Portrait of Ferdinand III (1608-1657), Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia (1637-1657)
Ferdinand III (1608-1657), Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia (1637-1657). Ferdinand III (13 July 1608 – 2 April 1657) was Holy Roman Emperor from 15 February 1637 until his death, as well as King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria. He was the last emperor to have real power over the Holy Roman Empire. Ferdinand was born in Graz, the eldest son of Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg and his first wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria. Educated by the Jesuits, he became Archduke of Austria in 1621, King of Hungary in 1625, and King of Bohemia in 1627. In 1627 Ferdinand enhanced his authority and set an important legal and military precedent by issuing a Revised Land Ordinance that deprived the Bohemian estates of their right to raise soldiers, reserving this power solely for the monarch. Following the death of Albrecht von Wallenstein (who had previously denied him the overall military command of the Catholic side) in 1634, he was made titular head of the Imperial Army in the Thirty Years' War. Later that year he joined with his cousin, the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand, who was nominally responsible for the capture of Donauwörth and Regensburg, and for the defeat of the Swedes at the Battle of Nördlingen. Leader of the peace party at court, he helped negotiate the Peace of Prague with the Protestant states, especially Saxony in 1635. Having been elected King of the Romans in 1636, he succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor in 1637.
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