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Österreichbegriff#

Oesterreich (Austria), Concept of: Around 996, ( Ostarrîchi) Austria encompassed the Alpine Foreland east of the river Enns (region of Neuhofen an der Ybbs) and possibly the whole of the march ruled by the Babenbergs. The Babenberg march had several Latin names (Oriens, orientalis provincia, orientalis pars) which corresponded to the German "Osterlant", the name frequently used in literature. The name "Austria" is mentioned in a document issued by Konrad III for the town of Klosterneuburg (1147), and there is no doubt that it referred to the Babenberg march. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the whole of the territory under Habsburg rule was designated "dominion of Austria". From the 15th century the term predominantly used was "House of Austria", which related to the ruling family and was, in the 16th century, extended to all branches of the Habsburg family and used in the territories under their rule in the west and south of Europe in the respective language (Casa de Austria, Casa d´Austria, Maison d´Autriche). In the 17th century, the Austrian line of the Habsburgs was frequently designated "German House of Austria", after 1740 "House of Habsburg" was mostly used.


Around 1500, the 2 geographical units ruled by the Austrian Line were given the names "Lower Austria" (including today's Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola) and "Upper Austria" (South Tirol, possessions in Vorarlberg, Swabia and Alsatia), later on "Inner Austria" (Inneroesterreich) was used for Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, "Austrian Forelands" (Vorderoesterreich) for the holdings west of the Arlberg pass. The term "Austria" meaning both units was employed to describe the "Austrian" college of the Diet of Cologne (1512) and the Diet of Worms (1521), while in the 18th century, during the reign of Maria Theresia, the name "monarchia Austriaca" or "Austrian Monarchy" was customary. In 1804, the name "Austrian Empire" was made official, yet it was not stated whether it referred to Hungary as well, whereas in the Pillersdorf Constitution of 1848 the term "Kaiserstaat Oesterreich" (Imperial state of Austria) did not include Hungary, during the period of Neo-absolutism, the term "Austrian Hereditary Monarchy" meant both countries taken together, and the Constitution of 1867 still mentions the "common affairs of the Austrian Monarchy". The Name "Austria", however, was only used in the name of the monarchy (Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary) and not, until 1915, for the western half of the empire, which was described as "the kingdoms and lands represented in the Reichsrat". The Provisional State Council of 21 October, 1918, named the new state "Deutsch-Oesterreich" (i.e. German-Austria), the name under which the republic was proclaimed on 12 November, 1918, but which was forbidden in the Treaty of Saint Germain (1919). The Constitution of 1920 thus used the name "Republic of Austria", Upper Austria and Lower Austria being 2 of the 9 federal provinces. In the 1934 Constitution Austria is named "Federal State of Austria". Following the Anschluss with Germany, the name "land Austria" was only used in administrative documents up to the year 1939, and "Lower Austria" and "Upper Austria" were replaced by "Lower Danube" and "Upper Danube", respectively, as early as 1938. The name "Republic of Austria" was taken over again when the state was re-established in April 1945 and has been the official name since.

Literature#

E. Zoellner, Formen und Wandlungen des Oesterreich-Begriffes, in Historica, Festschrift fuer F. Engel-Janosi, 1965; idem in: Probleme und Aufgaben der oesterreichischen Geschichtsforschung, H. Dienst and G. Heiss (eds.), 1984.