Emperor Ferdinand II in armour, c. 1614

Ferdinand II

Archduke of Austria; from 1590 nominal ruler of the Inner Austrian dominions, actual ruler from 1596; King of Bohemia (from 1617 – with an interruption from 1619 to 1620), King of Hungary (from 1618); from 1619 Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy to his death in 1637

Born in Graz on 9 July 1578
Died in Vienna on 15 February 1637

Motto: ‘Legitime Certantibus - With those fighting in a just cause’

Ferdinand was a belligerent and ruthless monarch: as ruler over Inner Austria he relentlessly implemented the re-Catholicization of his subjects by means of ‘Reformation commissions’ which toured the land. He was elected emperor in the midst of rebellions by the Estates at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. He rapidly settled the conflicts in Bohemia in his favour and ruled in absolutist style, but suffered setbacks in the latter years of his reign.

Emperor Ferdinand II in armour, c. 1614