Top 10 Facts about the Austrian Empire

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10. The Empire was founded in 1804

Before 1804, the Holy Roman Empire was the name of the land currently known as Austria. Changes took place between two different conferences – Rastatt in 1797 and Regensburg in 1801. In early 1803, the Imperial Recess reduced the number of states from 81 to 3 and free imperial cities to just 6.

The purpose of this reduction was to replace the Holy Roman Empire and helped spur the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II into creating the title ‘Emperor of Austria’ for himself to take charge of the lands.

Therefore, by the time 1804 came around, Francis II founded the Emperor of Austria, including his own lands in the acquisition. This initial foundation created the structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, which would go on to rule for about three centuries.

9. The ‘Age of Metternich’ was from 1815-1848

Klemens von Metternich, an Austrian diplomat who was a central figurehead in foreign affairs during this time period, became Foreign Minister in 1809, along with holding hte post of Chancellor of State from 1821 util 1848.
Under his rule, this time was referred to as the ‘Age of Metternich,’ where Metternich controlled the Habsburg Monarchy’s foreign policy and strongly influenced European politics. He was known for his conservative views, strong political approach, and anti-liberalism and revolutionism.

8. 1848 Revolutions

Although the Austrian Empire had a stable economy and a balanced budget during the Metternich era, not all was well during the end of his reign. From March of 1848 until November 1849, the Empire was under siege from nationalists’ various revolutionary movements.

Along with nationalist revolutions, liberalists and socialists joined in fighting back at the country’s longstanding conservatism. Even though some of these revolutions failed, the impact was far-reaching; serfdom was abolished, censorship was canceled, and a constitution’s promise through all of Austria was made.

7. The Bach Years

After Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg died in 1852, Baron Alexander von Bch was largely in charge of foreign policy, internal policy, and relations between Austria and Hungary.

Although he made some positive strides, like centralizing authority, he also went backward in a sense, reducing the freedom of the press and canceling public trials.

The Bach system’s main ‘pillars’ included a strong military, officeholders, and a strong relation between Church and State. Any political nay-sayers were thrown in prison, even those expressing their freedom of speech against neo-absolutism.

6. Napoleonic Wars dominated Austrian foreign policy

In the time period between 1804 and 1815, the Napoleonic Wars were the main driving force in deciding Austria’s foreign policy. Led by Napoleon, this was a brief period of French dominance in Europe. However, Austria was one of the most formidable sides that France had to face during this time.
To prevent having to fight the French, Austria signed a peace treaty in 1795. Although this protected them from the dominant French rule, it meant Austrian soldiers were basically enslaved in constant fighting for almost a decade.

The constant fighting and military focus put a huge strain on the Austrian economy, making the war hugely unpopular among citizens.

5. There are MANY Crown Lands of the Austrian Empire

Between the time period of 1867 and 1918, Austria-Hungary was a great power in Central Europe formed by the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. Although it dissolved following the defeat in World War I, this compromise was a real union between two monarchies.

Ruled by the House of Habsburg, it became part of the last phase of the Habsburg Monarchy. These two states communicated and agreed n various diplomatic areas, such as foreign defense, financial policies, and foreign policies.

3. Bosnia was once a part of Austro-Hungarian rule

After 1878, Bosnia was under Austro-Hungarian military and civilian rule until it was annexed in 1908. This brief period of acquisition led to the Bosnian crisis, sparking protests from all of the Great Powers and Austria-Hungary’s Balkan nearby countries.

In April of 1909, the Treaty of Berlin helped bring this crisis to an end – but the implications were severe. The crisis permanently harmed the relationship between Austro-Hungary and Italy, Serbia, Russia, and Bosnia.

2. The major religion is Roman Catholic

The Austrian Empire’s major religion is Roman Catholic, with the country also containing minor religions like Lutheran, Reformed, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish.

1. The Empire has MANY languages!

The common languages spoken in Austria are greater than just German. Throughout the years, Austria’s languages consisted of German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Ruthenian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, Lombard, Genetian, Friulian, Ladin, Italian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.

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