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Ferdinand II
""Kaiser Ferdinand II. 1614.jpg
Portrait c. 1614
"Holy Roman Emperor
"King in Germany
Reign 28 August 1619[1]15 February 1637
"Coronation 9 September 1619, "Frankfurt
Predecessor "Matthias
Successor "Ferdinand III
"Archduke of Austria
Reign 9 October 1619 – 15 February 1637
Predecessor "Matthias
Successor "Ferdinand III
"King of Hungary and "Croatia
Reign 1 July 1618 – 15 February 1637
Coronation 1 July 1618, "Pressburg
Predecessor "Matthias
Successor "Ferdinand III
"King of Bohemia
Reign 5 June 1617 – 15 February 1637
Coronation 29 June 1617, "Prague
Predecessor "Matthias
Successor "Ferdinand III
Born 9 July 1578
"Graz, Austria
Died 15 February 1637 (aged 58)
"Vienna, Austria
Burial Mausoleum in Graz, Austria (body)
"Augustinian Church, Austria (heart)
Spouse "Maria Anna of Bavaria
"Eleonor Gonzaga
Issue "Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
"Maria Anna, Electress of Bavaria
"Cecilia Renata, Queen of Poland
"Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria
"House "House of Habsburg
Father "Charles II, Archduke of Austria
Mother "Maria Anna of Bavaria
Religion "Roman Catholicism

Ferdinand II (9 July 1578 – 15 February 1637), a member of the "House of Habsburg, was "Holy Roman Emperor (1619–1637), "King of Bohemia (1617–1619, 1620–1637), and "King of Hungary (1618–1637).[2][3] His acts started the "Thirty Years' War. As a zealous Catholic, Ferdinand wanted to restore Catholicism as the only religion in the Empire and to suppress Protestantism.



Ferdinand II, 1626

Born in the castle in "Graz on 9 July 1578, Ferdinand was the son of "Charles II, Archduke of Austria, and "Maria of Bavaria.[4] Charles II, who was the youngest son of "Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, had inherited the "Inner Austrian provinces—"Styria, "Carinthia, "Carniola, "Gorizia, Fiume (now "Rijeka in Croatia), "Trieste and parts of "Istria and "Friuli—from his father in 1564.[5] Being a daughter of "Albert V, Duke of Bavaria by Charles II's sister, "Anna, Maria of Bavaria was her husband's niece.[6] Their marriage brought about a reconciliation between the two leading Catholic families of the "Holy Roman Empire.[7] Both of Ferdinand's parents were devout Catholics, but Charles II had to grant concessions to his Protestant subjects in 1572 and 1578, because he wanted to secure the predominantly Lutheran nobles and burghers' financial support for the establishment of a new defense system against the "Ottoman Turks.[8]

Ferdinand's education was managed primarily by his mother.[9] He matriculated at the "Jesuits' college in Graz at the age of 8.[9] His separate houshold was set up three years later.[9] He chose "Paul the Apostle's words—""To Those Who Fight Justly Goes the Crown"—as his personal motto before he left Graz for "Ingolstadt to continue his studies at the "Jesuits' local college in early 1590.[10] His parents had decided to send him to Bavaria because they wanted to isolate him from the Lutheran Styrian nobles.[11] They asked Ferdinand's maternal uncle, "William V, Duke of Bavaria, to oversee his education.[12]


Inner Austria[edit]

Charles II died unexpectedly on 10 July 1590.[12] After completing his studies in 1595, he acceded to his hereditary lands (where his older cousin, Archduke "Maximilian III of Austria, had acted as regent between 1593 and 1595). He made a pilgrimage to "Loreto and Rome. Shortly afterward, 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, as "King of Hungary by the Hungarian estates; and in 1619, as "Holy Roman Emperor.

His devout Catholicism and negative view of Protestantism caused immediate turmoil in his non-Catholic subjects, especially in Bohemia. He did not wish to uphold the religious liberties granted by the Letter of Majesty signed by the previous emperor, "Rudolph II, which had guaranteed freedom of religion to the nobles and cities. Additionally, Ferdinand as an absolutist monarch infringed several historical privileges of the nobles.["citation needed] Given the relatively great number of Protestants in the kingdom, including some of the nobles, the king's 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 a staunch backer 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, who had been elected as rival King in 1619. After Frederick's flight to the Netherlands, Ferdinand ordered a massive effort to bring about re-conversion to Catholicism in Bohemia and Austria, causing Protestantism there to nearly disappear in the following decades, and reducing the Diet's power.

