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Ferdinand I of Austria

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Ferdinand I & V
Portrait by Eduard Edlinger (1843)
Emperor of Austria
King of Hungary
Reign2 March 1835 – 2 December 1848
Coronations28 September 1830, Pressburg
7 September 1836, Prague
6 September 1838, Milan
PredecessorFrancis I
SuccessorFranz Joseph I
Head of the Präsidialmacht Austria
In office
2 March 1835 – 12 July 1848
Preceded byFrancis I
Succeeded byFranz Joseph I
Born(1793-04-19)19 April 1793
Vienna, Archduchy of Austria,[1] Holy Roman Empire
Died29 June 1875(1875-06-29) (aged 82)
Prague, Austria-Hungary[1]
(m. 1831)
German: Ferdinand Karl Leopold Joseph Franz Marcelin
English: Ferdinand Charles Leopold Joseph Francis Marcelin
FatherFrancis II, Holy Roman Emperor
MotherMaria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureFerdinand I & V's signature

Ferdinand I (German: Ferdinand I. 19 April 1793 – 29 June 1875) was 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 passive but well-intentioned character, he gained the sobriquet The Benign (German: Der Gütige) or The Benevolent (Czech: Ferdinand Dobrotivý, Polish: Ferdynand Dobrotliwy).[2]

Ferdinand succeeded his father Francis I upon his death on 2 March 1835. He was incapable of ruling the empire because of severe epilepsy, 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.[3]

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.[4]

Ferdinand married Maria Anna of Savoy, the sixth child of Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia. They had no children.


Early life[edit]

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 had 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.[5]


Coronation of King Ferdinand V in 1836 in Prague

Ferdinand suffered from epilepsy. Although he has been depicted as feeble-minded and incapable of ruling, 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.

Thaler minted during the reign of Ferdinand I, c. 1840

When Ferdinand married Princess Maria Anna of Savoy, the court physician considered it unlikely that he would be able to consummate the marriage.[6] When he tried to consummate the marriage, he had five seizures. He is also 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!).[7][8]

1848 Revolution[edit]

Portrait of Ferdinand I in the ceremonial robes of the Order of the Golden Fleece, by Leopold Kupelwieser, c. 1847

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 starting 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 renounce his succession rights in favour of his son) who would occupy the Austrian throne for the next 68 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]

Photograph of the aged Ferdinand dated circa 1870
Photograph of the aged Ferdinand by the 1860s
Ferdinand's sarcophagus in the Imperial Crypt, Vienna

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).

Ferdinand was also the last ruler to be crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in his capacity as King of Lombardy-Venetia.

He is interred in tomb number 62 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.

Titles and honours[edit]

He used the titles:[9]

His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty Ferdinand the First, By the Grace of God



