- Historical event
- 19 December 1490
- Her dowry was an entire country, so many mighty Europeans wanted to marry her and rule Brittany through her. Her interest was in defending her country against aggressive Frenchman, so she had to choose her future husband carefully.
On this day the richest woman in Europe – Anne of Brittany – married the future Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg. Interestingly, she was just 13 years old, and her husband was 32 years of age and was already a widower (his first wife died eight years earlier).
Anne was the ruling Duchess of Brittany. The country at that time was an independent state and was not part of France like it is today. The French kings, of course, tried to integrate the Duchy of Brittany to their country, but the Britons resisted for many years. Therefore, bloody wars were led between the French and Britons. Anne became ruler of Brittany when she was only 11 years old. In fact, her father died and she was his only heir. Being a girl whose dowry was an entire country, many powerful Europeans wanted to marry and rule Brittany through her. Anne’s interest was in defending her country against the aggressive Frenchman, so she had to choose her future husband carefully. In fact, he had to be powerful enough to protect her country from French conquest.
The choice fell on the man who was the successor of the highest royal title in Europe. He was the future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire – Maximilian of Hapsburg, who was himself very rich because, in his first, marriage he had gained the rich Duchy of Burgundy and almost the entire present-day Belgium and the Netherlands. The wedding took place on this day in one of the major cities of Brittany – Rennes.