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15th-century Kings of the Romans

Already before his coronation as the King of the Romans in , Maximilian decided to secure this distant and extensive Burgundian inheritance to his family, the House of Habsburg , at all costs. Maximilian undertook the defence of his wife's dominions from an attack by Louis XI and defeated the French forces at Guinegate , the modern Enguinegatte , on 7 August The wedding contract between Maximilian and Mary stipulated that only the children of bride and groom had a right to inherit from each, not the surviving parent.

Mary tried to bypass this rule with a promise to transfer territories as a gift in case of her death, but her plans were confounded. After Mary's death in a riding accident on 27 March near the Wijnendale Castle , Maximilian's aim was now to secure the inheritance to one of his and Mary's children, Philip the Handsome. Flemish rebels managed to capture Philip and even Maximilian himself, but were defeated when Frederick III intervened. Thus a large part of the Netherlands known as the Seventeen Provinces stayed in the Habsburg patrimony.

Elected King of the Romans 16 February in Frankfurt-am-Main at his father's initiative and crowned on 9 April in Aachen , Maximilian also stood at the head of the Holy Roman Empire upon his father's death in During his first year as an Emperor, much of Austria was under Hungarian rule as they had occupied the territory under the reign of Frederick. In , Maximilian finally reconquered it and entered Vienna. His campaigns in Italy were not as successful and there, his progress was quickly checked.

In the late 15th century the two kingdoms of Tyrol and Bavaria went to war. Bavaria demanded money back from Tyrol that had been loaned on the collateral of Tyrolean lands. In , the two nations demanded that Maximilian I step in to mediate the dispute. In response, he assumed the control of Tyrol and its debt. Because Tyrol had no law code at this time, the nobility freely expropriated money from the populace, which caused the royal palace in Innsbruck to fester with corruption.

After taking control, Maximilian instituted immediate financial reform. In order to symbolize his new wealth and power, he built the Golden Roof , a canopy overlooking the town center of Innsbruck, from which to watch the festivities celebrating his assumption of rule over Tyrol.


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It is made entirely from golden shingles. Gaining theoretical control of Tyrol for the Habsburgs was of strategic importance because it linked the Swiss Confederacy to the Habsburg-controlled Austrian lands, which facilitated some imperial geographic continuity. The situation in Italy was not the only problem Maximilian had at the time.

Maximilian had no choice but to agree to a peace treaty signed on 22 September in Basel that granted the Swiss Confederacy independence from the Holy Roman Empire. Within the Holy Roman Empire, Maximilian faced pressure from local rulers who believed that the King's continued wars with the French to increase the power of his own house were not in their best interests. There was also a consensus that in order to preserve the unity of the Empire, deep reforms were needed.

A new organ, the Reichskammergericht was introduced, and it was to be largely independent from the Emperor. To finance it, a new tax, the Gemeine Pfennig was launched. However, its collection was never fully successful. This led to Maximilian agreeing to establish an organ called the Reichsregiment , which would meet in Nuremberg and consist of the deputies of the Emperor, local rulers, commoners, and the prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

The new organ proved itself politically weak and its power returned to Maximilian again in Due to the difficult external and internal situation he faced, Maximilian also felt it necessary to introduce reforms in the historic territories of the House of Habsburg in order to finance his army. Using Burgundian institutions as a model, he attempted to create a unified state. Maximilian was always troubled by financial shortcomings; his income never seemed to be enough to sustain his large-scale goals and policies.

For this reason he was forced to take substantial credits from Upper German banker families, especially from the families of Baumgarten, Fugger and Welser. The Fuggers, who dominated the copper and silver mining business in Tyrol, provided a credit of almost 1 million gulden for the purpose of bribing the prince-electors to choose Maximilian's grandson Charles V as the new Emperor.

At the end of Maximilian's rule, the Habsburgs' mountain of debt totalled 6 million gulden; this corresponded to a decade's worth of tax revenues from their inherited lands. It took until the end of the 16th century for this debt to be repaid. Under the terms of Margaret's betrothal, she was sent to Louis to be brought up under his guardianship. Despite Louis's death in , shortly after Margaret arrived in France, she remained at the French court. In her search of alliances to protect her domain from neighboring interests, she betrothed Maximilian I in About a year later, they married by proxy.

However, Charles and his sister wanted her inheritance for France. So, when the former came of age in , and taking advantage of Maximilian and his father's interest in the succession of their adversary Mathias Corvinus , King of Hungary , [ 16 ] Charles repudiated his betrothal to Margaret, invaded Brittany, forced Anne of Brittany to repudiate her unconsummated marriage to Maximilian, and married Anne of Brittany himself. Margaret then remained in France as a hostage of sorts until , when she was finally returned to her father with the signing of the Treaty of Senlis.

In the same year, as the hostilities of the lengthy Italian Wars with France were in preparation, [ 22 ] Maximilian contracted another marriage for himself, this time to Bianca Maria Sforza, daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan , with the intercession of his brother, Ludovico Sforza , [ 23 ] [ 24 ] [ 25 ] [ 26 ] then regent of the duchy after the former's death. There they arranged for Maximilian's granddaughter Mary to marry Louis , the son of Ladislaus, and for Anne the sister of Louis to marry Maximilian's grandson Ferdinand both grandchildren being the children of Philip the Handsome , Maximilian's son, and Joanna of Castile.

