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Maria Theresa

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Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma.

During her rule she changed the royal palace outside Vienna (the Austrian capital) to look much like Versailles. Vienna itself became an important center for the arts, especially music. Maria Theresa added support to her absolute power by tightening her hold on the government. She also improved conditions for the peasants. She is generally known to history as the Empress Maria Theresa.

Maria Theresa was born in Vienna, Austria, on 13 May 1717. Her parents were Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Her father had made the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, a decree which allowed a female ruler despite the Salic law prohibition.

Maria Theresa married Duke Francis Stephan I of Lorraine for love.

Maria Theresa died in Vienna, Austria, on 29 November 1780.

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