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Austria was ruled by the House of Babenberg until 1246 and by the House of Habsburg from 1282 to 1918.

Margraves of Austria


The March of Austria, also known as Marcha Orientalis, was first formed in 976 out of the lands that had once been the March of Pannonia in Carolingian times. The oldest attestation dates back to 996, where the written name "ostarrichi" occurs in a document transferring land in present-day Austria to a Bavarian monastery.

Dukes of Austria


In 1156, the Privilegium Minus elevated the march to a duchy, independent of the Duchy of Bavaria.

After Frederick's death, the succession of the Duchy was disputed between various claimants:

rival heiresses: Gertrude of Austria Margaret of Austria, Queen of Romans (d 1266), heiress 1246-c1260

In 1278, Rudolf I, King of Germany, defeated Ottokar and took control of Austria. In 1282 he invested his sons with the Duchies of Austria and Styria, thereby securing it for the House of Habsburg.

Archdukes of Austria


The Privilegium Maius, fabricated by Rudolf in 1359, attempted to invest the Dukes of Austria with the special position of an "Archduke". This title was frequently used by Ernest the Iron and other Dukes but not recognized by other princes of the Holy Roman Empire until Frederick V became Emperor and confirmed the Privilegium in 1453.

Rudolf was succeeded by his brothers that at first ruled jointly:

The territories were divided between the brothers and their descendants in the Treaty of Neuberg in 1379:

The Albertinian Line received the Duchy of Austria, later called Lower Austria (not to be confused with the namesake modern state):

The Leopoldinian Line received the duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, the County of Tyrol and Further Austria:

Both under the guardianship of

  • Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, claimed the Austrian territories and occupied Austria proper and Styria. Claiming the title "Duke of Austria", he resided in Vienna from 1485 to his death in 1490.

The Austrian territories were reunited in 1493.

In 1564 the Austrian territories were again divided among Emperor Ferdinand's sons:

Lower and Upper Austria (Austria proper) passed to Ferdinand's eldest son Maximilian:

Tyrol and Further Austria passed to Emperor Ferdinand's 2nd son Ferdinand:

Inner Austria (Inner-Österreich)(Styria, Carinthia and Carniola) passed to Emperor Ferdinand's 3rd son Charles:

In German Articles and Books these Archdukes' names and titles are normally completed with the territorial names of their Duchy as: "Charles II of Inner Austria" = "Karl der II. von Inner Österreich"

The Austrian territories were reunited again by inheritance in 1620 under Ferdinand III, Archduke of Inner Austria (see Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor), but in 1623 five years into the Thirty Years' War he had so much to do with, Ferdinand divided them yet again, when he made his younger brother Leopold, who had been governor over Upper Austria, Archduke of those territories.

Lower Austria and Inner Austria remained with the elder line (Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor):

Upper Austria passed to the Younger Tyrolean Line:

The Austrian territories were conclusively reunited in 1665 under:

The Austrian branch technically ended in 1780 with the death of Maria Theresa of Austria and was replaced by the Vaudemont branch of the House of Lorraine in the person of her son Joseph II. However, in practice, the new successor house styled itself as Habsburg-Lorraine (Habsburg-Lothringen). All Habsburgs living today are in the agnatic descendants of Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen.

Emperors of Austria


In 1804 Francis I adopted the new title Emperor of Austria, but kept the title of Archduke of Austria. In 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved.

Republic of Austria


In 1918, following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the Republic of Austria was established, but ended with "Anschluß" into the Third Reich from 1938–1945. Following World War II, the current Republic of Austria was established in 1945, even though Austria remained under the control and protection of Allied and Soviet Forces between 1945–1955.

The current head of state is the President of Austria; however, in practice, the Chancellor of Austria is more important. Every law still needs to be signed by the President however.

Otto von Habsburg (1912–2011), son of Charles I, was the head of the Habsburg house from 1922, but never reigned. In 2007 he handed the headship to his oldest son Karl von Habsburg, Archduke of Austria and Prince Royal of Hungary, who was currently first in the line of succession, but without any recognised title. He is the current head of the imperial family.

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