in 1248, later known as the Binnenhof Inner Court was the beginning of the city later known as The Hague The Hedge.

Richard 1209-1272 King of the Romans in 1257

Richard: Son of King John of England. One of the wealthiest men in Europe. Went on 6th crusade, fought no battles, but negotiated a prisoner release after a battle in Gaza in 1239. Elected King of the Romans in 1257.

House of Habsburg (Austria) 1218-1918

Rudolf I 1218-1291 King of the Romans in 1273

Rudolf: Son of Count Albert IV of Habsburg and Seventh generation descendant of Count Radbot who had built Habsburg Castle in modern-day Switzerland. In 1278, after Rudolf's election as King of the Romans, he defeated his rival for the throne on the battlefield and secured the duchy of Austria for the Habsburg dynasty for 640 years.

Adolf 1255-1298 King of the Romans in 1292

Adolf: Son of Walram II, Count of Nassau, a small German state. Adolf was elected King of the Romans in 1292 following numerous concessions to the College of Electors. Due to his perceived failure to live up to those concessions, he was deposed by the electors, and slain on the battlefield shortly after in 1298.

Albert I 1255-1308 Duke of Austria in 1282, King of the Romans in 1298

Albert: Son of Rudolf I, the earlier King of the Romans. Defeated and slew Adolf in battle on July 2nd 1298, and elected King of the Romans 25 days later. Famous today for being the Habsburg emperor in the William Tell story who placed a (probably legendary) bailiff called Hermann Gessler under orders to deliberately provoke the people of the newly formed Swiss Confederation into a war, thus serving as an excuse for Austria to invade. In 1308 Albert was assassinated by his nephew.

Henry VII 1275-1313 Count of Luxembourg in 1288, King of the Romans in 1308, King of Italy in 1311, Emperor in 1312

Henry: Son of Count Henry VI of Luxembourg. His brother Baldwin, Archbishop of Trier, successfully won over a number of the electors in exchange for some substantial concessions. Consequently, Henry skilfully negotiated his way to the crown.

Louis IV 1282-1347 Duke of Lower and Upper Bavaria, Count of Holland and Zeeland, King of the Romans in 1314, King of Italy in 1327, Emperor in 1328

Louis: Grandson via his mother Matilda of Rudolph I, King of the Romans. Elected King of the Romans in 1314 in preference to Henry VII's son John, who was at the time only 18.

Charles IV 1316-1378 Count of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia and King of the Romans in 1346, King of Italy and Emperor in 1355, King of Burgundy in 1365

Charles: Grandson of Henry VII through his son, King John of Bohemia. Elected King of the Romans in 1346.

Wenceslaus 1361-1419 King of the Romans 1376-1400, King of Bohemia in 1378, Duke of Luxembourg in 1383

Wenceslaus: Son of Charles IV. Elected King of the Romans in 1376, co-reigning with his father for two years. Deposed (as King of the Romans) by electors in 1400.

Rupert 1352-1410 King of the Romans in 1400

Rupert: Son of Rupert II, Count Palatine of the Rhine and great-great-grandson of Louis II and Matilda, through their eldest son Rudolf of Bavaria. Elected King of the Romans in 1400.

Sigismund 1368-1437 King of Hungary and Croatia in 1387, King of the Romans in 1410, King of Bohemia in 1419, Emperor in 1433

Sigismund: Another son of Charles IV. Elected King of the Romans in 1410.

Albert II 1397-1439 Archduke of Austria in 1404, King of Hungary in 1437, King of Bohemia in 1438, King of the Romans also in 1438

Albert: Son of Albert IV, Duke of Austria. Married Elisabeth of Luxembourg, daughter and heiress of King Sigismund. Chosen to be King of the Romans in 1438, but never crowned, dying in 1439.

Frederick III 1415-1493 King of the Romans in 1440, Emperor in 1452, Archduke of Austria in 1457

Frederick: Son of Duke Ernest, cousin of Albert II's father. Elected King of the Romans in 1440.

Maximilian I 1459-1519 King of the Romans in 1486, Archduke of Austria in 1493, Emperor in 1508 (though never crowned as journey was too risky)
Charles V 1500-1558 Duke of Burgundy and Lord of the Netherlands (Luxembourg, Flanders, Holland and Zeeland) in 1506, also King of Spain (including Naples, Sicily, Castile and Leon) in 1516, Archduke of Austria 1519-1521, King of the Romans in 1520, King of Italy and Emperor in 1530

Charles was the grandson of Maximilian through his first wife, Mary of Burgundy. Mary was heiress over the Netherlands, but had died young in 1482. Charles was born in Ghent in the Netherlands in 1500, inheriting the title when his father Philip died, also quite young, in 1506.

