27.06.

1794: Famous chancellor of the Empress and Queen Maria Theresa

1794: Famous chancellor of the Empress and Queen Maria Theresa
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg, wearing the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 27 June 1794
  • Without her chancellor - Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg - Empress and Queen Maria Theresa supposedly did not perform any greater reform, so his influence on the development of Austrian and Croatian countries was substantial. His role in forming the Vienna alliance with France and Russia (enemies till then) was especially great.

On this day in 1794 the renowned statesman Wenzel Anton Kaunitz-Rietberg died.

He was important because he was the State Chancellor (Staatskanzler) in Vienna during the reign of Maria Theresa. He largely tailored foreign policy of the Habsburg Monarchy during the second half of the 18th century. His role in forming the Vienna alliance with France and Russia (enemies till then) was especially great. This alliance was one of the key factors for restraining the powers of the Prussian ruler Frederick the Great (known for his aggressive military and foreign policy).

Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg came from the Czech-Moravian family Kaunitz. The slavic origin of the family is clear even from their last name (from Kounic). The family owned a large castle in Slakov (Austerlitz). Of course, that place is known for the Battle of Austerlitz from the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

On his mother’s side, Wenzel Anton was the heir of the county of Ritberg in northwestern Germany (between Paderborn and Münster). The county functioned as a small independent state and he was its ruler. Indeed, Maria Theresa gave him the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (German: Reichsfürst, French: Prince du Saint-Empire). From then on he was known as Prince Kaunitz-Rietberg.

Kaunitz-Rietberg was certainly one of the most important associates of Empress and Queen Maria Theresa (Count Haugwitz and Gerard van Swieten were important as well). Many reforms were introduced during Maria Theresa, which also affected Croatian lands, than a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Without Kaunitz-Rietbergk, Empress and Queen Maria Theresa supposedly did not perform any greater reform, so his influence on the development of Austrian and Croatian countries was substantial.

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