Ferdinand I (German: Ferdinand I. 19 April 1793 – 29 June 1875) was the Emperor of Austria from March 1835 until his abdication in December 1848. He was also King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia (as Ferdinand V), King of Lombardy–Venetia and holder of many other lesser titles (see grand title of the Emperor of Austria). Due to his rocky, passive but well-intentioned character, he gained the sobriquet The Benign (German: Der Gütige) or The Benevolent (Czech: Ferdinand Dobrotivý, Polish: Ferdynand Dobrotliwy).
|Ferdinand I & V|
|Emperor of Austria|
King of Bohemia
King of Hungary
|Reign||2 March 1835 – 2 December 1848|
|Coronations||28 September 1830, Pressburg|
7 September 1836, Prague
|Successor||Franz Joseph I|
|Head of the Präsidialmacht Austria|
|In office||2 March 1835 – 12 July 1848|
|Successor||Franz Joseph I|
|Born||19 April 1793|
|Died||29 June 1875 (aged 82)|
|Father||Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily|
Ferdinand succeeded on the death of his father Francis I on 2 March 1835. He was incapable of ruling his empire because of a mental deficiency, so his father, before he died, made a will promulgating that Ferdinand should consult his uncle Archduke Louis on all aspects of internal policy and urged him to be influenced by Prince Metternich, Austria's Foreign Minister.
Following the Revolutions of 1848, Ferdinand abdicated on 2 December 1848. He was succeeded by his nephew, Franz Joseph. Following his abdication, he lived in Hradčany Palace, Prague, until his death in 1875.
Ferdinand was the eldest son of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily. Possibly as a result of his parents' genetic closeness (they were double first cousins), Ferdinand suffered from hydrocephalus, neurological problems including epilepsy, and a speech impediment. He was educated by Baron Josef Kalasanz von Erberg, and his wife Countess Josephine von Attems.
Ferdinand has been depicted as feeble-minded and incapable of ruling. Yet, although he had epilepsy, he kept a coherent and legible diary and has even been said to have had a sharp wit. However, suffering as many as twenty seizures per day severely restricted his ability to rule with any effectiveness. Though he was not declared incapacitated, a Regent's Council (Archduke Louis, Count Kolowrat, and Prince Metternich) steered the government.
When Ferdinand married Princess Maria Anna of Savoy, the court physician considered it unlikely that he would be able to consummate the marriage. When he tried to consummate the marriage, he had five seizures. He is best remembered for his command to his cook: when told he could not have apricot dumplings (Marillenknödel) because apricots were out of season, he said "I am the Emperor, and I want dumplings!" (German: Ich bin der Kaiser und ich will Knödel!).
As the revolutionaries of 1848 were marching on the palace, he is supposed to have asked Metternich for an explanation. When Metternich answered that they were making a revolution, Ferdinand is supposed to have said "But are they allowed to do that?" (Viennese German: Ja, dürfen's denn des?) He was convinced by Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg to abdicate in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph (the next in line was Ferdinand's younger brother Franz Karl, but he was persuaded to waive his succession rights in favour of his son) who would occupy the Austrian throne for the next sixty-eight years.
Ferdinand recorded the events in his diary: "The affair ended with the new Emperor kneeling before his old Emperor and Lord, that is to say, me, and asking for a blessing, which I gave him, laying both hands on his head and making the sign of the Holy Cross ... then I embraced him and kissed our new master, and then we went to our room. Afterwards I and my dear wife heard Holy Mass ... After that I and my dear wife packed our bags."
In retirement (1848–1875)Edit
Ferdinand was the last King of Bohemia to be crowned as such. Due to his sympathy with Bohemia (where he spent the rest of his life in Prague Castle) he was given the Czech nickname "Ferdinand V, the Good" (Ferdinand Dobrotivý). In Austria, Ferdinand was similarly nicknamed "Ferdinand der Gütige" (Ferdinand the Benign), but also ridiculed as "Gütinand der Fertige" (Goodinand the Finished).
He is interred in tomb number 62 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.
Titles and honoursEdit
He used the titles:
- Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, fifth by this name, King of Lombardy and Venice, King of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria;
- King of Jerusalem etc.
- Archduke of Austria
- Grand duke of Tuscany and Cracow [from 1846];
- Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Auschwitz and Zator, of Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa, and Zara;
- Grand prince of Transylvania;
- Margrave of Moravia;
- Princely Count of Habsburg, Kyburg, Tyrol, Gorizia and Gradisca;
- Prince of Trent and Brixen;
- Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria, Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg, etc.
- Lord of Trieste, Cattaro and over the Windic March.
- Austrian Empire:
- Kingdom of Bavaria: Knight of St. Hubert, 1824
- Duchy of Parma: Senator Grand Cross of the Constantinian Order of St. George, with Collar, 1826
- Grand Duchy of Hesse: Grand Cross of the Ludwig Order, 11 April 1830
- Electorate of Hesse: Grand Cross of the Golden Lion, 26 December 1830
- Kingdom of Saxony: Knight of the Rue Crown, 1830
- Two Sicilies:
- Württemberg: Knight of the Golden Eagle, 1830
- Kingdom of Sardinia: Knight of the Annunciation, 12 January 1831
- Kingdom of Prussia: Knight of the Black Eagle, 24 January 1831
- Denmark: Knight of the Elephant, 1 February 1831
- Empire of Brazil: Grand Cross of the Southern Cross
- Kingdom of Portugal:
- Russian Empire: Knight of St. Andrew, 28 February 1835
- Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach: Grand Cross of the White Falcon, 2 April 1835
- Sweden-Norway: Knight of the Seraphim, 14 April 1835
- Ernestine duchies: Grand Cross of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order, May 1835
- Ascanian duchies: Grand Cross of Albert the Bear, 18 March 1837
- Kingdom of Hanover:
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III, 23 April 1849
- Grand Duchy of Tuscany: Grand Cross of St. Joseph
|Ancestors of Ferdinand I of Austria|
Ferdinand's parents were double first cousins as they shared all four grandparents (Francis' paternal grandparents were his wife's maternal grandparents and vice versa). Therefore, Ferdinand only had four great-grandparents, being descended from each of them twice. Further back in his ancestry there is more pedigree collapse due to the close intermarriage between the Houses of Austria and Spain and other Catholic monarchies.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferdinand I of Austria.|
- Tomáš Kleisner, "Medals of the Emperor Ferdinand the Good 1793-1875" Prague 2013 ISBN 978-80-7036-396-6
- "Biography of Emperor Ferdinand"
- Literature by and about Ferdinand I in the German National Library catalogue
- Works by and about Ferdinand I of Austria in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library)
- Ferdinand I In: Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon (in German), vol. 2, Leipzig, 1837, pp. 25–26
- Ferdinand I In: Brockhaus' Kleines Konversations-Lexikon (in German), vol. 1 (5 ed.), Leipzig, 1911, p. 569
- Ferdinand I of Austria in Austria-Forum (in German) (at AEIOU)
- Entry about Ferdinand I of Austria in the database Gedächtnis des Landes on the history of the state of Lower Austria (Lower Austria Museum)