The Habsburg Monarchy (German: Habsburgermonarchie) or Empire is an unofficial appellation among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1521 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The head of the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg was often elected Holy Roman Emperor: from 1415 until the Empire's dissolution in 1806, Charles VII of Bavaria (1742–1745) was the only Holy Roman Emperor who was not Habsburg ruler of Austria. The two entities were never coterminous, as the Habsburg Monarchy covered many lands beyond the Holy Roman Empire, and most of the Empire was ruled by other dynasties.
This Austrian Habsburg Monarchy must not be confused with the House of Habsburg, existing since the 11th century, whose vast domains were split up in 1521 between this "junior" Austrian branch and the "senior" Spanish branch.
The monarchy had no official name. Instead, various names included:
- Habsburg Monarchy (Habsburgermonarchie)
- Habsburg Empire (Habsburgerreich)
- Habsburg/Austrian Hereditary Lands (Habsburgische/Österreichische Erblande)
- Austrian Monarchy (Österreichische Monarchie)
- Danubian Monarchy (Donaumonarchie)
Origins and expansion
The Habsburg family originated with the Habsburg Castle in modern Switzerland, and after 1279 came to rule in Austria ("the Habsburg Hereditary Lands"). The Habsburg family grew to European prominence with the marriage and adoption treaty by Emperor Maximilian I at the First Congress of Vienna in 1515, and the subsequent death of adopted Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in 1526.
Following the death of Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in the Battle of Mohács against the Turks, his brother-in-law Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was elected the next King of Bohemia and Hungary.
Names of the territory that (with some exceptions) finally became Austria-Hungary:
- Habsburg monarchy or Austrian monarchy (1526–1867): This was an unofficial, but very frequent, name even during that time. The entity had no official name.
- Austrian Empire (1804–1867): This was the official name. Note that the German version is Kaisertum Österreich, i.e. the English translation empire refers to a territory ruled by an emperor, not just to a "widespreading domain".
- Austria-Hungary (1867–1918): This was the official name. An unofficial popular name was the Danubian Monarchy (German: Donaumonarchie) also often used was the term Doppel-Monarchie ("Double Monarchy") meaning two states under one crowned ruler.
- Crownlands or crown lands (Kronländer) (1849–1918): This is the name of all the individual parts of the Austrian Empire (1849-1867), and then of Austria-Hungary from 1867 on. The Kingdom of Hungary (more exactly the Lands of the Hungarian Crown) was not considered a "crownland" after the establishment of Austria-Hungary 1867, so that the "crownlands" became identical with what was called the Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council (Die im Reichsrate vertretenen Königreiche und Länder).
The Hungarian parts of the Empire were called "Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen" or "Lands of Holy (St.) Stephen's Crown" (Länder der Heiligen Stephans Krone). The Bohemian (Czech) Lands were called "Lands of the St. Wenceslaus' Crown" (Länder der Wenzels-Krone).
Names of some smaller territories:
- Austrian lands (Österreichische Länder) or "Archduchies of Austria" (Erzherzogtümer von Österreich) - Lands up and below the Enns (ober und unter der Enns) (996–1918): This is the historical name of the parts of the Archduchy of Austria that became the present-day Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich) on 12 November 1918 (after Emperor Charles I had abdicated the throne). Modern day Austria is a semi-federal republic of nine states (Bundesländer) that are: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Styria, Salzburg, Carinthia, Vorarlberg and Burgenland and the Capital of Vienna that is a state of its own. Burgenland came to Austria in 1921 from Hungary. Salzburg finally became Austrian in 1816 after the Napoleonic wars (before it was ruled by prince-archbishops of Salzburg as a sovereign territory).
- Vienna, Austria's capital became a state 1 January 1922, after being residence and capital of the Austrian Empire (Reichshaupt und Residenzstadt Wien) for the Habsburg monarchs for centuries. Upper and Lower Austria, historically, were split into "Austria above the Enns" and "Austria below the Enns" (the Enns river is the state-border between Upper- and Lower Austria). Upper Austria was enlarged after the Treaty of Teschen (1779) following the "War of the Bavarian Succession" by the so-called Innviertel ("Inn Quarter"), formerly part of Bavaria.
- Hereditary Lands (Erblande or Erbländer; mostly used Österreichische Erblande) or German Hereditary Lands (in the Austrian monarchy) or Austrian Hereditary Lands (Middle Ages – 1849/1918): In a narrower sense these were the "original" Habsburg Austrian territories, i.e. basically the Austrian lands and Carniola (not Galicia, Italian territories or the Austrian Netherlands).
