An Empire Takes Hold

  • Paula Sutter Fichtner
Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)


Rudolph II never married, and Emperor Matthias produced no heirs. In 1617, their remaining and also childless brothers, Archdukes Maximilian (1558–1618) and Albrecht (1559–1621), and a young cousin from Styria, Archduke Leopold (1586–1632), had agreed that age, frailty, or other interests precluded any of them from governing the entire Habsburg patrimony and holding the imperial crown. Leopold’s elder brother, Archduke Ferdinand, had already sired a son. He therefore seemed a far better prospect for the long-term interests of the dynasty. His religious views, as well as those of his parents, were more attuned to the dynasty’s confessional preferences as well. Though both nobles and towns in Inner Austria had embraced Protestantism as warmly as their counterparts in Austria above and below the Enns, Ferdinand had grown up a dedicated Catholic. Archduke Charles, his father, while eventempered and cautious, was eager to restore the Church of Rome to preeminence throughout his provinces. In 1578 he did agree, orally, though not in writing, to the Pacification of Bruck that allowed both the Lutheran nobles and the townsfolk of the region to practice their faith freely.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Imperial Diet HABSBURG Monarchy 
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© Paula Sutter Fichtner 2003

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  • Paula Sutter Fichtner

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