Archduchy of Austria

Archduchy of Austria

Erzherzogtum Österreich  (German)
Motto: Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan
"All the world is subject to Austria"[1]
Archduchy of Austria within the Habsburg hereditary lands (orange), 1477
Archduchy of Austria within the Habsburg hereditary lands (orange), 1477
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire (1453–1806)
Crown land of the Habsburg Monarchy (from 1526)
Common languagesCentral Bavarian, German
Roman Catholic
• 1453–1457
Ladislaus the Posthumous
(first formal archduke)
• 1792–1806
Francis I (lasta)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Duke Rudolf IV forged Privilegium Maius
• Emperor Frederick III acknowledged archducal title
6 January 1453
• Joined Austrian Circle
• Ferdinand I regent according to Worms agreement
28 April 1521
• Austrian Empire proclaimed
11 August 1804
• Holy Roman Empire dissolved
6 August 1806
ISO 3166 codeAT
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of AustriaDuchy of Austria
Austrian Empire
^a The title "Archduke of Austria" remained part of the official grand title of the rulers of Austria until 1918.
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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.


Located in the Danube basin, Austria bordered on the Kingdom of Hungary beyond the March and Leitha rivers in the east. In the south it was confined by the Duchy of Styria, with the border at the historic Semmering Pass, while in the north the Bohemian Forest and the Thaya river marked the border with Bohemia and Moravia.

In the west, the Upper Austrian part bordered on the Bavarian stem duchy. The adjacent Innviertel region belonged to the Bavarian dukes, until it was occupied by Austrian forces during the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778 and incorporated into the archducal lands according to the Peace of Teschen. In the course of the German mediatisation in 1803, the Austrian archdukes also acquired the rule over the Electorate of Salzburg and the Berchtesgaden Provostry.