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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Maximilian I of Habsburg (March 22, 1459January 12, 1519) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. He expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg through both war and marriage. He is often referred to as "The Last Knight".

Life and reign in the Habsburg hereditary lands
Maximilian governed his first wife's vast inheritance in the Low Countries, and he prosecuted a war over them with Louis XI, King of France on her behalf. Louis died in 1483 and his successor, Charles VIII of France, was a minor whose regent, Anne of France, ended France's bellicosity for a time. Maximilian continued to govern Mary's remaining inheritance in the name of their young son, Philip the Handsome. After the regency ended, Maximilian and Charles VIII exchanged these two territories for Burgundy and Picardy in the Treaty of Senlis (1493). Thus ultimately much of the Netherlands became and remained a Habsburg possession.

Reign in Burgundy and The Netherlands
Elected King of the Romans in 1486 at the initiative of his father, he also stood at the head of the Holy Roman Empire upon his father's death in 1493. The following year, after he married a daughter of the Duke of Milan (16 March 1494), Maximilian sought to expand his power in parts of Italy, where he had tried to re-establish the lost Habsburg dominance.
Maximilian is possibly best known for leading the 1495 Reichstag at Worms which concluded on the Reichsreform (Imperial Reform), reshaping much of the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 1499 Treaty of Basel, Maximilian was forced to acknowledge the de-facto independence of the Swiss confederacy from the Empire as a result of the Battle of Dornach.
In 1508, Maximilian, with the assent of Pope Julius II, took the title of Elected Roman Emperor (Erwählter Römischer Kaiser), and thus ended the century-old custom that the Holy Roman Emperor had to be crowned by the pope.

Tu felix Austria nube
Maximilian died in Wels, Upper Austria, and was succeeded as Emperor by his grandson Charles V, his son Philip the Handsome having died in 1506. Although he is buried in the Castle Chapel at Wiener Neustadt, a cenotaph tomb for Maximilian is located in the Innsbruck Hofkirche[1].
Maximilian was a keen supporter of the arts and sciences, and he surrounded himself with scholars such as Joachim Vadian and Andreas Stoberl (Stiborius), promoting them to important court posts. His reign saw the first flourishing of the Renaissance in Germany.
Maximilian had appointed his daughter Margarete of Austria as both Regent of the Netherlands and the guardian and educator of his grandsons Charles and Ferdinand (their father, Philip, having predeceased Maximilian), and she fulfilled this task well. Through wars and marriages he extended the Habsburg influence in every direction: to the Netherlands, Spain, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Italy. This influence would last for centuries and shape much of European history.

Death and legacy


Mary of Burgundy (14571482) — married in Ghent on August 18, 1477
Anna of Brittany (14771514) — married by proxy in Rennes on December 18, 1490
Bianca Maria Sforza (14721510) — married 1493 Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Children

Maximilian armour

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