Leopold, Duke of Lorraine

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Duke of Lorraine, Bar and of Teschen
Portrait en pied de Leopold Ier Duc de Lorraine.jpg
Leopold of Lorraine and Bar with Ducal regalia
Born(1679-09-11)11 September 1679
Palace of Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
Died27 March 1729(1729-03-27) (aged 49)
Château de Lunéville Lorraine, France
Église Saint-François-des-Cordeliers, Nancy, France
Spouse Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans
Léopold Clément, Hereditary Prince of Lorraine
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Elisabeth Theresa, Queen of Sardinia
Charles Alexander of Lorraine
Anne Charlotte, Abbess of Essen
House Lorraine
Father Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Eleanor of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Leopold (11 September 1679 – 27 March 1729), surnamed the Good, was Duke of Lorraine and Bar from 1690 to his death. He is the ancestor of all rulers of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, including all Emperors of Austria.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867

The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.


Early life

Leopold Joseph Charles Dominique Agapet Hyacinthe was the son of Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, and his wife Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria, a half-sister of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles V, Duke of Lorraine Austrian warrior

Charles V, Duke of Lorraine and Bar succeeded his uncle Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine as titular Duke of Lorraine and Bar in 1675; both duchies were occupied by France from 1634 to 1661 and 1670 to 1697.

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Croatia and King of Bohemia

Leopold I was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. The second son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, by his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain, Leopold became heir apparent in 1654 by the death of his elder brother Ferdinand IV. Elected in 1658, Leopold ruled the Holy Roman Empire until his death in 1705, becoming the longest-ruling Habsburg emperor.

At the time of Leopold's birth, Lorraine and Bar had been occupied by Louis XIV of France, forcing his parents to move into exile to Austria, where they lived under the protection of the Emperor. Therefore, Leopold was born in the palace of Innsbruck and received his first name in honour of the Emperor. Leopold grew up in Innsbruck, while his father would be engaged in defending Vienna against the Turks.

Louis XIV of France King of France and Navarra, from 1643 to 1715

Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.

Innsbruck Capital city of Tyrol, Austria

Innsbruck is the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria and the fifth-largest city in Austria. It is in the Inn valley, at its junction with the Wipp valley, which provides access to the Brenner Pass some 30 km (18.6 mi) to the south.

In 1690, his father died and eleven-year-old Leopold inherited the still occupied Duchies. His mother, trying to fulfil her husband's last wishes of returning her children to their patrimony, appealed to the Reichstag in Regensburg to restore her son to Lorraine. Leopold was sent to Vienna to receive a military education under the supervision of the Emperor. In Vienna, he grew up with his cousins, the Archdukes Joseph and Charles, both future Emperors. Leopold was also created a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece that year.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor from 1705 till his death in 1711

Joseph I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1705 until his death in 1711. He was the eldest son of Emperor Leopold I from his third wife, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg. Joseph was crowned King of Hungary at the age of nine in 1687 and King in Germany at the age of eleven in 1690. He succeeded to the thrones of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire when his father died.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia

Charles VI succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia, Serbia and Archduke of Austria in 1711. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain following the death of his relative, Charles II, In 1708 He married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, the last Habsburg sovereign, and Maria Anna, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands.

Like his father before him, he entered the Imperial Army and, aged eighteen, took part in the Siege of Timişoara in 1694. Three years later, he received the command of the Army of the Rhine.

Rhine river in Western Europe

The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in an mostly northerly direction through Germany and The Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.

Duke of Lorraine

On 30 October 1697, the Nine Years' War (aka, War of the League of Augsburg) ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ryswick.

Nine Years War major war (1688–97) between King Louis XIV of France, and a European-wide "Grand Alliance"

The Nine Years' War (1688–97)—often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg—was a conflict between Louis XIV of France and a European coalition of the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, Spain, England and Savoy. It was fought in Europe and the surrounding seas, North America and in India. It is sometimes considered the first global war. The conflict encompassed the Williamite war in Ireland and Jacobite risings in Scotland, where William III and James II struggled for control of England and Ireland, and a campaign in colonial North America between French and English settlers and their respective Indigenous allies, today called King William's War by Americans.

The treaty restored the Duchies of Lorraine and Bar to the House of Lorraine, as Leopold's mother had hoped; she died four days later in Vienna. On 17 August 1698, Duke Leopold made a triumphant entry into his capital Nancy. He reconstructed and repopulated his war-stricken duchy, encouraging immigration. At the end of his reign the duchy was safe and prosperous.

