m. 5 Aug 1765
Facts and Events
Anton Victor, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia (31 August 1779 – 2 April 1835) was an Archduke of Austria and a Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. He was also briefly the last Archbishop and Elector of Cologne and Prince-Bishop of Münster before those territories were secularised in 1803.
After the death of Maximilian Franz, Archbishop and Prince Elector of Cologne and Prince-Bishop of Münster, Anton Victor was chosen on 9 September 1801 as Prince-Bishop of Münster and on 7 October as Archbishop and Prince Elector of Cologne. The Electorate’s Rhenish territories had been occupied by the French in 1794 and had in 1800 become part of France (in Cologne’s case as sub-prefecture of the new département de la Roër, based on Aix-la-Chapelle), this state of affairs preventing Anton from taking his seat in Cologne Cathedral (which had in any case been reduced by the revolutionaries to the status of a parish church, a status which it had up till then never possessed, but which it retained even after reinstatement of the Archdiocese in 1821 until very recently) and leaving him in control only of the Duchy of Westphalia, as well as of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. His reign was to prove a short one - in the reorganisation of the Holy Roman Empire as provided by its law of 1803 (at the time of writing still nameless) enacting the so-called Reichsdeputationshauptschluss (recte: Recès principal de la délégation extraordinaire d’Empire ‘Hauptschluß der außerordentlichen Reichsdeputation’, ‘chief recommendation of the select committee of the Reichstag’), the archiepiscopal electorates of Cologne and Treves were abolished and Anton’s remaining territories secularised, Münster being seized by the Prussians and Westphalia claimed by the Landgrave of Hessia-Darmstadt.
Anton Victor became Grand Master of the Teutonic Order in 1804. The Order’s German lands, centred on Mergentheim, were secularised in 1809, but Anton remained its Grand Master until his death. Between 1816 and 1818 he was Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia.