Joseph II biographical name
1741–1790 Holy Rom. emp. (1765–90)
Joseph II biographical name (Concise Encyclopedia)
(born March 13, 1741, Viennadied Feb. 20, 1790, Vienna) Holy Roman emperor (1765–90). He succeeded his father, Francis I, and initially coruled with his mother, Maria Theresa (1765–80). After his mother's death he tried to continue her work of reform. Considered a practicioner of enlightened despotism, he abolished serfdom, established religious equality before the law, granted freedom of the press, and emancipated the Jews. He came into conflict with the Roman Catholic church by attempting to impose state controls over it, and traditional countries such as the Austrian Netherlands and Hungary resisted his far-reaching reforms. His foreign policies were generally failures; he tried to exchange the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria but was stopped by Prussia. An alliance with Catherine II of Russia engaged Austrian troops in a war with Turkey, but Joseph had to return home to head off revolutionary unrest in Hungary and the Austrian Netherlands.
Joseph II, Holy Roman emperor, detail of a painting by Pompeo Batoni, 1769; in the
—Courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Learn More About JOSEPH II
Next Word in the Dictionary: JosephinePrevious Word in the Dictionary: Jordan
Seen & Heard
What made you want to look up Joseph II? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).