CDR-1377: SR Image Set: Maria Theresa-born 300 years ago

Maria Theresa (13 May 1717-29 November 1780), the last Habsburg ruler over much of Europe led a truly remarkable life. Discriminated against for her gender, Charles VI worked all his life and tried to secure his daughter's succession in the "Pragmatic Sanction." Promised in marriage to Franz of Lorraine at age 4 (the marriage took place 15 years later), she bore 16 children during her 40-year reign, while defending her territories and reign during a number of "succession wars" and the Seven Years' war. Frederick II of Prussia--staunch enemy for most of her life-succeeded in occupying Silesia, but for the most part her diplomatic skills resulted in keeping the Habsburg kingdom together and was further extended by marrying off her daughters to the leading houses in Europe, with Marie-Antoinette caught up in the beginnings of the French Revolution. Marie Theresa introduced compulsory education for all children aged 6 to 14. She improved infrastructure, including the canals in Ghent; she was instrumental in the foundation of La Scala in Milan; she was open to medical practices introduced by Dutch physician Gerard van Swieten, the Habsbourg family doctor and many others.