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Francis II, Holy Roman emperor
Francis II, 1768–1835, last Holy Roman emperor (1792–1806), first emperor of Austria as Francis I (1804–35), king of Bohemia and of Hungary (1792–1835). He succeeded his father, Leopold II, shortly before the outbreak of war with France (see French Revolutionary Wars). Francis's armies were eventually defeated by Napoleon Bonaparte; by the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) Francis ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France but obtained Venetia and Dalmatia. In 1798 he joined the Second Coalition against France, was again defeated, and in the Treaty of Lunéville (1801) consented to the virtual dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, which was formally ended (1806) after the Austrian rout at Austerlitz (see also Pressburg, Treaty of). Francis assumed the title emperor of Austria in 1804. In 1809 he again declared war on Napoleon, now Emperor Napoleon I, who was embroiled in difficulties in Spain. Francis's brother, Archduke Charles, defeated Napoleon at Aspern, but was crushed at Wagram. Napoleon entered Vienna and imposed on Francis the Peace of Schönbrunn, in which Austria was forced to give up Galicia, Istria, and part of Dalmatia, and to join Napoleon's Continental System. In 1810, Francis's daughter, Marie Louise, married Napoleon. This marriage was engineered by Metternich, who from 1809 dominated Austrian politics. In Aug., 1813, Francis joined Russia, Prussia, and England in their war against Napoleon. He presided (1814–15) over the Congress of Vienna (see Vienna, Congress of), in which Austria, through Metternich's diplomacy, emerged as the leading power in Europe. Francis was a chief architect of the Holy Alliance. The events of his early reign shaped his later reactionary views, and he instituted severe repressive measures throughout the empire. Francis was succeeded by his son Ferdinand.
See biography by W. C. Langsam (1949).
Francis II, king of France
Francis II, 1544–60, king of France (1559–60), son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He married (1558) Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart), and during his brief reign the government was in the hands of her uncles, François and Charles de Guise. Their ruthless persecution of Protestantism led to the conspiracy of Amboise (1560; see Amboise, conspiracy of), an attempt to remove the Guises from power. During Francis's reign French Protestantism became a political force (see Huguenots). Francis was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX.
Francis II, king of the Two Sicilies
Francis II, 1836–94, last king of the Two Sicilies (1859–61), son and successor of Ferdinand II. A weak ruler, he let his ministers follow his father's reactionary policy. Faced with the growing movement for Italian unity (see Risorgimento), he first sided with Austria. When he sought the alliance of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, around whom the movement for Italian unification had coalesced, it was too late—Garibaldi had conquered Sicily and was marching (1860) on Naples. Francis fled to Gaeta. There he and his queen, Maria of Bavaria (sister of Empress Elizabeth of Austria), resisted gallantly until 1861, when they surrendered to Victor Emmanuel. They went into exile, at first in Rome, then in Paris and the Tyrol.
Francis II, duke of Brittany
Francis II, 1435–88, duke of Brittany. He succeeded (1458) his uncle Arthur III. In his struggle with the French crown for the independence of his duchy, Francis entered (1465) the League of the Public Weal against King Louis XI and invaded Normandy in 1467. Though forced to sign the Peace of Ancenis (1468), he continued to plot against Louis. In 1484 he joined in a rebellion against Louis's successor, King Charles VIII, but was decisively defeated in 1488. After Francis's death his daughter, Anne of Brittany, was married to Charles VIII.
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1. 1544--60, king of France (1559--60); son of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici; first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots
2. 1768--1835, last Holy Roman Emperor (1792--1806) and, as Francis I, first emperor of Austria (1804--35). The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved (1806) following his defeat by Napoleon at Austerlitz
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005