In 1556 Charles, who had also inherited the Spanish throne through his mother, Joanna, abdicated as King of Spain in favour of his son Philip II.

Some background. Charles's mother Joanna was the older sister of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England, the mother of Mary, a lady separated from her mother by her father when they both refused to acknowledge his second marriage. Charles's son Philip became famous for marrying this much older lady in 1554, a somewhat depressed lady whom he rarely saw, who never conceived (and who became infamous for executing 283 Protestant leaders, starting the mass executions during a false pregnancy in 1555). After Mary died in 1558, Philip proposed to her sister, now Queen Elizabeth, but nothing came of it. Later, he sent the Spanish Armada against England in 1588.

Back to 1555. In that year Charles had also abdicated from his Lordship over the Netherlands, an action which led to seven of the northern provinces in the Netherlands refusing to acknowledge Philip II as their Spanish ruler after Charles died (also in 1558). In 1568 their refusal became open warfare, the Eighty Years War. The seven provinces formed the Dutch Republic in 1581, but were not recognized by Spain until 1648.

Charles abdicated as Emperor in August 1556 in favor of his brother Ferdinand. On 14 March 1558, Ferdinand was proclaimed Emperor. On 21 September 1558 Charles died.

Ferdinand I 1503-1564 Archduke of Austria in 1521, King of the Romans in 1531, Emperor in 1556
Maximilian II 1527-1576 King of Bohemia in 1562, King of the Romans in 1562, King of Hungary and Croatia in 1563, Archduke of Austria and Emperor in 1564

In November 1562 Maximilian was chosen King of the Romans by the electoral college at Frankfurt, where he was crowned a few days later. He was the first King of the Romans not to be crowned in Aachen. His election was afterwards confirmed by the papacy.

Rudolf II 1552-1612 King of Hungary and Croatia in 1572, King of the Romans and Bohemia in 1575, Archduke of Austria and Emperor in 1576
Matthias 1557-1619 Archduke of Austria and King of Hungary and Croatia in 1608, King of Bohemia in 1611, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1612
Ferdinand II 1578-1637 King of Bohemia in 1617, King of Hungary and Croatia in 1618, Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1619
Ferdinand III 1608-1657 King of Hungary and Croatia in 1625, King of Bohemia in 1627, Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1637
Ferdinand IV 1633-1654 King of Bohemia in 1646, King of Hungary and Croatia in 1647, King of the Romans in 1653 but pre-deceased his father before he could become emperor
Leopold I 1640-1705 King of Hungary in 1655, King of Bohemia in 1656, King of Croatia in 1657, Archduke of Austria in 1657, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1658, Prince of Transylvania in 1692
Joseph I 1678-1711 King of Hungary in 1687, King of the Romans in 1690, Archduke of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Emperor in 1705

Joseph: He had one son Leopold in 1700 who died in infancy in 1701, and two daughters Maria Josepha 1699-1757 and Maria Amalia 1701-1756. Apparently he contracted a sexually transmissable disease, probably syphilis, from a number of dalliances which he passed on to his wife, causing her to become sterile. When he died in 1711, his younger brother Charles inherited the throne.

Charles VI 1680-1740 King of Spain (claimed temporarily 1700-1713), King of Naples 1707-1735, King of Sardinia 1708-1720, Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, Emperor in 1711, Duke of Milan and Count of Flanders in 1714, and King of Sicily 1720-1735

Charles: Following the death of King Charles II of Spain in 1700 without any direct heir, Charles declared himself the King of Spain. Both he and the rival claimant Philip (grandson of the King of France and second in line to the French throne) were members of the House of Habsburg and had competing claims, although most of Spain endorsed Philip. The ensuing War of the Spanish Succession, which pitted France's candidate, Philip, against Austria's Charles, lasted for almost 14 years. Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and the majority of the Holy Roman Empire endorsed Charles's candidature.
Charles III, as he was known, disembarked in Spain in 1705, and stayed there for six years. However he only exercised his rule in Catalonia until the death of his brother, when Charles returned to Vienna to assume the imperial crown.

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 same year, and the war culminated with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It recognised Philip as King of Spain, following his relinquishing his right of succession to the throne of France. The Kingdom of Naples, the Duchy of Milan, the Austrian Netherlands (modern day Belgium) and the Kingdom of Sardinia — all previously possessions of the Spanish — were ceded to Austria.

Charles had only one son Leopold, in 1716, who died at seven months. He had three daughters, the first of whom was Maria Theresa, in 1717.

