Austrian Empire


August 11, 2022

The Austrian Empire (German: Kaisertum Österreich) was a Central European state. The empire was established in 1804 as a reaction to the creation of the First French Empire under Napoleon I. The first emperor of Austria was Franz II, who at the time also held the title of Holy Roman Emperor (he abdicated it after Napoleon's reorganization of Germany in 1806). In the process of retaining the imperial title, he raised the status of Austria from an archduchy to an empire. In 1866, Austria entered the war with Italy and Prussia. The war with Italy ended with the victory of Austria, but Austria was defeated in the war with Prussia. The consequence of that was that Austria lost the Venetian area, and withdrew from the German Confederation. After failed attempts to reform the constitution, the Austrian Empire was transformed into Austria-Hungary in 1867 under Franz Joseph I. This move gave Hungarian territories equal status.


The main changes that shaped the Austrian Empire took place at the conferences in Rastatt (1797-1799) and Regensburg (1801-1803). On March 24, 1803, the Imperial Council was proclaimed, which significantly reduced the number of church areas (from 81 to only 3) and imperial cities (from 51 to 6). Emperor Francis took the title of Emperor of Austria, abandoning then, in 1806, the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire was accelerated by the French intervention in September 1805, when on October 20 of that year the Austrian army led by General Karl Mak von Lieberich was defeated near the city of Ulm. Around 20,000 Austrian soldiers were captured. Napoleon won again on December 2, 1805 at Austerlitz, and Austria was forced into negotiations that lasted from December 4 to 6, 1805, and ended in an armistice. French victories led some areas that were dependent on Austria to become independent. Thus, on December 10, 1805, the Elector of Bavaria proclaimed himself king, and then the Elector of Württemberg did the same on December 11. Finally, on December 12, the Margrave of Baden received the title of Grand Duke. Each of these new countries signed an agreement with France and became its ally. The Peace of Poznań, signed on December 26, 1805, expanded the territory of Napoleon's German allies at the expense of Austria. When on August 11, 1804, Holy Roman Emperor Franz II took the title of Emperor of Austria as Franz I, his