*1557 (Vienna, Austria), †1619 (Vienna, Austria)
King of Bohemia and member of the Habsburg dynasty, son of Maxmilian II of Habsburg, brother and successor to Rudolf II. From the beginning of the 17th century, he gradually began to accumulate power as Rudolf II succumbed to illness, first through intrigues and then by military strength. In 1608 he took over the rule of Austria, Hungary and Moravia and in 1611, on Rudolf’s forced abdication, he was made King of Bohemia and after his death in 1612 Holy Roman Emperor. The hopes of the Czech nobility that Matthias would be a more accessible ruler than his brother, proved to be unfounded – Matthias was a strong supporter of the Catholic faction and moved his base from Prague to Vienna. From then until 1918 Prague remained a provincial city and was no longer the seat of the head of state. Matthias died at the beginning of the Thirty Years War during the second revolt of the estates, an armed uprising of the Bohemian protestants against the imperial might.