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Habsburg (frequently spelled Hapsburg) was one of the ruling houses of Europe: rulers of Austria (as dukes 12821453, archdukes 14531804, and emperors 18041918), kings of Spain (15161700), 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 (12781382). 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 (12731291, 12981308, 14381740, and 17451806).

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.

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".

Upon the abdication of the Emperor Charles V, also King Charles I of Spain (15161556), the family split into the Austrian Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs.

Under Maximilian II, the Habsburgs first acquired the land upon which would later be erected the Schloß Schönbrunn : the Habsburgs' summer palace in Vienna and one of the most enduring symbols of the dynasty.

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 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.

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 doubtful 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 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 16831699. 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.


Dukes of Austria

  • Friedrich I (1296-1330)
  • Leopold I (1290-1326)
  • Albrecht II (1298-1358)
  • Rudolf IV (1339-1365)
  • Friedrich III (1347-1362)
  • Albrecht III (1348-1395)
  • Albrecht IV (1377-1404)
  • Leopold III (1351-1386)
  • Wilhelm (1370-1406)
  • Leopold IV (1371-1411)
  • Ernst I (1377-1424)

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 as 1804 - 1835
  • 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 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

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45