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A map of the Imperial Circles as at the beginning of the 16th century. The Austrian Circle is shown in orange.

The Austrian Circle (German: Österreichischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. It was one of the four Imperial Circles created in 1512, 12 years after the original Reichsreform created six Circles.

The Austrian Circle was largely coterminous with the so-called Erblande ("Hereditary Lands") of the Habsburg family.

Composition

States of the Austrian Circle, Geographis. Instituts., Weimar, 1806

The circle was made up of the following states:

Name Type of entity Comments
Den tyske ordens skjold.svg An der Etsch Bailiwick Established about 1260, an administrative grouping of lands held by the Teutonic Order in Tyrol
Austria coat of arms simple.svg Austria Archduchy March of Austria established in 976 by Emperor Otto II, raised to duchy by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1156, self-bestowed "archduchy" since 1358
Den tyske ordens skjold.svg Austria Bailiwick An administrative grouping of lands held by the Teutonic Order in Austria
Brixen Bishopric Established in the 10th century, prince-bishopric since 1179
Carinthia Arms.svg Carinthia Duchy Established in 976 by Emperor Otto II, held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1457, part of Inner Austria 1564-1619
Carniola Arms.svg Carniola Duchy March of Carniola established in 1040 by Emperor Henry III, raised to a duchy in 1364, held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1457, part of Inner Austria 1564-1619
Wappen Gotteshausbund.svg Chur Bishopric Established in the 4th century, prince-bishopric since 1170
Tranché.png Gorizia County Separated from the Patriarchate of Aquileia about 1127, held by the Archdukes of Austria from 1500, part of Inner Austria 1564-1619, merged into Gorizia and Gradisca in 1747
Coat of Arms of Istria County.gif Istria March Established in 1040 by Emperor Henry III, major part to Venice in 1291, remaining territory around Pazin (Mitterburg) to Gorizia, held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1374
Blason Ducs de Styrie.svg Styria Duchy March of Styria established about 970 by Emperor Otto I, raised to a duchy in 1180, held by the Dukes of Austria since 1278, part of Inner Austria 1564-1619
Austria coat of arms simple.svg Swabian Austria Landgraviate The remaining Habsburg home territories in Swabia since 1386, including Breisgau, Burgau, Sundgau (until 1648) and parts of Vorarlberg, held by the Archdukes of Austria
Tarasp wappen.svg Tarasp Lordship Held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1464
Trient.JPG Trent Bishopric Established in 1027 by Emperor Conrad II
Blaz-Triest.png Trieste City Held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1382
Tyrol Arms.svg Tyrol County Established about 1140, held by the Archdukes of Austria since 1363

Sources

The list of states making up the Austrian Circle is based on that in the German Wikipedia article Österreichischer Reichskreis.

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