His niece, Joseph I's first daughter Maria Josepha, was engaged to Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. Augustus had been a non-Catholic, prior to 1712, when he was baptised. In 1719 Charles VI forbade Maria Josepha and her sister from marrying until they renounced their positions in the line of succession, securing the succession for his daughter Maria Theresa. Maria Josepha renounced her claim on August 10, 1719. Ten days later Maria Josepha and Frederick Augustus married.
Her sister Maria Amalia married Prince-Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria on 5 October 1722 in Vienna. He became the future, disputed Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII.

Charles VII 1697-1745 King of Bohemia 1741-1743, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1742

Charles: In the War of the Austrian Succession, Charles VII was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Frankfurt Cathedral in February 1742, claiming the title through his wife. Upon his death three years later in January 1745, she persuaded her son Maximilian to make peace with her cousin Maria Theresa, and allow Maria Theresa's husband Francis to inherit the throne.

Francis I 1708-1765 Duke of Lorraine 1729-1737, Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1737, Archduke of Austria in 1740, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1745

Francis: His grandmother Eleanor of Austria 1653-1697 on his father's side was the younger sister of Emperor Leopold I, with her son Leopold, ie Francis's father, the cousin of Charles VI. Maria Theresa 1717-1780 was thus his second cousin as well as his wife, when he married her in 1736. She became the real power behind the throne due to her popularity with the Austrian people, securing for her husband the right to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in September 1745. Peace with Prussia followed in December 1745 with Austria's ceding of Silesia to them in the Treaty of Dresden. Francis and Maria Theresa had 16 children together between 1737 and 1756, including Holy Roman Emperors Joseph II and Leopold II, as well as Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France who was executed during the French Revolution.

Joseph II 1741-1790 Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans and Emperor in 1765, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, Duke of Luxembourg and Milan, Count of Flanders in 1780

Joseph: After the death of his father in 1765, he became Holy Roman Emperor and was made co-regent by his mother in the Austrian dominions. As emperor, he had little true power, his mother having resolved that neither her husband nor her son should ever deprive her of sovereign control in her hereditary dominions. Joseph, by threatening to resign his place as co-regent, could induce his mother to abate her dislike for religious toleration. He could and did place a great strain on her patience and temper, but in the last resort, the empress spoke the final word. Therefore, until the death of his mother in 1780, Joseph was never quite free to follow his own instincts.

Leopold II 1747-1792 Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans, Grand Duke of Tuscany, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, Duke of Luxembourg and Milan, Count of Flanders, Emperor in 1790


Francis II 1768-1835 King of the Romans and Emperor 1792-1806, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia 1792-1835, Archduke of Austria 1792-1804, Emperor of Austria 1804-1835, King of Lombardy-Venetia and King of Dalmatia 1815-1835, President of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) 1815-1835.

Francis: At the start of Francis's reign, the French Revolutionary leaders executed King Louis XVI of France in January 1793. This was followed by threats related to the Queen, and then, when no appeasement was forthcoming, they beheaded Francis's aunt, Queen Marie Antoinette in October 1793. All of Europe, including England, was outraged by the two executions, and prepared for war. In 1794, the French defeated army troops in the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), annexing that country in 1795. England declared war, winning some major sea battles, particularly at Egypt in 1798, and later at Trafalgar (off south-west Spain) in 1805.

But initially France suffered minimal restraint, invading Spain in 1796 and taking over the Spanish administration that same year. In Portugal the Portuguese Government shifted their administration temporarily over to Brazil. In 1799, Napoleon came to the forefront. He was an army general who'd had earlier victories in Italy and Egypt, and was now declared First Consul and Ruler of France.

Following French defeat in Egypt by the Turks in 1801, and a temporary peace in Europe, Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France in December 1804. Francis in response declared himself Emperor of Austria. Though at the time Francis's declaration was seen by some to have had little resonance, it came to prominence when he then abdicated as Holy Roman Emperor in 1806 in the face of Napoleon's advance, eastwards, through Europe.

Following a disastrous campaign in Russia in 1812, Napoleon's French army was greatly diminished. He did have further victories in Europe, but lacking military strength, he abdicated in April 1814. After a brief exile to Elba off the coast of Italy, he regathered his troops to Paris for a final battle, Waterloo, in 1815. After that defeat, Francis, as Emperor of Austria, now became President of the German Conferation, also King of Lombardy-Venetia and King of Dalmatia.

Ferdinand I 1793-1875 King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, King of Lombardy-Venetia, King of Dalmatia, President of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund), Emperor of Austria 1835-1848.

Suffered considerably from epilepsy. Forced to abdicate in 1848 in favour of his brother's son, Francis Joseph, as revolutionaries marched on the palace.

Francis Joseph I 1830-1916 Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, Dalmatia 1848-1916, King of Lombardy-Venetia 1848-1859, President of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) 1850-1866.

