Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria

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Maximilian III Joseph
Maximilian III Joseph of Bavaria by Georges Desmarees.jpg
Portrait by Georg Desmarées
Elector of Bavaria
Reign1745–1777
Predecessor Charles Albert
Successor Charles Theodore
Born(1727-03-28)28 March 1727
Munich
Died30 December 1777(1777-12-30) (aged 50)
Munich
Burial
Spouse Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Amalia of Austria

Maximilian III Joseph (28 March 1727 – 30 December 1777) was a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire and Duke of Bavaria from 1745 to 1777.

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Electorate of Bavaria

The Electorate of Bavaria was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Contents

Biography

Maximilian Joseph as electoral prince. Max III Joseph als Prinz.jpg
Maximilian Joseph as electoral prince.
Maximilian III Joseph, 1761 Thaler du duche de Baviere a l'effigie de Maximilien III Joseph, 1761.jpg
Maximilian III Joseph, 1761

Born in Munich, Maximilian was the eldest son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII and his wife, Maria Amalia of Austria, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I.Upon his father's death in January 1745, he inherited a country in the process of being invaded by Austrian armies (see War of the Austrian Succession). The 18-year-old Maximilian Joseph wavered between the Peace-party, led by his mother Maria Amalia of Austria and Army Commander Friedrich Heinrich von Seckendorff and the War-party, led by Foreign Minister General Ignaz Count of Törring and the French envoy Chavigny.

Munich Capital and most populous city of Bavaria, Germany

Munich is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people. Straddling the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany. Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VII was the Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. A member of the House of Wittelsbach, Charles was the first person not born of the House of Habsburg to become emperor in three centuries, though he was connected to that house both by blood and by marriage.

Maria Amalia of Austria Czech queen

Maria Amalia of Austria was Holy Roman Empress, Queen of the Germans, Queen of Bohemia, Electress and Duchess of Bavaria etc. as the spouse of Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor. By birth, she was an Archduchess of Austria as the daughter of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor and Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

After the decisive defeat in the Battle of Pfaffenhofen on 15 April Maximilian Joseph quickly abandoned his father's imperial pretenses and made peace with Maria Theresa in the Treaty of Füssen, in which he agreed to support her husband, Grand Duke Francis Stephen of Tuscany, in the upcoming imperial election. During the Seven Years' War Bavarian forces then fought on the Habsburg side. Maximilian Joseph's sister Maria Josepha of Bavaria was married in 1765 to Maria Theresa's son Emperor Joseph II. But long-term weakening of Prussia was not in the Bavarian interest, as that country offered the only counterweight to the Habsburg monarchy. Maximilian Joseph tried, as far as possible, to keep Bavaria out of the wars. Apart from militia troops, he sent only a small force of 4,000 men to join the Austrian army. In 1758/1759 (only a year and half into the war), he withdrew Bavarian auxiliary troops from Austrian service. Together with the Wittelsbach Elector Charles Theodore of the Palatinate he enforced the neutrality of the Empire during the conflict.

Battle of Pfaffenhofen battle

The Battle of Pfaffenhofen was fought on 15 April 1745 between France and Austria. The Austrians under Karl Josef Batthyány defeated the outnumbered French under General Ségur, ending the war in Bavaria.

The Peace of Füssen was a peace treaty signed at Füssen, between the Electorate of Bavaria and Habsburg Austria. Signed on 22 April 1745, it ended the participation of Bavaria on the French side in the War of the Austrian Succession.

Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany

Francis I was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife Maria Theresa effectively executed the real powers of those positions. They were the founders of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. From 1728 until 1737 he was Duke of Lorraine. Francis traded the duchy to the ex-Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as one of the terms ending the War of the Polish Succession in November 1738. The duchy and the ducal title to Lorraine and Bar passed to King Louis XV of France upon Leszczynski's death in 1766, though Francis and his successors retained the right to style themselves as dukes of Lorraine and Bar.

