Dynasty of the Habsburgs: from Austrian princes to the most powerful emperors of Europe

The dynasty of the Habsburgs is known since the XIII century,when its representatives owned Austria. And from the middle of the fifteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, they held the title of emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, being the most powerful monarchs of the continent.

Habsburg dynasty

History of the Habsburgs

The founder of the family lived in the 10th century. Almost no information about him has survived today. It is known that his descendant, Earl Rudolph, acquired land in Austria already in the middle of the 13th century. Actually, their cradle and became the southern Swabia, where the early representatives of the dynasty had ancestral castle. The name of the castle is Habschtsburg (from German - "hawk castle") and gave the name of the dynasty. In 1273, Rudolph was elected King of the Germans and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He recaptured Austria and Styria from the Czech king Přemysl Otakar, and his sons Rudolph and Albrecht became the first Habsburgs who ruled in Austria. In 1298, Albrecht inherited from his father the title of emperor and German king. And subsequently his son was elected to this throne. However, throughout the fourteenth century, the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the King of the Germans was still elective between the German princes, and he did not always get to the representatives of the dynasty. Only in 1438, when Albrecht II became the emperor, the Hapsburgs definitively appropriated this title. The exception was later only one, when the royal dignity was made by the elector of Bavaria in the middle of the XVIII century.

the Habsburg dynasty photo
The heyday of the dynasty

Since this period the dynasty of the Habsburgs is gaining allgreater power, reaching brilliant heights. Their successes were laid by the successful policy of Emperor Maximilian I, who ruled in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Actually, his main successes were successful marriages: his own, which the Netherlands brought him, and his son Philip, as a result of which the Habsburg dynasty took possession of Spain. About the grandson of Maximilian, Charles V, they said that the Sun never sets over his possessions - his power was so widely spread. He owned Germany, the Netherlands, parts of Spain and Italy, as well as some possessions in the New World. The dynasty of the Habsburgs experienced the highest peak of its power.

However, during the life of this monarch the giganticthe state was divided into parts. And after his death, and even broke up, after which the representatives of the dynasty divided their possessions among themselves. Ferdinand I went to Austria and Germany, Philip II - Spain and Italy. Later the Habsburgs, whose dynasty divided into two branches, were no longer a single whole. In some periods, relatives even openly confronted each other. As it was, for example, during the Thirty Years' War in

Habsburg dynasty
Europe. The victory in it of the reformers struck heavily on the might of the two branches. Thus, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire never had any former influence, which was connected with the establishment of secular states in Europe. And the Spanish Habsburgs completely lost their throne, losing to the Bourbons.

In the middle of the XVIII century, Austrian rulersJoseph II and Leopold II for a while manages to once again raise the prestige and power of the dynasty. This second flourishing, when the Habsburgs once again became influential in Europe, lasted about a century. However, after the revolution of 1848, the dynasty loses its monopoly on power even in its own empire. Austria is transformed into a dual monarchy - Austro-Hungary. The further - already irreversible - the process of disintegration was detained only thanks to the charisma and wisdom of the reign of Franz Joseph, who became the last real ruler of the state. The dynasty of the Habsburgs (photo by Franz Josef on the right) after the defeat in the First World War was completely expelled from the country, and on the ruins of the empire in 1919 a number of national independent states emerged.

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