Maximilian was born at Wiener Neustadt (Vienna) as he son of Emperor Frederick III. He married the heiress of Burgundy, Mary, the only daughter of Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy. Through this marriage, Maximilian obtained the Netherlands and the the Free County of Burgundy, but unfortunately also a long rivalry with the French monarchy.
Elected and crowned king of the Romans in 1486 at the initiative of his father, he became Roman Roman Emperor upon his father's death in 1493. In 1494 he married Bianca Maria Sforza, niece of Ludovico il Moro. The following year he subscribed an alliance with Ludovico, Pope Alexander VI, the king of Naples Ferdinand the Catholic and Venice (the Holy League), against Charles VIII king of France, who had invaded parts of Italy the year before In 1508.
Maximilian was a man of vast and open culture and also "protector" of artists and humanists.