Maximilian Joseph was a progressive and enlightened ruler who did much to improve the development of his country. He encouraged agriculture, industry, and exploitation of the mineral wealth of the country, and abolished the Jesuit censorship of the press. In 1747 the Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory was established, while the Codex Maximilianeus bavaricus civilis was written in 1756. In 1759, he founded Munich's first academic institution, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. During the severe famine in 1770 Maximilian sold some of the crown jewels to pay for grain imports to relieve hunger. In that year, he also issued an edict against the extravagant pomposity of the Church which contributed to the end of the era of Bavarian rococo. He also forbade the Oberammergau Passion Play. In 1771 the elector regulated general school attendance.

Enlightened absolutism refers to the conduct and policies of European absolute monarchs during the 18th and 19th centuries who were influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment, espousing them to enhance their power. The concept originated during the Enlightenment period in the 18th and into the early 19th centuries.

The Codex Maximilianeus bavaricus civilis was a civil code enacted in the Electorate of Bavaria in 1756. It was drafted entirely by the Bavarian chancellor, Wiguläus von Kreittmayr, and was named after Maximilian III Joseph. Written in German, it nonetheless included many Latin phrases. In its content, it adhered to the Usus modernus Pandectarum more strongly than later codification projects. It remained in force in Bavaria until the enactment of the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB) on January 1, 1900.

Rococo 18th-century artistic movement and style

Rococo, less commonly roccoco, or "Late Baroque", is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, and trompe l'oeil frescoes to create the illusions of surprise, motion and drama. It first appeared in France and Italy in the 1730s and spread to Central Europe in the 1750s and 1760s. It is often described as the final expression of the Baroque movement.

In December 1777 Maximilian Joseph rode in his carriage through Munich; on the ride, as he passed one of the tower clocks, the mechanism broke, and the clock struck 77 times. Commenting to the passengers, Max Joseph decided this was an omen, and that his years had run out. Within days, he was stricken with a strange disease. None of his 15 doctors could diagnose it, but by Christmas, it had become clear that it was a particularly virulent strain of smallpox, called "purple small pox" at the time. [1]

Smallpox infectious disease that has been eradicated

Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin and some were left blind.

By the last day of the month he was dead without leaving an heir. Maximilian III Joseph is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich.

Succession

As the last of the junior branch of the Wittelsbach dynasty which derived from Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor and had ruled Bavaria since early 14th century, Maximilian's death led to a succession dispute and the brief War of the Bavarian Succession. He was succeeded by his distant cousin, the Elector Palatine Charles Theodore from the senior branch of the dynasty. Maximilian's widow Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony and Maximilian's sister Duchess Maria Antonia of Bavaria as well as Maria Anna of Palatinate-Sulzbach, the widow of the former Bavarian crown prince Duke Clement Francis of Bavaria negotiated with Prussia to secure Bavaria's independence from Austria, which had invaded portions of the duchy immediately after the Elector's death. [2]

Arms of the Bavarian electorate 1753 Bayern1753.jpg
Arms of the Bavarian electorate 1753

Cultural legacy

Conventionsthaler with the portrait of Maximilian III. Joseph Maximilian III Joseph (Bayern).jpg
Conventionsthaler with the portrait of Maximilian III. Joseph

Maximilian III Joseph ordered in 1751 François de Cuvilliés to construct the splendid rococo Cuvilliés Theatre and in 1755 the Stone Hall of Nymphenburg Palace. He also ordered to decorate some rooms of the New Schleissheim Palace in rococo style.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was received by Maximilian III Joseph, who was like his sister Maria Antonia Walpurgis of Bavaria skilled in music and composed, but due to a need for strict frugality no post could be offered. In 1775 La finta giardiniera , an Italian opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, received its first performance at the Salvatortheater in Munich.

In 1770 Maximilian III Joseph established the precursor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

Ancestors

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References

  1. Paul Bernard. Joseph II and Bavaria: Two Eighteenth Century Attempts at German Unification. Hague: Martin Nijoff, 1965, p. 40.
  2. Germany, German guide-books, CUP Archive, 1931, pg. 94–95.
  3. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 40.
Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria
Born: 28 March 1727 Died: 30 December 1777
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles Albert
Elector of Bavaria
1745–1777
Succeeded by
Charles Theodore