Portrait of Franz Joseph I (1830-1916), Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, King of Lombardy-Venetia (1848-1866), 1850
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I (18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, and monarch of other states in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from 2 December 1848 to his death. From 1 May 1850 to 24 August 1866 he was also President of the German Confederation. In December 1848, Emperor Ferdinand abdicated the throne at Olomouc, as part of Minister-president Felix zu Schwarzenberg's plan to end the Revolutions of 1848 in Hungary. This allowed Ferdinand's nephew Franz Joseph to accede to the throne. Largely considered to be a reactionary, Franz Joseph spent his early reign resisting constitutionalism in his domains. The Austrian Empire was forced to cede its influence over Tuscany and most of its claim to Lombardy–Venetia to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, following the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 and the Third Italian War of Independence in 1866. Although Franz Joseph ceded no territory to the Kingdom of Prussia after the Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, the Peace of Prague (23 August 1866) settled the German question in favour of Prussia, which prevented the Unification of Germany from occurring under the House of Habsburg. Franz Joseph was born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the eldest son of Archduke Franz Karl (the younger son of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II), and his wife Princess Sophie of Bavaria.
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