Their principal roles were as:
- Holy Roman Emperors for several centuries to 1806, and
- rulers of Austria (as dukes 1282–1453, archdukes 1453–1804, and emperors 1804–1918),
- Kings of Hungary 1437–1918),
- kings of Spain (1516–1700), and
- kings of Bohemia 1526–1618 and 1621–1918.
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).
After the marriage of Maximilian I with Mary, heiress of Burgundy (the Low Countries) and the marriage of his son Philipp the Handsome with Juana, heiress of Spain and its newly-founded empire, Charles V inherited an empire where "the sun does not set".
Under Maximilian II, the Habsburgs first acquired the land upon which would later be erected the Schönbrunn Palace: the Habsburgs' summer palace in Vienna and one of the most enduring symbols of the dynasty.
Austrian and Spanish Habsburgs
After the April 21, 1521 assignment of the Austrian lands to Ferdinand I from his brother Emperor Charles V (also King Charles I of Spain) (1516 - 1556), the family split into the Austrian Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs. The Austrian Habsburgs held (after 1556) the title of Holy Roman Emperor, as well as the Habsburg Hereditary Lands and the Kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary, while the Spanish Habsburgs ruled over the Spanish kingdoms, the Netherlands, the Habsburgs' Italian possessions, and, for a time, Portugal.
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 Stephan Duke of Lorraine, and their descendants 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.
Francis I of Austria
On August 6, 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 (as Francis I, thereof) on August 11, 1804, three months after Napoleon had declared himself Emperor of France on May 18, 1804.
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 Lodomeria; 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 or "compromise" (see Austria-Hungary) until the Habsburgs' deposition from both Austria and Hungary in 1918 following defeat in World War I.
The current head of the Habsburg family is Otto von Habsburg, Emperor Karl's eldest son.
Forebears and Counts of Habsburg
- Guntram the Rich (ca. 930 - 985 / 990)
- Lanzelin of Altenburg (d. 991). Besides Radbot, he had a second son named Rudolph I .
- Radbot of Klettgau , built the Habsburg (ca. 985 - 1035). Besides Werner I, he had two other sons: Otto I , who would become Count of Sundgau in the Alsace, and Albrecht I .
- Werner I , Count of Habsburg (1025 / 1030 - 1096). Besides Otto II, there was another son, Albert II , who was reeve of Muri from 1111 - 1141 after the death of Otto II.
- Otto II of Habsburg; first to name himself as "of Habsburg" (d. 1111)
- Werner II of Habsburg (around 1135; d. 1167)
- Albrecht III of Habsburg (the Rich), d. 1199. Under him, the Habsburg territories expanded to cover most of what is today the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
- Rudolph II of Habsburg (d. 1232)
- Albrecht IV of Habsburg, (d. 1239 / 1240); father of Rudolph IV of Habsburg, who would later become king Rudolph I of Germany. Between Albrecht IV and his brother Rudolph III, the Habsburg properties were split, with Albrecht keeping the Aargau and the western parts, the eastern parts going to Rudolph III.
King of Germany
Dukes of Austria
In the late middle ages, when the Habsburgs expanded their territories in the east, they often ruled as dukes. "Duke of Austria" is a bit misleading, though: Austria proper at the time covered what is today Lower Austria. The Habsburg possessions also included Styria, and then expanded west to include Carinthia in 1335 and Tyrol in 1363. Their original scattered possessions in the southern Alsace, south-western Germany and Vorarlberg were collectively known as Vorderösterreich. The Habsburg dukes gradually lost their homelands south of the Rhine and Lake Constance to the expanding Old Swiss Confederacy. Unless mentioned explicitly, the dukes of Austria also ruled over Vorderösterreich until 1379, after that year, Vorderösterreich was ruled by the duke of Tyrol . Names in italics designate dukes that never actually ruled.
- Rudolph II, son of Rudolph I, duke of Austria and Styria together with his brother 1282 - 1283, was dispossessed by his brother, who eventually would be murdered by one of Rudolph's sons.
- Albert I (Albrecht I), son of Rudolph I and brother of the above, duke from 1282 - 1308; was Holy Roman Emperor from 1298 - 1308. See also below.
