The Habsburg Monarchy (German: Habsburgermonarchie) – also Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. (The dynastic composite states were the most common / dominant form of states on the European continent in the early modern era.) 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 1452 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.
Motto: Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus
"Let justice be done, though the world perish"
The Habsburg Monarchy in 1789
|Status||Part of the Holy Roman Empire (partly)|
|Main languages||Latin, Germanb, Hungarian, Czech, Croatian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Dutch, Lombard, Venetian, Friulian, Ladin, Italian, Polish, Ruthenian, Serbian, French|
Calvinism, Lutheranism, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Utraquisma
|Ferdinand I (first)|
|Francis II (last)|
|Historical era||Early modern/Napoleonic|
|29 August 1526|
|14 July 1683|
|4 August 1791|
|11 August 1804|
The monarchy had no official name. Instead, various names included:
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.
Names of the territory that (with some exceptions) finally became Austria-Hungary:
The Hungarian parts of the Empire were called "Lands of the 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:
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.
The territories ruled by the branch changed over the centuries, but the core always consisted of four blocs:
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):
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.
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. As part of the Iberian Union the Spanish Habsburgs also ruled over the Kingdom of Portugal between 1580 and 1640. A junior line ruled over the Grand Duchy of 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 Grand Duchy of 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:
Stefan Zweig, l'autore del più famoso libro sull'Impero asburgico, Die Welt von Gestern
The Archduchy of Austria (German: Erzherzogtum Österreich) was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire and the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy. With its capital at Vienna, the archduchy was centered at the Empire's southeastern periphery.
The Archduchy developed out of the Bavarian Margraviate of Austria, elevated to the Duchy of Austria according to the 1156 Privilegium Minus by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The House of Habsburg came to the Austrian throne in Vienna in 1282 and in 1453 Emperor Frederick III, also Austrian ruler, officially adopted the archducal title. From the 15th century onwards, all Holy Roman Emperors but one were Austrian archdukes and with the acquisition of the Bohemian and Hungarian crown lands in 1526, the Habsburg "hereditary lands" became the centre of a major European power.
The Archduchy's history as an Imperial State ended with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1806. It was replaced with the Lower and Upper Austria crown lands of the Austrian Empire.Austrian Netherlands
The Austrian Netherlands (Dutch: Oostenrijkse Nederlanden; French: Pays-Bas Autrichiens; German: Österreichische Niederlande; Latin: Belgium Austriacum) was the larger part of the Southern Netherlands between 1714 and 1797. The period began with the acquisition of the former Spanish Netherlands under the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 and lasted until its annexation during the aftermath of the Battle of Sprimont in 1794 and the Peace of Basel in 1795. Austria, however, did not relinquish its claim over the province until 1797 in the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Austrian Netherlands was a noncontiguous territory that consisted of what is now western Belgium as well as greater Luxembourg, bisected by the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The dominant languages were German (including Luxembourgish), Dutch (Flemish), and French, along with Picard and Walloon.As a result of the Barrier Treaty, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI showed little apparent interest in the day-to-day rule of the Austrian Netherlands; yet he insisted on keeping ultimate control of the territories concerned. This caused quite a lot of frustration with Austria's own inhabitants, especially because the Dutch troops were paid with money that needed to be raised from the Austrian Netherlands themselves. The war of 1740-1748 showed that Austria already had little interest in maintaining the Austrian Netherlands: constant bickering among the Allied commanders meant the French kept the initiative during the campaigns, and the fortifications, manned with mostly Dutch troops, were captured with ease by the French army. Although the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle had stipulated that the Barrier towns should again be manned by Dutch garrisons, Charles's daughter and successor Maria Theresa, advised by her counselor Kaunitz, refused to pay for those troops any longer, unless there were to be negotiations about new trade agreements. In the end, the Republic refused to pay for the rebuilding of the fortifications and send any troops, but with the Barrier towns in ruins and the Netherlands now open for a new invasion, she had little to offer. When Austria and France entered into an alliance in 1756, there was in effect no purpose in the Barrier treaty any more. In 1781, Emperor Joseph II of Austria unilaterally renounced the treaty.Austrian post offices in the Ottoman Empire
Austria and other European nations maintained an extensive system of post offices in the Ottoman Empire, typically motivated by the unreliable postal system of the Ottomans.Battle of Petrovaradin
The Battle of Petrovaradin or Peterwardein was a decisive victory for the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Emperor in the war between the Archduchy of Austria of the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire (1716–1718), at Petrovaradin (then part of Military Frontier, Archduchy of Austria; today part of Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Serbia).Croatian Military Frontier
