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(born Dec. 18, 1863, Graz, Austriadied June 28, 1914, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) Archduke of Austria, whose assassination was the immediate cause of World War I. Nephew of Emperor Francis Joseph, he became heir apparent in 1896. His desire to marry Sophie, countess von Chotek, a lady-in-waiting, brought him into sharp conflict with the emperor, and the marriage was only allowed after he agreed to renounce his future children's rights to the throne. From 1906 he exerted influence in military matters and became inspector general of the army (1913). While on an official visit in Sarajevo in June 1914, he and his wife were assassinated by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. In July Austria declared war against Serbia, precipitating World War I.
Variants of FRANCIS FERDINAND
Francis Ferdinand German Franz Ferdinand
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Francis Ferdinand, visit Britannica.com.