Born in Vienna, he was educated strictly by Prince Dietrich Otto von Salm, and became a good linguist. In 1687 he received the crown of Hungary, and be became king of the Romans on January 6, 1690. In 1699 he married Wilhelmina Amalia, daughter of Duke Frederick of Brunswick-Luneburg, by whom he had two daughters.
In 1702, on the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, he saw his only military service. He joined the imperial general Louis of Baden in the siege of Landau. It is said that when he was advised not to go into a place of danger he replied that those who were afraid might retire. He succeeded his father as emperor in 1705, and it was his good fortune to govern the Austrian dominions, and to be head of the Empire during the years in which his trusted general Prince Eugene, either acting alone in Italy or with the duke of Marlborough in Germany and Flanders, was beating the armies of Louis XIV. During the whole of his reign Hungary was disturbed by the conflict with Francis Ráckóczy II, who eventually took refuge in France.
The emperor did not himself take the field against the rebels, but he is entitled to a large share of the credit for the restoration of his authority. He reversed many of the pedantically authoritative measures of his father, thus placating all opponents who could be pacified, and he fought stoutly for what he believed to be his rights. Joseph showed himself very independent towards the pope, and hostile to the Jesuits, by whom his father had been much influenced. He had the tastes for art and music which were almost hereditary in his family, and was an active hunter. He began the attempts to settle the question of the Austrian inheritance by a pragmatic sanction, which were continued by his brother Charles VI. Joseph died in Vienna, of smallpox.
See F Krones von Marchiand, Grundriss der Oesterreichischen Geschichte (1882); F Wagner, Historia Josephi Caesaris (1746); JC Herchenhahn, Geschichte der Regierung Kaiser Josephs I (1786—1789); C van Noorden, Europäische Geschichte im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (1870—1882).
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
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Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor