Ferdinand I (Austria)

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Ferdinand I. Karl Leopold Joseph Franz Marcellin , called: the Good , Hungarian : Jóságos Ferdinánd , Czech : Ferdinand Dobrotivý , (* 19th April 1793 in Vienna , † 29. June 1875 in Prague ) was from 1835 to 1848 Emperor of Austria and King of Bohemia and, as Ferdinand V, since 1830 also King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the second of the four Austrian emperors from the House of Habsburg-Lothringen .

Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria in the regalia of the Fleece Order , portrait by Leopold Kupelwieser . Ferdinand's signature:Signature Ferdinand I. (Austria) .PNG



Ferdinand I, eldest son of the Roman-German Emperor Franz II (from 1804 Franz I of Austria) and of Maria Theresa, Princess of the Two Sicilies , and thus Crown Prince of the Austrian Empire since 1804 , was born in Vienna on April 19, 1793 .

The overjoyed father announced the birth in personal handwriting to some of the relatives living abroad and spoke of a "happy delivery", which was true, but also of "a healthy prince", which was not true: the weak baby had one Head too big and could only be kept alive with great effort by the nursing staff and the help of doctors, nor did it develop in keeping with age. Ferdinand suffered from epilepsy , rickets and hydrocephalus .

Ferdinand learned to walk and speak late, and his demeanor and behavior gave cause for concern. Therefore, contrary to the usual customs of the Viennese court, he remained in female care until he was nine and did not come under the supervision of a male educator when he was six. From early youth on, he was of a very weak constitution and received an education that did not correspond to his future destiny. His interests revolved around heraldry and technology , and he was drawn to agriculture .

In April 1802 his upbringing was taken over by Franz Maria von Steffaneo-Carnea . He treated the child with a lot of understanding and helped him a lot in his development. Maria Theresa, the mother, did not think much of him, however, and she also saw to it that he was released. She died in 1807 when Ferdinand was 14 years old.

The first step taken by his stepmother Maria Ludovika (Franz I had married her in 1808) was to dismiss some teachers who, in her opinion, were unsuitable and to find a suitable educator for him. She found Baron Joseph von Erberg for Ferdinand, who was now 15 years old (his wife became Aja with the imperial daughters).

The apparently difficult to educate crown prince had been shielded from the public until then. He was considered capricious and had fits of rage when something did not go according to his will. The new educator promoted his independence, Ferdinand now also learned to read and write and received riding, dance, fencing and piano lessons. His talent for drawing was also recognized and, with the approval of the Empress, he also learned to garden. In 1814, however, the educator Joseph von Erberg showed signs of incipient schizophrenia ; he was dismissed from the service, thereupon Empress Maria Ludovika declared the education of Ferdinand complete. But afterwards he still received instruction in military affairs and in natural science and technical subjects.

Coronation in Hungary and marriage

It was not until 1829, when he was 36 years old, that he took part in meetings of the Council of State and was entrusted by his father with the signature and handling of state administration matters.

His coronation as King of Hungary in Pressburg on September 28, 1830 at the request of Franz I did not give him greater independence, as State Chancellor Metternich was the actual decision-maker in most areas of the politics of the monarchy on behalf of his father . The honorary gift of 50,000 ducats presented to Ferdinand by the Hungarian estates, as is customary in such cases , he dedicated, probably at Metternich's suggestion, to support impoverished Hungarian communities and to endow the academy to be built in Pest .

In 1831 Crown Prince Ferdinand, on the advice of Metternich , was procured by procuration with Maria Anna (born September 19, 1803 - May 4, 1884), daughter of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este and of King Victor Emanuel I of Sardinia-Piedmont , his third cousin, married. The marriage remained childless. The crown prince dedicated the coronation gift from the city of Vienna and other wedding donations to the construction of the Kaiser Ferdinand aqueduct in Vienna.

The retired captain Franz Reindl, to whom he refused a sum of money, carried out a pistol attack on the crown prince on August 9, 1832 in Baden near Vienna , where Franz I liked to spend the summer. Ferdinand survived the attack slightly injured.

Emperor of Austria

The coronation of Emperor Ferdinand I as King of Bohemia in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague in 1836, painting by Eduard Gurk
Ferdinand I in the Lombard-Venetian coronation regalia (1838)

After the death of his father Franz I on March 2, 1835, Ferdinand succeeded him on the imperial throne. A coronation or other ceremonies were not required. The two coronations that took place were purely formal acts:

On September 7, 1836, Ferdinand received the Crown of Bohemia in Prague . It was the last time that a ruler was crowned with the Wenceslas crown - his successors Franz Joseph I and Charles I were crowned in Budapest , but not in Prague. Ferdinand also dedicated the usual coronation gift of the imperial estates of 50,000 ducats to charitable and other public purposes.

On September 6, 1838 he was crowned King of Lombardy-Veneto - also a formal act - and also the last time that a ruler was crowned with the Iron Lombard Crown. On the day of the coronation, he granted a general amnesty for all previous political offenses by his subjects in the Italian provinces. Also in 1838 he donated 88 paintings to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna .

The new emperor's obvious weak leadership posed a problem for the absolutist system of government at the time. But his father and Metternich had taken precautions: in Ferdinand's name, the decisions were set up by a cabinet government , the Secret State Conference . This consisted of three people: his brother Archduke Franz Karl (father of the future Emperor Franz Joseph I), the State Chancellor Metternich and the State Minister responsible for domestic affairs, Franz Anton Graf von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky . This composition came about through a compromise between the archdukes' party and the ministers in December 1835.

Because of his weak leadership, Ferdinand I was given the euphemistic nickname of the benevolent . The vernacular also verbalized this title in “Gütinand der Ready”. Even in today's historical studies Ferdinand I is occasionally described as "mentally weak" or "literally insane ". Transferred to today's thinking, it is more likely to speak of weakness in political decision-making (a " partial weakness in performance "): In his function as a monarch he was largely incapable of acting. On the other hand, Ferdinand I spoke five languages, mastered two musical instruments, was very good at drawing, riding, fencing and shooting and was open to the sciences, the new technical knowledge of his time and the advances in agriculture.

On September 12, 1835, Ferdinand I issued the monarchy's first building law; among other things, heights and widths for doors and windows were specified for the first time.

The emperor ordered on 21 January 1837 for the Augsburg Confession retentive Zillertal emigration. 427 of his subjects had to leave their homeland.

In 1839, after deliberations in the family circle , he issued the family statute of the Most High House, which stipulated the rank, income, marriage rules and other provisions for the members of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen.

In the reign of Ferdinand I, Austria's first steam railway, the Kaiser-Ferdinand-Nordbahn , opened in 1837 , followed by the first wave of a railway construction boom supported by private operators, the beginning of industrialization of the country, and in 1846 the uprising in the Republic of Krakow which led to the annexation of Krakow by Austria, and in 1847 the establishment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences . The July revolution of 1830 in France partially anticipated what happened in Austria during the revolution of 1848/49 . The Metternich system , with censorship , surveillance and the secret police, ensured that politics could not be discussed in public. The Biedermeier audience had to be content with harmless entertainment.

Revolution and handover of government

Ferdinand I lifted press censorship on March 15, 1848

The unrest of the March Revolution in 1848 caused Metternich to resign on March 13, 1848 and to leave the country. On March 15, Ferdinand I - now advised by Kolowrat, whom he made Austria's first prime minister - lifted censorship and on April 25, with the Pillersdorf constitution, took further steps towards liberalization, which, however, did not satisfy the revolutionaries. Representatives of the National Guard, the workers and the students of Vienna handed over the "storm petition" with much more far-reaching demands on May 15 in the Vienna Hofburg , to which they had gained access; Ferdinand and his court therefore preferred to move to the Innsbruck Hofburg on May 17th .

Although the emperor returned to the capital in mid-August 1848, he went to Olomouc after the outbreak of the October uprising . Government had long since become a reaction to demands from the people: In the course of the year, the helpless emperor “used up” no fewer than six prime ministers .

In consultations with the closest members of the family, the childless emperor was recommended to give up the government. The family spoke out against Ferdinand's brother Franz Karl , to whom the throne would legally have been granted under the house laws, as successor. Especially Franz Karl's wife, Archduchess Sophie , recommended a generation change to their son Franz Joseph , Ferdinand's nephew.

Franz Karl therefore renounced the succession to the throne, Ferdinand agreed and resigned the government in favor of Franz Joseph on December 2, 1848 in the Palais of the Archbishop of Olomouc . According to a witness (Hübner), Ferdinand said to his nephew Franz Joseph: "God bless you, be good, it is gladly done."

