A Habsburg ruler who restored the Holy Crown and defended the Hungarian language

Péter Lipót of Habsburg-Lorraine was born on May 5, 1747. His mother, Maria Theresa (1740–1780) and his brother, II. Joseph (1780–1790) was followed by II. On the Hungarian throne as Lipót (1790–1792).

There are few rulers in Hungarian history whose opinion is as controversial as in II. Lipóté. Some historians say he only tried to conserve the feudal system during his reign while building a wide network of informants and introducing ruthless censorship. Others argue the opposite: he did much for the country’s independence, and although he ruled for only a short time, he was an even more important Hungarian king.

At the age of six, his wife was chosen

The third son of Emperor Franz Stephen I and Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, was the first archduke born in “purple”, as his father won imperial dignity in 1745, two years before his birth. She didn’t have to worry much about her future identity, as she had already chosen Modena’s heir to the throne as her future wife. However, an error slipped into the calculation because his brother, Charles, died in 1761, so Lipót received the throne of the much more significant Duchy of Tuscany and the hand of the Spanish infantry, Mary Ludovika. Of course, the Princess of Modena did not survive either, because she became the bride of her younger brother, Ferdinand.

Lipót was a little premature and prone to melancholy.

Her mother also complained that she neglected her appearance, that she preferred to come into contact with “smaller people”,

and that he pays little attention to his writing and style. Compared to this, of course, he spoke excellent French and Latin in addition to German, but he also spoke Czech well, and due to his mission in Tuscany, he also began to study intensively in Italian.

In 1765 he traveled to Tyrol with his parents, older brothers, and the court to receive his bride from Spain. Barely two weeks after the wedding, Emperor Francis died unexpectedly, so Leopold had to immediately ascend the throne in Tuscany.

He had sixteen children

Shortly after his accession to the throne, he clashed with his brother, Joseph, who, as the universal heir of the deceased emperor, demanded the release of the money left in the “Tuscan reserve”. The quarrel between the two brothers did not subside later.

During the reign of Lipót, the Grand Duchy flourished beautifully. He prepared his reforms with great care. It first introduced an innovation in smaller cities or areas, on a trial basis, and only extended it to the whole country if successful.

Joseph’s death in 1790 also put an end to Lipót’s reform efforts in Tuscany. The new emperor was in a difficult situation in Vienna, as the war against the Turks was in full swing, while he was afraid of the secession of the Netherlands and an uprising in Hungary. But Lipót acted quickly: with the Reichenbach Treaty of July 27, 1790, he prevented the outbreak of the threatening Prussian war, deprived the Belgian and imminent Hungarian uprisings of Prussian help, and secured his election as emperor and his coronation in Frankfurt.

Sixteen children were born from his marriage. His eldest son, Ferenc (1768–1835), later succeeded him to the Hungarian throne. His other two sons became palatines in Hungary. Archduke Lipót Sándor (1772–1795) and Archduke József Antal János (1776–1847) were like fire and water. Sándor Lipót, who was based on absolutist oppressive methods and was extremely anti-Hungarian, was enlightened from 1795,

it was followed by palatine József, who cooperated well with the Hungarians and effectively promoted the development of the country, especially the city of Pest-Buda, with half a century of activity.

Palatine József, who was István Széchenyi’s colleague in his thinking, earned the title of “the most Hungarian Habsburg”.

Holy Crown, independence, Hungarian language

During the National Assembly of 1790-91, a number of significant laws were passed, which II. Lipót also consecrated:

  • It was ordered that the Hungarian royal crown be transferred from Bratislava to the Buda Castle and kept there.
  • The independence of Hungary and the connected parts has been declared.

To humbly present the faculties and orders of the country, His Holy Majesty was also graciously acknowledged that, although the female branch of the majestic Austrian house in 1723: I. tc. and II. the inheritance established in the Kingdom of Hungary and its annexes by the Articles of Association shall belong to the same Prince as to the other countries and provinces in Germany and beyond which are inherent and indivisible in accordance with the established order of succession to the throne: however, Hungary, together with its annexes, free and independent of the whole legal form of its government (including all its headquarters), that is, not subject to any other country or part, but having its own state existence and constitution, and hence the 1715: III. tc., and 1741: VIII. tc. and XI. from a lawfully crowned heir king, and thus from his holy majesty and heirs, the kings of Hungary, in accordance with the laws and customs of property, and not a country to be administered and governed in the manner of other provinces.

  • They made the official administration in Hungarian and introduced the Hungarian language education.
  • A law to prevent deforestation has been passed.
  • Torture was banned.

Torture interrogations, because they do not provide a suitable and appropriate means of investigating the truth, but rather go into punishment, until other measures are taken in parliament for criminal proceedings, will simply be prohibited.

  • It was ordered that the Jews living in Hungary in all the free royal towns and other places “be kept, and, if they had been excluded, put back”.

However, his work as a ruler remained in a torso because he died unexpectedly of pneumonia on March 1, 1792. Nowadays, the Hungarian and Austrian capitals are named after a district and a district.

(Cover image: Lipót II. Photo: DeAgostini / Getty Images)

Leave a Reply