Johann, Erzherzog von Österreich
Archduke Johann, Administrator of the Realm, 1848, painting, around 1849
Johann, Archduke of Austria, b. Florence (Italy), Jan. 20, 1782, d. Graz (Styria), May 10, 1859. 13th child of Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who became Emperor Leopold II, Franz°II (I). Originally destined for a military career, J. soon developed particular interest in nature, technology and agriculture; he collected minerals, was an alpinist and hunter. In the Napoleonic Wars J. served as field marshal and general manager of military engineering and fortifications. On December 3, 1800 he lost the battle of Hohenlinden and in 1805 fought the French and the Bavarians. In 1808 he organised the Landwehr reserve army for the popular uprising against Napoleon in Tyrol and in Inner-Austria; in 1809 he supported Tyrol's fight for freedom led by the Tyrolean peasant and freedom fighter A. Hofer, and became commander in chief of the Southern Army against E. Beauharnais. Victorious at Sacile, but defeated at Raab.
Because of his participation in the Alpenbund, a Tyrolean resistance movement, and after the suppression of the Tyrolean popular uprising, his brother, Emperor Franz I forbade him to set foot on Tyrolean soil. He therefore turned his attention to Styria. In 1811 laid the foundation for the Joanneum museum in Graz by donating his collections. The following institutions were generally encouraged by Archduke J.: Styrian Archives (1817), School for Mining and Metallurgical Practice in Vordernberg (from 1849 in Leoben, University of Mining and Metallurgy), the Styrian Agricultural Association (1819), the insurance agency for fire damage "Wechselseitige", the "Steiermarkische Sparkasse" savings bank, the "Landesoberrealschule", a secondary school emphasising studies of mathematics and science (1845), the Association for Styrian History (1850). In 1818 he acquired the Brandhof estate near Mariazell and transformed it into an alpine model farm. In 1822 he acquired two iron works in Vordernberg and became owner of an iron mine, revolutionised the extraction and production of ore at the Erzberg open-cast mine in Styria by founding the Vordernberger Radmeister-Communität in 1835, the first railway using iron rails on the European continent. Also acquired a sheet-metal factory in Krems and coal mines near Köflach. In 1841 purchased the domain of Stainz including the former monastery, where he was also the first freely elected mayor in 1851. At Pickern near Marburg (Slovenia) J. founded a vine-growing estate and introduced vine plants from the Rhineland. One of his special achievements was the routing of the Southern railway from Vienna to Trieste, via the Semmering and the Mürz and Mur valleys and Graz. His affection for the common people was reflected in his close contact with them, he wore traditional costumes (Steireranzug), collected folk art and encouraged the material and intellectual culture of the country. In 1829 married Anna Plochl, the daughter of a postmaster from Aussee. Their descendants were given the title "Grafen von Meran" (Counts of Merano). His autobiographical work, "Der Brandhofer und seine Hausfrau" gives interesting insights into his life-style. J. enjoyed the company of numerous artists ("chamber painters") and scientists. In 1848 was nominated the Emperor´s deputy and opened the Constituent Imperial Diet in Vienna. In 1848 he was also elected Administrator of the Realm by the all-German National Assembly in Frankfurt, but resigned from this office in 1849. J. is buried in Schenna near Meran/Merano (South Tyrol).
Literature: A. Schlossar, Erzherzog J. im Liede, 1882; K. L. Schubert, Erzherzog J. und der Bergbau, 1954; W. Koschatzky, Der Brandhofer, 31978; V. Theiß, Erzherzog J. Der steirische Prinz, 21981; G. Klingenstein (ed.), Erzherzog J. von Österreich, 1982; O. Pickl (ed.), Erzherzog J. von Österreich, 1982.
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