Retired Kaiser

Photography around 1870

After the handover of the government - it was not called an abdication and Ferdinand held the title of emperor until his death - Ferdinand lived in seclusion in Moravia and on the Hradschin , the royal castle in Prague. At the age of 55 he developed a talent he had never known before and took over the administration of the Bohemian estates inherited from the Duke of Reichstadt , the income of which he was able to increase through very skillful management. After his death, Ferdinand's personal fortune formed the basis for the fortune of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Ferdinand I died in Prague on June 29, 1875. Empress widow Anna died on May 4, 1884. Both, like many other Habsburgs, were buried in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. When Ferdinand died, the traditional ritual of "separate burial" was still used , so that his heart was buried in the Loreto Chapel of the Augustinian Church in Vienna while his entrails were buried in the ducal crypt of St. Ferdinand I is one of those 41 people whose bodies were divided between all three traditional Viennese burial places of the Habsburgs (Imperial Crypt, Heart Crypt, Ducal Crypt). At the time of the death of his widow, the “separate burial” was no longer practiced at the Viennese court.


Ferdinand's Great Title initially only existed in Latin and read (version of May 13, 1836):

"Ferdinandus Primus, divina favente clementia Austriae Imperator, Hungariae et Bohemiae Rex, hujus nominis quintus; Rex Lombardiae et Venetiarum, Dalmatiae, Croatiae, Slavoniae, Galiciae, Lodomeriae et Illyriae; Rex hierosolimae; Archidux Austriae; Magnus Dux Hetruriae; Dux Lotharingiae, Salisburgi, Styriae, Silesiae, Mutinae, Parmae, Magnus Princeps Transilvanae, Marchio Moraviae, Comes Habsburgi, Tyrolis, etc. etc. "

In the Imperial Austrian Family Statute of February 3, 1839, the German version read:

“We, Ferdinand the First, by God's grace Emperor of Austria , King of Hungary and Bohemia , this name the Fifth, King of Lombardy and Venice , King of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia , Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria ; King of Jerusalem etc. Archduke of Austria , Grand Duke of Tuscany , Duke of Lorraine , Salzburg , Steyer , Carinthia , Carniola , Upper and Lower Silesia , of Modena , Parma , Duchy of Piacenza and Duchy of Guastalla , of Auschwitz and Zator , of Teschen , Friuli , Ragusa and Zara ; Grand Duke of Transylvania ; Margrave of Moravia ; Prince Count of Habsburg and Tyrol , of Kyburg , Görz and Gradiska ; Prince of Trient and Brixen ; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria , Count of Hohenembs , Feldkirch , Bregenz , Sonnenberg etc. Lord of Triest , of Cattaro and on the Windisch Mark . "

His motto was: Recta tueri - "Protect the law".



Ferdinand I did not have eight great-grandparents, but only four (so-called ancestral decline ). His father and mother came from the same grandparents: the two ruling couples Franz I and Maria Theresa (Austria) and Karl III. and Maria Amalia (Spain). Ferdinand's illnesses are probably due to it.

Francis I Stephan of Lorraine (1708–1765), House of Lorraine-Vaudémont
Leopold II of Austria (1747–1792)
Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–1780), House of Habsburg
Franz II. Joseph Karl of Austria (1768–1835)
Charles III of Spain (1716–1788), House Bourbon-Anjou
Maria Ludovica of Spain (1745–1792)
Maria Amalia of Saxony (1724–1760) , House of Wettin
Ferdinand I.
Charles III of Spain (1716–1788), House Bourbon-Anjou
Ferdinand of Sicily (1751-1825)
Maria Amalia of Saxony (1724–1760), House of Wettin
Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (1772–1807)
Francis I Stephan of Lorraine (1708–1765), House of Vaudémont
Maria Karolina of Austria (1752–1814)
Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–1780), House of Habsburg


The marriage to Maria Anna, Princess of Savoy , daughter of Viktor Emanuel I and Maria Theresa of Austria-Este remained childless.