Ancestry 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ferdinand I. of Austria" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Thomas Nipperdey: Deutsche Geschichte 1800-1866. Bürgerwelt und starker Staat, C.H. Beck, broschierte Sonderausgabe 1998, S. 339.
  3. ^ Taylor, A. J. P.: "The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918" (Penguin Books, Great Britain, 1990, ISBN 978-0-14-013498-8), pp 52-53
  4. ^ van der Kiste, p. 16
  5. ^ Grafenauer, Bogo (1925–1991). "Erberg Jožef Kalasanc baron" [Erberg Joseph Calasanz baron]. In Cankar, Izidor; et al. (eds.). Slovenski biografski leksikon (in Slovenian). ISBN 978-961-268-001-5. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  6. ^ van der Kiste, John. Emperor Francis Joseph London: Sutton Publishing, 2005 ISBN 0-7509-3787-4. p 2
  7. ^ According to A.J.P. Taylor, he was in fact asking for noodles - "But it is an unacceptable pun in English for a noodle to ask for noodles" - The Habsburg Monarchy 1809–1918
  8. ^ Regan, Geoffrey. Royal Blunders page 72
  9. ^ Velde, Francois R. "Royal Styles". heraldica.org.
  10. ^ "Ritter-Orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Kaiserthumes Österreich, 1834, pp. 23, 34, 41, 57, retrieved 18 June 2020
  11. ^ Boettger, T. F. "Chevaliers de la Toisón d'Or - Knights of the Golden Fleece". La Confrérie Amicale. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  12. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Teulet, Alexandre (1863). "Liste chronologique des chevaliers de l'ordre du Saint-Esprit depuis son origine jusqu'à son extinction (1578-1830)" [Chronological list of knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit from its origin to its extinction (1578-1830)]. Annuaire-bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de France (in French) (2): 114. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  14. ^ Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Königreichs Bayern: 1833. Landesamt. 1833. p. 6.
  15. ^ Almanacco di corte (in Italian). 1858. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  16. ^ Hessen-Darmstadt (1858), "Großherzogliche Orden und Ehrenzeichen", Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Großherzogtums Hessen: für das Jahr ... 1858 (in German), Darmstadt, p. 8, retrieved 12 March 2020{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  17. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1858). Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hof- und Staatshandbuch: 1858. Waisenhaus. p. 15.
  18. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1834), "Großherzogliche Orden" pp. 32, 50
  19. ^ Sachsen (1866). Staatshandbuch für den Freistaat Sachsen: 1865/66. Heinrich. p. 3.
  20. ^ Angelo Scordo, Vicende e personaggi dell'Insigne e reale Ordine di San Gennaro dalla sua fondazione alla fine del Regno delle Due Sicilie (PDF) (in Italian), p. 8, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016
  21. ^ Württemberg (1858). Königlich-Württembergisches Hof- und Staats-Handbuch: 1858. Guttenberg. p. 31.
  22. ^ Luigi Cibrario (1869). Notizia storica del nobilissimo ordine supremo della santissima Annunziata. Sunto degli statuti, catalogo dei cavalieri. Eredi Botta. p. 105.
  23. ^ Liste der Ritter des Königlich Preußischen Hohen Ordens vom Schwarzen Adler (1851), "Von Seiner Majestät dem Könige Friedrich Wilhelm III. ernannte Ritter" p. 19
  24. ^ a b c J ..... -H ..... -Fr ..... Berlien (1846). Der Elephanten-Orden und seine Ritter. Berling. pp. 166–167.
  25. ^ "Grand Crosses of the Order of the Tower and Sword". geneall.net. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  26. ^ Staatshandbuch für das Großherzogtum Sachsen / Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1864), "Großherzogliche Hausorden" p. 11
  27. ^ Sveriges och Norges Statskalender (in Swedish), 1864, p. 421, retrieved 20 February 2019 – via runeberg.org
  28. ^ "Herzogliche Sachsen-Ernestinischer Hausorden", Adreß-Handbuch des Herzogthums Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (in German), Coburg, Gotha: Meusel, 1843, p. 4, retrieved 12 March 2020
  29. ^ Anhalt-Köthen (1851). Staats- und Adreß-Handbuch für die Herzogthümer Anhalt-Dessau und Anhalt-Köthen: 1851. Katz. p. 10.
  30. ^ Staat Hannover (1865). Hof- und Staatshandbuch für das Königreich Hannover: 1865. Berenberg. pp. 37, 73.
  31. ^ "Caballeros Grandes Cruces de la Real y distinguida orden de Carlos Terceros", Guía Oficial de España (in Spanish), 1868, p. 167, retrieved 18 June 2020
  32. ^ Almanacco Toscano per l'anno 1855. Stamperia Granducale. 1855. p. 272.
  33. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Franz I." . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 6. p. 208 – via Wikisource.
  34. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria Theresia von Neapel" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 7. p. 81 – via Wikisource.
  35. ^ a b c d Wurzbach, Constantin von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria Theresia (deutsche Kaiserin)" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 7. p. 60 – via Wikisource.
  36. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria Ludovica (deutsche Kaiserin)" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). Vol. 7. p. 53 – via Wikisource.
  37. ^ a b Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 9.

External links[edit]

Ferdinand I of Austria
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 19 April 1793 Died: 29 June 1875
Regnal titles
Preceded by Emperor of Austria
King of Dalmatia
King of Galicia and Lodomeria
King of Illyria
King of Lombardy-Venetia
King of Hungary
King of Croatia
King of Slavonia
King of Bohemia

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Head of the Präsidialmacht Austria
Succeeded by