The Croatian Military Frontier (Croatian: Hrvatska vojna krajina or Hrvatska vojna granica) was a district of the Military Frontier, a territory in the Habsburg Monarchy, first during the period of the Austrian Empire and then during Austria-Hungary.First Partition of Poland
The First Partition of Poland took place in 1772 as the first of three partitions that ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by 1795. Growth in the Russian Empire's power, threatening the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Monarchy, was the primary motive behind this first partition. Frederick the Great engineered the partition to prevent Austria, jealous of Russian successes against the Ottoman Empire, from going to war. The weakened Commonwealth's land, including what was already controlled by Russia, was apportioned among its more powerful neighbors—Austria, Russia and Prussia—so as to restore the regional balance of power in Central Europe among those three countries. With Poland unable to effectively defend itself, and with foreign troops already inside the country, the Polish parliament (Sejm) ratified the partition in 1773 during the Partition Sejm convened by the three powers.Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg)
The Kingdom of Croatia (Croatian: Kraljevina Hrvatska; Latin: Regnum Croatiae Hungarian: Horvát Királyság German: Königreich Kroatien) was part of the Habsburg Monarchy that existed between 1527 and 1868 (also known between 1804 and 1867 as the Austrian Empire), as well as a part of the Lands of the Hungarian Crown, but was subject to direct Imperial Austrian rule for significant periods of time, including its final years. Its capital was Zagreb.
Until the 18th century, the Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia included only a small north-western part of present-day Croatia around Zagreb, and a small strip of coastland around Rijeka that was not part of the Ottoman Empire or part of the Habsburg Military Frontier. Between 1744 and 1868 the Kingdom of Croatia included a subordinate autonomous kingdom, the Kingdom of Slavonia. The territory of the Slavonian kingdom was recovered from the Ottoman Empire, and was subsequently part of the Habsburg Military Frontier for a period. In 1744 these territories were organized as the Kingdom of Slavonia and included within the Kingdom of Croatia as an autonomous part. In 1868 both were merged again into the newly formed Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia.Kingdom of Serbia (1718–39)
The Kingdom of Serbia (Serbian: Краљевина Србија / Kraljevina Srbija, German: Königreich Serbien, Latin: Regnum Serviae) was a province (crownland) of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1718 to 1739. It was formed from the territories to the south of the rivers Sava and Danube, corresponding to the Sanjak of Smederevo (or "Belgrade Pashalik"), conquered by the Habsburgs from the Ottoman Empire in 1717. It was abolished and returned to the Ottoman Empire in 1739.
During this Habsburg rule, Serbian majority did benefit from self-government, including an autonomous militia, and economic integration with the Habsburg monarchy — reforms that contributed to the growth of the Serb middle class and continued by the Ottomans "in the interest of law and order". Serbia's population increased rapidly from 270 000 to 400 000, but the decline of Habsburg power in the region provoked the second Great Migrations of the Serbs (1737–39).Kingdom of Slavonia
The Kingdom of Slavonia (Croatian: Kraljevina Slavonija; Serbian: Краљевина Славонија; German: Königreich Slawonien; Latin: Regnum Sclavoniae; Hungarian: Szlavón Királyság) was a province of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire that existed from 1699 to 1868. The province included northern parts of present-day regions of Slavonia (today in Croatia) and Syrmia (today in Serbia and Croatia). The southern parts of these regions were part of the Slavonian Military Frontier, which was a section of the Military Frontier.Oltenia
Oltenia (Romanian pronunciation: [olˈteni.a], also called Lesser Wallachia in antiquated versions, with the alternate Latin names Wallachia Minor, Wallachia Alutana, Wallachia Caesarea between 1718 and 1739) is a historical province and geographical region of Romania in western Wallachia. It is situated between the Danube, the Southern Carpathians and the Olt river.Third Partition of Poland
The Third Partition of Poland (1795) was the last in a series of the Partitions of Poland and the land of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth among Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and the Russian Empire which effectively ended Polish–Lithuanian national sovereignty until 1918. The partition was followed by a number Polish uprisings during the period.The third partition, and the partitions of Poland in general, remains a controversial topic in modern Poland.Treaty of Belgrade
The Treaty of Belgrade, known as the Belgrade peace was the peace treaty signed on September 18, 1739 in Belgrade, Habsburg Kingdom of Serbia (today Serbia), by the Ottoman Empire on one side and the Habsburg Monarchy on the other, that ended the Austro–Turkish War (1737–39).Treaty of Breslau
The Treaty of Breslau was a preliminary peace agreement signed on 11 June 1742 following long negotiations at the Silesian capital Wrocław (German: Breslau) by emissaries of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria and King Frederick II of Prussia ending the First Silesian War.Treaty of Campo Formio
The Treaty of Campo Formio (today Campoformido) was signed on 18 October 1797 (27 Vendémiaire VI) by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben (18 April 1797), which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.
