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Europe

The European continent was named after beautiful Phoenician woman called Europa.

Europe

When Zeus have seen Agenor's daughter Europa gathering flowers he immediately fell in love with her.

Welcome to Austria

The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.

Austria geo map

Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of €38,314 (2012 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2011 was ranked 19th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.

State Capitol Surface in km2 Citizens

Burgenland

Eisenstadt

3 966

286 215

Carinthia

Klagenfurt

9 536

557 773

Lower Austria

Sankt Pölten

19 174

1 617 455

Salzburg

Salzburg

7 154

534 122

Styria

Graz

16 392

1 213 255

Tyrol

Innsbruck

12 648

714 449

Upper Austria

Linz

11 980

1 416 772

Vienna

Vienna

414

1 731 236

Vorarlberg

Bregenz

2 601

371 741

History

Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present day Petronell-Carnuntum in Eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province. Fifty thousand people called Carnuntum home for nearly 400 years.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars. The Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory. Charlemagne conquered the area in 788 AD, encouraged colonisation and introduced Christianity. As part of Eastern Francia, the core areas of Austria were given to the house of Babenberg. The area known as the marchia Orientalis was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976. The first record showing the name Austria is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg. In 1156 the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs went extinct.

Figurette Roman Gate

Although Ottokar II of Bohemia effectively assumed control of the duchies of Austria, Styria and Carinthia his reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was largely that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. They began also to accumulate lands far from the hereditary lands. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family. His son Philip the Fair married Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, and thus acquired Spain and its Italian, African and New World appendages for the Habsburgs. In 1526 following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires, particularly evident in the so-called Long War of 1593 to 1606. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly twenty times; burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of slaves.

Rudolf IV Habsburg Habsburg coatarms

During the long reign of Leopold I (1657–1705) and following the successful defense of Vienna in 1683 under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski, a series of campaigns resulted in bringing all of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. Then, Emperor Charles VI of France relinquished many of the fairly impressive gains the empire made in the previous years, largely due to his apprehensions at the imminent extinction of the House of Habsburg. Charles was willing to offer concrete advantages in territory and authority in exchange for other powers' worthless recognitions of the Pragmatic Sanction that made his daughter Maria Theresa his heir.

Battle of Vienna Habsburg family

With the rise of Prussia the Austrian–Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia, in the first and the third of the three Partitions of Poland in 1772 and in 1795. Later Austria became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France, at the beginning highly unsuccessful, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Two years earlier in 1804, the Empire of Austria was founded. In 1814 Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars.

Map of Austria 1908 Map of Austria 1910

Austria emerged from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as one of four of the continent's recognised great powers. The same year, the German Confederation was founded under the presidency of Austria. As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of 1848, the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In 1864, Austria and Prussia fought together against Denmark and successfully freed the independent duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. Nevertheless as they could not agree on a solution to the administration of the two duchies, they fought in 1866 the Austro-Prussian War. Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz, Austria had to leave the German Confederation and subsequently no longer took part in German politics.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Ausgleich, provided for a dual sovereignty, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, under Franz Joseph I. The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various Slavic groups including Croats, Czechs, Poles, Rusyns, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Ukrainians, as well as large Italian and Romanian communities. As a result, ruling of Austria–Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, causing a high reliance on the use of a secret police. The government of Austria tried its best publishing the laws and ordinances in eight languages and all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices, for example.

Frans Jozef I Austria 1920 - 1930

In 1908 Austria-Hungary found an excuse in the promulgation of the Second Constitutional Era in the Ottoman Empire to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip was used by leading Austrian politicians and generals to persuade the emperor to declare war on Serbia, thereby risking and prompting the outbreak of World War I which led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Over one million Austro-Hungarian soldiers died in World War I.

On 11 November the emperor declared he would not take part in state business any more and on 12 November German Austria, by law, declared itself to be a democratic republic and part of the new German republic. The constitution, renaming Staatsrat to Bundesregierung was passed on 10 November 1920.

The First Austrian Republic lasted until 1933 when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, using what he called "self-switch-off of Parliament" established an autocratic regime tending toward Italian fascism. The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies the Social Democrats' Schutzbund was now declared illegal but still operative as civil war broke out. On 12 March 1938, Austrian Nazis took over the government, while German troops occupied the country. On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared. Two days later Hitler, who was an Austrian by birth, announced what he called the "re-unification" of his home country with the "rest of Germany" on Vienna's Heldenplatz. He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April 1938. Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent country.

Hitler anschlus in Vienna

The Nazis called Austria "Ostmark" until 1942 when it was again renamed and called "Alpen-Donau-Reichsgaue". Some of the most prominent Nazis were native Austrians, including Hitler, Adolf Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Franz Stangl, and Odilo Globocnik, as were 40% of the staff at Nazi extermination camps. Vienna fell on 13 April 1945, during the Soviet Vienna Offensive just before the total collapse of the Third Reich. The invading Allied powers, in particular the Americans, planned for the supposed "Alpine Fortress Operation" of national redoubt that was largely to have taken place on Austrian soil in the mountains of the eastern Alps. However it never materialized because of the rapid collapse of the Reich.

Austria in 1945

Much like Germany, Austria was divided into British, French, Soviet and American zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria. In general, Austria was treated as though it had been originally invaded by Germany and liberated by the Allies. On 15 May 1955, after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the Cold War, Austria regained full independence by concluding the Austrian State Treaty with the Four Occupying Powers. On 26 October 1955, after all occupation troops had left, Austria declared its "permanent neutrality" by an act of parliament. Following a referendum in 1994, at which consent reached a majority of two thirds, the country became a member of the European Union on 1 January 1995.