Thus Maximilian through his own marriages and those of his descendants attempted unsuccessfully and successfully alike sought, as was current practice for dynastic states at the time, to extend his sphere of influence. After it became clear that Maximilian's policies in Italy had been unsuccessful, and after Venice reconquered the last pieces of their territory from Maximilian, the emperor now started to focus entirely on the question of his succession.


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  • His goal was to secure the throne for a member of his house and prevent Francis I of France from gaining the throne; the resulting "election campaign" was unprecedented due to the massive use of bribery. The Fugger family provided Maximilian a credit of 1 million gulden, which was used to bribe the prince-electors. At first, this policy seemed successful, and Maximilian managed to secure the votes from Mainz, Cologne, Brandenburg and Bohemia for his grandson Charles V.

    The death of Maximilian in seemed to put the succession at risk, but in a few months the election of Charles V was secured. In , Maximilian fell from his horse, an accident that badly injured his leg and caused him pain for the rest of his life. Some historians have suggested that Maximilian was "morbidly" depressed: From , he travelled everywhere with his coffin. Maximilian was a keen supporter of the arts and sciences, and he surrounded himself with scholars such as Joachim Vadian and Andreas Stoberl Stiborius , promoting them to important court posts.

    His reign saw the first flourishing of the Renaissance in Germany.

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    Maximilian had a great passion for armour , not only as equipment for battle or tournaments, but as an art form. The style of armour that became popular during the second half of his reign featured elaborate fluting and metalworking, and became known as Maximilian armour. It emphasized the details in the shaping of the metal itself, rather than the etched or gilded designs popular in the Milanese style.

    Maximilian also gave a bizarre jousting helmet as a gift to King Henry VIII — the helmet's visor featured a human face, with eyes, nose and a grinning mouth, and was modeled after the appearance of Maximilian himself. Maximilian had appointed his daughter Margaret as both Regent of the Netherlands and the guardian and educator of his grandsons Charles and Ferdinand their father, Philip, having predeceased Maximilian , and she fulfilled this task well.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Through wars and marriages he extended the Habsburg influence in every direction: to the Netherlands, Spain, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Italy. This influence would last for centuries and shape much of European history.

    Count of Tyrol — Toggle navigation Search coins by picture. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor - Related coins recently sold in WWW. Copper Counter Token Rechenpfennig. Hall mint! Silver Uniface Pfennig Coin. Vienna mint! Condition: VF mi Mint Place: Vienna or Wiener Neus From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation , search. For other uses, see Emperor Maximilian disambiguation.

    16th-century Kings of the Romans

    Maximilian holds his personal emblem , the pomegranate. Maximilian's coin with the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece. Main article: Imperial Reform. Vol XVII. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Retrieved on Dynastie und Kaiserreiche. ISBN Symbolic Communication in Late Medieval Towns. Leuven University Press. Anne Curry; Adrian R. Bell, eds. The organization of the Antwerp army in the Flemish-Brabantine revolt of the s". Kohlhammer Urban In addition, the County of Tyrol and Duchy of Bavaria went to war in the late 15th century.

    Bavaria demanded money from Tyrol that had been loaned on the collateral of Tyrolean lands. In , the two nations demanded that Maximilian I step in to mediate the dispute. In response, he assumed control of Tyrol and its debt. Because Tyrol had no law code at this time, the nobility freely expropriated money from the populace, which caused the royal palace in Innsbruck to fester with corruption. After taking control, Maximilian instituted immediate financial reform. In order to symbolize his new wealth and power, he built the Golden Roof , a canopy overlooking the town center of Innsbruck, from which to watch the festivities celebrating his assumption of rule over Tyrol.

    The canopy is made entirely from golden shingles. Gaining theoretical control of Tyrol for the Habsburgs was of strategic importance because it linked the Swiss Confederacy to the Habsburg-controlled Austrian lands, which facilitated some imperial geographic continuity. Within the Holy Roman Empire, Maximilian faced pressure from local rulers who believed that the King's continued wars with the French to increase the power of his own house were not in their best interests. There was also a consensus that deep reforms were needed to preserve the unity of the Empire. A new organ was introduced, the Reichskammergericht , that was to be largely independent from the Emperor.

    A new tax was launched to finance it, the Gemeine Pfennig , though its collection was never fully successful.

    Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

    This led to Maximilian agreeing to establish an organ called the Reichsregiment , which would meet in Nuremberg and consist of the deputies of the Emperor, local rulers, commoners, and the prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire. The new organ proved itself politically weak and its power returned to Maximilian in Due to the difficult external and internal situation he faced, Maximilian also felt it necessary to introduce reforms in the historic territories of the House of Habsburg in order to finance his army.

    Using Burgundian institutions as a model, he attempted to create a unified state. Maximilian was always troubled by financial shortcomings; his income never seemed to be enough to sustain his large-scale goals and policies. For this reason he was forced to take substantial credits from Upper German banker families, especially from the Baumgarten, Fugger and Welser families. The Fuggers, who dominated the copper and silver mining business in Tyrol, provided a credit of almost 1 million gulden for the purpose of bribing the prince-electors to choose Maximilian's grandson Charles V as the new Emperor.


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    • At the end of Maximilian's rule, the Habsburgs' mountain of debt totalled six million gulden, corresponding to a decade's worth of tax revenues from their inherited lands.