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Francis II

Francis II. (1768-1835), last Roman Emperor and first Emperor of Austria (Francis I.), was the son of Leopold II., whom he succeeded in 1792. His first act was to abandon his father's pacific policy by joining Frederick William II. of Prussia in a war against the French Revolution, The result was that by the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) Austria gave up the Netherlands and Lombardy, but obtained in exchange the territory of Venice, with Dalmatia and Istria. After a short interval the war was renewed, with subsidies from England and troops from Russia, but Francis, defeated at Hohenlinden and Marengo, had to sign the Peace of Luneville in 1801. A third attack on France ended in the disaster of Austerlitz (1805), after which Francis, finding even his nominal power in Northern Germany destroyed by Napoleon's organisation of the Confederation of the Rhine, voluntarily abandoned the title of "Roman Emperor Elect" (August 16th, 1806), ending thereby a succession which in theory had been unbroken since Ceesar, and abandoning a title borne by the Hapsburgs with few intermissions since the thirteenth century. He had already, in 1804, proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria. The crowning humiliation of the reign was reached in 1809, when, after Wagram, Francis had to give his daughter, Maria Louisa, in marriage to the usurper Bonaparte, besides ceding large portions of his dominions. From this time the Emperor entrusted the direction of affairs to Metternich, through whose policy he was able to throw off the alliance with Napoleon, and to more than recover his territorial losses.