Francis II

I

born Jan. 19, 1544, Fontainebleau, France
died Dec. 5, 1560, Orléans

King of France (1559–60).

He was the son of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis and was married in 1558 to Mary Stuart (later Mary, Queen of Scots), a relation of the powerful Guise family. Sickly and weak-willed, Francis was dominated throughout his brief reign by the Guises, who tried to use him to break the strength of the Huguenots. His premature death temporarily ended the Guises' dominion. He was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX.
II

born Feb. 12, 1768, Florence
died March 2, 1835, Vienna, Austria

Last Holy Roman emperor (1792–1806); as Francis I, emperor of Austria (1804–35); as Francis, king of Hungary (1792–1835) and king of Bohemia (1792–1835).

He succeeded his father, Leopold II, as emperor in 1792. An absolutist who hated constitutionalism, Francis supported the first coalition war against France (1792–97). Twice defeated by France, he elevated Austria to an empire (1804) soon after Napoleon made himself emperor of France. Napoleon dictated the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and Francis abdicated in 1806. Though he despised Napoleon, he was forced by reasons of state to marry his daughter Marie-Louise to Napoleon in 1810. Francis helped destroy Napoleon's power in battles in 1813–14. After the Congress of Vienna (1815), Francis supported his chief minister, Klemens, prince von Metternich, in instituting a conservative and restrictive political system in Germany and Europe.
III

born Jan. 16, 1836, Kingdom of Naples
died Dec. 27, 1894, Arco, Italy

King of the Two Sicilies (1859–60), the last of the Bourbon kings of Naples.

He succeeded his father, Ferdinand II, in 1859 and on his accession rejected proposals made by Count Cavour that he join Piedmont-Sardinia in the war against Austria and grant liberal reforms on its conclusion. Alarmed by the invasion of Sicily by Giuseppe de Garibaldi in 1860, Francis capitulated to the liberals in his kingdom and restored the constitution of 1848, granted freedom of the press, and promised new elections. It was too late to save the monarchy, however; the Bourbon forces were defeated by Garibaldi, and less than a month later Francis was deposed by a plebiscite. He then lived in exile in Rome and Paris.

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▪ Holy Roman emperor
born Feb. 12, 1768, Florence
died March 2, 1835, Vienna

      the last Holy Roman emperor (1792–1806) and, as Francis I, emperor of Austria (1804–35); he was also, as Francis, king of Hungary (1792–1830) and king of Bohemia (1792–1836). He supported the conservative political system of Metternich in Germany and Europe after the Congress of Vienna (1815).

      Son of the future emperor Leopold II and Maria Luisa of Spain, Francis received his political education from his uncle, Emperor Joseph II, who disliked his nephew's unimaginative outlook and stubbornness but praised his application and sense of duty and justice. Ascending to the throne on the death of his father in 1792, Francis inherited the problems raised by the French Revolution. An absolutist who hated constitutionalism in any form, he supported Austria's first coalition war against France (1792–97), sometimes taking the field himself, until forced to accept the Treaty of Campo Formio (Campo Formio, Treaty of) (1797), by which the empire lost Lombardy and the left bank of the Rhine. Again defeated by France (1799–1801), he elevated Austria to the status of an empire (1804) soon after Napoleon had made himself emperor of the French. After Austria took the field against Napoleon for the third time in 1805 and was again defeated, Napoleon dictated the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire; Francis abdicated his title in 1806.

      Thus, the ancien régime that had come to an end in France in 1789 ended in Germany also. The year 1809 saw Austria's fourth unsuccessful war against Napoleon, during which Francis, always distrustful of revolutionary or even popular movements, abandoned pro-Habsburg Tirolese rebels to France and Bavaria. Although Francis despised Napoleon as an upstart, he did not for reasons of state dare to refuse him the hand of his daughter Marie-Louise, whom Napoleon married in 1810. Francis himself was present at many of the battles of 1813–14, which finally destroyed the French emperor's power. After the Congress of Vienna (1815), Francis supported his chief minister, Metternich, in the conservative and restrictive policies that became known as the Metternich system. Repressing liberalism and reinstituting much of the power of the Roman Catholic church lost under Joseph II, Francis was nevertheless a patron of the arts and sciences, and he did not hesitate to introduce innovations, such as steamships on the Danube, or to show an interest in the development of railroads.

