Maria Theresa was born on May 13th, 1717. She was the eldest daughter of Charles VI of Austria whose only son died as an infant. This war why Charles VI issued the Pragmatic Sanction to guarantee his daughter to inherit the Austrian throne after his death. Many European monarchs agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction, but at the same time Charles died in 1740 and the War of Austrian Succession began. Prussia (Preußen) and Bavaria (Bayern) claimed their inheritance-rights and forced Maria Theresa to give up the country of Silesia (Schlesien).
But finally in 1745 Maria Theresa’s husband Francis Stephen, the Duke of Lorraine, was elected to be emperor of the Habsburg’s empire and Maria Theresa the Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia and Countess of the Tyrol.
Though her husband ruled officially, she did most of his errands. She rebuilt the Austrian economy, brought to life a new constitution and educational system. Going to school from now on was obligatory. In 1751 the Theresian Military Academy was built up under her rule, which is still in use as instruction institution for high ranking officers within the Austrian army. Her skilful marriage policy concerning her 16 children made her immortal as Europe’s mother in law. Only one of her several daughters, Martina Christina, was allowed to enter into a love-match when she married.
When her husband died in 1765, it was her eldest son Joseph, who shared the governmental power with her, but they seldom ever agreed.
Maria Theresa died in November 19th, 1780. For 40 years she had been ruling the Habsburg’s empire.