Ferdinand VI the Great (1627 - 1708) was the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Stolz and ruler of the Habsburg dominions from 1645 until his death. He has been the longest ruling monarch in Stolzian history. Ferdinand VI has became known throughout history as Ferdinand the Great.

Ferdinand's reign was notable for strengthening government, expanding the Habsburg realms and the mainland of Stolz as well as expanding Stolz's sphere of influence.

Reign of Charles III - His Royal Highness, the Archduke Ferdinand Edit

Ferdinand VI was born on the 13th of April, 1627 at the Hofberg Palace to Charles III, Holy Roman Emperor and his consort, Maria of Saxony. Ferdinand was the first child of Charles III, and thus became the heir apparent to the throne of Stolz. The birth was much celebrated within the Habsburg dominions, as a new Archduke and Heir apparent had been born.

Ferdinand's upbringing was a serious, well-planned out and grand affair, in which Charles III had instructed the child's guardians and tutors to teach him well in all the essential duties of being a true monarch. Charles grew up in an atmosphere of absolute monarchy, grandeur and aristocracy. However, during Charles III's reign, the large country was wracked by civil war. The many decentralised feudal nobles were constantly at odds with each other, as well as the King himself.

Ferdinand, during his childhood, had a large belief in the "Divine Right of Kings". This meant that Kings were all-powerful people, appointed and sent by God to rule upon Earth by his will and in his light. However, in the early and mid 17th century, Stolz was by no means a unified country. There were many different cultures, languages and control. Many great noblemen controlled the realm, with the King personally controlling little but Vienna. Charles III, unlike many members of the Royal Family, was quite content with the situation. In fact, Charles had been kept rather clueless of the state of his country by his Chief Minister, the Count of Baden. The Count had huge influence over the King, and he would do anything to ensure that the King was blind of the situation in his country.

However, the Archduke Otto, a brother of the King, disliked the status quo of the Count of Baden being the de facto ruler of Stolz. Archduke Otto, along with the Archdukes Francis and Charles, as well as the Empress Maria, began to conspire against the power of the Count. As King Charles went on a diplomatic visit to the French Kingdom, the plot began without the King being aware. Archduke Otto travelled to the Army barracks and switched their allegiance to him. The Army had been suffering mistreatment and underpayment under the Count.

As the Count slept at Hofberg, no less in chambers fit for one of the Archdukes, the one army regiment entered through the gates quietly. They walked through the palace swiftly and easily, making their way to the second floor. They burst into the Count's chamber, who attempted to hide in his office, but they cornered him and knocked him out using the bottoms of their muskets. After they had taken him far away from Vienna, they ruled that the Count was to be exiled from the main Empire, to live on the island of Corsica. The Count's family, meanwhile, fell from grace and were sent away from court. When King Charles returned from France, the news of the boycott of the Count distressed him greatly. A furious King, influenced by his rage, sentenced his brother to death, an unpopular action.

Personal Reign - His Imperial Majesty, the King of Stolz and Holy Roman Emperor Edit

Portrait of Charles III of Habsburg

Ferdinand VI during the first year of his reign

Ferdinand's father, King Charles III, died on the 27th of October 1745 at Hofberg Palace after a long period of illness. Ferdinand's succession to the throne as Ferdinand VI was a period of great hope for the Kingdom, with a new monarch after years of ineffective and decentralised rule. Ferdinand was also elected Holy Roman Emperor. Ferdinand's education had taught him that centralisation was a good thing and should be practised. The Holy Roman Empire's complicated political structure would also make centralisation beneficial.

Ferdinand was trained to be a great strategist and man of war in his youth, and some of his first actions in his reign were dedicated to building up Stolz's armed forces. Ferdinand was a powerful man in Europe, upon his succession holding the following titles; Holy Roman Emperor, King in Germany, King of Stolz, King of Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Switzerland, Duke of Upper Burgundy and Ruler of the Stolzian Netherlands. Ferdinand also commanded a powerful army and navy, making him stronger than the French Kingdom, though this power was disputed.

Ferdinand VI was taught to avoid the same issues that his father, Charles III, had suffered during his reign. Firstly, Ferdinand VI decided to renovate and refurbish the old Schonbrunn hunting lodge in Vienna, in order to accommodate his court. Ferdinand's plan was to bring his court to reside at Schonbrunn, in order to prevent them being meddlesome and creating problems of decentralisation back at their country estates. Ferdinand re-modelled both the palace exterior and interior, updating them in the newest styles of the age, as well as adding on extensions to accommodate the great nobility of Stolz. Ferdinand invited his nobility to the completed Schonbrunn in 1653, where they would be told to stay for their lives.