Austrian Modern History Part I

Reformation and confessionalization

According to, the inheritance of Maximilian I and Philip the Fair fell in 1519 to the grandsons of Maximilian, Charles V (1519 Roman King, 1530 Emperor) and Ferdinand I. Charles V retained the Spanish possessions with the Netherlands, Burgundy, Milan, Naples, and Sicily Sardinia; In 1521/22 he left the government of the Austrian hereditary lands, including Tyrol, to the younger brother.

Thus Ferdinand (since 1531 Roman king) the progenitor of the Austrian line of the Habsburgs, for which he by Charles won the imperial abdication 1558th When the last Jagiellonian of Bohemia and Hungary, Ludwig II, fell (Mohács 1526), ​​the Bohemian and part of the Hungarian estates also made Ferdinand their king. The national party in Hungary had previously made J. Zápolya, the voivode of Transylvania, king; with Turkish help he was able to assert himself in eastern Hungary and Transylvania. Although the siege of Vienna (1529) was repulsed, the establishment of the Turks in inner Hungary could not be prevented from 1542/43.

In the 16th century, the struggle between the ruling family and the estates, who were mostly the pioneers of Austrian Protestantism, determined the fate of the country. In 1564 the Habsburg lands were divided among Ferdinand’s sons: EmperorMaximilian II (also King of Bohemia and Hungary) received Austria (main line), Archduke Ferdinand II. Tyrol and the foreland (Tyrolean line) and Archduke Karl II. Inner Austria (Styrian line).

Maximilian II, who at times leaned towards Protestantism, saw himself, like Charles, compelled to grant religious freedom (1571/72). Recatholization began under Emperor Rudolf II after the Council of Trent; But Rudolf had to guarantee freedom of religion to the Bohemian estates in his majesty 1609. The decisive recatholization measures originated in Inner Austria, where Karl’s son Ferdinand suppressed Protestantism, beginning in Styria.

Tyrol had reverted to the entire house of the Habsburgs as early as 1595. When in 1619 the Austrian main line expired with Emperor Matthias, his cousin from the Styrian line, Archduke Ferdinand of Inner Austria, also acquired rule in Austria, Bohemia and Hungary, plus the dignity of Emperor (as Ferdinand II). He left only Tyrol and the foothills to his brother, Archduke Leopold V; it was the last such division of states in the House of Austria (Habsburg).

The bitterness of the Protestant estates over the restriction of religious freedom erupted in 1618 in the uprising in Bohemia, which opened the Thirty Years War. In the course of this, the House of Austria reached a peak of its power in the Holy Roman Empire in 1629, when the Emperor issued the Edict of Restitution, and when the Peace of Prague was concluded (1635). The intervention of Sweden and France, however, changed the situation considerably; In 1648, Emperor Ferdinand III.finally agree to the Peace of Westphalia.

Thus the empire was very weak in its position of power in the empire. In the Austrian and Bohemian countries, however, absolutism (“Verneuerte Landesordnung” 1627) had triumphed over the nobility and, at the same time, Catholicism over Protestantism. The class nobility of the states was more and more replaced by an all-Austrian aristocracy, partly of foreign origin; this then developed into the strongest bearer of the Austrian state idea.

From the Peace of Westphalia to the founding of the German Empire

The state, which grew together from the hereditary lands, attained the rank of an independent European great power under Emperor Leopold I. The “Great Turkish War”, initiated in 1683 with the defense of the Turks in front of Vienna, ended with the win of Hungary (excluding the Temescher Banat) and Transylvania (Peace of Karlowitz 1699). Another successful Turkish war led by Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignan (1716-18) resulted in the acquisition of the Banat, Little Wallachia, northern Bosnia and northern Serbia with Belgrade (Peace of Passarowitz). In 1723 the Hungarian estates adopted the Pragmatic Sanction about the succession. The parts of Hungary deserted during the Turkish era, especially the Banat, were settled with mostly German colonists (“Danube Swabians”); The military border was expanded to protect against the Turks.

The policy of the House of Austria was less fortunate in Western Europe, where it fought the coalition wars against Louis XIV with Spain and the naval powers (Netherlands and England). Neither in the Dutch War (1672–79) nor in the Palatinate War of Succession (1688–97) did it achieve any successes worth mentioning, and in defending against the French reunions it saw itself hampered by the Turkish attack on Vienna.

Austrian Modern History 1

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