In 1625, despite the subsidies received from Spain and the Pope, Ferdinand was in a bad financial situation. In order to muster an imperial army to continue the war, he applied to "Albrecht von Wallenstein, one of the richest men in Bohemia: the latter accepted on condition that he could keep total control over the direction of the war, as well as over the booties taken during the operations. Wallenstein was able to recruit some 30,000 men (later expanded up to 100,000), with whom he was able to defeat the Protestants in "Silesia, "Anhalt and "Denmark. In the wake of these Catholic military successes, in 1629 Ferdinand issued the "Edict of Restitution, by which all the lands stripped from Catholics after the "Peace of Passau of 1552 would be returned.

His military success caused the tottering Protestants to call in "Gustavus II Adolphus, King of Sweden. Soon, some of Ferdinand's allies began to complain about the excessive power exercised by Wallenstein, as well as the ruthless methods he used to finance his vast army. 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. Some historians directly blame Ferdinand for the large civilian loss of life in the "Sack of Magdeburg in 1631: he had instructed Tilly to enforce the edict of Restitution upon the "Electorate of Saxony, his orders causing the Belgian general to move the Catholic armies east, ultimately to "Leipzig, where they suffered their first substantial defeat at the hands of the Adolphus' Swedes in the First "Battle of Breitenfeld (1631).

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 (1632), where Gustavus Adolphus was himself killed. A period of minor operations followed, perhaps because of Wallenstein's ambiguous conduct, which ended with his assassination in 1634.

Despite Wallenstein's fall, the imperial forces recaptured "Regensburg and were victorious in the "Battle of Nördlingen (1634). The Swedish army was substantially weakened, and the fear that the Habsburg's power would become overwhelming caused France, led by "Louis XIII of France and "Cardinal Richelieu, to enter the war on the Protestant side. (Louis's father "Henry IV of France had once been a Huguenot leader.) In 1635 Ferdinand signed his last important act, the "Peace of Prague (1635), yet this did not end the war.

Ferdinand died in 1637, leaving to his son "Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, an empire still engulfed in a war and whose fortunes seemed to be increasingly chaotic. Ferdinand II was buried in his Mausoleum in Graz. His heart was interred in the "Herzgruft (heart crypt) of the "Augustinian Church, Vienna.

Marriages and issue[edit]

In 1600, Ferdinand married "Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574–1616), daughter of Duke "William V of Bavaria. They had seven children:

In 1622, he married "Eleonore of Mantua (Gonzaga) (1598–1655), the daughter of Duke "Vincenzo I of "Mantua and "Eleonora de' Medici, at "Innsbruck.



""Coat of arms of Ferdinand II

Ferdinand II, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King in Germany, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania, Bulgaria, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Luxemburg, of the Higher and Lower Silesia, of Württemberg and Teck, Prince of Swabia, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Kyburg and Goritia, Marquess of the Holy Roman Empire, Burgovia, the Higher and Lower Lusace, Lord of the Marquisate of Slavonia, of Port Naon and Salines, etc. etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Setton, Kenneth Meyer (1991). Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the seventeenth century. American Philosophical Society. p. 33. "ISBN "978-0-87169-192-7. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Hans Sturmberger. "Ferdinand II (Holy Roman emperor) : Introduction - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  3. ^ "Ferdinand II (Holy Roman Empire) – MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Bireley 2014, p. 1.
  5. ^ Bireley 2014, pp. 1–2.
  6. ^ Bireley 2014, pp. 314–315.
  7. ^ Bireley 2014, p. 2.
  8. ^ Bireley 2014, pp. 1, 5–6.
  9. ^ a b c Bireley 2014, p. 10.
  10. ^ Bireley 2014, pp. 10, 12.
  11. ^ Bireley 2014, p. 11.
  12. ^ a b Bireley 2014, p. 12.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

"" Media related to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor at Wikimedia Commons

Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Born: 9 July 1578 Died: 15 February 1637
Regnal titles
Preceded by
"Albert VII
"Archduke of Further Austria
Succeeded by
"Leopold V
"Archduke of Austria
Succeeded by
"Ferdinand III
Preceded by
"Charles II
"Archduke of Inner Austria
Preceded by
"King in Germany
"King of Hungary and "Croatia

"Holy Roman Emperor
"King of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
"King of Bohemia
Succeeded by
"Ferdinand III
) ) WikipediaAudio is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the WikiMedia Foundation.