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(Redirected from Habsburgs)

Habsburg (sometimes spelled Hapsburg, but never so in official use) was one of the major ruling houses of Europe.

Their principal roles were as:

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

Family origins

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.

Official title

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

Before Rudolph rose to German king, the Habsburgs were Counts in what is today south-western Germany and Switzerland.

  • 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.

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.

Albertine Line

Leopoldine Line



  • Frederick IV (Friedrich), brother of Ernst, 1402 - 1439 duke of Tyrol and Vorderösterreich
  • Sigismund, also spelled Siegmund or Sigmund, 1439 - 1446 under the tutelage of the Frederick V above, then duke of Tyrol, and after the death of Albrecht VI in 1463 also duke of Vorderösterreich.

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

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

House of Habsburg-Lorraine (Lothringen)

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

Kings of Bohemia of the House of Habsburg

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

Emperor of Mexico of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine

Queen Consorts of France of the House of Habsburg

Heads of the House of Habsburg after 1918

Charles I was expelled from his domains after World War I and the empire was abolished.

Also see

External links

  • "Erzherzog Dr. Otto von Habsburg" (Autorisierte Ehrenseite)
  • Habsburg Biographies
  • Habsburg Resource Centre on SurnameWeb

Last updated: 02-28-2005 10:57:03