Franz Ferdinand

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Franz Ferdinand, born on December 18, 1863, was the archduke of Austria and heir to the Imperial crown of Austria-Hungary. On June 28, 1914 he was assassinated in Sarajevo, capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand organization, a Serbian ultra-nationalist group. The political ramifications of his assassination led to an outbreak of hostilities between countries in Europe and the start of World War I.

Franz Ferdinand was the nephew and heir-apparent to Emperor Franz Joseph I, a monarch who was known for being staunchly conservative and traditionalist, opposing change of any kind. Ferdinand however, held to a slightly more progressive view of how Austria-Hungary should function in the future. At that time, there were many significant ethnic groups aside from Austrians and Hungarians in the empire, and these minorities had no representation in the running of the country. Franz Ferdinand had a map drawn up to illustrate his ambitious goal: The United States of Great Austria, wherein the significant ethnic groups would be given their own province within the greater superstate, sharing a stark resemblance to the United States Of America.