Francis Ferdinand

Francis Ferdinand, 1863–1914, Austrian archduke, heir apparent (after 1889) of his uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph. In 1900 he married a Czech, Sophie Chotek. She was made duchess of Hohenberg, but because she was of minor nobility their children were barred from succession. Laboring to transform the dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy into a triple monarchy including a Slavic kingdom under Croatian leadership, he won the enmity of both the Pan-Serbians and the Pan-Germans, and his support of the Christian Socialist campaign for universal suffrage brought the hostility of the Hungarian magnates. In 1913 he became inspector general of the armies. On June 28, 1914, while at Sarajevo on an inspection tour, he and his wife were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist. Francis Ferdinand's death was the occasion for the Austrian ultimatum, addressed to Serbia by Count Berchtold, that led directly to World War I.

See S. Nickels, Assassination at Sarajevo (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Austria and Hungary, History: Biographies