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Charles VII Albert (Brusselsmarker 6 August 1697 – 20 January 1745 in Munichmarker), a member of the Wittelsbach family, was Prince-elector of Bavariamarker from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. Charles was notably the only person not of the House of Habsburg to become emperor-elect since the fifteenth century.

Early life and career

He was the son of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, and Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, and the grandson of Polishmarker King John III Sobieski.

His family was split during the War of the Spanish Succession and was for many years under house arrest in Austria. Only in 1715 did the family become re-united. From 3 December 1715 until 24 August 1716 Charles visited Italy and in 1717 he joined the war of the Habsburgs against the Turks with Bavarian auxiliaries. On 5 October 1722, Charles married Marie Amalie, Archduchess of Austria. Marie Amalie was a daughter of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Her maternal grandfather was John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1725 Charles Albert visited Versailles for the wedding of Louis XV and established a firm contact to France.

In 1726 when his father died Charles Albert became Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire and Duke of Bavariamarker. He managed to maintain good relations with his Habsburg relatives but also with France.

Emperor

Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII
In continuance of the policy of his father Charles Albert aspired to an even higher rank. As son-in-law of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles Albert rejected the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and claimed the German territories of the Habsburg dynasty after the death of Charles VI in 1740. With the treaty of Nymphenburgmarker concluded in July 1741, Charles Albert allied with France and Spain against Austria.

During the War of the Austrian Succession Charles Albert invaded Upper Austria in 1741 and planned to conquer Viennamarker but his allied French troops were redirected to Bohemia instead. So Charles Albert was crowned King of Bohemia in Praguemarker (9 December 1741) when the Habsburgs were still not defeated. He was elected 'King of the Romans' on 24 January 1742, and took the title 'Holy Roman Emperor' upon his coronation on 12 February 1742. His brother Klemens August of Bavaria, archbishop and elector (Kurfürst) of Cologne, who mostly sided with the Austria Habsburg-Lorraine side during the Habsburg successions, cast his vote for him and personally crowned him emperor at Frankfurtmarker. Charles VII was the second Wittelsbach Emperor after Louis IV and the first Wittelsbach King of the Romans since the rule of Rupert of Germany.

Shortly after the coronation most of Charles Albert's territories were overrun by the Austrians and Bavariamarker was occupied by the troops of Maria Theresa. Therefore the emperor resided for almost three years in the Palais Barckhaus in Frankfurt.

The new commander of the Bavarian army, Friedrich Heinrich von Seckendorff fought Austria by a series of battles in 1743 and 1744. The new alliance with Frederick II of Prussia during the Second Silesian War finally forced the Austrian army to leave Bavaria and to retreat back into Bohemia. In October 1744 Charles VII reobtained Munich. Very gouty, he returned, only to die three months later. His brother Klemens August then again leaned toward Austria and also his son and successor Maximilian III Joseph made peace with Austria. With the Treaty of Füssen Austria recognized the legitimacy of Charles VII's election as Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles Albert is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirchemarker in Munich.
Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII


Cultural legacy

Charles Albert's reign was the peak of the era of Bavarian rococo. François de Cuvilliés was appointed chief architect of the court and constructed also the Amalienburgmarker. For the Munich Residencemarker Charles Albert ordered to erect the Ancestral Gallery and the Ornate Rooms.

Among the most gifted Bavarianmarker artists of his time, were Johann Michael Fischer, Cosmas Damian Asam and Egid Quirin Asam, Johann Michael Feuchtmayer, Matthäus Günther, Johann Baptist Straub and Johann Baptist Zimmermann.

Image:Albrecht-KaiserKarl-Taler1743.JPG|Thaler coin of Charles VII Albert, 1743File:Amalienburg 019.JPG|Hall of Mirrors (Amalienburg)Image:Frankfurt Am Main-Zeil-Johan Conrad Unsinger-Fassade des Palais Barckhaus-1711.jpg|Charles Albert's residence Palais Barckhaus in Frankfurt

Ancestors

Charles's ancestors in three generations
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor Father:
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria
Father's father:
Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria
Father's father's father:
Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria
Father's father's mother:
Maria Anna of Austria
Father's mother:
Henriette Adelaide of Savoy
Father's mother's father:
Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy
Father's mother's mother:
Christine Marie of France
Mother:
Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska
Mother's father:
John III Sobieski
Mother's father's father:
Jakub Sobieski
Mother's father's mother:
Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz
Mother's mother:
Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien
Mother's mother's father:
Henri Albert de La Grange d'Arquien
Mother's mother's mother:
Françoise de la Châtre


Children

He and his wife Marie Amalie, Archduchess of Austria were parents of seven children:



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