Biography of emperador del Sacro Imperio Leopoldo I (1640-1705)

(Emperor of the sacred Empire (1658-1705), King of Hungary (1655-1705)) and Bohemia (1656-1705)), born in 1640 and died in 1705. Its almost fifty years of rule were marked by the wars against the Hungarians, against the Turkish Empire and France, forming part of the League of Augsburg and taking part in the war of the Spanish succession.

A member of the House of Habsburg, Leopoldo was the second child of the Emperor Fernando III and the Empress María Ana, of Spanish origin. First it was decided for the ecclesiastical state and surrendered their education to the Jesuits, but the death of his brother Mays, Fernando IV (1654), which had already been crowned reya of Bohemia, became Crown Prince. In three consecutive years he received the Crown of Hungary (1655), Bohemia (1656) and head of the House of Habsburg, after the death of Fernando III (1657). In 1658 he was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

He developed a new absolutist policy that led to greater centralization and the formation of a Confederation in the basin of the Danube that had some weight in the European concert. To achieve this, Leopoldo I was forced to keep a huge army and to overcome the opposition of the Hungarian nobility. From 1661, he kept a war against the Ottoman Turks who won St. Gotthard in 1664, forcing the sultan to sign the truce of Vasvár, which was not fulfilled. In 1669, Leopoldo I launched an offensive at the Danube against the Sublime Porte, who had seized Crete, showing a new vitality. Reinforced in Central Europe, the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna in 1683, but were defeated in the battle of Kahlenberg. The Emperor started the counter-offensive by the call for a Holy League (1684), in which Venice, Russia and Polononia were integrated. Leopold recovered Hungary, conquered Buda and Belgrade, and in 1690 saw recognized its sovereignty over Transylvania. In 1697, the Turks were swept away in Zentha and sultan Mustafá II sought a peace that I signed in to Carlowitz (1699), Treaty that ratified the Austrian dominion over the Balkans.

The Government of Leopoldo I coincided in France of Luis XIV, whose majoritarian politics soon brought him into conflict with the emperor. When the French invaded the United provinces in 1672, thus putting an end to the Republican Government of Jan de Witt and the coming to power of the Guillermo de Orange, Leopoldo I statuder he joined the League against France, which joined the United provinces, Spain and the Duchy of Lorraine. The victories of the Sun King forced allies to sign the peace of Nijmegen, which provided great territorial advantages for France. This engrandeciemiento of France was seen with concern by the partisans, German princes keep agreements of Westphalia. On the other hand, after the victory at Kahlenberg against the Turks, the prestige of the Emperor had greatly increased and Leopoldo had adopted the role of Savior of Christianity. Luis XIV, eager to make the truces of Regensburg a final Treaty, invaded the Palatinate (September 1688), causing the union of Europe against France in a League that was known as Augsburg; promoted by the statuder Guillermo de Orange, joined England, Empire, Spain and Savoy. There was a long war in which the most important victories came to France, but, exhausted and unable to inflict a final defeat to League, signed disadvantageous peace of Ryswick in 1697. Leopold I also fought against France in its another great war, the Spanish succession, claiming their rights to the throne of Spain for being the son of Ana María. The Emperor did not know the outcome of this conflict.

Continuous wars of the Empire and the astronomical costs of the ostentatious Court of Leopoldo I left depleted coffers of the monarchy of Habsburg, who entered a period of chronic crisis. To combat it, already existing taxes were increased from Vienna and created new rates, which fell unevenly on countries of the Czech Crown, and to a greater extent in Bohemia. Bohemia was relegated to the level of province with the preference that began to give to the Austrian territories. It also continued the process of reformist of the Czech nobility and was a recridecimiento of the already miserable conditions of life of the peasantry of itself.

Leoplodo I lacked skills for the Government, which did not prevent him concentrate in their hands the crowns of the Empire, Bohemia and Hungary. He was hesitant and indecisive, but it compensated with a great capacity for work. It is said that the emperor was born for music, and even compose some works. He loved all the manifestations of art and came to assemble a large collection of books. The language they spoke in his court was Italian; the Emperor spoke no German or Czech. His two marriages had two children and three children. On his death the Government was taken by his eldest son, José I.


INGRAO, C. W. The Habsburg Monarchy. London, 1995.