Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este

Archduke Ferdinand Karl Anton Joseph Johann Stanislaus of Austria-Este (1 June 1754–-24 December 1806), was the fourth son and fourteenth child of the Holy Roman Emperor Franz I and of his wife Maria Theresa of Austria. He was designated as the heir to the Duchies of Modena and Reggio but never reigned owing to the Napoleonic Wars.

Early life

Ferdinand was born at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

In 1763 the last Este Duke of Modena Ercole III (who did not die until 1803) signed a treaty with the Empress Maria Theresa engaging the nine-year old Ferdinand to his only daughter Maria Beatrice, making him thus his heir. There had been an earlier treaty in 1753 making Ferdinand's older brother Peter Leopold the heir to Modena, but in 1761 Peter Leopold became heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany which required a change to the Modena agreement.

In 1771 the Imperial Reichstag approved the eventual investiture of Ferdinand with the imperial fiefs held by Ercole III.

Marriage and family

On October 15 1771 Ferdinand in effect married Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este (7 April 1750-14 Nov 1829), only surviving child of Duke Ercole III of Modena and Reggio (although the marriage was not a requirement of Ferdinand's eventual succession).

Ferdinand and Maria Beatrice Ricciarda had nine children:
*Josef Franz (1772-1772)
*Maria Theresa (1773-1832), married Victor Emanuel I, King of Sardinia
*Josepha (1775-1777)
*Maria Leopoldina (1776-1848), married Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria
*Francis IV (1779-1846), next Duke of Modena, married Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy
*Ferdinand Karl Joseph (1781-1850), Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian army during the Napoleonic Wars
*Maximilian Joseph (1782-1863), Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
*Maria Antonia (1784-1786)
*Karl (2 Nov 1785-2 Sept 1809). Archbishop of Esztergom, Primate of Hungary
*Marie Ludovika (1787-1816), married her first cousin Franz I, Emperor of Austria


In 1780 Ferdinand was named Governor of Lombardy by his brother the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. He and his family lived in Milan. In 1796 Napoleon's invasion of Milan forced the family to flee the French forces. Duke Ercole III also had to flee Modena which overthrew the monarchy and joined the Cisalpine Republic.

By the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797 Duke Ercole III was granted the Duchy of Breisgau, a Habsburg territory in southwest Germany. When Ercole III died in 1803, Ferdinand succeeded as Duke of Breisgau, as well as Titular Duke of Modena and Reggio. By the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 Ferdinand ceded the Duchy of Breisgau to the Grand Duchy of Baden. Ferdinand died the following year in Vienna.

In 1814 Ferdinand's eldest surviving son Francis IV was recognised as Duke of Modena by the Congress of Vienna.


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1= 1. Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este
2= 2. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
3= 3. Maria Theresa of Austria
Queen of Hungary & Bohemia

4= 4. Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
5= 5. Princess Élisabeth Charlotte of Orléans
6= 6. Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
7= 7. Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
8= 8. Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
9= 9. Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria
Queen Dowager of Poland-Lithuania
10= 10. Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
11= 11. Countess Palatine Elizabeth Charlotte of Simmern
12= 12. Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
13= 13. Eleonore-Magdalena of Neuburg
14= 14. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
15= 15. Princess Christine Louise of Oettingen-Oettingen
16= 16. Nicholas II, Duke of Lorraine
17= 17. Princess Claude-Françoise of Lorraine
18= 18. Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
19= 19. Eleanor Gonzaga of Mantua
20= 20. Louis XIII of France
21= 21. Anne of Austria
22= 22. Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
23= 23. Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
24= 24. Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor (= 18)
25= 25. Maria Anna of Spain
26= 26. Philip William, Elector Palatine
27= 27. Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
28= 28. Anthony Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
29= 29. Duchess Elisabeth of Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderburg-Norburg
30= 30. Albert Ernest I, Prince of Oettingen-Oettingen
31= 31. Duchess Christine Frederica of Württemburg

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