- Historical event:
- 20 May 1812
- In the 18th century, Salzburg's archdiocese functioned as a sovereign state, and a prince-archbishop served as his head.
This day in 1812 marked the death of the Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, who was the powerful prince-archbishop of Salzburg, and an employer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
His father was Count Rudolph Joseph von Colloredo-Waldsee, Vice Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, and received the title of a Prince in 1763 (when Maria Theresa was an empress).
That was very respectable family, and held important positions. The archbishop’s parents had 18 children, with his brother Franz Gundaker succeeded their father as Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. His second brother Wenzel was a field marshal, and his third brother Joseph was a general.
Count Hieronymus von Colloredo was the Archbishop of Salzburg for 40 years (1772-1812). In the 18th century, Salzburg’s archdiocese functioned as a sovereign state whose head was a prince-archbishop. It had a considerable territory, which covered approximately an eighth of present-day Austria.
The Archbishop was an employer of Mozart and his father Leopold. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Prince-Archbishop Colloredo had a conflicting relationship, probably because of Mozart’s frequent absence.
The Archbishop even fired Mozart, who became an independent artist in Vienna, which wasn’t an easy lifestyle.
After Mozart’s death and Napoleon’s rise to power, his state was secularized, and Colloredo wasn’t head of state (prince) anymore, although he was still an archbishop.
The former state territory of the Archdiocese of Salzburg was annexed to Austria. Archbishop Colloredo died in Vienna in 1812, aged 80.