On this day in 1742 the Elector of Bavaria was elected as the Holy Roman Emperor. This was an important event indeed since it was the first time in over 300 years that someone not from the Habsburg family was elected emperor.
Elections for the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire were held on this day in 1742. Namely, this empire, which was primarily composed of German lands, was organized as an electoral monarchy. The right to elect the next emperor belonged to the Electors (sometimes called Elector Princes), who at first numbered seven, but their number had increased to nine by 1742. The title of Elector (German: Kurfürst) was considered the highest in the Holy Roman Empire, right after the Emperor himself.
Three of the aforementioned nine Electors were from the priesthood. These were the Archbishop-Electors of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne – three large and extremely wealthy archdioceses in Germany. The remaining six were temporal lords (princes), who were often powerful enough to receive royal titles from outside Germany proper. For example, the Elector of Saxony was also the King of Poland. The Elector of Brandenburg was the King of Prussia (in 1742 this was the famed Frederick II the Great, who was in some way Adolf Hitler’s idol). The Elector of Hanover was also the King of Great Britain (in 1742 this was George II), while the Elector of Bavaria held the title of King of Bohemia. It was precisely the Elector of Bavaria who was elected the Holy Roman Emperor on this day in 1742. This was an important event indeed since it was the first time in over 300 years that someone not from the Habsburg family was elected emperor. In this way Maria Theresa was short-charged, since she was the heiress of the Habsburg dynasty, whose male line had died out with her father.
The Bavarian elector who was elected emperor was called Charles Albert and belonged to the Wittelsbach dynasty. Maria Theresa did not give up: Austrian troops occupied Bavaria and forced Charles Albert into exile in Frankfurt. After his death, Maria Theresa arranged that her own husband – Francis of Lorraine – be elected the new Holy Roman Emperor. The Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty ruled the Holy Roman Emperor until it was abolished in 1806.