Leopold's wife, Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orleans. Gobert, workshop of - Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orleans - Versailles, MV3690.jpg
Leopold's wife, Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans.

In his foreign policy, Leopold tried to further good relations with France and to appease his powerful neighbor. On 13 October 1698 at the Palace of Fontainebleau, Leopold married Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans, the niece of Louis XIV, who had offered a dowry of 900,000 livres to the penniless Duke. Elisabeth Charlotte turned out to be a caring mother and gave birth to fifteen children, of whom five survived into adulthood. Three of them died within a week in May 1711 due to a smallpox outbreak at the Château de Lunéville, the country seat of the Dukes of Lorraine.

Despite Leopold's diplomatic attempts, his capital, Nancy, was occupied by foreign troops during the War of the Spanish Succession (1700–1713). Fearing for his family, Leopold relocated the court to the Château de Lunéville, where Leopold rebuilt the castle as the "Versailles of Lorraine". It was here that his first child Leopold was born in 1700.

In 1703, the Duke introduced the Code Léopold regulating the government of the Duchy. A number of crimes were punishable with death by burning, such as witchcraft, coin forgery, arson, and sexual acts "contrary to nature". Also, those guilty of aggravated theft of sacred objects from a church could be condemned to be burnt alive. He tried to install his eldest daughter, Elisabeth Charlotte, as Abbess of Remiremont but failed due to the opposition of Pope Clement XI.

Leopold's marital life was troubled in 1706, when he took Anne-Marguerite de Lignéville, Princess of Beauvau-Craon as his mistress, and enriched her family. Elisabeth Charlotte however, following her mother's advice, remained silent.

In 1708, Leopold had claimed the Duchy of Montferrat as the closest relative of his cousin, Charles III Gonzaga, erstwhile Duke of Mantua, who had been deposed and then died without male issue. However, the Emperor had already promised Montferrat to the Dukes of Savoy but wishing to compensate the House of Lorraine, he gave the Duchy of Teschen in Silesia to Leopold.

In 1710, Leopold and his wife visited Paris to attend the marriage of Elisabeth Charlotte's niece Marie Louise Elisabeth to the Duke of Berry, and were among the guests of the lavish banquet at the Palais du Luxembourg. [1] During the visit, Leopold, as a foreign prince , received the style of Royal Highness.

In 1719, Leopold bought the County of Ligny-en-Barrois from his cousin, Charles Henry of Vaudemont. During his reign a new security system was put in place all around Lorraine.[ clarification needed ] He tried to abolish serfdom but the redemption payments were too high for the peasantry, even when Leopold halved it. On New Year's Eve 1719 he freed his own serfs without redemption, hoping in vain the nobility would follow his example. [2]

Coin from the reign of Leopold, 1720. Lorraine Leopold a.jpg
Coin from the reign of Léopold, 1720.
The reverse of the coin, 1720 Lorraine Leopold b.jpg
The reverse of the coin, 1720

In 1721, Leopold arranged for his son and heir, Leopold Clement, to receive an education at Vienna. He also intended to forge relations with Archduchess Maria Theresa, the heiress of Emperor Charles VI. However, Leopold Clement died shortly afterwards at Lunéville and in his stead, the younger son Francis Stephen went to Vienna, where he married Maria Theresa. Francis would become Emperor and his descendants, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, would rule Austria until 1918.

In 1725, Leopold tried to marry off his daughter Anne Charlotte to the young King Louis XV, but Louis Henry, Duke of Bourbon, then prime minister, prevented a union with a descendant of the rival House of Orléans. Then, Elisabeth Charlotte tried to arrange her daughter's marriage to her first cousin, the recently widowed Louis, Duke of Orléans, but Louis refused. All proposals of marriage being either ignored or declined, Anne Charlotte later became Abbess of the monasteries Remiremont and Essen.

In March 1729, Leopold caught a fever while walking at the Château at Ménil near Lunéville. He returned to Lunéville where he died on 27 March, aged 49.



Leopold had 15 children:

See also

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  1. Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe, Jerome Blum, page 210
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles V
Duke of Lorraine
Succeeded by
Francis (III) Stephen
Preceded by
Charles I
Duke of Teschen