Maria Theresa was ruler of the Habsburg dominions from 1740 until her death in 1780, and the only woman to hold the position suo jure.
89 Facts About Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Galicia and Lodomeria, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma.
Maria Theresa neglected the advice of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who believed that a strong military and a rich treasury were more important than mere signatures.
Maria Theresa promulgated institutional, financial, medical and educational reforms, with the assistance of Wenzel Anton of Kaunitz-Rietberg, Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz and Gerard van Swieten.
Maria Theresa promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganised Austria's ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria's international standing.
Maria Theresa despised Jews and Protestants, and on certain occasions she ordered their expulsion to remote parts of the realm.
Maria Theresa's father was the only surviving male member of the House of Habsburg and hoped for a son who would prevent the extinction of his dynasty and succeed him.
Maria Theresa replaced Maria Josepha as heir presumptive to the Habsburg realms the moment she was born; Charles VI had issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 which had placed his nieces behind his own daughters in the line of succession.
Little more than a year after her birth, Maria Theresa was joined by a sister, Maria Anna, and another one, named Maria Amalia, was born in 1724.
The portraits of the imperial family show that Maria Theresa resembled Elisabeth Christine and Maria Anna.
Maria Theresa was a serious and reserved child who enjoyed singing and archery.
Maria Theresa was barred from horse riding by her father, but she would later learn the basics for the sake of her Hungarian coronation ceremony.
Maria Theresa's spelling and punctuation were unconventional and she lacked the formal manner and speech which had characterised her Habsburg predecessors.
Maria Theresa developed a close relationship with Countess Marie Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard, who taught her etiquette.
Maria Theresa's father allowed her to attend meetings of the council from the age of 14 but never discussed the affairs of state with her.
The question of Maria Theresa's marriage was raised early in her childhood.
Maria Theresa, who had become close to Francis Stephen, was relieved.
Maria Theresa was very jealous of her husband and his infidelity was the greatest problem of their marriage, with Maria Wilhelmina, Princess of Auersperg, as his best-known mistress.
Maria Theresa had ignored the advice of Prince Eugene of Savoy who had urged him to concentrate on filling the treasury and equipping the army rather than on acquiring signatures of fellow monarchs.
Maria Theresa did not know enough about matters of state and she was unaware of the weakness of her father's ministers.
Maria Theresa decided to rely on her father's advice to retain his counselors and to defer to her husband, whom she considered to be more experienced, on other matters.
Maria Theresa dismissed the possibility that other countries might try to seize her territories and immediately started ensuring the imperial dignity for herself; since a woman could not be elected Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa wanted to secure the imperial office for her husband, but Francis Stephen did not possess enough land or rank within the Holy Roman Empire.
The oath of fealty to Maria Theresa was taken on the same day in the Ritterstube of the Hofburg.
Queen Elisabeth of Spain and Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria, married to Maria Theresa's deprived cousin Maria Amalia and supported by Empress Wilhelmine Amalia, coveted portions of her inheritance.
Vienna was in a panic, as none of Maria Theresa's advisors had expected France to betray them.
Francis Stephen urged Maria Theresa to reach a rapprochement with Prussia, as did Great Britain.
Maria Theresa had spent months honing the equestrian skills necessary for the ceremony and negotiating with the Hungarian Diet.
Maria Theresa has, as you well know, a terrible hatred for France, with which nation it is most difficult for her to keep on good terms, but she controls this passion except when she thinks to her advantage to display it.
Maria Theresa cannot forget the loss of Silesia, nor her grief over the soldiers she lost in wars with you.
Prussia recognised Francis as emperor, and Maria Theresa recognised the loss of Silesia.
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle, which concluded the eight-year conflict, recognised Prussia's possession of Silesia, and Maria Theresa ceded the Duchy of Parma to Philip of Spain.
Maria Theresa herself decided to focus on domestic reforms and refrain from undertaking any further military operations.
The first child, Maria Theresa Elisabeth, was born a little less than a year after the wedding.
Maria Theresa delivered her last child, Maximilian Francis, during the Seven Years' War, aged 39.
Maria Theresa asserted that, had she not been almost always pregnant, she would have gone into battle herself.
The second Maria Theresa Carolina was born feet first in 1748.
Maria Theresa showed her gratitude to Countess Fuchs by having her buried in the Imperial Crypt along with the members of the imperial family.
Maria Theresa ignored the risk of infection and embraced her daughter-in-law before the sick chamber was sealed to outsiders.
Maria Theresa Carolina was to replace her as the pre-determined bride of King Ferdinand IV of Naples.
Maria Theresa blamed herself for her daughter's death for the rest of her life because, at the time, the concept of an extended incubation period was largely unknown and it was believed that Josepha had caught smallpox from the body of the late empress.
Shortly after giving birth to the younger children, Maria Theresa was confronted with the task of marrying off the elder ones.
Maria Theresa led the marriage negotiations along with the campaigns of her wars and the duties of state.
Maria Theresa used them as pawns in dynastic games and sacrificed their happiness for the benefit of the state.
Maria Theresa kept up a fortnightly correspondence with Maria Antonia, now called Marie Antoinette, in which she often reproached her for laziness and frivolity and scolded her for failing to conceive a child.
Maria Theresa disliked Leopold's reserve and often blamed him for being cold.
Maria Theresa criticized Maria Carolina for her political activities, Ferdinand for his lack of organization, and Maria Amalia for her poor French and haughtiness.
Maria Theresa believed that religious unity was necessary for a peaceful public life and explicitly rejected the idea of religious toleration.
