Sunday, January 5, 2014

Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was also known as Austria-Hungary and the Dual Monarchy.  In 1867, the Habsburg Empire (Austria) joined up with the Kingdom of Hungary and became the second largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire

It was a pretty odd setup.  The Habsburg monarch ruled Austria and the Hungarian king ruled Hungary.  There were two capitals - Vienna (the main one) and Budapest.  Austria and Hungary each maintained separate parliaments.  There were no common laws between the two.  Any proposed law had to pass both parliaments.

There was no Austro-Hungarian passport.  A person was either an Austrian citizen or a Hungarian citizen.

The empire was made up of many ethnic groups.  The official languages were German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian and Italian.  The unofficial languages were Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Bosnian, Rusyn and Yiddish.

The territory took up most of Central Europe.  Using today's map, it covered Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, large portions of Serbia and Romania, and bits of Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine.

Following the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.  Austro-Hungary was allied with Germany, Serbia was allied with Russia.  Everyone else got pulled in due to various military alliances and we ended up with WWI.

At the end of WWI, in 1918, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy collapsed.  It's amazing that Austria-Hungary even lasted for 51 years. 

Update: I've received lots of feedback that the second map above isn't accurate.  I didn't draw the map.  Maybe this map will be better received.



  1. Nice article, but I am not sure if you got it completely right (maybe I just misunderstood) - you say that "Austria joined up with the Kingdom of Hungary". I wouldn't really say they "joined up" - it was quite the opposite. Hungary had been part of the Habsburg Monarchy for centuries and it was only when Austria was weakened by the war with Prussia in 1866 that Hungarians were able to negotiate the Austro-Hungarian settlement, which sort of split up Habsburg monarchy into Austria-Hungary and gave Hungarians authonomy....

  2. The second map in article is competely wrong

  3. The second map is complete bollocks. Bucharest and Belgrade in Austria-Hungary? Along with a part of Russian Bessarabia and Bolgaria? And Western Galicia is abroad? I can draw better in Paint!

  4. Second map is not map of Austro-Hungarian Empire.Full text is nonsense.Who wrote the text?Some kid from the neighborhood???

  5. I can see the American flag in this blog, now I understan why the second map is crap.

  6. Wow. I found that second map while tying to google maps; and wow, it has to be the most awful map I've ever seen. Congrats on that.

  7. Your map has a rather glaring issue. In you modern day map of austria hungary you include belgrade inside its borders which simply isnt accurate.

  8. second map is so false i have no word...