HOME        BACK

Ferdinand III

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, Archduke of Austria

Ferdinand III (July 13, 1608 – April 2, 1657) became Holy Roman Emperor February 15, 1637.

Eldest son of Emperor Ferdinand II from the house of Habsburg and his first wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria. Made King of Hungary-Croatia in 1625, King of Bohemia in 1627, and succeeded his father King of the Romans in 1636, and thence Holy Roman Emperor 1637.

Following the death of Wallenstein in 1634, he was made titular head of the Imperial Army in the Thirty Years' War, and later that year joined with his cousin the Cardinal-Infante to defeat the Swedes at Nördlingen. Leader of the peace party at court, he helped negotiate the Peace of Prague with the Protestant States, especially Saxony in 1635.

He succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor in 1637. He hoped to be able to make peace soon with France and Sweden, but the war dragged on for another 11 years, finally coming to an end with the Peace of Westphalia (Treaty of Münster with France, Treaty of Osnabrück with Sweden) in 1648, both negotiated by his envoy Maximilian von und zu Trauttmansdorff, a successful diplomat who had been made a count in 1623 by his father Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor.

During the last dreadful period of the war, in 1644 Ferdinand III gave to all rulers of German states the right to conduct their own foreign policy ( ius belli ac pacis ). This way the emperor was trying to gain more allies in the negotiations with France and Sweden. This very edict contributed to the gradual erosion of the imperial authority in the Holy Roman Empire.

In the Peace of Westphalia, his full titles are given as: "Ferdinand the Third, elected Roman Emperor, always August, King of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Luxemburg, of the Higher and Lower Silesia, of Wurtemburg and Teck, Prince of Swabia, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Kyburg and Goritia, Marquess of the Sacred Roman Empire, Burgovia, the Higher and Lower Lusace, Lord of the Marquisate of Slavonia, of Port Naon and Salines."

HOME        BACK