Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914) was the heir presumptive to the throne of Austro-Hungarian Empire, also referred to as Austria-Hungary. His assassination on 28 June 194 in Sarajevo (capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina) is considered the spark that caused World War 1.
Franz Ferdinand was the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Following the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889 and the death of Karl Ludwig in 1896, Franz Ferdinand became the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His courtship of Sophie Chotek, a lady-in-waiting, was a cause of conflict. Regardless, he married her in 1900, but only after he renounced his descendants’ rights to the throne. Franz Ferdinand held great influence over the military. In 1913 he was appointed inspector general of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces.
On 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo by the 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia. Franz Ferdinand’s assassination led to the July Crisis and precipitated Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, which, in turn, triggered a series of events that eventually led to Austria-Hungary’s allies and Serbia’s allies declaring war on each other, starting World War 1.