In a wider sense the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were also included in (from 1526; definitely from 1620/27) the Hereditary lands. The term was replaced by the term "Crownlands" (see above) in the 1849 March Constitution, but it was also used afterwards.
The Erblande also included lots of small and smallest territories that were principalities, duchies or counties etc. some of them can namely be found in the reigning titles of the Habsburg monarchs like Graf (Earl/Count of) von Tyrol etc.
Within the early modern Habsburg Monarchy, each province was governed according to its own particular customs. Until the mid 17th century, not all of the provinces were even necessarily ruled by the same person—junior members of the family often ruled portions of the Hereditary Lands as private apanages. Serious attempts at centralization began under Maria Theresa and especially her son Joseph II in the mid to late 18th century, but many of these were abandoned following large scale resistance to Joseph's more radical reform attempts, although a more cautious policy of centralization continued during the revolutionary period and the Metternichian period that followed.
Another attempt at centralization began in 1849 following the suppression of the various revolutions of 1848. For the first time, ministers tried to transform the monarchy into a centralized bureaucratic state ruled from Vienna. The Kingdom of Hungary, in particular, ceased to exist as a separate entity, being divided into a series of districts. Following the Habsburg defeats in the Wars of 1859 and 1866, this policy of net-absolutist centralization was abandoned.
After experimentation in the early 1860s, the famous Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was arrived at, by which the so-called Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary was set up. In this system, the Kingdom of Hungary was given sovereignty and a parliament, with only a personal union and a joint foreign and military policy connecting it to the other Habsburg lands. Although the non-Hungarian Habsburg lands, often, but erroneously, referred to as "Austria", received their own central parliament (the Reichsrat, or Imperial Council) and ministries, as their official name – the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council" – shows that they remained something less than a genuine unitary state. When Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed (after a long period of occupation and administration), it was not incorporated into either half of the monarchy. Instead, it was governed by the joint Ministry of Finance.
Austria-Hungary collapsed under the weight of the various unsolved ethnic problems that came to a head with its defeat in World War I. In the peace settlement that followed, significant territories were ceded to Romania and Italy, new republics of Austria (the German-Austrian territories of the Hereditary lands) and Hungary (the Magyar core of the old kingdom) were created, and the remainder of the monarchy's territory was shared out among the new states of Poland, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and Czechoslovakia.
Growth of the Habsburg Monarchy
The territories ruled by the branch changed over the centuries, but the core always consisted of four blocs:
- The Hereditary Lands, which covered most of the modern states of Austria and Slovenia, as well as territories in northeastern Italy and (before 1797) southwestern Germany. To these were added in 1779 the Inn Quarter of Bavaria; and in 1803 the Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen. The Napoleonic Wars caused disruptions where many parts of the Hereditary lands were lost, but all these, along with the former Archbishopric of Salzburg, which had previously been temporarily annexed between 1805 and 1809, were recovered at the peace in 1815, with the exception of the Vorlande. The Hereditary provinces included:
- The Lands of the Bohemian Crown – initially consisting of the five lands: Kingdom of Bohemia, Margraviate of Moravia, Silesia, and Upper and Lower Lusatia. Bohemian Diet (Czech: zemský sněm) elected Ferdinand, later Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, as king in 1526.
- The Kingdom of Hungary – two thirds of the former territory that was administered by the medieval Kingdom of Hungary was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and the Princes of vassal Ottoman Transylvania, while the Habsburg administration was restricted to the western and northern territories of the former kingdom, which remained to be officially referred as the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1699, at the end of the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, one part of the territories that were administered by the former medieval Kingdom of Hungary came under Habsburg administration, with some other areas being picked up in 1718 (some of the territories that were part of medieval kingdom, notably those in the south of the Sava and Danube rivers, remained under Ottoman administration).
