Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress of Austria, was another extraordinary woman of her time. Even though she is better known for being the mother of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, Maria Theresa and her dedication to her country deserves recognition.
Maria Theresa was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who was the last of the Hapsburg dynasty because he had no sons. Charles had no intention of letting the Hapsburg rule end as long as he had a capable daughter like Maria Theresa. Before his death, he changed the Salic law that did not allow a daughter to succeed a father, and he issued the Pragmatic Sanction to ensure Maria Theresa’s right to the throne.
Once Maria succeeded her father as Empress, she was met with resistance to her reign from European powers, especially King Frederick II of Prussia.
Maria was faced with a disadvantage because she was uneducated in foreign relations and was faced with disloyal members in her military. However, she was determined and not afraid of confrontation in order to protect her lands. Frederick instigated two wars (the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War) during her reign, which lost Austrian territories to both Prussia and France.
Instead of dwelling on defeat, Maria empowered Austria for the rest of her reign. She surrounded herself with knowledgeable people and began to strengthen the government from the inside out. Empress Maria began to financially and politically empower Austria as she strengthened the military, centralized the government and formed alliances with both France and Prussia.
Maria Theresa is a phenomenal example of what women can accomplish through commitment and a positive effort.
Photo source: http://www.biography.com/people/maria-theresa-9398965
Queen Elizabeth I of England was a fabulous figure from our past. Her reign, later known as the Elizabethan era, brought a much needed period of stability for her people. Elizabeth’s accomplishments throughout her reign turned England into a superpower. She had a modern view on religious tolerance, ended the expensive war with France and defeated the Spanish Armada.
Although her reign is an amazing example of what a woman can do with an open mind and progressive goals, Elizabeth’s path to the throne a challenge. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (his second wife), Elizabeth was only a princess for a short amount of time. Henry divorced and beheaded Anne when Elizabeth was a toddler to marry Jane Seymour, the mother of King Edward, who succeeded his father. Elizabeth lost her status as princess and was considered illegitimate until she was crowned queen.
If losing her title princess wasn’t enough, a young Protestant Elizabeth had to cunningly maneuver through Mary’s Catholic court and its intrigue in order to survive. Bloody Mary even imprisoned Elizabeth for a period of time because she felt that the young, intelligent woman’s popularity was a threat.
Elizabeth earned the nickname the Virgin Queen because she never married. She used her single status as a political advantage and to improve foreign relations with her suitors’ countries.
Elizabeth was extremely intelligent; she was fluent in six languages by the time she was 11-years-old, could play instruments and encouraged the advancement of arts in her court. She brought the Renaissance to England and she was completely devoted to her people as you can see in her Golden Speech (http://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/golden_speech.htm).
Elizabeth was a woman who had goals and never let anyone, family, friends and men included, get in the way of what she wanted to do for her country and her people.
Photo source: http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz2.html
My name is Haley, and I am so excited to begin blogging about all of the great women out there in history.
As a former history major, this is a subject that I’m still very interested in even though I’m currently studying Public Relations at the University of Florida.
Every post, I’m going to focus on a female history figure and her accomplishments. I also want to picture her and what she would be able to accomplish today in the modern world.
Can’t wait to get started!