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Maximilian I,1459–1519, Holy Roman emperor and German king (1493–1519), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III. As emperor, he aspired to restore forceful imperial leadership and inaugurate much-needed administrative reforms in the increasingly decentralized empire. In both domestic and foreign policy, however, he sacrificed the interests of Germany as a whole to the aggrandizement of the Hapsburg possessions.
Expansion via War and Marriage
Maximilian's marriage (1477) to Mary of BurgundyMary of Burgundy,
1457–82, wife of Maximilian of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I), daughter and heiress of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. The marriage of Mary was a major event in European history, for it established the Hapsburgs in the Low Countries and
..... Click the link for more information. involved him in defense of her inheritance—including Burgundy, the Netherland provinces, and Luxembourg—against the designs of King Louis XI of France. By Mary's death (1482), Maximilian had secured Franche-Comté, the county of Artois, and the Low Countries, but he yielded a sizable part of French-speaking Burgundy in the Treaty of Arras of 1483 (see Arras, Treaty ofArras, Treaty of.
1 Treaty of 1435, between King Charles VII of France and Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. Through it, France and Burgundy became reconciled. Philip deserted his English allies and recognized Charles as king of France.
..... Click the link for more information. ). In 1486 he was elected king of the Romans (i.e., emperor-elect) and assumed an increasing share of the imperial duties until his father's death.
Louis XI's successor, Charles VIIICharles VIII,
1470–98, king of France (1483–98), son and successor of Louis XI. He first reigned under the regency of his sister Anne de Beaujeu. After his marriage (1491) to Anne of Brittany, he freed himself from the influence of the regency and prepared to conquer
..... Click the link for more information. , repudiated the treaty; moreover, instead of marrying Maximilian's daughter Margaret of AustriaMargaret of Austria,
1480–1530, Hapsburg princess, regent of the Netherlands; daughter of Emperor Maximilian I. She was betrothed (1483) to the dauphin of France, later King Charles VIII, and was transferred to the guardianship of Louis XI of France (see Arras, Treaty of,
..... Click the link for more information. , he forced Anne of BrittanyAnne of Brittany,
1477–1514, queen of France as consort of Charles VIII from 1491 to 1498 and consort of Louis XII from 1499 until her death. The daughter of Duke Francis II of Brittany, she was heiress to his duchy.
..... Click the link for more information. into marrying him (1491), disregarding her marriage by proxy to the widowed Maximilian the preceding year. Renewed warfare with France was settled temporarily by the Treaty of Senlis (1493), which basically retained the status quo; but the Burgundian question remained a key issue in Hapsburg relations with the French crown.
Maximilian became embroiled in the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
..... Click the link for more information. in order to regain the rest of the Burgundian inheritance and also to expand Hapsburg dominions and check any extension of French power. His Italian campaigns also afforded him an opportunity to aid Ludovico Sforza, whose niece he had married (1493) and whom, in exchange for a dowry, he had invested with the duchy of Milan (also claimed by Louis XII of France). His involvement in Italy led him to join the League of Cambrai (see Cambrai, League ofCambrai, League of,
1508–10, alliance formed by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, King Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, King Ferdinand V of Aragón, and several Italian city-states against the republic of Venice to check its territorial expansion.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and later the Holy LeagueHoly League,
in Italian history, alliance formed (1510–11) by Pope Julius II during the Italian Wars for the purpose of expelling Louis XII of France from Italy, thereby consolidating papal power.
..... Click the link for more information. . Both alliances cost him money, of which he was chronically short, and forced him to borrow heavily from the FuggerFugger
, German family of merchant princes. The foundation of their wealth was laid by Hans Fugger, allegedly a weaver, who moved to Augsburg in 1367. His descendants built up the family fortune by trade and banking.
..... Click the link for more information. family. Moreover, his interference in Italy encouraged the French to exert pressure on the Swiss to turn a jurisdictional dispute with imperial authorities into an open war (1499), which resulted in an imperial defeat.
Despite these difficulties, Maximilian made the Hapsburgs into a powerful dynasty through his astute marriage diplomacy. The marriage of his son Philip (see Philip IPhilip I
(Philip the Handsome), 1478–1506, Spanish king of Castile (1506), archduke of Austria, titular duke of Burgundy, son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy.
..... Click the link for more information. of Castile) to Joanna, the heiress of Ferdinand and Isabella, eventually gave his grandson, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, one of the largest territorial inheritances in history. The double marriage of Maximilian's grandson and granddaughter to the daughter and son of King Uladislaus IIUladislaus II
, Hung. Ulászló II, c.1456–1516, king of Hungary (1490–1516) and, as Ladislaus II, king of Bohemia (1471–1516); son of Casimir IV of Poland.
..... Click the link for more information. of Hungary (1516) ultimately assured Hapsburg succession to the Hungarian and Bohemian thrones and ascendancy in central Europe.
