Habsburg Monarchy

Habsburg Monarchy

Habsburgermonarchie
1282–1918
The Habsburg Monarchy in 1789
The Habsburg Monarchy in 1789
StatusPart of the Holy Roman Empire (partly)
Personal union
Capital
Main languagesLatin, Germanb, Hungarian, Czech, Croatian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Dutch, Lombard, Venetian, Friulian, Ladin, Italian, Polish, Ruthenian, Serbian, French
Religion
Official:[citation needed]
Roman Catholic
Recognized:[citation needed]
Calvinism, Lutheranism, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Utraquisma
GovernmentFeudal Monarchy
Monarch 
• 1282–1308
Albert I of Germany and Rudolph II of Austria
• 1916-1918
Charles I of Austria-Hungary
State Chancellor 
• 1753–1793
Wenzel Anton
Historical eraEarly modern/Napoleonic
12 December 1282
14 July 1683
1740–1748
1787–1791
4 August 1791
• Austrian Empire declared
11 August 1804
• Ausgleich
29 May 1867
31 October 1918
^a Main religion of the Czech people, in the Kingdom of Bohemia recognized until 1627 when it was forbidden.
^b German replaced Latin as the official language of the Empire in 1784.[1]

Habsburg Monarchy (or Habsburg Empire) is an umbrella term used by historians for the lands and kingdoms of the House of Habsburg, especially for those of the Austrian branch. Although from 1438 until 1806 (with the exception of 1742–1745) the head of the House of Habsburg was also Holy Roman Emperor, the empire itself is not considered a part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The buildup of the Habsburg Monarchy begins with the election of Rudolf I as King of Germany in 1273 and his acquisition of the Duchy of Austria for his house in 1282. In 1482, Maximilian I acquired the Netherlands through marriage. Both these territories lay within the Empire. His nephew and successor, Charles V, inherited also Spain and its colonies in 1516 and ruled the Habsburg Empire at its greatest territorial extent. The abdication of Charles V in 1556 led to a broad division of the Habsburg holdings between his brother Ferdinand I, who was his deputy in the Austrian lands since 1521 and the elected king of Hungary and Bohemia since 1526, and his son Philip II of Spain. The Spanish branch (which also held the Netherlands, Burgundy and lands in Italy) went extinct in 1700. The Austrian branch (which also had the Imperial throne and ruled Hungary, Bohemia and all the crowns entailed to them) was itself divided between different branches of the family from 1564 until 1665, but thereafter it remained a single personal union.

The Habsburg monarchy was thus a composite monarchy - with no single constitution or shared institutions outside of the Habsburg court itself - composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic composite entities were the most common / dominant on the European continent in the early modern era.[2] [3] This gradually changed in the early 19th century. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[4][5] From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[6][5] It collapsed following defeat in the First World War.

In historiography, the Habsburg Monarchy (of the Austrian branch) is often called "Austria" by metonymy. Around 1700 the term monarchia austriaca came into use as a term of convenience.[7] Within the empire alone this vast monarchy included the original hereditary lands, the Erblande, from before 1526; the lands of the Bohemian crown; the formerly Spanish Netherlands from 1714 until 1794; and some fiefs in Imperial Italy. Outside the empire it encompassed all the lands of the crown of Hungary, as well as conquests made at the expense of the Turks. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague.[8]

Origins and expansion

Augsburg 1282 Hoftag of King Rudolf I of Germany. Silver Medal by Scharff, obverse. 600th anniversary of the Habsburg Monarchy 1882.

The Habsburg family originated with the Habsburg Castle in modern Switzerland, and after 1279 came to rule in Austria. The Duchy of Austria was part of the elective Kingdom of Germany within the Holy Roman Empire. King Rudolf I of Germany of the Habsburg family assigned the Duchy of Austria to his sons at the Diet of Augsburg (1282), thus establishing the "Austrian hereditary lands". From that moment, the Habsburg dynasty was also known as the House of Austria. Between 1438 and 1806, with few exceptions, the Habsburg Archduke of Austria was elected Holy Roman Emperor.

The Habsburgs grew to European prominence as a result of the dynastic policy pursued by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Maximilian I married Mary of Burgundy, thus bringing the Burgundian Netherlands into the Habsburg inheritance. Their son, Philip the Handsome, married Joanna the Mad of Spain (daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile). Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (son of Philip and Joanna) inherited the Habsburg Netherlands in 1506, Habsburg Spain and its territories in 1516, and Habsburg Austria in 1519.

At this point, the Habsburg Empire was so vast that Charles V was constantly travelling throughout his dominions and therefore needed deputies and regents, such as Isabella of Portugal in Spain and Margaret of Austria in the Low Countries, to govern his various realms. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Emperor Charles V came to terms with his younger brother Ferdinand. According to the Habsburg compact of Worms (1521), confirmed a year later in Brussels, Ferdinand was made Archduke as a regent of Charles V in the Austrian hereditary lands.[9][10]

Following the death of Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in the Battle of Mohács against the Turks, Archduke Ferdinand (who was his brother-in-law by virtue of an adoption treaty signed by Maximilian and Louis at the First Congress of Vienna) was also elected the next King of Bohemia and Hungary in 1526.[11][8] Bohemia and Hungary became hereditary Habsburg domains only in the 17th century: Following victory in the Battle of White Mountain (1620) over the Bohemian rebels, Ferdinand II promulgated a Renewed Constitution (1627) that established hereditary succession over Bohemoa; and following the Battle of Mohács (1687), in which Leopold I reconquered almost all of Hungary from the Ottoman Turks, the emperor held a diet in Pressburg to establish hereditary succession in the Hungarian kingdom.

Charles V divided the House in 1556 by ceding Austria along with the Imperial crown to Ferdinand (as decided at the Imperial election, 1531) and the Spanish empire to his son Philip. The Spanish branch (which also held the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Portugal between 1580 and 1640, and the Mezzogiorno of Italy) went extinct in 1700. The Austrian branch (which also ruled the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary and Bohemia) was itself divided between different branches of the family from 1564 until 1665, but thereafter it remained a single personal union.