The treaty's public articles concerned only France and Austria and called for a Congress of Rastatt to be held to negotiate a final peace for the Holy Roman Empire. In the treaty's secret articles, Austria as the personal state of the Emperor, promised to work with France to certain ends at the congress. Among other provisions, the treaty meant the definitive end to the ancient Republic of Venice, which was disbanded and partitioned by the French and the Austrians.
The congress failed to achieve peace, and by early 1799, on 12 March, France declared war on Austria again. The new war, the War of the Second Coalition, ended with the Peace of Lunéville, a peace for the whole empire, in 1801.Treaty of Leoben
The Treaty of Leoben was a general armistice and preliminary peace agreement between the Holy Roman Empire and the First French Republic that ended the War of the First Coalition. It was signed at Eggenwaldsches Gartenhaus, near Leoben, on 18 April 1797 (29 germinal V in the French revolutionary calendar) by General Maximilian von Merveldt and the Marquis of Gallo on behalf of the Emperor Francis II and by General Napoléon Bonaparte on behalf of the French Directory. Ratifications were exchanged in Montebello on 24 May, and the treaty came into effect immediately.
On 30 March, Bonaparte had made his headquarters at Klagenfurt and from there, on 31 March, he sent a letter to the Austrian commander-in-chief, the Archduke Charles, requesting an armistice to prevent the further loss of life. Receiving no response, the French advanced as far as Judenburg by the evening of 7 April. That night, Charles proffered a truce for five days, which was accepted. On 13 April, Merveldt went to the French headquarters at Leoben and requested the armistice be extended so that a preliminary peace could be signed. That was granted and three proposals were drawn up. The final one was accepted by both sides, and, on 18 April, at Leoben, the preliminary peace was signed.The treaty contained nine public articles and eleven secret ones. In the public articles, the Emperor ceded his "Belgian Provinces" (the Austrian Netherlands), and in the secret articles, he ceded his Italian states (Lombardy) in exchange for the Italian mainland possessions of the Republic of Venice, which had not yet been conquered. Except for these personal losses to the ruling Habsburgs, the treaty preserved the integrity of the Holy Roman Empire unlike in the amplified Treaty of Campo Formio of 17 October 1797.
No final peace between the Holy Roman Empire and France was reached before the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition in 1799.Treaty of Passarowitz
The Treaty of Passarowitz or Treaty of Požarevac was the peace treaty signed in Požarevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Пожаревац, German: Passarowitz), a town in the Ottoman Empire (modern Serbia), on 21 July 1718 between the Ottoman Empire on one side and Austria of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Republic of Venice on the other.Treaty of Rastatt
The Treaty of Rastatt was a peace treaty between France and Austria, concluded on 7 March 1714 in the Baden city of Rastatt, to put an end to state of war between them from the War of the Spanish Succession. The treaty followed the earlier Treaty of Utrecht of 11 April 1713, which ended hostilities between France and Spain, on the one hand, and Britain and the Dutch Republic, on the other hand. A third treaty at Baden, Switzerland was required to end the hostilities between France and the Holy Roman Empire.
By 1713, all parties to the War of the Spanish Succession were militarily depleted and it was unlikely that the continuation of the conflict would bring about any results in the foreseeable future. The First Congress of Rastatt opened in November 1713, between France and Austria, with the negotiations culminating in the Treaty of Rastatt on 7 March 1714, formally ending hostilities and complementing the Treaty of Utrecht, which had been signed the previous year.
The Treaty of Rastatt was negotiated by Marshal of France, Claude Louis Hector de Villars and the Austrian prince, Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The Rastatt Treaty is associated with changes in European politics, associated with the shift to the balance of power politics.Treaty of Sistova
The Treaty of Sistova ended the last Austro-Turkish war (1787–91). Brokered by Great Britain, Prussia and the Netherlands, it was signed in Sistova (modern Svishtov) in present-day Bulgaria on 4 August 1791. The treaty was written in French and Turkish.Treaty of Teschen
The Treaty of Teschen (German: Frieden von Teschen, i.e., "Peace of Teschen"; French: Traité de Teschen) was signed on 13 May 1779 in Teschen, Austrian Silesia, between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia, which officially ended the War of the Bavarian Succession.