Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria

Maximilian III
Archduke of Further Austria
Reign 1595–1618
Predecessor Charles II
Successor Ferdinand III
Born 12 October 1558
Died 2 November 1618
House House of Habsburg
Father Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria of Spain

Maximilian III of Austria, also known as Maximilian the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights (12 October 1558 – 2 November 1618) was the Archduke of Further Austria from 1612 until his death.


Born in Wiener Neustadt, Maximilian was the fourth son of the emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain. He was a grandson of Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, daughter and heiress of Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, who himself was the eldest son of Casimir IV of Poland from the Jagiellonian Dynasty.

From 1585 Maximilian became the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order; thanks to this he was known by the epithet der Deutschmeister ("the German Master")[1] for much of his later life.

In 1587 Maximilian stood as a candidate for the throne of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, following the death of the previous king, Stefan Batory. A portion of the Polish nobility elected Maximilian king, but, as a result of the rather chaotic nature of the election process, another candidate, Sigismund III Vasa, prince of Sweden, grandson of Sigismund I the Old, was also elected. Maximilian attempted to resolve the dispute by bringing a military force to Poland – thereby starting the war of the Polish Succession. His cause had considerable support in Poland, but fewer Poles flocked to his army than to that of his rival. After a failed attempt to storm Kraków in late 1587, he was defeated in January 1588, at the Battle of Byczyna by the supporters of Sigismund III (who had since been formally crowned), under the command of Polish hetman Jan Zamojski. Maximilian was taken captive at the battle and was only released a year and half later after the intervention of Pope Sixtus V in the aftermath of the Treaty of Bytom and Będzin. In 1589, he formally renounced his claim to the Polish crown.[2] The inactivity of his brother, the emperor Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor in this matter contributed to Rudolf's poor reputation.

From 1593 to 1595 Maximilian served as regent for his young cousin, Ferdinand, Archduke of Inner Austria. In 1595 he succeeded their uncle Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria in his territories, including Tyrol, where he proved to be a solid proponent of the Counter-Reformation. He also worked to depose Melchior Khlesl, and to ensure that Archduke Ferdinand of Inner Austria, his former charge, succeed as Holy Roman Emperor.

Today, Maximilian is perhaps best remembered for his baroque archducal hat, exhibited in the treasury of the monastery of Klosterneuburg and was used for ceremonial purposes as late as 1835.

He died at Vienna in 1618, and is buried in the canopied tomb in Innsbruck Cathedral.


16. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (=24)
8. Philip the Handsome (=12)
17. Mary of Burgundy (=25)
4. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
18. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=26 & 30)
9. Joanna of Castile (=13)
19. Isabella I of Castile (=27 & 31)
2. Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
20. Casimir IV of Poland
10. Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
21. Elisabeth of Bohemia and Austria
5. Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
22. Gaston de Foix, Count of Candale
11. Anna of Foix-Candale
23. Catherine (de Foix) of Navarre
1. Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria
24. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (=16)
12. Philip the Handsome (=8)
25. Mary of Burgundy (=17)
6. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
26. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=18 & 30)
13. Joanna of Castile (=9)
27. Isabella I of Castile (=19 & 31)
3. Maria of Spain
28. Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu
14. Manuel I of Portugal
29. Beatriz of Portugal
7. Isabella of Portugal
30. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=18 & 26)
15. Maria of Aragon
31. Isabella I of Castile (=19 & 29)


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  1. In fact, originally the titles Hochmeister ("Grandmaster") and Deutschmeister ("German Master") were different: while Grandmaster was the highest order dignitary, the German Master was the third highest and territorially restricted to area of the Holy Roman Empire (apart from Prussia and Livonia) where he administered its respective bailiwicks. But after 1561 those ranks were united and the Deutschmeister became Grandmaster.
  2. Sławomir Leśniewski (January 2008). Jan Zamoyski – hetman i polityk (in Polish). Bellona. pp. 111–118. GGKEY:RRA1L0T4Y81.
Preceded by
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria
Archduke Mathias, his elder brother
Governor of Tirol
Archduke of Further Austria

Succeeded by
Leopold V, Archduke of Further Austria
his first cousin
Preceded by
Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria
Regent of Styria
Succeeded by
Ferdinand III, Archduke of Inner Austria
Preceded by
Heinrich von Bobenhausen
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles III of Austria

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