Archduke of Austria, from 1608 regent of Hungary, Upper and Lower Austria together with Moravia; from 1611 king of Bohemia; from 1612 to his death in 1619 emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Born in Vienna on 24 February 1557
Died in Vienna on 20 March 1619
Motto: ‘Concordia lumine Maior – Concord is stronger than light’
Matthias had high political ambitions which brought him into conflict with his brother, Emperor Rudolf II. Following serious clashes (the Bruderzwist) Matthias overthrew his brother with the support of the Estates. However, as emperor he was unable to implement any decisive measures, as the conflicts with the Estates and religious differences were heralding a full-scale war, which finally broke out in Bohemia in 1618. Matthias died shortly afterwards. As he had no children he was succeeded by his cousin, Ferdinand II.