Leopold II, emperor of Germany, of the house of Hapsburg, born May 5, 1747, died March 1, 1792. He was the son of the emperor Francis I. and Maria Theresa, and on the death of his father in 1765 succeeded him on the throne of Tuscany, which he had received in exchange for Lorraine. Mild, humane, and well educated, though of very dissolute habits, Leopold ruled his grand duchy in the spirit of his age, and a series of liberal reforms had made it almost a model of a monarchical state, when the death of his brother Joseph II. in 1790 called him to the greater cares of the vast Austrian dominions and soon after of the German empire. Joseph's violent reforms and ambition had given rise to disaffection in almost all his provinces, a revolution in Belgium, a similar movement in Hungary, a dangerous war with Turkey, and menaces of another on the part of Prussia, seconded by Holland and England; while the gathering revolutionary tempest in France threatened not only all Leopold's monarchical interests, but also the personal safety of his sister Marie Antoinette. He hastened to make terms with Frederick William 11. at Reichenbach (July 27, 1790), was unanimously elected German emperor, pacified Hungary by taking the royal oath to observe strictly the constitution, restored all their ancient privileges to the Belgians, gave Tuscany to his son Ferdinand, concluded a peace with Turkey at Sistova (Aug. 4, 1791), concerted with Frederick William Augustus of Saxony, and others, at Pilnitz, preliminary measures for meeting the aggressions of the French revolution, and finally made a formal alliance with Prussia (February, 1792), when he died suddenly of dysentery.
Of his 16 children, his eldest son Francis succeeded him on the throne of Austria, as well as in the German empire, being the last of its elective rulers. His correspondence with Francis II. and the empress Catharine was edited by Adolf Beer (1874).
Leopold II (Louis Philippe Marie Victor), king of the Belgians, son of the preceding and of Louise, daughter of Louis Philippe, king of the French, born at Brussels, April 9, 1835. As prince he bore the title of duke of Brabant. On Aug. 22, 1853, he married Marie Henriette, daughter of the late Archduke Joseph of Austria, palatine of Hungary. Of this union the surviving offspring is three daughters, a son, born in 1859, having died in 1869. He was a member of the Belgian senate, travelled extensively, and on the death of his father succeeded to the throne, Dec. 10, 1865. In the administration of the government he has continued the policy of his father, and is very popular among his people.
Leopold II, grand duke of Tuscany and archduke of Austria, born Oct. 3, 1797, died in Bohemia, Jan. 29, 1870. He was a son of the grand duke Ferdinand III. and a nephew of the emperor Francis I. of Austria. He succeeded his father June 18,1824, and became the most liberal among the rulers of Italy, granting a constitution to his duchy in 1847, and even relinquishing in 1848 his title of archduke and joining in the warfare against Austria, but yet without giving full satisfaction to the Tuscans.
He escaped to Naples in February, 1849, and returned to Florence in July at the request of his subjects, but not before the arrival of Austrian troops. Despite his tolerant disposition and his sympathy with letters and art, his subsequent reign incurred great popular odium. He declined to join the cause of Italy in 1859, and only abdicated in favor of his son, Ferdinand IV. (July 21), after his flight from Florence (April 27), when it was too late to save his dynasty. His dominions were added to those of Victor Emanuel, March 22, 1860. He spent the rest of his life chiefly at his chateau of Brandeis in Bohemia.