Franz Ferdinand Este

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Franz Ferdinand Este

He was born in Graz, Austria, the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria. In 1875, when he was only eleven years old, his cousin Duke Francis V of Modena died, naming Franz Ferdinand his heir on condition that he add the name Este to his own. Franz Ferdinand thus became one of the wealthiest men in Austria. Franz Ferdinand, like most males in the ruling Habsburg line, entered the Austro-Hungarian Army at a young age. He was frequently and rapidly promoted, given the rank of lieutenant at age fourteen, captain at twenty-two, colonel at twenty-seven, and major general at thirty-one. In 1894 Franz Ferdinand met Countess Sophie Chotek at a ball in Prague. To be eligible to marry a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg, one had to be a member of one of the reigning or formerly reigning dynasties of Europe. The Choteks were not one of these families. Finally, in 1899, Emperor Franz Joseph agreed to permit Franz Ferdinand to marry Sophie, on condition that the marriage would be morganatic and that their descendants would not have succession rights to the throne. The two of them ended up having three children together, Princess Sophie, Duke Maximilian, and Prince Ernst of Hohenberg. German historian Michael Freund described Franz Ferdinand as "a man of uninspired energy, dark in appearance and emotion, who radiated an aura of strangeness and cast a shadow of violence and recklessness ... a true personality amidst the amiable inanity that characterized Austrian society at this time."


December 18th, 1863: Franz Ferdinand is born1875: Joins the Military at age 121877: Promoted to lieutenant at age 141885: Became Captain at age 221890: Colonel at age 271894: Promoted to Major General at age 311894: Met Countess Sophia Chotek1896: Groomed to heir throne after the Emperor's son committed suicide and his father died of Typhoid Fever1898: was given a commission "at the special disposition of His Majesty" to make inquiries into all aspects of the military services and military agencies were commanded to share their papers with him1900: Married Sophia (this gave up the rights of his children to the throne)1901: His first child, Sophie Princess of Hohenberg, is born1902: Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg, is born1904: Prince Ernst of Hohenberg is born1913: Appointed Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian ArmyJune 28th, 1914: Assassinated by the Black Hand (Unity of Death)

Archduke Franz was a very bright military mind, who was promoted many times to the highest ranks in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was also a world renowned trophy hunter, having more than an estimated 300,000 game kills, 5,000 of which were deer. Approximately 100,000 trophies were on exhibit at his Bohemian castle at Konopiště.

Lasting Impact

His death was the catalyzing factor of World War One.


Simkon, John L. "Spartacus Educational." Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational, 12 Sept. 1997. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. Keegan, John (2000). The First World War. Vintage. p. 48."Franz Ferdinand." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.Freund, Michael: Deutsche Geschichte. Die Große Bertelsmann Lexikon-Bibliothek, Bd. 7. C. Bertelsmann Verlag, 1961. p.901



Assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Este

In 1913 Franz Ferdinand was appointed Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian Army. A promoter of naval expansion and military modernization, Ferdinand was popular with the armed forces. In the summer of 1914 Franz was offered to go on a political trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He knew it was dangerous, because of the displeasure with the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On June 28th, 1914, just before 10 a.m. Archduke Franz Ferdinand Este's life is taken from him by ,a member of the Black Hand (Unity of Death), which was a rebel group from Bosnia-Herzegovina that wanted indepence. The assassinations, along with the arms race, nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and the alliance system all contributed to the origins of World War I, which began a month after Franz Ferdinand's death, with Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia. The assassination of Ferdinand is considered the most immediate cause of World War I.


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