Portrait of Matthias (1557-1619), Archduke of Austria (1608), King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia (1611), Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany (1612), 1611
Matthias (24 February 1557 – 20 March 1619) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1608 (as Matthias II) and King of Bohemia from 1611. He was a member of the House of Habsburg. Matthias was born in the Austrian capital of Vienna to Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain. In 1593 he was appointed governor of Austria by his brother, Emperor Rudolf II. In 1605 Matthias forced the ailing emperor to allow him to deal with the Hungarian Protestant rebels. The result was the Peace of Vienna of 1606, which guaranteed religious freedom in Hungary and guaranteed the right of Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes in the future. In the same year Matthias was recognized as head of the House of Habsburg and as the future Holy Roman Emperor, as a result of Rudolf's illness. Allying himself with the estates of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia, Matthias forced his brother to yield rule of these lands to him in 1608; Rudolf later ceded Bohemia in 1611. Matthias's army then held Rudolf prisoner in his castle in Prague, until 1611, when Rudolf was forced to cede the crown of Bohemia to his brother.
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