Maximilian I, emperor of Germany, born in Neustadt, near Vienna, March 22, 1459, died at Wels, Jan. 12, 1519. He was the son of the emperor Frederick III., of the house of Hapsburg, and of Eleanor, a princess of Portugal. He learned to speak several languages, acquired various branches of knowledge, and, spending his youth in the wars of his father with Podiebrad of Bohemia, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, and others, became an excellent horseman, filter, and hunter, gallant, chivalric, and adventurous. His father, faithful to tin-maxim of his house to conquer by marriages. sought for him the hand of Mary, daughter and heiress apparent of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, promising a royal crown to the duke. The parties and their parents met at Treves in 1473; but the mutual distrust of the latter broke off the negotiations. After the death of Charles (1477) his widow Margaret rejected the offers of Louis XI. of Fiance in behalf of his infant son Charles (afterward VIII.), and soon afterward the rich and beautiful heiress became the wife of Maximilian, and in a few .years the mother of two children, Philip and Margaret. But her husband neither saved all her possessions from the rapacity of Louis XI., nor obtained the ready allegiance of the rich cities of the Netherlands, when on her sudden death by a fall from her horse in 1482, he claimed the regency for his son Philip. Louis was active in instigating and promoting revolts in those provinces, and Maximilian suffered still greater injury from France when, after his election and coronation as king of the Romans (1486), having married by proxy another rich heiress, Anne of Brittany, and promised his own daughter Margaret to Charl. -VIII., Anne de Beaujeu, the regent for the latter' suddenly broke off both engagements, bringing Brittany with Anne into the hands of Charles, and sending back Margaret to her father.
The war which ensued was of short duration. Maximilian now married Bianca Sforza, daughter of the murdered duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria, receiving 300,000 ducats from her uncle and guardian, the bloody Lu-dovico Moro, on whom he bestowed Milan, the heritage of the brother of his bride. The wife of the lawful heir, however, a Neapolitan princess, sought for aid from her native eountry, and the usurper Moro thereupon prevailed on the king of France to renew the old claims of the house of Anjou to Naples, and to enter on an Italian campaign. This led to those long Italian wars in which during Maximilian's lifetime diaries VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I. of France, Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain, the popes Alexander VI. and Julius II., the empire. Switzerland, the republic of Venice, and Naples were principally engaged. Campaigns, treaties of peace, alliances, and treacherous desertions of allies followed in rapid succession; but the details belong to the history of the more important actors. Maximilian! who in 1493 had succeeded his father as emperor, played in the whole a secondary part, so far inadequate to his schemes were the supplies which he was able to extort from the unwilling states.
One of these plans was that of becoming pope after the death of Julius II. Instead of aiding their emperor, the states of Germany were always ready to complain, and the empire itself was not a little distracted by feuds, in spite of the eternal peace decreed by the diet of Worms in 1495, of the new Reichs-kammergericht, and the exertions of the Swa-bian league for the maintenance of order. Switzerland, which was to be reconquered, now entirely detached itself from the Germanic body, whose head saw himself often deserted by his allies, sometimes by his own troops, and frequently penniless. The troubles of the reformation broke out shortly before his death. In the mean time he had not neglected to continue the safer and peaceful conquests of his house. Philip and Margaret, his only two children by Mary of Burgundy, married Juana and Juan, the children of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile; Philip succeeded to the throne of Castile in 1504, and died in 1506; and his son Charles, on the death of Ferdinand in 1516, inherited the whole of Spain. This young prince also became the successor of Maximilian as emperor of Germany, under the name of Charles V., his younger brother Ferdinand receiving the German possessions of Austria, and subsequently, in consequence of other marriage connections, also ascending the thrones of Hungary and Bohemia, Having also succeeded Charles V. in the empire, Ferdinand I. left all his thrones to his good-natured but feeble son Maximilian II. (1564-76). Maximilian I. left several treatises on military science, gardening, the chase, and other subjects, and a poetical work on his own life.