Francis Joseph I (German: Franz Josef) (1830–1916), emperor of Austria (1848–1916), king of Hungary (1867–1916), and emperor of Austria-Hungary (1867–1916). Francis Joseph, a member of the Hapsburg family, was the nephew of Ferdinand I, emperor of Austria. During the revolution of 1848, Ferdinand abdicated and was succeeded by Francis Joseph. The new emperor quelled the revolt in Austria. In Hungary, at this time an Austrian province, nationalists, led by Lajos Kossuth, declared their country independent. Francis Joseph, aided by the Russians, crushed Kossuth's rebellion and restored Austrian authority in Hungary.
In an effort to rebuild the empire after the revolution, Francis Joseph granted a constitution in 1849, but he reestablished autocratic rule in 1851. During the early 1860's, there were sporadic rebellions against his autocratic rule, and nationalist agitation by Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Italian, Ruthenian, Romanian, and Serbian minorities in the empire. In 1867 negotiations with Hungarian leaders opposed to Austrian rule resulted in the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, which granted constitutions to Austria and Hungary and established a dual monarchy.
In 1879 Francis Joseph formed the Dual Alliance with Germany. During the 1880's and 1890's, he began to expand imperial holdings in the Balkans. This expansion brought Austria-Hungary into competition with Russia, which also had designs on the region. These events increased the tensions that led to World War I.
The last years of Francis Joseph's reign were filled with personal tragedy. In 1889 Crown Prince Rudolph, his only son, and a woman companion were found dead in Mayerling, near Vienna, presumably suicides. The emperor's wife, Elizabeth, was killed by an anarchist in Geneva in 1898. In 1914 his nephew, Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne, was assassinated at Sarajevo. This incident led to the outbreak of World War I.