Friedrich von Amerling : Portrait of Emperor Ferdinand I ( Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Vienna)


  • In 1823 the " Tyrolean National Museum" was founded as an association; Crown Prince Ferdinand took over the protectorate and consented to the use of his name. The Tyrolean State Museum is still called the Ferdinandeum today .
  • The first section of the Kaiser-Ferdinand-Nordbahn , opened in 1837, still exists as the northern line from Vienna to Brno . It is the most important rail link between Austria and the Czech Republic .
  • In 1840 , a street near the Ferdinand Bridge over the Danube Canal was named Ferdinandstraße in Leopoldstadt , which has been the 2nd district of Vienna since 1850 , and is still called that today.
  • The Ferdinandsbrücke built around 1820 over the Danube Canal in Vienna or its successor has been called Schwedenbrücke since 1920 ; the subsequent Kaiser-Ferdinands-Platz in the 1st district, named in 1897, has been called Schwedenplatz since 1920 .
  • Four Ferdinand (s) lanes in Vienna's districts 12, 15, 19 and 23 now have different names.
  • The Kaiser Ferdinand infantry barracks on Heumarkt in Vienna's 3rd district, built between 1841 and 1844, have not existed since 1910.
  • Is named after him, the plant genus Ferdinandea Pohl from the family of the redness plants (Rubiaceae).

See also


Web links

Commons : Ferdinand I.  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Felix Czeike : Historisches Lexikon Wien. Volume 2: De-Gy. Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 1993, ISBN 3-218-00544-2 , p. 281. (The uncle Ferdinand, Archduke Ludwig , mentioned here as the fourth member , is not mentioned in Meyer and Czeike.)
  2. Website about the burial places of the Habsburgs in Vienna ( Memento of the original of May 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.kaisergruft.at
  3. a b Friedrich Weissensteiner : Women on the Habsburg throne - the Austrian empresses. Ueberreuter Vienna, 1998, ISBN 3-8000-3709-2
  4. a b Meyers Encyclopedia , f 5th edition, volume 6, Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig and Vienna 1894, p 296th
  5. ^ Vienna, August 9th. In:  Wiener Zeitung , August 10th 1832, p. 1 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  6. News about the assassin Reindl .. In:  Badener Zeitung , May 18, 1912, p. 4 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / bzt
  7. ^ A b Thomas Nipperdey : German History 1800–1866. Citizen world and strong state. CH Beck, paperback special edition 1998, p. 339
  8. Hans-Ulrich Wehler : From the reform era to the industrial and political “German double revolution” 1815–1845 / 49 (= German history of society , vol. 2). Beck, Munich 1987, p. 368.
  9. Museum Online Archive 1996 ( Memento of the original from May 8, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.museumonline.at
  10. ^ Notices of death in the Wiener Abendpost , supplement to the official daily Wiener Zeitung , No. 146 / June 30, 1875, p. 1
  11. ^ Lorenz Mikoletzky: Ferdinand I of Austria (1835–1848). In: Anton Schindling, Walter Ziegler (ed.): Die Kaiser der Neuzeit, 1519–1918. Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Germany. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-406-34395-3 , pp. 329-339, here: pp. 338f.
  12. Christian Dickinger: Franz Joseph I. The demythization. Verlag Ueberreuter, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-8000-3858-7 ; P. 77.
  13. June 3, 1815, source unknown, stated in: Franz Gall: Österreichische Wappenkunde. Böhlau, Vienna 1992; cited in Austria-Hungary: Apostolic King (Hungary), Habsburg Titles. In: Royal Styles. heraldica.org, January 18, 2007, accessed June 23, 2015 .
  14. Preamble Family Statute of the Habsburgs 1839. Quoted from François R. Velde: House Law of the Austrian Imperial Family. In: Heraldica → Royalty. January 18, 2007, accessed on June 23, 2009 (English, with, German, original texts).
  15. Sr. kk Majestaet Ferdinand the First political laws and ordinances for all provinces of the Austrian imperial state, with the exception of Hungary and Transylvania. Issued on the highest orders and under the supervision of the highest courts. Volume four and sixty, containing the ordinances from January 1 to the end of December 1836. Page 840. No. 125. Regulation of the Kaiser. Title and coat of arms. From page 840 to page 860, the larger, medium and small imperial titles and the drawing and description of the larger, medium and small coat of arms with Hofkanzley = decree of August 22, 1836 were published.
  16. ^ Website of the Ferdinandeum Museum Association
  17. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .
predecessor Office successor
Franz II.
( As Franz I.)
Emperor of Austria
Franz Joseph I.
Franz II.
( As Franz I.)
King of Hungary
as Ferdinand V
Franz Joseph I.
Franz II.
( As Franz I.)
King of Bohemia
as Ferdinand V
Franz Joseph I.
Franz II.
( As Franz I.)
King of Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia
as Ferdinand V
Franz Joseph I.
Francis II Archduke of Austria
as Ferdinand IV.
Franz Joseph I.
Francis II
of Austria
President of the German Confederation
Franz Joseph I
of Austria