Joseph I (26 July 1678 – 17 April 1711) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1705 until his death in 1711. He was the eldest son of Emperor Leopold I from his third wife, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg. Joseph was crowned King of Hungary at the age of nine in 1687 and King in Germany at the age of eleven in 1690. He succeeded to the thrones of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire when his father died.
Joseph continued the War of the Spanish Succession, begun by his father against Louis XIV of France, in a fruitless attempt to make his younger brother Charles (later Emperor Charles VI) King of Spain. In the process, however, owing to the victories won by his military commander, Prince Eugene of Savoy, he did succeed in establishing Austrian hegemony over Italy. Joseph also had to contend with a protracted revolt in Hungary, fomented by Louis XIV. Neither conflict was resolved until after his death.
Portrait attributed to Johann Rudolf Huber, 1702
|King of Germany|
|Reign||23 January 1690 – 17 April 1711|
|Coronation||26 January 1690, Augsburg|
|King of Hungary|
|Reign||9 December 1687 – 17 April 1711|
|Coronation||9 December 1687, Pressburg|
|Holy Roman Emperor;
King of Bohemia;
Archduke of Austria;
King of Croatia
|Reign||5 May 1705 – 17 April 1711|
|Born||26 July 1678
|Died||17 April 1711 (aged 32)
|Burial||Imperial Crypt, Vienna|
|Spouse||Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg|
|Issue||Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland
Archduke Leopold Joseph
Maria Amalia, Holy Roman Empress
|House||House of Habsburg|
|Father||Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Eleonore-Magdalena of Neuburg|
Born in Vienna, Joseph was educated strictly by Prince Dietrich Otto von Salm and became a good linguist. Although he was the first son and child born of his parents' marriage, he was his father's third son and seventh child. Previously, Leopold had been married to Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain, who had given him four children, one of whom survived infancy. He then married Claudia Felicitas of Austria, who gave him two short-lived daughters. Thus, Joseph had six half-siblings. In 1684, the six-year-old Archduke had his first portrait painted by Benjamin Block. At the age of nine, on 9 December 1687, he was crowned King of Hungary; and at the age of eleven, on 23 January 1690, King of the Romans. Although he never formally ceased to be a Roman Catholic, Joseph (unlike his parents and most of his other relatives) was not particularly devout by nature. He had two great enthusiasms: music and hunting.
Prior to his ascension, Joseph had surrounded himself with reform-hungry advisors and the ‘young court’ of Vienna was ambitious in the elaboration of innovative plans. He was described as a "forward-looking ruler". The large number of privy councillors was reduced and attempts were made to make the bureaucracy more efficient. Measures were taken to modernize the central bodies and a certain success was achieved in stabilizing the chronic Habsburg finances. Joseph also endeavoured to strengthen his position in the Holy Roman Empire – as a means of strengthening Austria’s standing as a great power. When he sought to lay claim to imperial rights in Italy and gain territories for the Habsburgs, he even risked a military conflict with the Pope over the duchy of Mantua.
In Hungary, Joseph had inherited the kuruc rebellion from his father Leopold I: once again, nobles in Transylvania (Siebenbürgen) had risen against Habsburg rule, even advancing for a time as far as Vienna. Although Joseph was compelled to take military action, he refrained – unlike his predecessors – from seeking to teach his subjects a lesson by executing the leaders. Instead, he agreed to a compromise peace, which in the long term facilitated the integration of Hungary into the Habsburg domains. It was his good fortune to govern the Austrian dominions and to be head of the Empire, during the years in which his trusted general, Prince Eugene of Savoy, either acting alone in Italy or with the Duke of Marlborough in Germany and Flanders, was beating the armies of Louis XIV of France. During the whole of his reign, Hungary was disturbed by the conflict with Francis Rákóczi II, who eventually took refuge in the Ottoman Empire. The emperor reversed many of the authoritarian measures of his father, thus helping to placate opponents. He began the attempts to settle the question of the Austrian inheritance by a pragmatic sanction, which was continued by his brother Charles VI.
During the smallpox epidemic of 1711, which killed Louis, le Grand Dauphin and three siblings of the future Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, Joseph became infected. He died on 17 April in the Hofburg Palace. He had previously promised his wife to stop having affairs, should he survive.
The Emperor was buried in the Imperial Crypt, resting place of the majority of the Habsburgs. His funeral took place on 20 April, in tomb no. 35 in Karl's Vault. His tomb was designed by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, decorated with pictures of various battles from the War of Spanish Succession. Josefstadt (the eighth district of Vienna) is named for Joseph.
On 24 February 1699, he married Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg in Vienna. They had three children and their only son died of hydrocephalus before his first birthday. Joseph had a passion for love affairs (none of which resulted in illegitimate children) and he caught a sexually transmittable disease, probably syphilis, which he passed on to his wife while they were trying to produce a new heir. This incident rendered her sterile. Their father, who was still alive during these events, made Joseph and his brother Charles sign the Mutual Pact of Succession, ensuring that Joseph's daughters would have absolute precedence over Charles's daughters, neither of whom was born at the time, and that Maria Josepha would inherit both the Austrian and Spanish realms.
Queen of Poland
|8 December 1699 –
17 November 1757
|Archduchess of Austria, married Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.|
||29 October 1700 –
4 August 1701
|Archduke of Austria, died in infancy.|
Holy Roman Empress
|22 October 1701 –
11 December 1756
|Archduchess of Austria, married Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Ancestors of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor|
Joseph I, 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 and 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.
Media related to Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor at Wikimedia Commons
Joseph I, Holy Roman EmperorBorn: 26 July 1678 Died: 17 April 1711
Emperor Leopold I
|Holy Roman Emperor
King of Bohemia
Archduke of Austria
Duke of Teschen
King of Croatia
Emperor Charles VI
|King in Germany
with Leopold I (1690–1705)
|King of Hungary
with Leopold I (1687–1705)