Austrian Early History

Austrian history, until 1918 the Habsburg monarchy extended over large parts of Central Europe. The strategically central location ensures that the Republic of Austria, regardless of its size, is of decisive importance as a mediator between Eastern and Western Europe.

The First World War ended with a military defeat for the Central Powers. The breakup of the Habsburg monarchy and the creation of independent nation states. On November 12th, 1918 the Republic of “German Austria” was proclaimed in Vienna, and the official designation of the “Republic of Austria” was finally introduced on October 21, 1919.

According to, Austria has a common history with Central Europe.

Early and High Middle Ages

At the beginning of the 6th century the Bavarians established a permanent rule in the Danube and Alpine regions; Western Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg and Tyrol already belonged to the Baier tribal area. There were also Slavic settlements of the Moravians in Lower Austria and the Slovenes in Styria and Carinthia. With the tribal area of ​​the Baiern, the Austrian states also came under the influence of the Franconian Empire. In the 8th century Carinthia became dependent on the Bavarian dukes. After the destruction of the Avar Empire by Charlemagne (791/796), the Bavarian rulership was able to expand to the east and south-east.

A number of brands (such as the Avar Mark) protected the newly acquired land: the border areas open to the east were lost to the Magyars, until the victory of Otto I, the great, on the Lechfeld (955) caused the brands to re-emerge, in particular instead of the Avar Mark the Babenberg Mark (996 “Ostarrichi”, also known as Austria) between Enns and Traisen, which gradually expanded down the Danube. Austria, Styria and Carniola later emerged from Marken. Salzburg, Trient, Brixen and Aquileja developed as spiritual territories. In 976 Emperor Otto II separated Carinthia as an independent duchy from Bavaria.

The leading sex in the German southeast became the Babenbergs, since 976 margraves; they also established themselves in parts of what is now Upper Austria, received the title of Duke of Austria in 1156 and acquired Styria in 1192 (duchy since 1180). When the Babenbergs died out in the male line with Frederick II, the arrogant, in 1246, the Bohemian King Ottokar II Přemysl seized power in Austria from 1251–54; In 1260 he won Styria, in 1269 he inherited Carinthia and Carniola. Only King Rudolf I of Habsburg put an end to Bohemian power in the Danube and Alpine countries (Battle of Dürnkrut on Marchfeld, 1278); In 1282/83 he gave the duchies of Austria and Styria as settled imperial fiefs to his sons Albrecht I and Rudolf II, while Carinthia with Carniola was left to the Counts of Görz and Tirol (Meinhardiner).

The Habsburgs in the late Middle Ages

As the bearers of the Roman (German) royal crown, the Habsburgs regarded the Austrian states as the domicile of their sexes. They also had old possessions in the south-west of the empire (Swabia, Alsace, Switzerland), which they tried in vain to expand. While the beginning of the independence of the Swiss Confederation in the 14th and 15th centuries reduced the south-west German holdings, the Habsburg territorial policy in the German south-east was successful. Duke Albrecht II, the lame, acquired Carinthia and Carniola (1335), his eldest son, Duke Rudolf IV., The founder, Tyrol (1363/64), whose brother Duke Leopold III. Inner Istria (1374) and Trieste (1382). The Vorarlberg counties were acquired since 1375. The rank claimed by the Habsburg house of Austria was also expressed in the falsifications of Rudolf IV: The Privilegium maius sought to secure a position for his family that corresponded to that of the elector. Due to the divisions in 1379 (Neuberg on the Mürz; Albertine and Leopoldine line of the Habsburgs), in 1406 and 1411 three Habsburg-Austrian groups of states (administrative areas) emerged: the Lower Austrian (Northern and Upper Austria), the Inner-Austrian (Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Inneristria, Trieste) and the Upper and Upper Austrian states (“Vorlande”: Tyrol, Vorarlberg, the Swabian and Alsatian possessions as well as the remainder of the property in northern Switzerland). Through inheritance contracts with the Luxembourgers, the Habsburgs became the successors of the Luxembourg claims: Duke Albrecht V became King of Bohemia and Hungary in 1437/38, at the same time King of Rome (as Albrecht II). His successor Friedrich V (as King or EmperorFriedrich III.) elevated Austria to the Archduchy in 1453 and confirmed the Privilegium maius. After the Albertine line was extinguished, local kings followed in Bohemia and Hungary. Internal struggles with the nobility and cities shook Habsburg rule. The Hungarian King Matthias I Corvinus temporarily occupied large parts of Austria, including Vienna from 1485–90. With his accession to power (1493), King Maximilian I reunited the Austrian hereditary lands in one hand; In 1500 he inherited Gorizia.

The marriage (1496) of his son, Philip I, the Handsome, with Joanna of Castile and León (later called Joanna the Mad) secured the Habsburgs Spain with its Italian possessions and the American colonial empire.

Austrian Early History

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