- historical event:
- The male line of the Habsburg dynasty went extinct on this day in 1740, when Charles VI died near Vienna. His territories and pretensions were inherited by her 23-year-old Maria Theresa.
Charles VI, father of the well-known Empress Maria Theresa, died on this day in 1740. He was the last living male member of the Habsburg dynasty, probably the most powerful dynasty in Europe along with the French Capets. The Habsburgs had became the leaders of the Holy Roman Empire as early as 1273, over 400 years prior to Emperor Charles VI’s birth.
It is interesting that Charles VI ruled over a large part of Europe, albeit not all of it at the same time. Namely, at the time he came to power, Habsburg forces had already retaken large parts of Hungary and the Balkans from the Ottoman Empire. In fact, at one time his realm stretched to the south of Sava and the Danube, so that he temporarily even became the ruler of Serbia. Apart from being the Holy Roman Emperor, he spent some time ruling over southern Italy (Naples and Sicily), and even the island of Sardinia. In his youth, Charles VI was even declared the King of Spain, because the local Habsburgs had previously died out (the Austrian branch of the dynasty then laid a claim to the Spanish throne).
This meant that, at least in theory, Charles was the ruler of all the Spanish colonies, which stretched from Latin America to the Philippines. Charles even ruled over most of what is now Belgium, as well as the duchies of Milan and Parma in Italy. He was also the nominal King of Jerusalem.
The male line of the Habsburg dynasty went extinct on this day in 1740, when Charles VI died near Vienna, at the age of 55. His territories and pretensions were inherited by her 23-year-old Maria Theresa, who had to defend her inheritance by force of arms (some other rulers refused to acknowledge a female Habsburg inheriting the throne).