Habsburg: The former Austrian imperial dynasty is named after the Havichsberch (Habichtsburg, first mentioned in 1108, founded around 1020), their ancestral castle on the right bank of the River Aare south west of Brugg in the canton of Aargau (Switzerland). The keep was also used for living accommodation and was extended during the 12th/13th centuries. Later, however, it was reduced again and the only surviving part of the castle was the western side, which had often been altered. The castle fell to the city of Berne in 1415.
According to the written history of the monastery also accommodated in the castle, it was founded by Muri Guntram the Rich who lived during the second half of the 10th century. His grandson Ratbot (d. before 1045), Count of Klettgau, an area between Waldshut (Germany) and Schaffhausen (Switzerland), founded the Muri monastery, the first burial site of the Habsburgs. His brother-in-law (or brother) was Bishop Werner of Strasbourg (1002-1028). Count of H. called himself Otto II (d. Sept. 8, 1111). His son Werner II, Landgrave in Upper Alsace from 1135, probably died outside Milan in 1167. He established relations with the Staufen family, which continued over the next generations. In 1240, the family split into two lines. The younger Laufenburg line died out in 1415. Rudolf IV, a member of the main line, became German king following election on Sept. 1, 1273, this despite the fact that the Habsburgs were not imperial princes, although as counts they did hold public functions. They did not reign over a unified territory, but owned allodial property, fiefs and church territory. The family was related to leading noble families in Swabia and Alsace.
After his victory in the Battle of Jedenspeigen (Aug. 26, 1278) over Otakar II of Bohemia, Rudolf I took over the territories that had formerly belonged to the Babenberg and Sponheim families and enfeoffed his sons Albrecht I and Rudolf II with them (Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Slovenia). In 1286 these lands went to the ( Meinhardiner check bios). Although Rudolf II renounced his rights, the male family members of future generations had to rule over their fiefs "jointly and undivided", a provision which often led to conflicts. During the 14th century, a younger member of the family administered the family´s Swiss properties most of which were, however, lost in the course of the century.
In 1379, the H. territories were divided between Albrecht III and Leopold III. The family now split into two, in 1406 into three lines, the properties of which were reunited under Maximilian I in 1493, after Albrecht´s line had died out in 1457 Albertinian Line and after the Tyrolean line had renounced all rights in1490 and Sigmund I had adopted Maximilian I.
Maximilian I married Maria of Burgundy, his son Philipp was married to Johanna of Castile and Aragon. The Habsburg family had thus become a major power. When Karl V inherited Spain from his mother, the family again split into two lines, a Spanish line represented by Karl V (as King of Spain Carlos I, succeeded by Felipe II, Felipe III, Felipe IV and Carlos II) and an Austrian line, represented by Ferdinand I and his successors. The two lines intermarried constantly, a policy which eventually led to degeneration and childlessness. The Spanish line died out in 1700.
After the death of Ferdinand I, the Austrian line split again into three branches in 1564. The Austrian branch reigned until 1619, the Tyrolean branch reigned only until 1595 due to the morganatic marriage of Ferdinand II (his children were not entitled to inherit). A new branch, founded by Leopold V, reigned until 1665. The family was represented by the Styrian branch until the death of Karl VI in 1740.
By marrying Franz I (Franz Stephan of Lothringen/Lorraine), Maria Theresia founded the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty (the couple had 16 children). The line was continued by Peter Leopold (Emperor Leopold II), his son Franz II (I) and Franz´s son Franz Karl, who renounced his succession rights and whose son Franz Joseph I reigned longer than any other Habsburg emperor before him. Leopold´s second son, Ferdinand III, founded the Habsburg-Toscana line, Maria Theresia´s son Ferdinand Karl the Oesterreich-Este line.The reign of the Habsburg-Lothringen family in Austria ended in 1918. Relations between the Republic of Austria and the Habsburg family are regulated by the Habsburg Law of 1919. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, son of the last Emperor Karl I, renounced his family´s rights and privileges in 1961.
Literature#A. Wandruszka, Das Haus Habsburg, 51984; B. Hamann, Die Habsburger. Ein biographisches Lexikon, 31993; R. Reifenscheid, Die Habsburger in Lebensbildern, 31994; K. Vocelka and L. Heller, Die Lebenswelt der Habsburger, 1997; K. Vocelka and L. Heller, Die private Welt der Habsburger, 1998; M. Erbe, Die Habsburger 1493-1918. Eine Dynastie im Reich und in Europa, 2000.