▪ duke of Brittany

born June 23, 1435
died Sept. 9, 1488, Couëron, Brittany
 duke of Brittany from 1458, who succeeded his uncle, Arthur III; he maintained a lifelong policy of Breton independence in the face of encroachments by the French crown. The problems of Breton independence were magnified by the fact that Francis had no sons; the fate of his Breton lands would depend on the terms of the marriages he secured for his daughters.

      Francis joined the League of the Public Weal against King Louis XI of France in 1465, invaded Normandy in 1467 on behalf of the dispossessed Charles de France (Louis XI's brother), and allied himself with King Edward IV of England in 1468. Forced to sign the Treaty of Ancenis with France (1468), he allied himself again with Edward in 1475, but once more had to come to terms with France. When Louis XI bought the House of Penthièvre's rights to the duchy of Brittany (1480), Francis in 1481 made yet another treaty with Edward, whereby his eldest daughter, Anne (later queen consort of France), was to marry the Prince of Wales.

      When Francis' chief counsellor, Pierre Landais, provoked the hatred of the Breton nobles by his persecution of the chancellor Guillaume Chauvin, the nobles, with the support of Anne of Beaujeu (Anne Of France), regent of France, had Landais hanged (1485). When Anne sent French troops into Brittany, however, the nobles rallied to the Duke's side. Defeated in 1488, Francis was forced to sign the Treaty of Le Verger, in which he undertook to contract marriages for his daughters Anne and Isabelle only with the French king's permission, thereby relieving France of the danger that Brittany might fall to some foreign power.

▪ king of France

born Jan. 19, 1544, Fontainebleau, Fr.
died Dec. 5, 1560, Orléans
 king of France from 1559, who was dominated throughout his reign by the powerful Guise family.

      The eldest son of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis, Francis was married in April 1558 to Mary Stuart, queen of Scots and niece of François, duc de Guise, and of Charles, cardinal of Lorraine. A sickly and weak-willed young man, Francis became a tool of the Guises, who saw an opportunity for power and a chance to break the Huguenot strength within the kingdom. To defeat the Guises, Louis de Bourbon, prince de Condé and Huguenot leader, planned the conspiracy of Amboise (March 1560), an abortive coup d'etat in which some Huguenots surrounded the Château of Amboise and tried to seize the King. The conspiracy was savagely put down, and its failure strengthened the power of the Guises. This in turn frightened Francis' mother, Catherine, who then tried to balance the situation by securing the appointment of the moderate Michel de L'Hospital as chancellor.

      In the hopes of gaining peace and rehabilitating court finances, the States General was summoned, but Francis died soon after the session began at Orléans. His death temporarily ended the Guises' dominion and saved Condé, who had been sentenced to death for high treason. Francis was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX.

▪ king of the Two Sicilies

born Jan. 16, 1836, Naples
died Dec. 27, 1894, Arco, Italy

      king of the Two Sicilies from 1859 until his deposition in 1860, the last of the Bourbons of Naples.

      He was the only son of Ferdinand II by his first consort, Maria Cristina of Savoy. Timid and suspicious, he was easily overruled in state and family councils. Upon his accession he rejected proposals made by Count Cavour that he should join Piedmont–Sardinia in the war against Austria and grant liberal reforms on its conclusion. Thoroughly alarmed by the invasion (May 1860) of Sicily by Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Thousand, Francis, acting on the advice of the French emperor Napoleon III, capitulated to the liberals in his kingdom (June 25, 1860); he restored the constitution of 1848, granted freedom of the press, and promised fresh elections. It was too late to save the monarchy, however, and on October 1–2 the Bourbon forces were defeated by Garibaldi on the Volturno River. Francis was deposed by the plebiscite of October 21–22, and on the fall of Gaeta (Feb. 13, 1861) to the Piedmontese he retired to Rome as the guest of Pope Pius IX. When Rome also fell (1870), he settled in Paris.

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Universalium. 2010.

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