True Name: Leopoldo Giovanni Giuseppe Francesco Ferdinando Carlo
Parents: Ferdinand III, grand duke of Tuscany, and Luisa of the Two Sicilies
Date of Birth: 3 October 1797
Royal House: Habsburg-Lorraine
Spouse: Maria Anna of Saxony, then Maria Antonia of the Two Sicilies
Reign: 1824 – 1859
Predecessor: Ferdinand III
Summary: As with many Habsburg marriages, the parents of Leopold II were first cousins on both sides. Luckily, this did not effect the health and wellbeing of Leopold much. Despite the overwhelming influence of his Austrian family, Leopold as grand duke sought to grant Tuscany as many allowances as possible. When wave-upon-wave of protests began against monarchs throughout Europe, Leopold did his best to accommodate within his means. He made many administrative reforms and created a national guard. In 1848, the Tuscany Constitution was promulgated despite heavy resistance from Austrian-Habsburg advisors. Leopold went so far as to send regulars and volunteers to fight with Piedmont for the independence of Lombardy from Austria. For a brief while, a movement arose to elect Leopold as king of a new Kingdom of Central Italy, but it fizzled when Leopold went into negotiations with Austria and the papacy over the future of Italy.
On 9 February 1849, Leopold was publicly deposed and a republic was declared. This was not the first time that such an event had occurred in Tuscany. Two months later, after much confusion and fear of the Austrians, Leopold was invited back. Austria invaded Tuscany soon after and they remained in the country for many years. One-by-one the government was returned to a despotate, though Leopold remained as giving as he could. The constitution was revoked in 1852 and trials against malefactors were held over the course of the subsequent three years. When Austrian troops finally vacated Tuscany in 1855, Leopold was no longer the popular monarch he had once been. Italian unification fervor overcame the populace and Leopold was forced out. He formally abdicated in exile on 21 July 1859. His son, the titular grand duke, issued a formal protest agains the revolution the next year, but Tuscany was fully behind Piedmont now in the unification of Italy.
Date of Death: 29 January 1870
Successor: Ferdinand IV
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