On This Day

Gavrilo Princip

Assassin Gavrilo Princip

Profession: Assassin

Nationality: Bosnian-Serb

Biography: Princip was a Bosnian-Serb and a member of the group Young Bosnia, who were dedicated to ending the rule of Austria-Hungary in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been in place since 1878.

Princip and his co-conspirators, including one member from the group Black Hand, planned and executed the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, on June 28, 1914. Ferdinand and his wife were visiting Sarajevo at the time. Princip shot both at point-blank range with his pistol, and they died shortly after.

The assassination - the first attempt at which failed, and was only made possible because the Archduke's motorcade took a wrong turn on their return trip through the city - sparked World War I, after Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia, invoking a series of complicated alliances in the power keg of Europe.

Princip was sentenced to twenty years in prison, the maximum for his age, and died on April 28, 1918 from tuberculosis. World War I killed an estimated 40 million people around the world.

Born: July 25, 1894
Birthplace: Obljaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire, officially the Ottoman Empire

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Leo

Died: April 28, 1918 (aged 23)
Cause of Death: Tuberculosis

Historical Events

  • 1914-06-28 Assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie by Bosnian-Serb assassin Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, setting off chain of alliances that begin WWI

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