Sunday 11 May 2008

Maria Theresa of Austria

Maria Theresia 1717-1780
Mother of 16 children


  1. Maria Theresa (German: Maria Theresia, see also other languages; May 13, 1717 – November 29, 1780) was a reigning Archduchess of Austria, a Queen of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, and a Holy Roman Empress.

    Maria Theresa was the oldest daughter of Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Emperor Charles VI, who promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction to allow her to succeed to the Habsburg monarchy. Opposition to her acceding to the throne led to the War of the Austrian Succession in 1740. After Emperor Charles VII, who claimed the throne, died in 1745, Maria Theresa obtained the imperial crown for her husband, Francis I. Though she was technically empress consort, Maria Theresa was the de facto ruler of the nation, and she began styling herself Holy Roman Empress in 1745. Maria Theresa had in fact already begun her rule in 1740 during the Austrian War of Succession.

    Maria Theresa helped initiate financial and educational reforms, promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganized the army, all of which strengthened Austria's resources. Continued conflict with the Kingdom of Prussia led to the Seven Years' War and later to the War of the Bavarian Succession. She became dowager empress after the death of Francis and ascession of her son Joseph as emperor in 1765. Maria Theresa criticized many of Joseph's actions but agreed to the First Partition of Poland (1772). A key figure in the power politics of 18th century Europe, Maria Theresa brought unity to the Habsburg Monarchy and was considered one of its most capable rulers. Her 16 children also included Marie Antoinette, queen consort of France, and Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor.

    Source: Wikipedia
    (click on the image for the full article about Maria Theresa)

  2. That is an interesting history. Don't I recognise the topiary in that picture?

  3. A formidable woman and an ultra-important personage in world history. It's too bad that, although she enjoyed seeing Mozart perform as a child, she didn't do more to help him as he grew up. In fact, she sent a letter to her enthroned son, Archduke Ferdinand in Italy advising him not to employ the teenaged Mozart, writing, “...these people [the Mozart family] go about the world like beggars.”

    This one letter kept Mozart from the post that might have set him on the way to a successful and prosperous career.

    Hindsight is always better, no?

    Thank you for this entry!

  4. Oh Lord, I remember "doing" the Pragmatic Sanction in history lessons at school. I never had the slightest idea what it was all about.

  5. Marie-Antoinette's Mum!
    And she tried to "obliterate" Mozart's career!

  6. Imagine... "I've got an empire to rule, three wars to wage and sixteen children to raise. I'm swamped!"

  7. MAALIE:
    This is a view from the rooftop of the Natural History Museum. You walk by these topiaries on your way to the museum's entrance (this one and the Museum of the History of Art face each other, separated by the square with the topiaries and the MT monument).

  8. STEPH:
    I think it is way to easy to blame a single confidential letter to her son for whatever support Mozart did not receive from the Imperial Court. There were many who supported him and his endeavors. He was quite successful for his years, that he died so young, at 35, that is the real tragedy. So much is said about Mozart, yet his music was beloved by not only a few during his lifetime, and it endured through the centuries, contrary to Antonio Salieri's for example. Salieri was a great composer of his own (becoming court composer at age 38, an age Mozart never reached, and who knows what would have become of Wolfgang had he lived the full 75 years Salieri were given!)! Yet what's most wellknown about povero Salieri nowadays is a malicious rumor of intrigue and murder, last brought to worldwide audiences by Peter Shaffer and then Miloš Forman's "Amadeus".

  9. MAALIE:
    Have you ever considered that she was married to a man who loved natural science? It is thanks to Maria Theresa's husband that Vienna is home to the great collections of the Natural History Museum. Quite impressive, don't you think, considering what went on in other European countries during Maria Theresa's reign.

    Big mistake letting her daughter marry abroad (I don't want to dwell on the fact that she allowed her to leave with some smart pastry chefs in her entourage, who carried the Viennese crescent recipe with them all the way to Paris *g* - what would Parisian eat for breakfast without Marie Antoinette's croissants? *g*).

    She was a real working girl and mom. I guess she had some household help. ;-)

  12. Interesting post. It is only when I saw the siz of the people that I got an idea of the shear size of these statues

  13. Anonymous14 May, 2008

    Incredible statue!!
    tne exhibition about Marie-Antoinette will come to Vienna after Paris!

  14. Now, there was a Mama, for Mother's Day! :-)

    But methinks she sent poor Marie Antoinette off to France... too young and un-taught, to do her daughter justice. But, that was the way things were done, in those days.



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