The eldest son of Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa, Joseph II was born in Vienna on March 13, 1741. He became emperor of the Austrian lands with his mother when Francis died in 1765. During this period he worked with state chancellor W. A. von Kaunitz to expand the Habsburg Empire, acquiring Galicia from Poland (1772) and Bukovina from the Ottoman Empire (1775). His attempt to annex Lower Bavaria, however, was ruined by Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia.
As sole ruler after Maria Theresa's death in 1780, Joseph worked on a thorough reform of church and state in accordance with the rational principles of the 18th-century Enlightenment. He granted religious toleration to Protestants, ended discriminatory laws against Jews, and reorganized the Roman Catholic Church He reorganized the Catholic Church by closing many monasteries, subjecting the education of priests to state control, and limiting the power of the Pope to intervene in Austria.
Joseph eliminated most forms of censorship, freed the serfs, separated the executive from the judiciary, and created a new code of laws. To bring together the administration of the various Habsburg realms, he stopped numerous parts of local government and tried to impose the German language on his Hungarian and Slavic subjects. In foreign affairs, Joseph maintained close ties with Russia. Joseph died in Vienna on February 20, 1790.
Joseph II was connected to Mozart. Joseph II invited Mozart and a Roman composer to appear before him at the Hofburg that day before Christmas to entertain with a keyboard competition. Joseph II was experienced at the keyboard and on the strings. He practiced everyday and preformed many times. At the competition Mozart was forced to use a piano which was out of tune and not working properly. The Emperor did not care though. Joseph...