Ferdinand I is the son of the Habsburg Archduke Philip the Handsome and brother to Charles V. He became the ruler of the Austrian and Hungarian Empires and eventually became the Holy Roman Emperor. He defeated John Zapolya and the Ottomans in decisive military battles. He had three major parts in his life his early life as Archduke of Austria, King of the Bohemia and Hungary, and his role as Holy Roman Emperor.
Ferdinand was born in Alcala de Henares, Spain. He is the son of the Trastamara Infanta Joanna (“Joanna the Mad”) and Habsburg Archduke Philip the Handsome. When his grandfather died his brother took the title of Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand was entrusted the hereditary lands. He was Archduke of Austria for forty four years. He married Anne Jagiellonica, daughter of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary. This is what led to him becoming the King of Bohemia and Hungary.
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With the support of his brother, the Holy Roman Emperor, he defeated Zapolya at the Battle of Tarcal in 1527 and again in the Battle of Szina in 1528. After being beaten, Zapolya fled to the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to plead for help. They made a deal promising Hungary as a tribute state to the Ottoman Empire in turn for the Sultan’s help. Suleiman took advantage of the Hungarian support against Ferdinand but was unsuccessful with the Siege of Vienna in 1529, which sent Ferdinand to Bohemia. A second invasion was prepared but was defeated once again in 1533. He finally made a peace treaty to split Hungary into two divisions, the east and west. Ferdinand had the western part and Zapolya had the eastern part which was an Ottoman vassal country. Ferdinand almost had Zapolya’s kingdom because he was heir to the throne because Zapolya was childless. But before his death, Zapolya had a son, John II Sigismund. Ferdinand tried to take over Hungary but with the Polish, Ottoman, and Eastern Hungarian Army united as one Ferdinand was defeated and forced to pay tribute. For a time Sigismund gave the throne to Ferdinand and Ferdinand was king of Hungary and Transylvanian, but after a Diet in 1556 rule was returned to Sigismund.
Ferdinand was elected King of the Romans which meant he was the successor to the Holy Roman Empire. Charles was getting old and before he retired he gave away his kingdom to his son, Phillip, and Ferdinand. Charles gave Spain, the Netherlands, Naples, Milan, and Spain’s possessions in the Americas went to Philip. Ferdinand assumed the throne as the Holy Roman Emperor and ruled over what was left of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Austrian lands. Phillip was culturally Spanish so it made sense to divide the country that way.
Ferdinand adopted the policy of centralization and was the center of the government. He ruled Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia for the majority of his life but had a brief rule of the Holy Roman Empire. He was strong in defending his countries and a leader in politics as he was an aid to his brother with foreign policy. Ferdinand didn’t have many accomplishments in expanding countries and economic growth but was successful with unifying the people as one.