The Habsburgs
by Professor Elaine Fulton

Date: Tuesday 12 October 2021

This talk focusses on the Habsburg dynasty in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, at the peak of its power

The Habsburgs

In 1519, the 19 year old Charles V found himself Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, King of Spain, Lord of the Netherlands and Duke of Burgundy. His dominions stretched across Europe, and beyond, to the Americas via Spanish colonization of the so-called ‘New World’. Yet he met unprecedented challenges from within and without: the rise of Protestantism, the incursions of the Turks, and extremely stretched military and financial resources. How did he fare, and indeed how did the dynasty continue to survive throughout the early-modern period? The answers lie in a mixture of luck, skill and the fashioning of a powerful self-image of ‘Pietas Austriaca’, an ostentatious piety designed to underpin Habsburg claims and encourage loyalty to the dynasty.

Elaine Fulton is Professor of History Education at the University of Birmingham (UoB). Originally from Northern Ireland, she did her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, before taking up a lectureship in early-modern European history at Birmingham. She has published on the Catholic Reformation and on natural disaster in early-modern Europe. She has also been Head of Department of History at the University of Birmingham, 2015-18 and is currently UoB’s Director of Education for the College of Arts and Law.

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