Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Historical Figure
Nationality: Austria
Date of Birth: 1741
Date of Death: 1790
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Monarch
Parents: Francis I and Maria Theresa
Spouse: Isabella of Parma (d. 1763);
Maria Josepha of Bavaria (d. 1767)
Children: Two daughters who died in childhood
Relatives: Marie Antoinette (sister)
Louis XVI of France (brother-in-law)
House: Habsburg-Lorraine
Political Office(s): Holy Roman Emperor and attendant offices
Turtledove Appearances:
"The More it Changes"
POD: September, 1666
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Joseph II (Joseph Benedikt Anton Michael Adam; 13 March 1741 – 20 February 1790) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Hapsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa (with whom he co-ruled in a number of territories from 1765 until her death in 1780) and her husband, Francis I, and was the brother of Marie Antoinette who became queen of France. He was thus the first ruler in the Austrian dominions of the House of Lorraine, styled Habsburg-Lorraine. Joseph was a proponent of enlightened absolutism, and sought to reform education, the law, and culture (he was a patron of Wolfgang Mozart, for example). He also followed a policy of religious tolerance.

However, Joseph's commitment to modernizing reforms subsequently engendered significant opposition (most notably from his mother during their co-rule), which eventually culminated in an ultimate failure to fully implement his programs. Revolts took place in Hungary and Belgium. Moreover, Joseph was expansionist, and frequently followed policies specifically designed to cause conflict with his neighbors. Austria gained territory at the expense of the Kingdom of Poland during the First and Third Partitions of Poland, but he was unable to realize his goal of annexing Bavaria. The Austro-Turkish War, concurrent with the Russo-Turkish War, was costly to Austria.

Joseph died in February, 1790 after a long period of illness, watching in his last days as his reforms came to naught.

Joseph II in "The More it Changes"Edit

In 1773, several villages in the Polish territory Joseph II had acquired in 1772 were set upon by Sabbatean haidamacks. Many in the village of Kolomija had hoped that the strength Joseph had at his command would keep the the haidamacks at bay, but this proved not to be the case.

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Francis I
Duke of Teschen
Succeeded by
Maria Christina
and Albert
King in Germany
Succeeded by
Leopold II
Holy Roman Emperor
Preceded by
Maria Theresa
King of Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia
Galicia and Lodomeria;
Archduke of Austria;
Duke of Brabant, Limburg,
Lothier, Luxembourg and Milan;
Count of Flanders, Hainaut and Namur