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Gavrilo Princip

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo.

Princip was born in Obljaj, a part of the Ottoman Empire. His father and mother had nine children, but six of them died as infants. His parents were so poor that Gavrilo was sent to live with his older brother because they could not support him.

  • Born July 25th, 1894
  • Died April 28th, 1918
  • Cause of Death - Tuberculosis
  • Buried in Saint Mark Cemetery, Sarajevo

Gavrilo PrincipAs a young adult, Princip participated in demonstrations against the Sarajevo authorities. He wanted to join the Black Hand, which was a Serbian guerrilla group but he was not accepted because of his physical size.

Gavrilo Princip's Attempt

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were attending the opening of a new hospital in Sarajevo. Ferdinand and Sophie arrive by train and drove through the city with a motorcade. They were in the second car along. The roof of the car was open which allowed the crowds to see couple. Princip and five others were spread out along the route. Each person was instructed to kill Franz when he rode by the crowd. One of the conspirators threw a grenade at their car. The explosion was delayed and ended up exploding under the fourth car in the motorcade and injured those inside. As a result of the failed assassination attempt, Princip was not able to get a clear shot.

Later, Ferdinand decided to visit the victims from the fourth car at the hospital. On his way to the hospital the driver made a wrong turn and the car passed Princip who was eating a café. When the driver realized his mistake, he went to turn around but the car stalled. Princip took advantage and began shooting at the car. Franz was shot in the neck and his wife the stomach. Both died shortly after.

After the assassinations, Princip tried to take his own life to avoid arrest. He was unsuccessful and was taken to prison. Since he was not yet twenty years old, he was not able to receive the death penalty. Instead, he received the maximum sentence of twenty years. He was held in rough conditions. He died a little over three years after he killed Franz and Sophie.

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