Matthias was Holy Roman Emperor from 1612, King of Hungary and Croatia from 1608 (as Matthias II) and King of Bohemia from 1611. He was a member of the House of Habsburg.
Matthias was born in the Austrian capital of Vienna to Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain.
Matthias married Archduchess Anna of Austria, daughter of his uncle Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria, whose successor in Further Austria Matthias became in 1595. Their marriage did not produce surviving children.
In 1593 he was appointed governor of Austria by his brother, Emperor Rudolf II. He formed a close association there with the Bishop of Vienna, Melchior Klesl, who later became his chief adviser. In 1605 Matthias forced the ailing emperor to allow him to deal with the Hungarian Protestant rebels. The result was the Peace of Vienna of 1606, which guaranteed religious freedom in Hungary and guaranteed the right of Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes in the future. In the same year Matthias was recognized as head of the House of Habsburg and as the future Holy Roman Emperor, as a result of Rudolf's illness. Allying himself with the estates of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia, Matthias forced his brother to yield rule of these lands to him in 1608; Rudolf later ceded Bohemia in 1611. Matthias's army then held Rudolf prisoner in his castle in Prague, until 1611, when Rudolf was forced to cede the crown of Bohemia to his brother.
Matthias died in Vienna in 1619.