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Capital : Vienna (Wien)

Size: 32 400 sq m Popn: 7 884 000

Osttirol, Steiermark (Styria)


One of the main phases of Celtic culture is named after Hallstadt in what is now Austria and they had settled most of the country by 200 BC. The area south of the River Danube was conquered by Rome in 14 BC. Under the Roman Empire, the province of Noricum covered much of the same territory as modern Austria. After the fall of Rome, it was occupied by Vandals, Goths, Huns, Lombards and Avars and became part of the Ostrogothic kingdom until it was taken over by the Franks under Charlemagne, who conquered the Avars around 791 and established the East Mark. During the C9th and 10th, Magyar invasions from the Hungarian Plain defeated the Bavarians to the north in 907 and weakened the Frankish Empire. 'Ostmark' and Styria remained part of the East Frankish kingdom under Otto I and with Carinthia and Carniola to the south came under Habsburg control. In 983, the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto II, granted Ostmark to the House of Babenburg, which ruled it until 1246.

The first Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf I, seized Austria and made his son its duke in 1282. The Holy Roman Empire lasted until 1806 and during this time, most dukes of Austria (archdukes from 1453) were elected by the Emperor. By the reign of Rudolf IV (1356-65) various factors had combined to strengthen Habsburg influence and Austria, Poland, Hungary and Bohemia were all important territorial powers. Austria was part of the short-lived Empire of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary towards the end of the C15th but was to become part of Emperor Charles V's huge Habsburg Empire in the early C16th. Austria gained control of Bohemia in 1526 and became an important focus of resistance against the Turks, whose besieging of Vienna in 1529 was unsuccessful.

The Archduchy of Austria was one of the few small states to remain powerful after the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) which had not touched Austria. It had, however, weakened its rulers and their power was increasingly based on Habsburg lands elsewhere, including Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. During the French ascendancy of 1648-1715, there were fears that the Austrian Habsburgs would lose the title of Holy Roman Emperor to Louis XIV. In 1683, a second Turkish siege of Vienna failed and by 1697, Hungary was liberated from the Ottoman Empire and became part of the Ottoman dominion. As a result of the struggle with Louis XIV, the Habsburgs gained control of the Spanish Netherlands and Milan in 1713.

The last male Habsburg in direct descent died in 1740 and his daughter, Maria Theresa, became Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary but the Elector of Bavaria was elected HRE as Charles VII. Frederick II of Prussia seized Silesia and was followed by the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-8). When Charles died in 1745, Maria Theresa's husband was elected HRE as Francis I but Frederick retained Silesia, blocking Joseph II's attempts to unify Germany. Maria Theresa's grandson, Archduke Francis, succeeded in 1792, and also became HRE. He alternated between being an ally and an opponent of Napoleon, and proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria in 1804, dropping the title of HRE, which had lost significance, in 1806.

Austria joined Britain and Russia in a coalition of anti-revolutionary powers during the French Revolution but this failed to prevent Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz in 1805 and Austria was ruled directly from Paris until the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Under the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, France kept the Austrian Netherlands which it had annexed in 1797, but Lombardy and Venetia went to Austria, which, with Hungary, remained a Habsburg dominion. Under Metternich, Austria strongly resisted any concessions to nationalism but was forced to resign and escape to England when the grievances of the various nationalities led to rebellion. By 1851, the revolts had been crushed but Venetia was lost to Italy as a result of the Seven Weeks' War with Prussia. In 1867, Emperor Franz Joseph established the dual monarchy of Austro-Hungary and the Hungarians managed to gain equal status with the German-speakers. Other nationalists such as the Czechs wanted autonomy within the Habsburg Empire. The Austro-Hungarian Empire also included territories which became Czechoslovakia and parts of Poland, the Ukraine, Romania, Yugoslavia and Italy. The Treaty of Berlin in 1878 gave Austria the administration of the Balkan territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina although it remained nominally Turkish until Austria annexed it in 1908.

The Balkan peoples were more strongly nationalistic than others, playing a large part in the outbreak of the First World War. The Austrian heir-presumptive, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, were killed by Bosnian terrorists at Sarajevo in June 1914, precipitating an Austrian attack on Serbia. The war led to the destruction of the Habsburg Empire with Austria becoming a republic which only included Vienna and its immediately surrounding provinces, the Peace of Saint Germain in 1919 made this official. Despite a Treaty of Friendship with Italy in 1930, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938 to become part of the 'Grossdeutsches Reich' as it was considered an 'Aryan' country by Hitler.

After the war, it returned to its 1920 constitution with a provisional government under Dr. Karl Renner. It was divided into four occupation zones by the USSR, USA, Britain and France which remained until Austria was formally recognized as an independent state in 1955. Austria was a founder member of the European Free Trade Association in 1960 but it was the EC countries which became dominant and Austria applied to join in 1994/5. Kurt Waldheim, the former UN secretary general became president in 1986 but the controversy over his wartime German army service led to diplomatic isolation from many countries.

