Landmarks that Were Influenced by Austrian Kings

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The lines of Austrian kings known as the Habsburgs and the Habsburg Lorraines have been some of the most powerful and influential of royal families in the entirety of Europe. The dynasty spanned six centuries and was named for the Habsburg castle where the individual royal members were seated. To date, historical linguistic scholars can’t seem to agree on exactly why the Habsburg castle is named such, but none can deny the potent effects these Austrian kings have had over Europe’s history. For instance, some would argue that the name derives from the German ‘hawk castle.’ Others still claim that the point of origin lies in the German word for ford, which is, in fact, ‘hab.’ References to the Habsburg dynasty can be found as early as the 11th century, but it was a number of centuries before the Habsburgs climbed their way up to the lofty rank of Austrian kings.
Due to their location, Austrian kings often benefited from being elected to the even higher office of Holy Roman Emperor.


The Holy Roman Empire of those times consisted of almost two thousand widely dispersed and fragmented states and factions. Naturally, the Austrian kings had difficulty ruling with peak efficiency over such a patchwork kingdom, but the position also granted a huge degree of political and military authority reaching far beyond that of Austria alone.

While few of the Austrian kings are completely bereft of accomplishments, there are some who are more worthy of note than others for the marks left in the pages of history. Maximilian I essentially began the serious business of expanding the Habsburg dynasty by marrying Mary, heiress of Burgundy. His son then continued the process by taking the heir of Spain, Joan ‘the Mad,’ to be his wife. Their six children in turn ruled over not just Austria, but also Spain, the southern reaches of Italy, and various other lower regions. Then there’s Maximilian II, who acquired many more lands for the dynasty of Austrian kings, including the very grounds where the famous Schonbrunn Palace was built.

While the power of the Austrian kings endured and even grew steadily for many centuries, eventually the changes brought by the modern world brought with it a weakening of royal influence. The Austrian kings couldn’t last forever! Austria’s hold over other far-flung nations collapsed with the fall of its Austrian kings, and Austria itself became a republic nation.

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