How many countries ruled Austria

The Habsburgs

Headquarters in Switzerland

The name Habsburg goes back to the village and the Habsburg Castle in Aargau, Switzerland. The Habsburgs had their ancestral seat here in the 12th and 13th centuries and have been using the Habsburg family name since 1108.

It only took a few generations before the Habsburg family was able to significantly expand their territory and secure the German royal dignity in league with the Roman imperial dignity.

Emperor Friedrich III. - skillful and subtle

In 1379 the Habsburg dynasty divided into two lines, the Austrian (Albertine) house and the Styrian (Leopoldine) line.

Albrecht II, who ruled as German king from 1438 to 1439, came from the Austrian line. He was followed by Friedrich III in 1440. from the Styrian line to the throne.

Friedrich III. succeeded in significantly expanding the Habsburg power. Through his skillful and subtle politics and his 43-year reign, he acquired all of Austria for the House of Habsburg, affirmed his claims to Bohemia and Hungary and, in addition to the German royal crown, also obtained the imperial dignity. In 1452 he was anointed emperor in Rome.

Friedrich III married his son Maximilian I. with Mary of Burgundy. In this way he secured the Burgundian hereditary lands, including the rich Netherlands, for the House of Habsburg.

The dispute with the French House of Valois, which also laid claim to Burgundy, was inevitable.

Do Felix Austria nube!

The actual rise of the Habsburgs to a great power began with Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). Maximilian was the son of Friedrich III. and a Portuguese princess. He married Maria of Burgundy, the richest heiress of her time, and later in second marriage Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan.

In 1493 he handed over the government of Burgundy and the Netherlands to his son Philip the Fair (1478-1506).

As head of the House of Habsburg, Maximilian was anxious to marry his son as politically as possible. There had been trade relations with Spain for a long time, so a connection between Habsburg and Spain was obvious.

Philip the Fair married the Infanta Joan the Mad (1479-1555), heiress of Aragon and Castile.

Through them the Spanish Empire came into Habsburg possession. "Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube! - Wars may be waged by others. You, happy Austria, get married!"

According to this famous motto, the House of Habsburg was finally able to establish itself in the 16th century. Thanks to Maximilian's skilful marriage policy and dynastic fortunes for the family, the Habsburg lands soon expanded into a global empire.

A realm where the sun doesn't set

Philip's son Karl (1500-1558) was born in Ghent in Flanders in 1500. After the death of his father at the age of six, he inherited the Netherlands and Burgundy.

In 1516 he became king of Spain. At the age of 19, after the death of his grandfather Maximilian in 1519, he inherited the Habsburg lands in Austria.

Charles also ruled over Castile and Aragon, Navarre, Granada, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and the newly discovered Spanish lands in America. He was the most powerful Habsburg of all time, ruler of an empire in which the sun never set.

Emperor Karl V - the man with many titles

Karl competed with Franz I of France and Henry VIII of England to succeed his grandfather Maximilian as German Emperor and King. The European powers observed the enormous concentration of power in the hands of the Habsburgs with suspicion.

The Pope, who saw himself threatened by the encirclement of the Papal States by the German Empire in the north and the Spaniards in the south, supported the candidacy of the French king.

But with the help of his politically versed Chancellor Gattinara and financially secured by the House of Fugger, Karl succeeded in moving the German electors in his favor. Karl was elected German Emperor and was solemnly crowned as Emperor Karl V in Aachen on October 23, 1519.

The idea of ​​a world empire is impressively represented in the titles that Karl used in Germany after his suggestion: "Roman king, future emperor, always Augustus, king of Spain, Sicily, Jerusalem, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Indian islands as well as the mainland across the ocean.

In addition, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Luxembourg, Limburg, Athens and Neopatria, Count of Habsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, Count Palatine of Burgundy, Hainaut, Roussillon, Landgrave in Alsace, Prince in Swabia, Lord in Asia and Africa ".

Charles V had an idea of ​​the renewal of the Roman-German Empire, as a universal power of order over Western Christianity. But in addition to wars against France, the Pope and the Turks, Karl had to watch impotently as the Reformation split the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.

The end of the Roman Empire

After Charles V abdicated in 1556, the Habsburg possessions were divided. Karl's brother Ferdinand I founded the Austrian line and received the Austrian hereditary lands, Bohemia and Hungary.

Charles's son Philip II took over Spain, the American colonies, Burgundy, the Netherlands, Sicily, Sardinia, Milan and Naples.

Philip II founded the Spanish line, which died out in 1700. In the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Habsburgs could only dispose of the southern Netherlands, Naples and Milan.

In 1713, Emperor Charles VI issued the "Pragmatic Sanction" because he had no male descendants. She declared the Habsburg hereditary lands indivisible and secured the throne for his eldest daughter Maria Theresa.

In 1804 Franz II became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. But just two years later, under pressure from Napoleon, he gave up the imperial title again. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was over.

Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy

But the Habsburgs continued to maintain their power over the Austrian hereditary lands. Even if Emperor Franz II had to resign as Emperor of the old Empire, he assumed the title of Emperor of Austria in 1806.

Austria was a multi-ethnic state, it included Bohemia and Moravia, today's Austria, Hungary and the Balkans.

In 1866, Habsburg disappeared from the all-German map on the occasion of the Austro-Prussian War. A year later, the Habsburg Empire was transformed into the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy.

The Habsburg kings of Hungary remained until they were deposed at the end of the First World War in 1918.

Dissolution of the Habsburg monarchy

After the defeat in World War I, the non-German-speaking areas broke away from Austria and the monarchy was dissolved. Karl I, the last Austrian emperor, renounced the throne in 1918.

A year later, the Habsburgs were expelled from the country. It was not until 1966 that the exile of the Habsburgs was lifted again.