Maria Theresa

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Maria Theresa Birth Date and Birth Place Maria Theresa, the eldest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Elizabeth Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was born in Vienna on May 13, 1717. Early Life When the only son of Charles VI died and left no heir to the throne, Charles furthered the Pragmatic Sanction. The Pragmatic Sanction is a royal act, which allowed a female to inherit the territories of the Habsburg. In 1736 Maria Theresa married Francis Stephen of Lorraine. The marriage of Maria to Francis was one of love, which was very unlike many in that time. The French strongly opposed the marriage of Lorraine lands to the Habsburg lands and demanded that he give up his ancestral rights of Lorraine for the succession of Tuscany. Schooling Maria Theresa did not have much schooling in politics, so when her father died on October 17, 1740, she was ill prepared. She had never had book-learned education and was only taught the proper etiquette and court manners that the ladies of her time learned. Family Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen had sixteen children, only ten of them survived. Maria loved her children very much, even though they were rebellious and often irritated her greatly. After they moved away she still kept in tight correspondence, and gave them wise advise. Her children became famous well-known people such as, the later Emperors Joseph II, Leopold II, and the later queen of France, Marie-Antoinette. Maria’s favorite out of all her many children was Maria Christina, who was the only one allowed to marry for love to Prince Albert of Saxony-Teschen, and was showered with vast gifts of money. Accomplishments Maria Theresa Accomplished many things during her reign, she established a strong army, centralized the administration of the government, and initiated reforms in agriculture and education. She approved drastic changes in universities, such as the introduction of textbooks. She also managed to hook the University of Vienna’s medical school with the public Health service. She tried to improve the lives of the peasants and put an end to the cruelty of the landlords, she tried to abolish serfdom in Bohemia but met opposition from her husband who was getting complaints from the lord-holders. Hardships After Charles VI died, the war he had tried so hard to prevent broke out after Maria inherited the throne. Besides having to deal with the war, Maria found that Charles had left the Habsburg territories in a dire state of disrepair, along with an empty treasury.
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