Maria Theresa even advocated for a state church and contemporary adversary travelers criticized her regime as bigoted, intolerant and superstitious.
Maria Theresa controlled the selection of archbishops, bishops and abbots.
Maria Theresa promoted the Greek Catholics and emphasized their equal status with Latin Church Catholics.
Maria Theresa forbade the publication of Pope Clement XIII's Apostolicum pascendi bull, which was in favour of the Jesuits, and promptly confiscated their property when Pope Clement XIV suppressed the order.
Maria Theresa regarded both the Jews and Protestants as dangerous to the state and actively tried to suppress them.
Maria Theresa was probably the most anti-Jewish monarch of her time, having inherited the traditional prejudices of her ancestors and acquired new ones.
Maria Theresa forbade the forcible conversion of Jewish children to Christianity in 1762, and in 1763 she forbade Catholic clergy from extracting surplice fees from her Jewish subjects.
Notwithstanding her continuing strong dislike of Jews, Maria Theresa supported Jewish commercial and industrial activity in Austria.
Maria Theresa exiled Protestants from Austria to Transylvania, including 2,600 from Upper Austria in the 1750s.
However, Maria Theresa refused to grant this up until the time of her death.
Maria Theresa's government confirmed and continued to uphold old privileges granted to their Eastern Orthodox subjects by previous Habsburg monarchs, but at the same time, new reforms were enforced, establishing much firmer state control over the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Karlovci.
Maria Theresa was as conservative in matters of state as in those of religion, but she implemented significant reforms to strengthen Austria's military and bureaucratic efficiency.
Maria Theresa refounded the Hofkammer in 1762, which was a ministry of finances that controlled all revenues from the monarchy.
Meanwhile, in 1760, Maria Theresa created the Council of State, composed of the state chancellor, three members of the high nobility and three knights, which served as a committee of experienced people who advised her.
Unlike the latter, Maria Theresa was not an autocrat who acted as her own minister.
Maria Theresa banned the creation of new burial grounds without prior government permission, thus countering wasteful and unhygienic burial customs.
Maria Theresa overrode the objections of Gerard van Swieten, and ordered that it be tried on thirty-four newborn orphans and sixty-seven orphans between the ages of five and fourteen years.
Maria Theresa promoted inoculation in Austria by hosting a dinner for the first sixty-five inoculated children in Schonbrunn Palace, waiting on the children herself.
Maria Theresa was responsible for changing Austrian physicians' negative view of inoculation.
Maria Theresa is most unusually ambitious and hopes to make the House of Austria more renowned than it has ever been.
Maria Theresa is credited in ending the witch hunts in Zagreb, opposing the methods used against Magda Logomer, who was the last prosecuted witch in Zagreb following her intervention.
Much unlike Joseph, but with the support of religious authorities, Maria Theresa was opposed to the abolition of torture.
Maria Theresa permitted non-Catholics to attend university and allowed the introduction of secular subjects, which influenced the decline of theology as the main foundation of university education.
Maria Theresa thereupon wrote to her rival Frederick II of Prussia to request him to allow the Silesian school reformer Johann Ignaz von Felbiger to move to Austria.
Maria Theresa's reform established secular primary schools, which children of both genders from the ages of six to twelve were required to attend.
Maria Theresa crushed the dissent by ordering the arrest of all those opposed.
Maria Theresa's regime was known for institutionalising censorship of publications and learning.
Maria Theresa endeavoured to increase the living standards and quality of life of the people, since she could see a causal link between peasant living standards, productivity and state revenue.
Maria Theresa was increasingly influenced by the reformers Franz Anton von Blanc and Tobias Philipp von Gebler, who called for radical changes to the serf system to allow the peasants to make a living.
Maria Theresa abandoned all ornamentation, had her hair cut short, painted her rooms black and dressed in mourning for the rest of her life.
Maria Theresa completely withdrew from court life, public events, and theater.
Maria Theresa gave her son absolute control over the military following the death of Leopold Joseph von Daun.
Maria Theresa's threats of abdication were rarely taken seriously; Maria Theresa believed that her recovery from smallpox in 1767 was a sign that God wished her to reign until death.
Besides, Maria Theresa herself agreed with the partition when she realised that Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine II of Russia would do it with or without Austrian participation.
Maria Theresa claimed and eventually took Galicia and Lodomeria; in the words of Frederick, "the more she cried, the more she took".
Maria Theresa suffered from shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, distress, necrophobia and insomnia.
Maria Theresa's body is buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna next to her husband in a coffin she had inscribed during her lifetime.
Joseph II, already co-sovereign of the Habsburg dominions, succeeded her and introduced sweeping reforms in the empire; Joseph produced nearly 700 edicts per year, whereas Maria Theresa issued only about 100 edicts annually.
Maria Theresa understood the importance of her public persona and was able to simultaneously evoke both esteem and affection in her subjects; a notable example was how she projected dignity and simplicity to awe the people in Pressburg before she was crowned as Queen of Hungary.
Maria Theresa's reforms had transformed the empire into a modern state with a significant international standing.
Maria Theresa centralised and modernised its institutions, and her reign was considered as the beginning of the era of "enlightened absolutism" in Austria, with a brand new approach toward governing: the measures undertaken by rulers became more modern and rational, and thoughts were given to the welfare of the state and the people.
Maria Theresa has appeared as the main figure in a number of films and series such as the 1951 Maria Theresa and Maria Theresia, an Austria-Czech television miniseries from 2017.