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Habsburg (or Hapsburg) was the name of one of the ruling houses of Europe: rulers of Austria (as dukes 1282 - 1453, archdukes 1453 - 1804, and emperors 1804 - 1918), kings of Spain (1516 - 1700), and Holy Roman Emperors for several centuries to 1806. The name is derived from the Swiss Habichtsburg (Hawk Castle), the family seat in the 12th and 13th centuries at Habsburg, Switzerland. From South-East-Germany the family extended its influence and holdings to the eastern reaches of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly today's Austria (1278 - 1382). Within only two or three generations, the Habsburgs had managed to secure an initially intermittent grasp on the imperial throne that would last for centuries (1273 - 1291, 1298 - 1308, 1438 - 1740, and 1745 - 1806).

Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy; also used as the flag of the Austrian Empire until the Ausgleich of 1867.

After the marriage of Maximilian I with Mary, heiress of Burgundy (the Low Countries) and the marriage of his son Philipp the Fair with Juana, heiress of Spain and its newly-founded empire, Charles V inherited an empire where "the sun does not set".

Upon the abdication of the Emperor Charles V, also King Charles I of Spain (1516 - 1556), the family split into the Austrian Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs.

The Spanish Habsburgs died out in 1700 (prompting the War of the Spanish Succession), as did the Austrian Habsburgs in 1740 (prompting the War of the Austrian Succession). However, the heiress of the last Austrian Habsburg (Maria Theresa) had married Francis Stephen Duke of Lorraine, and their descendents carried on the Habsburg tradition from Vienna under the dynastic name Habsburg-Lorraine. It is speculated that extensive intra-family marriages within both lines contributed to their extinctions.

In 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was wound up under the French Emperor Napoleon I's reorganisation of Germany. However, in anticipation of the loss of his title of Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II declared himself hereditary Emperor of Austria in 1806, two years after Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France in 1804. [The dates are a bit iffy here]

Emperor Francis I of Austria used the official great title: "We, Francis the First, by the grace of God Emperor of Austria; King of Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, and Lodomiria; Archduke of Austria; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Würzburg, Franconia, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola ; Grand Duke of Cracow; Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Sandomir, Masovia, Lublin, Upper and Lower Silesia, Auschwitz and Zator, Teschen, and Friule; Prince of Berchtesgaden and Mergentheim; Princely Count of Habsburg, Gorizia, and Gradisca and of the Tyrol; and Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria".

Hungary, nominally under Habsburg kingship from 1526 but mostly under Ottoman Turkish occupation for 150 years, was reconquered in 1683 - 1699. In 1867 effective autonomy was given to Hungary under the terms of the Ausgleich "compromise". (see Austria-Hungary) until the Habsburgs' deposition from both Austria and Hungary in 1918 following defeat in World War I.

Holy Roman Emperors of the House of Habsburg


NB: Maria Theresa of Austria, Hapsburg heiress and wife of emperor Francis I Stephen, reigned as Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia 1740 - 1780

Habsburg-Lorraine (Lothringen) Emperors

Kings of Spain of the House of Habsburg Kings of Portugal of the House of Habsburg Grand Dukes of Tuscany of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine Dukes of Modena of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine Duchess of Parma of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine The current head of the Habsburg family is Otto von Habsburg, Emperor Karl's eldest son.

External links

  1. Habsburg Biographies
  2. Habsburg Resource Centre on SurnameWeb
  3. [1]