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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Fact of the Day
I have no excuse for not posting yesterday except to say, nothing I read struck my fancy. So, I figured if I was bored, you might be, too.

Today, however, I thought I'd introduce you to my favorite dynastic family again - The Hapsburgs. On this day in 1768, the future Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, was born in Tuscany. By all accounts, he was raised in a warm and loving family. Unfortunately, because his uncle, Emperor Joseph II, had no children, his family was cognizant of the fact that he would eventually be the next Emperor. I'm not sure they expected that his uncle would die soon enough that Francis' father would succeed him first. The interlude was short, however, and his father, Emperor Leopold II, died much too soon at the age of 44 in 1792. Francis, at the tender age of 24, succeeded him.

Early in Francis' reign came the execution of his aunt, Marie Antoinette. Having never met her, one biographer said, he was not quite indifferent, but it had little impact on him. Years later, he would marry his own daughter, Marie Louise, to Napoleon in an attempt to keep peace with France.

Francis' reign would have been unremarkable, considering he continued many of the oppressive policies of his forebears, if it hadn't been for Napoleon. His many clashes with France pockmarked his reign and led eventually to the dissolution of his very empire. By 1804, the Holy Roman Empire, was in reality no more. Francis formally dissolved it in 1806, and declared himself from thenceforth, Francis I, Emperor of Austria.

On March 1, 1835, exactly 43 years to the day his own father died, he contracted a sudden fever - and died the next day. He was 67 years old.

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