This great empress is not that widely known as she deserves. In my adoration for this absolutely amazing historical figure I would like to dedicate this post to Her Highness, the Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and a Holy Roman Empress – Maria Theresa of Austria(1717 – 1780). She was an exceptional ruler and here are some facts that depict her life and deeds:
- She had in fact begun her rule aged 23
- Maria Theresa’s father had not given her any training in government, leaving her to learn for herself. Without money, a strong army, and knowledge of state affairs, Maria Theresa knew she had to rely on her judgment and strength of character – and she succeed!
- Unlike many monarchs of her time, she married for love. When her husband died, Maria Theresa’s devotion to him was so great that she dressed in mourning until her own death 15 years later
- She gave birth to 16 children, and despite her political activity she was a loving and caring mother
- She initiated financial and educational reforms (mandatory education in 1774), promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganized the army, all of which strengthened Austria’s resources
- She has enlarged her country to the size of an empire, mostly due to a very wise politics of marriages, and not wars.
- Maria Theresa focused on reforming laws along the lines of enlightened absolutism, especially to strengthen the economy
- Other important reforms included outlawing witch-burning and torture, and, for the first time in Austrian history, taking capital punishment off the penal code – it was replaced with forced labor.
- She was the only female to rule during the 650-year-long Habsburg dynasty. (more…)