Archduke John of Austria: Wikis


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Archduke John
Archduke John of Austria (1848)
Spouse Anna Maria Josephine Plochl
Franz, Count of Meran
Father Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Louisa of Spain
Born 20 January 1782(1782-01-20)


Died 11 May 1859 (aged 77)


Archduke John of Austria (German: Johann von Österreich; 20 January 1782 – 11 May 1859) was a member of the Habsburg dynasty, an Austrian field marshal and German Imperial regent (Reichsverweser).


Johann was born in Florence as the thirteenth child of Leopold, who ruled as Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Maria Louisa of Spain. In 1790, Leopold became Holy Roman Emperor and moved his family to Vienna.

Archduke John had only been given basic military education before he was thrust into commanding the army in Germany in September 1800. He showed personal bravery, but was defeated badly at Hohenlinden on 3 December 1800. After the peace in 1801, Archduke John was made General Director of the Engineering and Fortification Service, and later commander of two military academies. In 1805, he directed an able defence of several Tyrolean passes brought him the Commander Cross of the MTO. By 1808, he was pressing for the creation of a Landwehr and in 1809 he commanded the army in Italy (VIII and IX Korps) against Prince Eugene. Although initially successful, Archduke John was eventually beaten on the Piave and at Raab.

After losing his military ambitions, which had been forced upon him by his brother, Emperor Franz II, as a consequence of the defeat by Napoleon in Tyrol, he turned to Styria. In that duchy, he developed a great interest for nature, technology and agriculture. He collected minerals and was active as an alpinist and hunter. In his early days Archduke Johann and his brother Louis had the habit of travelling to France, where the latter married Madame de Gueroust. In 1815, on his visit in UK, he became a Doctor honoris causa degree in Edinburgh (college of Edinburgh)[1]

In the history of Styria, he is remembered as a great modernizer and became an important figure of identification for Styrians. His proximity to the people is given evidence to by his many contacts with the common man, by wearing the local Tracht, the Steireranzug, and by collecting and promoting the material and spiritual culture of the country. In 1829, he married Anna Maria Josephine Plochl, the daughter of Jakob Plochl (Gorlinzendorf-bei-Pettau, 27 May 1774 - Bad Aussee, 25 April 1822), the postmaster of Aussee, and wife Maria Anna Pilz (Bad Aussee, 15 May 1782 - Bad Aussee, 21 January 1821), whose descendants were styled the "Counts of Meran" and "Barons of Brandhofen", Proprietors of Stainz and Brandhofen. His son from this morganatic marriage was Franz, Count of Meran.

He was a passionate mountaineer and attempted to be the first to climb the Großvenediger. For that reason, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte (Adlersruhe) at the Großglockner, and the Archduke John's Vanilla Orchid (Nigritella rubra subsp. archiducis-joannis), an orchid growing on mountain meadows, are named after him.

Proclamation to the German people of July 15, 1848 after provisionally taking central control.

In 1811, he founded the Joanneum Museum in Graz and the predecessor of Graz University of Technology. Some other foundations were initiated by him, such as the Styrian State Archive 1817, the Berg- und Hüttenmännische Lehranstalt, which was founded in 1840 in Vordernberg and became the University of Leoben in 1849, the Styrian Society for Agriculture 1819, the Mutual Fire Insurance, the Styrian Building Society, the Landesoberrealschule in 1845 und the Society for Styrian History in 1850. In 1843, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

By acquiring a tin factory in Krems bei Voitsberg and coal mines near Köflach he also became an industrialist.

In 1840, he bought the Stainz dominion, where he was also freely elected as mayor in 1850. He was already the lord of the Brandhofen dominion.

His routing of the Austrian Southern Railway from Vienna to Triest over the Semmering and through the Mura and Mürz valleys to Graz is particularly notable. Even though Johann did not consider himself a liberal, he promoted some liberal ideas. He was often in conflict with the Habsburg court, especially because of his morganatic marriage.

In 1848, the Frankfurt National Assembly appointed him regent of the realm. After the failure of the March Revolution of 1848, he resigned from this office in 1849.

Archduke Johann died in Graz in 1859. He is buried in Schenna near Meran. He was the great-grandfather of noted conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


  1. ^ Anton Schlossar: Erzherzog Johann von Österreich und sein Einfluß auf das Culturleben der Steiermark; Wilhelm Braumüller, Wien 1878, p.319.




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