The first Sunday of Advent is behind us. At the same time, the memory of "our ruler" Maria Theresa (1717-1780) from the Habsburg family. On this day 240 years ago, the Archduchess of Austria, the Queen of the Czech Republic and Hungary and the ruler of the Habsburg hereditary lands died in Vienna. She never became an empress when she is still mistakenly addressed in many places today!
A complicated story
Quite complicated is this family story. Emperor Leopold I, Mary's grandfather, had two sons, Joseph and Charles. The imperial throne was first inherited by the elder and became Joseph I., but at the age of thirty-three he fell ill with goats and died. The crown thus belonged to the younger Charles. Cesar Karel VI. (1685–1740) he married Elizabeth Kristina and desperately sought the birth of a son who would later succeed his father.
Elizabeth Kristina, who was initially thought to be infertile, finally gave birth to a son, Leopold (1716), after five years. However, the family's happiness did not last long, as Leopold soon died. Elizabeth Kristina soon became pregnant again and on May 13, 1717, a daughter, Maria Theresa, was born. The father (and the emperor) Karel was not particularly happy about the birth of the offspring, because he wanted a son. Later, two more daughters were born to the ruler, Marija Ana and Marija Amalija.
Pragmatic sanction - the daughter can rule the empire
Emperor Charles VI he was very concerned about the fate of the Habsburg estates, so with a pragmatic sanction (1713) he provided the legal foundations and enabled the rule of his daughter Maria Theresa with the family law on inheritance and indivisibility of the Habsburg lands.
Dr. Igor Grdina adds on FB: “Crucial to pragmatic sanction is the indivisibility of the Habsburg lands. After all, at the time it was written, Charles had neither a son nor a daughter, and he could not know whether he would not have a son. He did, but he died as a child. The pragmatic sanction has an interesting history, but its core is indivisible - in the sense that the Habsburg lands must be ruled by one ruler. Without it, Maria Theresa could be the heiress, but like Ali Baba with forty bandits… They really rose up against her in the Austrian War of Succession, and apart from ‘old Fritz’ they didn’t do much - because the Habsburg lands stayed together. In accordance with a pragmatic sanction. "
The surrounding European rulers (France, Prussia, Bavaria) first agreed to a pragmatic sanction, but after Charles ’death in 1740 they saw an opportunity to expand their possessions and a war for Austrian succession began. Inexperienced Maria Theresa showed determination in her rule, and with military force and diplomatic skill she managed to remain on the throne, even though she lost some of her territories.
In 1745, Francis Stephen I of Lorraine, husband of Maria Theresa, became Roman-German emperor after the crown was worn for a short time (1742–1745) by the non-Habsburg emperor.
In their marriage to Franc Štefan, as many as 16 children, five sons and eleven daughters were born to them, but quite a few of them died at an early age. The eldest son of Joseph was recognized by Maria Theresa as co-ruler (1765), because after the death of his father he was like Joseph II. became Roman-German emperor. But at the same time, his mother limited his strength, as he seemed too rude and sublime. After her death, Joseph II. in 1780 he assumed independent rule.
"After all, the Habsburgs have a grandfather, and she's a woman."
King Frederick II of Prussia, one of her greatest opponents, once said of Maria Theresa: "After all, the Habsburgs have a grandfather, and she is a woman."
The Teresian reforms of state administration and justice brought a better life to her subjects. With that, she made history! Among other things, Empress Maria Theresa has the greatest credit for planting potatoes in our region during her reign, as she issued an order on May 16, 1767 to plant this crop and thus improve the eating habits of our ancestors. That is why a monument to her was erected in 2008 in Šenčur near Kranj.