Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact File: Lifespan: 1863 Ė 1914 *** Full Name: Franz Ferdinand *** Occupation: Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia *** Date of Birth: Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born on December 18th 1863 *** Place of Birth: Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born in Graz, Austria *** Family background: His father was Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria and his mother was Princess Maria Annunciata *** Early life and childhood: Archduke Franz Ferdinand grew up with his siblings, Otto Franz, Margarete Sophie, Maria Annunziata and Elisabeth Amelie *** Education: Archduke Franz Ferdinand would have been educated to the highest degree *** Archduke Franz Ferdinand died on June 28, 1914.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 1: Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born on December 18th 1863 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 2: At just eleven years of age, in 1875, Duke Francis V of Modena died and named Franz Ferdinand his successor provided he added the name Este to his own name. This made Franz Ferdinand one of the most wealthy men in Austria.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 3: His life would dramatically change once more, when in 1889, Crown Prince Rudolf, Franzís cousin, while at his hunting lodge in Mayerling, took his own life. Under these circumstances Karl Ludwig, Franzís father, became next in line to the throne.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 4: In 1896 however, Karl Ludwig caught typhoid fever and it proved fatal. This meant Franz Ferdinand would be next in line and was henceforth groomed for his new role in life.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 5: Despite the heavy responsibilities he then carried Franz Ferdinand still managed to find the time to travel and in 1893 was in Australia hunting emus and kangaroos and from there he traveled to the New Hebrides, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Naumea, Vancouver and Yokohama.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 6: Franz Ferdinand even found the time to visit George V and Queen Mary in England at Windsor Castle.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 7: One of his greatest passions was for trophy hunting whereby the biggest, oldest and largest animal is chosen to be hunted. Franz Ferdinand boasted a collection of approximately three hundred thousand kills.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 8: As was customary the males in the Habsburg ruling line joined the Austro-Hungarian Army. Franz Ferdinand rose through the ranks and was a major general by the time he reached thirty one.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 9: Franz Ferdinand married Sophie Chotek on July 1st 1900 after a considerable fiasco because she was not of suitable rank. Franz Ferdinand needed the permission of the reigning Emperor Franz Joseph and after much cajoling he gave his consent under strict conditions that they have a morganatic marriage which would mean their descendants would have no rights to the throne and Sophie would be unable to accompany her husband on any official functions as his equal.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 10: Together they had four children, Sophie, Maximilian, Ernst and tragically a stillborn son.Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 14: Another conspirator, nineteen year old Gavrilo Princip, spotted Archduke Franz Ferdinand in his open topped car and fired his gun at the couple, shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the neck and Sophie in the stomach. The couple both died on June 28, 1914 before medical assistance could be reached.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 11: His greatest wish and desire was to maintain harmony in his multinational Habsburg empire which was a constant battle because of the strained relationship between the Emperor Franz Joseph, Franz Ferdinand and other countries within Europe.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 12: On June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, together with his wife Sophie, were in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the couple's anniversary and it was also Serbia's National Day. Many Serbs were angry that Bosnia had been annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 and saw the state visit by Archduke Franz Ferdinand as an insult. A small group of seven Bosnian Serbs had made plans to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand and plotted to kill him as he drove in a cavalcade of limousines along the Appel Quay, the main road in Sarajevo.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 13: The conspirators had obtained guns and bombs from the Black Hand, a Serb terrorist group and were positioned at different points along the route. .Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were riding in the third of a seven-car motorcade when the car behind them was hit with a grenade that had been intended for their car. Archduke Franz Ferdinand naturally abandoned the visit and it was decided to return home via a different route to the one planned. Security was lax and communication with the limousine drivers were poor. No one had told the driver, Franz Urban, about the route change and he continued to follow the published route until he was told of his error and stopped the car to turn around. The mistake led to the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife and the death of millions in WW1...
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Fact 15: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, together with his beloved wife Sophie, were interred in Artstetten Castle in Austria.
Influence and Legacy: Although many factors led up to World War I including imperialism, militarism, nationalism and an arms race, it would ultimately be the assignation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the power vacuum that ensued, that triggered the beginning of the first World War, literally within weeks of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
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