The extent and diversity of the Hapsburg territories were a liability as well as an asset, making the imperial title the essential bond of unity. At the beginning of his reign Maximilian attempted to modernize the cumbersome imperial administration, but his reform program fell victim not only to his dynastic aspirations but also to the competition between the princes and the emperor for ultimate power. Maximilian was forced in 1500 to adhere temporarily to a council of regency (see ReichsregimentReichsregiment
[Ger.,=government of the empire], imperial council created by the Diet of Augsburg in 1500. It was intended to form the executive branch of the government of the Holy Roman Empire.
..... Click the link for more information. ), although he eventually dispensed with this restriction. Nevertheless the Diet of Worms (1495) established a supreme court of justice to adjudicate disputes among princes and to apply Roman law throughout the empire; levied a general property tax to defray military costs; and issued a ban on private warfare. The limited constitutional reforms proved inadequate, however, to cope with future problems, least of all with the political, social, and religious upheaval of the ReformationReformation,
religious revolution that took place in Western Europe in the 16th cent. It arose from objections to doctrines and practices in the medieval church (see Roman Catholic Church) and ultimately led to the freedom of dissent (see Protestantism).
..... Click the link for more information. .
See biography by R. W. Seton-Watson (1902); G. E. Waas, The Legendary Character of Kaiser Maximilian (1941, repr. 1966).
Maximilian I,1756–1825, king (1806–25) and elector (1799–1806) of Bavaria as Maximilian IV Joseph. His alliance with French Emperor Napoleon I earned him the royal title and vast territorial increases at the Treaty of PressburgPressburg, Treaty of,
1805, peace treaty between Napoleon I of France and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (also emperor of Austria), signed at Pressburg (now Bratislava, Slovakia).
..... Click the link for more information. (1805) and made him one of the chief members of the Confederation of the RhineConfederation of the Rhine,
league of German states formed by Emperor Napoleon I in 1806 after his defeat of the Austrians at Austerlitz. Among its members were the newly created kingdoms of Bavaria and Württenberg (see Pressburg, Treaty of), the grand duchies of Baden,
..... Click the link for more information. . His daughter was married to Napoleon's stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais. In 1813, after Napoleon's retreat from Russia, he joined the coalition against Napoleon a few days before the battle of Leipzig. At the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) Maximilian lost some of his territorial gains. Devoted to Bavarian independence, he opposed all moves to unite Germany. With his minister, Maximilian von Montgelas, he carried out important social reforms and abolished most of the relics of feudalism in Bavaria. In 1818 he granted a liberal constitution, and, unlike the neighboring reactionary rulers, he continued to rule as an "enlightened monarch." He was succeeded by his son, Louis I.
Maximilian I,1573–1651, elector (1623–51) and duke (1597–1651) of Bavaria, one of the outstanding figures of the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War
There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
..... Click the link for more information. and an ardent supporter of the Counter Reformation. His occupation (1607) of Donauwörth, a Protestant stronghold then under the imperial ban, aroused Protestant indignation and spurred the formation (1608) of the Protestant Union. To oppose this, Maximilian founded (1609) the Catholic League. Until 1619 he tried to maintain a moderate course in the great quarrel within the empire. Then, in return for concessions, he brought the army of the League to the support of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1578–1637, Holy Roman emperor (1619–37), king of Bohemia (1617–37) and of Hungary (1618–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias.
..... Click the link for more information. against Frederick the Winter KingFrederick the Winter King,
1596–1632, king of Bohemia (1619–20), elector palatine (1610–20) as Frederick V. The Protestant diet of Bohemia deposed the Roman Catholic King Ferdinand (Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II) and chose Frederick as king.
..... Click the link for more information. . Frederick, who was elector of the Palatinate, headed the Protestant Union; he had been elected king of Bohemia to replace Ferdinand. In 1620, Maximilian entered Upper Austria and, after the victory of the commander of the Catholic League, TillyTilly, Johannes Tserklaes, count of
, 1559–1632, general in Bavarian and later imperial service during the Thirty Years War. A younger son of a noble family of Brabant, he served under Duke Alessandro Farnese and against the Turks before entering the service of Duke
..... Click the link for more information. , at the White Mt., entered Prague. Maximilian then conquered the Palatinate, and in 1623 the emperor transferred Frederick's electoral vote and the Upper Palatinate to Maximilian. In 1628, Maximilian was given the Rhenish Palatinate in return for Upper Austria, which he had been holding. Maximilian protested against the ascendancy of the imperial commander Albrecht von WallensteinWallenstein or Waldstein, Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von
, 1583–1634, imperial general in the Thirty Years War, b. Bohemia.
..... Click the link for more information. and secured his dismissal (1630). Later in the war, Bavaria was ravaged by Swedish and French forces, and Maximilian was forced to conclude the truce of Ulm and to renounce his alliance with the emperor; however, he soon broke the truce. By the Peace of Westphalia (1648), Maximilian retained the electorate and the Upper Palatinate.