- Kingdom of Croatia
Over the course of its history, other lands were, at times, under Austrian Habsburg rule (some of these territories were secundogenitures, i.e. ruled by other lines of Habsburg dynasty):
- Serbia occupation (1686–1691);
- Kingdom of Slavonia (1699–1868);
- Grand Principality of Transylvania, between 1699 (Treaty of Karlowitz) and 1867 (Ausgleich)
- Austrian Netherlands, consisting of most of modern Belgium and Luxembourg (1713–1792);
- Duchy of Milan (1713–1797);
- Kingdom of Naples (1713–1735);
- Kingdom of Sardinia (1713–1720);
- Kingdom of Serbia (1718–1739);
- Banat of Temeswar (1718–1778);
- Oltenia (1718–1739, de facto, 1737), as Grand-Voivodate (sometimes designated as Valachia Caesarea);
- Kingdom of Sicily (1720–1735);
- Duchy of Parma (1735–1748);
- Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, in modern Poland and Ukraine (1772–1918)
- Duchy of Bukovina (1774–1918);
- Serbia occupation (1788–1792);
- New Galicia, the Polish lands, including Kraków, taken in the Third Partition (1795–1809);
- Venetia (1797–1805);
- Kingdom of Dalmatia (1797–1805, 1814–1918);
- Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia (1814–1859);
- Kraków, which was incorporated into Galicia (1846–1918);
- Serbian Vojvodina (1848–1849); de facto entity, officially unrecognized
- Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar (1849–1860);
- Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (1868–1918);
- Sanjak of Novi Pazar occupation (1878–1913);
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918).
The boundaries of some of these territories varied over the period indicated, and others were ruled by a subordinate (secundogeniture) Habsburg line. The Habsburgs also held the title of Holy Roman Emperor between 1438 and 1740, and again from 1745 to 1806.
Habsburg territories outside the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg territories in 1700. The Habsburg Monarchy is shown in yellow, while the territories of the senior Spanish Habsburgs are shown in red.
The Habsburg monarchy should not be confused with various other territories ruled at different times by members of the Habsburg dynasty. The senior Spanish line of the Habsburgs ruled over Habsburg Spain and various other territories from 1516 until it became extinct in 1700. A junior line ruled over Tuscany between 1765 and 1801, and again from 1814 to 1859. While exiled from Tuscany, this line ruled at Salzburg from 1803 to 1805, and in Würzburg from 1805 to 1814. Another line ruled the Duchy of Modena from 1814 to 1859, while Empress Marie Louise, Napoleon's second wife and the daughter of Austrian Emperor Francis, ruled over the Duchy of Parma between 1814 and 1847. Also, the Second Mexican Empire, from 1863 to 1867, was headed by Maximilian I of Mexico, the brother of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria.
For a historical account, see:
Rulers of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1521–1918
- Joseph II 1780–1790 known as "the great Reformer"
- Leopold II 1790–1792 from 1765 to 1790 "Grandduke of Tuscany"
- Francis II 1792–1835 correctly written "Franz" (became Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1804, at which point numbering starts anew)
- Ferdinand I 1835–1848 known as "Ferdinand the Good" German: "Ferdinand der Gütige"
- Francis Joseph I 1848–1916 Brother of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (ruled 1864–1867)
- Charles I 1916–1918 last reigning Monarch of Austria-Hungary
- Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen or sometimes called Otto von Österreich Crown Prince of Austria to be found as Otto von Habsburg
The most famous memoir on the decline of the Habsburg Empire is Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday.
- Ingrao, Charles. The Habsburg Monarchy, 1618–1815 (2000) excerpt and text search
- Ingrao, Charles. In Quest and Crisis: Emperor Joseph I and the Habsburg Monarchy (1979)
- Judson, Pieter M. The Habsburg Empire: A New History (2016). Downplays the disruptive impact of ethnic nationalism.
- Kann, Robert A. A History of the Habsburg Empire: 1526–1918 (U of California Press, 1974)
- Lieven, Dominic. Empire: The Russian empire and its rivals (Yale UP, 2002), comparisons with Russian, British, & Ottoman empires. excerpt
- Macartney, Carlile Aylmer The Habsburg Empire, 1790–1918, New York, Macmillan 1969.
- McCagg, Jr., William O. A History of the Habsburg Jews, 1670–1918 (Indiana University Press, 1989)
- Oakes, Elizabeth and Eric Roman. Austria-Hungary and the Successor States: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present (2003)
- Robert John Weston Evans, The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1550–1700: An Interpretation, Oxford University Press, 1979. ISBN 0-19-873085-3.
- Sked Alan The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1815–1918, London: Longman, 1989.
- Steed, Henry Wickham; et al. (1914). A short history of Austria-Hungary and Poland.
- Taylor, A.J.P. The Habsburg monarchy, 1809–1918: a history of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, (London: Penguin Books. 2nd ed. 1964) excerpt and text search