10.04.

1626: Prince-Bishop Franz Egon of Fürstenberg – The Man with whose Help the French King Tried to Become German Emperor

1626: Prince-Bishop Franz Egon of Fürstenberg – The Man with whose Help the French King Tried to Become German Emperor
Photo Credit To http://www.leo-bw.de/media/ubt_portraits/current/delivered/images/6/47956.jpg

Franz Egon of Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg supported French influence within the Holy Roman Empire, in opposition to the Habsburgs.

Franz Egon of Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg, a very influential German bishop, was born on this day in 1626. He was a member of the distinguished Fürstenberg family, which possessed significant lands in southern Germany. It got its name after Castle Fürstenberg, located some 10 km from the current German-Swiss border. Franz Egon had a younger brother – Wilhelm Egon – who also became a bishop, and later a cardinal.

Franz Egon von Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg, together with his mentioned brother, played a major role in the relations between Louis XIV’s France and the German lands (the Holy Roman Empire). The French Chief Minister, Cardinal Mazarin, allegedly tried to use Franz Egon’s influence to arrange for Louis XIV to be elected as the Holy Roman Emperor, which would put an end to the tradition of electing Habsburgs to that position. Franz Egon also strove to influence the electors (those who had the right to elect the Holy Roman Emperor; at that time there were eight of them). However, in the end the person elected was Leopold I of Habsburg, not Louis XIV.

In general, Franz Egon supported French influence within the Holy Roman Empire, and opposed the Habsburgs. The French “paid” him by giving him the title of Prince-bishop of Strasbourg. He remained at that post until his death almost 20 years later. His younger brother inherited that position and retained it until his death in 1704 (i.a. approximately 20 years).

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