May 13, 1717
Birth of Maria Theresa in Vienna, Austria. Maria was the daughter of the Holy Roman emperor, Karl VI. Since Karl had no sons, he sought to bring his daughter to the rule of the Habsburg empire through a new regulation, Die Pragmatische Sanktion, which changed the custom of excluding women from the succession. Thus Maria became in 1740 the archduchess (Erzherzogin) of Austria and the queen of Hungary and Bohemia. However since there were forces who did not accept the succession, she was forced to fight for her heritage in the War of Austrian Succession (Erbfolgekrieg) (1740-48). She further had to contend with Prussia’s claims on Silesia, the Seven Years’ war (1756-1763) and the war of Bavarian Succession (1778-1779). She was married to Franz Stephan von Lothringen and the mother of 16 children, of whom Josef II succeeded her. She was a deeply committed Catholic both in her moral views and in her devotion to the Church.
May 13, 1723
Johann Sebastian Bach becomes cantor of the Thomasschule at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. (Bach was not the first choice. The post had been turned down by Georg Philipp Telemann and Christoph Graupner.)
May 13, 1729
Birth of Heinrich Wilhelm Stiegel near Cologne, Germany. Stiegel immigrated to Philadelphia in 1750. There he built an ironworks and soon expanded to a second ironworks in Lancaster. At the boycott of British imports he expanded his manufacture of window glass and bottles at a company he founded called the American Flint Glassworks. He was highly successful and became known for his mansions, servants and high life style. As economic conditions deteriorated with the approach of the war with England, however, his fortunes declined. By 1774 he was in debtors prison.
May 13, 1785
Birth of Friedrich Dahlmann (1785-1860) in Wismar, Germany. Dahlmann was a professor of history at the universities of Kiel Bonn, and Göttingen. He assisted in the drafting of the constitution of Hannover in 1833. He was instrumental in the formulation of the Declaration of Basic Rights at the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 and was a member of the delegation sent to Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia offering him the position of Emperor of the new German Empire. (Friedrich Wilhelm refused.)
May 13, 1885
Death of the University of Göttingen anatomist, Friedrich Henle (teacher of Robert Koch).
May 13, 1935
Death of Hermann Collitz in Baltimore, Ohio. (born in Bleckede, Germany). A linguist, Collitz contributed to knowledge of Indo-European languages, the study of Sanskrit and sound changes in Germanic languages. He was a professor at the University of Halle until 1886 when he immigrated to the United States and became a professor at Bryn Mawr College. Later he was appointed to a position at Johns Hopkins University.
Back to Today in German History Calendar