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Franz Ferdinand Biography
Franz Ferdinand (sometimes called Francis Ferdinand in English) (December 18, 1863 - June 28, 1914) was born in Graz, Austria and was the Habsburg Archduke of Austria and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination by Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo, Austrian-occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina, precipitated the Austrian declaration of war against Serbia which triggered World War I.

A nephew of the Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria and next in line to the crown following the suicide of his cousin Crown Prince Rudolph at Mayerling (January 30, 1889) and the death of his father Karl Ludwig (May 19, 1896). His marriage (July 1, 1900) to (the relatively low-ranking) Countess Sophie Chotek (henceforth Duchess of Hohenburg) was permitted only after the couple had agreed that the bride would not enjoy royal status and their children would have no claims to the throne. Franz Josef did not attend the wedding.

Franz Ferdinand alienated many sections of Austro-Hungarian political opinion: Hungarian nationalists opposed his advocacy of universal male suffrage which would undermine Magyar domination in the Hungarian kingdom; both supporters and opponents of the Empire's existing dualist structure were suspicious of his idea for a third Croat-dominated Slav kingdom including Bosnia and Herzegovina as a bulwark against what was perceived in Vienna's hausplatz as Serbian irredentism; and non-Catholics and anticlericalists were angered by his patronage (April 22, 1900) of the Catholic Schools Association.

No evidence has been found to support suggestions that his low-security visit to Sarajevo was arranged by elements within Austro-Hungarian official circles with the intention of exposing him to the risk of assassination so as to remove a potentially troublesome royal personage from the scene.

The bullet fired by Gavrilo Princip in the Archduke's assassination, sometimes referred to as "the bullet that started World War I", is stored as a museum exhibit in the Konopiste Castle in the town of Konopiste, Czech Republic.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Franz Ferdinand.