- Rudolph III, oldest son of Albert I, designated duke of Austria and Styria 1298 - 1307
- Frederick the Handsome (Friedrich der Schöne), brother of Rudolph III. Duke of Austria and Styria (with his brother Leopold I) from 1308 - 1330; officially co-regent of emperor Louis IV since 1325, but never ruled.
- Leopold I, brother of the above, duke of Austria and Styria from 1308 - 1326.
- Albert II (Albrecht II), brother of the above, duke of Vorderösterreich from 1326 - 1358, duke of Austria and Styria 1330 - 1358, duke of Carinthia after 1335.
- Otto the Jolly (der Fröhliche), brother of the above, duke of Austria and Styria 1330 - 1339 (together with his brother), duke of Carinthia after 1335.
- Rudolph IV the Founder (der Stifter), oldest son of Albert II. Duke of Austria and Styria 1358 - 1365, Duke of Tyrol after 1363.
After the death of Rudolph IV, his brothers Albert III and Leopold III ruled the Habsburg possessions together from 1365 until 1379, when they split the territories in the treaty of Neuberg, Albert keeping Austria proper and Leopold ruling over Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, and Vorderösterreich.
- Albert III (Albrecht III), duke of Austria until 1395, from 1386 (after the death of Leopold) until 1395 also ruled over the latters possessions.
- Albert IV (Albrecht IV), duke of Austria 1395 - 1404, in conflict with Leopold IV.
- Albert V (Albrecht V), duke of Austria 1404 - 1439, Holy Roman Emperor from 1438 - 1439 as Albert II. See also below.
- Ladislaus Postumus, son of the above, duke of Austria 1440 - 1457.
- Leopold III, duke of Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, and Vorderösterreich until 1386, when he was killed in the Battle of Sempach.
- William (Wilhelm), son of the above, 1386 - 1406 duke in Innerösterreich (Carinthia, Styria)
- Leopold IV, son of Leopold III, 1391 regent of Vorderösterreich, 1395 - 1402 duke of Tyrol, after 1404 also duke of Austria, 1406 - 1411 duke of Innerösterreich
- Ernest the Iron (der Eiserne), 1406 - 1424 duke of Innerösterreich, until 1411 together and competing with his brother Leopold IV.
- Frederick V (Friedrich), son of Ernst, became emperor Frederick III in 1440. He was duke of Innerösterreich from 1424 on. Guardian of Sigismund 1439 - 1446 and of Ladislaus Postumus 1440 - 1452. See also below.
- Albert VI (Albrecht VI), brother of the above, 1446 - 1463 regent of Vorderösterreich, duke of Austria 1458 - 1463
Sigismund had no children and adopted Maximilian I, son of duke Frederick V (emperor Frederick III). Under Maximilian, the possessions of the Habsburgs would be united again under one ruler, after he had re-conquered Lower Austria from Matthias Corvinus, who resided in Vienna and styled himself duke of Austria from 1485 - 1495.
Holy Roman Emperors
House of Habsburg
- Rudolph I, emperor 1273 - 1291
- Albert I, emperor 1298 - 1308
- Albert II, emperor 1438 - 1439
- Frederick III, emperor 1440 - 1493
- Maximilian I, emperor 1493 - 1519
- Charles V, emperor 1519 - 1556
- Ferdinand I, emperor 1556 - 1564
- Maximilian II, emperor 1564 - 1576
- Rudolph II, emperor 1576 - 1612
- Matthias, emperor 1612 - 1619
- Ferdinand II, emperor 1619 - 1637
- Ferdinand III, emperor 1637 - 1657
- Leopold I, emperor 1658 - 1705
- Josef I, emperor 1705 - 1711
- Charles VI, emperor 1711 - 1740
House of Habsburg-Lorraine (Lothringen)
- Francis I Stephen, emperor 1745 - 1765
- Joseph II, emperor 1765 - 1790
- Leopold II, emperor 1790 - 1792
- Francis II, emperor 1792 - 1806
Emperors of Austria of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
- Francis I, emperor of Austria 1804 - 1835: was Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Ferdinand I, emperor of Austria 1835 - 1848
- Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria 1848 - 1916, sometimes referred to in English as "Francis Joseph"
- Karl, emperor of Austria 1916 - 1918, sometimes referred to in English as "Charles". He died in exile in 1922.