Rulers of Austria

Werner II 1st Count of Habsburg 1096


Duchy created, 1156

Name Reign Family Spouse
Leopold IV the Liberal -1156 Count of Austria

Duke of Bavaria

Leopold V 1177-94    
Rudolf (I HRE) -1282 Count of Habsburg  
Albert (I-HRE ) 1282-1308 + Hung son of Rudolf  
Frederick I the Handsome 1308-30    
Leopold II c 1315-    
Rudolf IV the Ingenious c 1365    
Leopold III -1386    
Albert III -1388    
Albert IV      
Albert V (II HRE) -1439 + Hung    
Frederick V (III HRE) c 1452 Brunswick  


Albert VI Archduke -1463    
Ferdinand (I HRE) c 1522-64 son of Philip the Handsome (brother of Charles V)  
Albert c 1559- + Sp Neth   Infanta Isabel of Spain
Leopold 1586-1632    
Ferdinand (III HRE) 1632-57 Archduke of Austria son of Ferdinand II HRE  
Leopold William c 1639    
Ferdinand IV -1654 died bef HRE son of Ferdinand III  
Leopold (I HRE) 1657-1705    
Charles III AD VI HRE c 1700-40 last Habsburg HRE  
Maria Theresa 1740-80 daughter of Charles III Duke Stephen of Lorraine (Francis I, HRE)
Joseph II HRE 1765-90 son of Francis I  
Leopold II HRE 1790-2 son of Francis I  
Francis/Franz I (II HRE) 1804-35 HRE to 1806 son of Leopold II  
Ferdinand I 1835-48    

Emperors of Austria-Hungary

Franz Josef 1848-1916 nephew of Ferdinand  
Charles / Karl 1916-18 abd. great-nephew of Franz-Josef Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Otto von Habsburg

  son of Charles  

Austrian Names

Austrian names are similar those of Germany.


Alois Ari Armin
August Benjamin, Benni Clemenz
Dietmar Frantz, Franz Gernot
Guenther Hannes Heinrich
Helmut, Helmuth Hilarius Josef, Joseph
Kurt Ludwig Manfred
Mario Max Oktav
Patrick Pauli Rainer
Riso Roland Stefan
Thomas Veit Werner


Anita Brigitta Claudia
Eike Elfi Gretel
Hilde Ingrid Irmgard
Klera Liesl Maria
Marta Meinrad Michael
Monika Petra Renate
Sabine Theresa Zala


These are very similar to those of Germany.

Aehrenthal Alvintzi Armannperg
Arnold Babbel Badem
Badeni Bauer Baumschlager
Biedermeier Bieler Bietak
Bitschi Bloch Bohm
Born Brunn Buchleitner
Cerny Dopfer Dorfmeister
Dorner Drasche Dreher
Eberharter Eberle Eckhel
Eder Egger Eigner
Eisler Erstweiler Faerber
Feiersinger Felbiger Feuerstein
Fingerlos Fink Fischhof
Frece Freindametz Friedjung
Füster Gandler Gassinger
Gaul Gerg Gleirscher
Goetschl Goldberger Griesser
Grillparzar Groer Grosskopf
Grün Haas Haider
Hanl Happ Harrer
Hatig Haugwitz Heideck
Hein Henning Heregger
Herrmann Herzog Hipfl
Hoellwarth Hofler Hohenwart
Hollar Holzknecht Hornbostel
Horngacher Janosi Jaufenthaler
Kauntiz Keurorst Kiesl
Kinigader Kirchmann Klammer
Kleinheinz Knabl Knaus
Knauss Knobloch Koeck
Koell Koellerer Kolowrat
Koretnaar Koubek Koubek
Krassnig Kraus Kronburger
Kronenberg Kuhbauer Lachkovics
Leibnitz Leismuller Lichtenegger
Lictenegger Linser Lischka
Loehr Loidl Lueger
Luschin Mò hlbacher Mader
Margreiter Maurer Mautner
Mayr Meisener Meissnitzer
Meklau Metternich Meyer
Mihail Miko Mitterwallner
Moeflehner Müller Nestroy
Neuner Obermoser Oeggl
Ortleib Pedarzolli Peithner
Pfeffer Pfeifenberger Pirktl
Plaschke Plischke Poestinger
Polster Poppmeier Postinger
Prieler Prock Prodoprigora
Profanter Prohaska Quinl
Quint Raich Rainmayr
Rauch rauffenburg Rautenstrauch
Reinstadler Reinstadtler Reiter
Reithoffer Renner Rettenwender
Riegler Rieser Rodier
Roga Roster Rudhart
Rzehak Salvenmoser Salzgeber
Schalger Schaller Schega
Schett Schichegger Schiegl
Schifferer Schilchegger Schimpf
Schmalzl Schmidt Schmollinger
Schoeeser Schoesser Scholde
Schopp Schottel Schrattenthaler
Schuetzenuer Schulde Schuschnig
Schusetka Schutzhauer Schwab
Schwarzacher Schwarzenberger Seidler
Seipel Senner Sina
Sperner Spitzaner Stadisch
Stadlober Stangassinger Steggall
Stoeckl Stoger Stohl
Strobl Strolz Stumpf
Sykora Taafe Tagwerker
Thaler Tiel Treffen
Trinkl Vastic Vitzhum
Vogl Voglreiter Von Croy
Vranitzky Wachter Walcher
Waldheim Wangermann Warmisch
Werberg Wertheim Wetl
Wichsberger Widhoezl Wiesner
Wilfing Wilhelm Windischgraetz
Winkler Wiplinger Wirth
Wollf Zedlacher Zeiler
Zingler Zweig  

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