Former empire celebrates anarchist of the century
Perhaps no 19-year-old in the history of the world has had as much influence on the subsequent 100 years of his or her continent as Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo led to World War I, the deaths of some 37 million people, the breakup of an empire, and arguably to the subsequent rise of Nazism and the outbreak of World War II, which had twice the number of dead of the Great War and caused two Japanese cities to be wiped from the map in 1945.
Princip could not have dreamed that his actions would be so consequential. He was merely fed up with the Habsburgs, the royal family that had dominated the Holy Roman Empire and ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which included Princip’s native land of Bosnia and Hercegovina, during its 50-year existence.
On June 28 1914, after the failure of an assassination attempt earlier in the day, carried out by another member of the network of assassins, Gavrilo Princip fired and killed both the archduke and his wife, Sophie, the duchess of Hohenberg, who was of Bohemian descent.
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