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Emperor of Austria
Former Monarchy
Imperial
Wappen Kaisertum Österreich 1815 (Klein).png
Imperial Coat of arms
Karl of Austria.jpg
Last Monarch:
Charles I

Style His Imperial Majesty
First monarch Francis I
Last monarch Charles I
Monarchy started 11 August, 1804
Monarchy ended 11 November, 1918
Current pretender Karl Habsburg-Lothringen

The Emperor of Austria (German: Kaiser von Österreich) was an hereditary imperial title and position proclaimed in 1804 by the Austrian Habsburg Emperor Francis II and continually held by him and his successors until the Habsburg dynasty relinquished power in 1918.

In the face of aggressions by Napoleon, Francis feared for the future of the Holy Roman Empire and wished to maintain his and his family's Imperial status in the event that the Holy Roman Empire should be dissolved, as it indeed was in 1806 when an Austrian-led army suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz and the victorious Napoleon proceeded to dismantle the old Reich by severing a good portion from the empire and turning it into a separate Confederation of the Rhine. With the size of his imperial realm significantly reduced, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor became Francis I, Emperor of Austria. The new imperial title may have sounded less prestigious than the old one, but Francis' dynasty continued to rule from Austria and a Habsburg monarch was still an emperor (Kaiser), and not just merely a king (König), in name.

The title lasted just a little over one century until 1918, but it was never clear what territory constituted the "Empire of Austria". When Francis took the title in 1804, the Habsburg lands as a whole were dubbed the Kaisertum Österreich. Kaisertum might literally be translated as "emperordom" (on analogy with "kingdom") or "emperor-ship"; the term denotes specifically "the territory ruled by an emperor", and is thus somewhat more general than Reich, which in 1804 carried connotations of universal rule. Austria proper (as opposed to the complex of Habsburg lands as a whole) had been an Archduchy since the 15th century, and most of the other territories of the Empire had their own institutions and territorial history, although there were some attempts at centralization, especially between 1848 and 1859. When Hungary was given self-government in 1867, the non-Hungarian portions, although usually collectively called Austria, were officially known only as the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council (Reichsrat)". The title of Emperor of Austria and the associated Empire were both abolished at the end of the First World War in 1918, when German Austria became a republic and the other kingdoms and lands represented in the Imperial Council established their independence or adhesion to other states.

Contents

Full title

The Austrian Emperors had an extensive list of titles and claims that reflected the geographic expanse and diversity of the lands ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs. [1] The full list (after the loss of the Lombardy in 1859 and Venetia in 1866):

Emperor of Austria,
Apostolic King of Hungary,
King of Bohemia, of Dalmatia, of Croatia, of Slavonia, of Galicia, of Lodomeria, and of Illyria,
King of Jerusalem, and so forth,
Archduke of Austria,
Grand Duke of Tuscany and of Cracow,
Duke of Lorraine, of Salzburg, of Styria, of Carinthia, of Carniola and of the Bukovina,
Grand Prince of Transylvania,
Margrave in Moravia,
Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Auschwitz and Zator, of Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa and Zara,
Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca,
Prince of Trient and Brixen,
Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria,
Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg, and so forth,
Lord of Trieste, of Cattaro and of the Wendish Mark,
Grand Voivode of the Voivodship of Serbia, and so forth,
Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Emperors of Austria, (1804-1918)

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Friedrich von Amerling 003.jpg Francis I 11 August, 1804 02 March, 1835  • N/A
Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Ferdinand I; Keizer van Oostenrijk.jpg Ferdinand I 02 March, 1835 02 December, 1848  • Son of Francis I
Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Franz Joseph, circa 1915.JPG Franz Joseph I 02 December, 1848 21 November, 1916  • Nephew of Ferdinand I
Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Emperor karl of austria-hungary 1917.png Charles I 21 November, 1916 11 November, 1918  • Great-Nephew of Franz Joseph I

Notes

  1. ^ The official title of the ruler of Austrian Empire and later the Austria-Hungary had been changed several times: by a patent from August 1, 1804, by a court office decree from August 22, 1836, by an imperial court ministry decree from January 6, 1867 and finally by a letter from December 12, 1867. Shorter versions were recommended for official documents and international treaties: "Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia etc. and Apostolic King of Hungary", "Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary", "His Majesty Emperor and King" and "His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty". The term Kaiserlich und königlich (K.u.K.) was decreed in a letter from October 17, 1889 for the military, the navy and the institutions shared by both parts of the monarchy.
    From the Otto's encyclopedia (published during 1888-1909), subject 'King', online in Czech.

See also

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