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Austria History


History of Austria saw the region of Alpine lands and the Danube region being settled in prehistoric times. The region’s rich mineral resources helped the land in prospering giving rise to the Celtic culture. This region was known as the kingdom of Noricum, during the period Christ was born, which was occupied and later included in the corporation of Roman Empire. The Romans had their hold on the Danube region for almost five hundred years. Finally the Romans gave way to the attacks of the tribal migrations and vacated the Danube area but left behind them several once-thriving cities.

The regions of Austria have witnessed people migrating here during the late eighth century and even to the present-day. The German tribes crossed the Danube on their way south, while the Huns with their hordes of horseback warriors swept eastwards as far as France. Towards the end of the eighth century Charlemagne established the Carolingian Mark between the Danube and the Drau as a bulwark against further encroachments of the Avars. After the Romans departed from the region Irish and Scottish monks progressively Christianized the Alpine region.


Once the Bavarian dynasty of the Babenbergs was handed over with the administration of Austria in 976, it was very thinly populated. In the following centuries the Babenbergs followed a wise plan of aggrandisement, and a sharp policy of morganatic marriages helped them to establish themselves as one of the most powerful dynasties in the Empire. The Austria history saw the country in the year 1156 being declared a Duchy and its rulers arranged several important privileges. By the time the Babenberg dynasty died out in the middle of the thirteenth century, they had considerably enlarged the area under their sway.

In 1282, after the brief interregnum marked by the reign of Ottokar II Premysl, the Habsburgs - whose origins lay in Swabia - were invested with the Duchy of Austria. With great dexterity they set about steadily enlarging their power base, acquiring the Duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol through contracts of succession and then adding Gorizia and Istria (with Trieste) to their territories. Finally, in 1437 Duke Albrecht V, who was married to the daughter of Emperor Sigismund, became the first Habsburg to wear the imperial crown after his father-in-law's death.

In the following centuries Albrecht's successors were all - with brief exceptions - crowned Holy Roman Emperors. The Habsburgs cleverly employed strategic marriages to enlarge their territories, acquiring Burgundy and the Low Countries in this way, and soon a Habsburg also occupied the Spanish throne. In 1522 the dynasty split into a Spanish and an Austrian line. In 1526, after the Jagiellonian dynasty had died out, the Austrian Habsburgs added Bohemia and Hungary to their lands. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the dominant theme of Austrian history was the confrontation with the Ottoman Empire, whose vast armies twice laid siege to Vienna. Having reversed the Ottoman thrust into Europe, Austria acquired new territories and emerged as a major European power.

After Italy's rise and emergence as a nation, Austria suffered a chain of severe defeats, and the Habsburg administration was enforced to make several concessions to the rapidly growing nationalist movement. In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph consented to demands for the creation of the Double Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. This corporation entity crumbled at the end of the First World War, not least as a result of the centrifugal forces of nationalist self-assertion.

The history of Austria saw the country being announced a Republic in 1918, of what was an empire got reduced to the dimension of a small state. In 1938 Austria gave in to the inevitable pressures of Hitler's Germany and internal instability. With the aid of the Allied Powers, Austria was revived as a Republic in 1945 but remained occupied by the armies of France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States until 1955, when the Austrian State Treaty was signed. During the same year the Austrian Parliament passed a constitutional law on the country's status of permanent neutrality, and before year's end Austria had joined the United Nations. In the ensuing decades this country has gained a recognized position in the concert of European nations. After years of endeavors, Austria now has now become fully a part of the European integration process when it joined the European Union on January 1, 1995.
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