In 1859 Emperor Francis lost most of Lombardy including its capital Milan, as well as Tuscany in a war with France and Sardinia, with Sardinia receiving aid from France in exchange for their ceding Nice and Savoy over to France. In 1860 military general Garibaldi brought Sicily and Naples into the newly re-unifying country of Italy along with much of the Papal States territory. Only Venetia (ceded to Italy in 1866) and Rome (captured by Italy in 1870 after France withdrew its garrison) were still to be added.

In 1866 Emperor Francis, together with the southern German states, fought a seven-week war against Prussia (and Italy) and though he defeated Italy, he lost the war with Prussia, and the German Confederation was subsequently abolished. A newly formed North German Confederation was then ceded to Prussia. In the outcome Francis ceded Venetia to France who immediately ceded it to Italy.

During the war, most of the states opposed Prussia, by 1870 the states had been coerced and coaxed into a mutually protective alliance. In the event that another state, in particular France, declared war on one member they all would come to the attacked state's defence. France indeed under Napoleon III invaded Germany that year, but Napoleon was not well, France was defeated, Paris occupied and had to pay 5 billion francs ($US 1 billion) before the German army left in 1873.

In 1914 Francis's nephew and heir was assassinated. WW1

Charles I 1887-1922 King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia, Emperor of Austria 1916-1918.

Great nephew of Francis Joseph I. Crowned as King of Hungary in Budapest in December 1916. Following the WW1 armistice on 11th November 1918 the monarchy was abolished. Following an attempt to restore the monarchy, he was exiled to the Portuguese island of Madeira in 1922 where he died.


Looking back at Prussia

  1. Frederick I 1657-1713 Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, was elevated by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold to becoming King of Prussia in 1701.
  2. Frederick William I 1688-1740 his son succeeded him in 1713.
  3. Frederick II 1712-1786 his son succeeded him in 1740. Known as Frederick the Great, he engaged in numerous wars including the capture of Silesia from Empress Maria Theresa. Frederick disliked the German language and literature, explaining that German authors "pile parenthesis upon parenthesis, and often you find only at the end of an entire page the verb on which depends the meaning of the whole sentence". Accordingly, he generally used French with close relatives and friends, and made French the official language of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. The academy's most active members were Huguenots who had fled religious persecution in France.
    Although Frederick married he had no children.
  4. Frederick William II 1744-1797 succeeded his uncle in 1786 and removed the ban on speaking German at the Academy.
  5. Frederick William III 1770-1840 his son succeeded him in 1797.
  6. Frederick William IV 1795-1861 his son succeeded him in 1840. A series of strokes from 14 July 1857 onward left the king partially paralyzed and largely mentally incapacitated, and his brother (and heir-presumptive) William served as regent after 7 October 1858.
  7. Wilhelm I 1797-1888 In 1871 William became Emperor of a reunified German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich).
  8. Frederick III 1831-1888 his son succeeded him in 1888 but reigned just 99 days before dying of throat cancer.
    Back in 1858 Frederick had married Victoria 1840-1901 princess royal (eldest daughter) of Queen Victoria after she had just turned seventeen. Their first son Wilhelm born the following year in 1859 was a breech birth via forceps delivery with the English obstetrician awkwardly crippling Wilhelm's left arm.
  9. Wilhelm II 1859-1941 in 1888 succeeded his father as emperor.

    As negotiations for an armistice to WW1 developed, combined with revolutionary unrest from masses gathering in Berlin, with Wilhelm at the Imperial Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium, the German Chancellor Prince Maximilian unilaterally announced Wilhelm's abdication of both crowns, Emperor and King of Prussia, at noon on 9 November 1918. As perhaps the richest man in Germany, he first settled at Amerongen Castle in the Netherlands, then in 1920 purchased a country house at Doorn in the Netherlands. Wrote his memoirs. Like many, he apparently believed the Freemasons and the Jews were the cause of both world wars. In a 1940 letter to his sister Princess Margaret in Hesse in western Germany, Wilhelm wrote: "The hand of God is creating a new world & working ... We are becoming the U.S. of Europe under German leadership, a united European Continent." He added: "The Jews [are] being thrust out of their nefarious positions in all countries, whom they have driven to hostility for centuries." He died in 1941.


Queen Victoria's descendants

Click here for a page on Wikipedia showing the sons and daughters of Queen Victoria (herself a descendant of King George II, also Charlemagne) and King Christian IX and Louisa of Denmark (also both descended indirectly from King George II) with their royal marriages in Europe and Russia during the 19th century producing numerous offspring, resulting in Queen Victoria (1819-1901) being nicknamed the grandmother of Europe and King Christian its father-in-law.

** End of Report

Go top