Kings of Hungary of the House of Habsburg
- Albert, king of Hungary 1437 - 1439
- Ladislaus V Posthumus, king of Hungary 1444 - 1457
- Ferdinand I, king of Hungary 1526 - 1564
- Maximilian I, king of Hungary 1563 - 1576
- Rudolf I, king of Hungary 1572 - 1608
- Matthias, king of Hungary 1608 - 1619
- Ferdinand II, king of Hungary 1618 - 1637
- Ferdinand III, king of Hungary 1625 - 1657
- Ferdinand IV, king of Hungary 1647 - 1654
- Leopold I, king of Hungary 1655 - 1705
- Joseph I, king of Hungary 1687 - 1711
- Charles III, king of Hungary 1711 - 1740
- Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary 1740 - 1780
- Joseph II, king of Hungary 1780 - 1790
- Leopold II, king of Hungary 1790 - 1792
- Francis, king of Hungary 1792 - 1835
- Ferdinand V, king of Hungary 1835 - 1848
- Francis Joseph I, king of Hungary 1848 - 1916
- Charles IV, king of Hungary 1916 - 1918
Kings of Bohemia of the House of Habsburg
- Ferdinand I, king of Bohemia 1526 - 1564
- Maximilian I, king of Bohemia 1563 - 1576
- Rudolf I, king of Bohemia 1572 - 1611
- Matthias, king of Bohemia 1611 - 1618
- Ferdinand II, king of Bohemia 1621 - 1637
- Ferdinand III, king of Bohemia 1625 - 1657
- Ferdinand IV, king of Bohemia 1647 - 1654
- Leopold I, king of Bohemia 1655 - 1705
- Joseph I, king of Bohemia 1687 - 1711
- Charles III, king of Bohemia 1711 - 1740
- Maria Theresa, queen of Bohemia 1742 - 1780
- Joseph II, king of Bohemia 1780 - 1790
- Leopold II, king of Bohemia 1790 - 1792
- Francis, king of Bohemia 1792 - 1835
- Ferdinand V, king of Bohemia 1835 - 1848
- Francis Joseph I, king of Bohemia 1848 - 1916
- Charles IV, king of Bohemia 1916 - 1918
Kings of Spain of the House of Habsburg
- Philip I 1506 (only King of Castile)
- Charles I 1516-1556
- Philip II 1556-1598
- Philip III 1598-1621
- Philip IV 1621-1665
- Charles II 1665-1700
Kings of Portugal of the House of Habsburg
- Filipe I 1580-1598 (Philip II of Spain)
- Filipe II 1598-1621 (Philip III of Spain)
- Filipe III 1621-1640 (Philip IV of Spain)
Grand Dukes of Tuscany of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
- Francis Stephen 1737-1765
- Leopold I 1765-1790
- Ferdinand III 1790-1800, 1814-1824
- Leopold II 1824-1849, 1849-1859
- Ferdinand IV 1859
Dukes of Modena of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Duchess of Parma of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
- Maria Luisa 1814-1847
Emperor of Mexico of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
- Maximilian I 1864-1867
Queen Consorts of France of the House of Habsburg
- Elisabeth of Austria (1554 - 1592), wife of King Charles IX of France
- Anne of Austria (1601 - 1666), wife of King Louis XIII
- Maria Theresa of Spain (1638 - 1683), wife of King Louis XIV
- Marie Antoinette (1755 - 1793), wife of King Louis XVI
Heads of the House of Habsburg after 1918
Charles I was expelled from his domains after World War I and the empire was abolished.
- Charles I (1918-1922)
- Otto von Habsburg (1922-present)
- (Zita of Bourbon-Parma, guardian, (1922-1930))
- "Erzherzog Dr. Otto von Habsburg" (Autorisierte Ehrenseite)
- Habsburg Biographies
- Habsburg Resource Centre on SurnameWeb