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Coordinates: 48°12′N 16°21′E / 48.200°N 16.350°E / 48.200; 16.350


Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie  (German)
Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia  (Hungarian)
Flag of Austria–Hungary
Austria-Hungary on the eve of World War I
Austria-Hungary on the eve of World War I
Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1878 and 1914 at its greatest exent (Stielers Handatlas)
Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1878 and 1914 at its greatest exent (Stielers Handatlas)
CapitalVienna[1] (Cisleithania)
Budapest (Transleithania)
Official languages
Other spoken languages:
Bosnian, Carpathian Romani, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Rusyn, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Ukrainian, Yiddish[3]
76.6% Catholic (incl. 64–66% Latin & 10–12% Eastern)
8.9% Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, Unitarian)
8.7% Orthodox
4.4% Jewish
1.3% Muslim
(1910 census[4])
GovernmentConstitutional dual monarchy
• 1867–1916
Franz Joseph I
• 1916–1918
Charles I & IV
Minister-President of Austria 
• 1867
Friedrich von Beust (first)
• 1918
Heinrich Lammasch (last)
Prime Minister of Hungary 
• 1867–1871
Gyula Andrássy (first)
• 1918
János Hadik (last)
Legislature2 national legislatures
House of Magnates
House of Representatives
Historical eraNew Imperialism  • World War I
30 March 1867
6 October 1908 - 31 March 1909
28 June 1914
28 July 1914
31 October 1918
• Treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Trianon
10 September 1919 and 4 June 1920
1905[5]621,537.58 km2 (239,977.00 sq mi)
• 1914
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Austrian Empire
Kingdom of Hungary
Republic of German-Austria
First Hungarian Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic
Second Polish Republic
Kingdom of Romania
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Italy

Austria-Hungary or the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a state in Central Europe from 1867 to 1918.[7] It was the countries of Austria and Hungary ruled by a single monarch. The full name of the empire was "The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen".

The dual monarchy replaced the Austrian Empire (1804–1867). It started with the compromise between the ruling Habsburg dynasty and the Hungarians. It was an empire made up of many different peoples and great power. It found its political life full of arguments between the eleven main national groups. It had great economic growth through the age of industrialization. It also saw social changes with many liberal and democratic reforms.

The Habsburg dynasty ruled as emperors of Austria over the western and northern half of the country and as kings of Hungary over the Kingdom of Hungary. The Kingdom of Hungary had some ability to govern itself. It also had a say in things that affected both it and the rest of the empire. This was mainly foreign relations and defense.

The empire's capital was Vienna. Austria-Hungary was the second largest country in Europe (after the Russian Empire). It had the third most people (after Russia and the German Empire).

Creation of Austria–Hungary

The Ausgleich or compromise of February 1867 created the Empire's dualist structure. The Austrian Empire (1804–67) had lessened in strength and in power. This was because of the Austro–Sardinian War of 1859 and the Austro–Prussian War of 1866. Also, the Hungarian people were not happy with how Vienna treated them. This had been going on for many years and it led to Hungarian separation. This included the Hungarian liberal revolution of 1848–49.

Emperor Franz Joseph tried to reach an agreement with the Hungarian nobility. He needed their support to keep the empire together. The Hungarian nobility would not accept anything less than equality between themselves and the Austrian elites.

Governmental structure

Hungary and Austria had different parliaments. Each had its own prime minister. The monarch kept the two working together. He had absolute power in theory but very little in reality. The monarch’s central government had charge of the army, navy, foreign policy, and the customs union.

World War I

The deaths of Franz Joseph's brother, Maximilian I of Mexico (1867), and his only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, made the Emperor's nephew, Franz Ferdinand, next in line to the crown. On June 28 1914, the heir visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. Bosnian Serb militants of the group Mlada Bosna attacked Franz Ferdinand's motorcade and assassinated him.

Some members of the government, such as Conrad von Hötzendorf had wanted to fight the Serbian nation for many years. The leaders of Austria-Hungary decided to attack Serbia before it could start a revolt. They used the assassination as an excuse. They gave Serbia a list of ten demands called the July Ultimatum.[8] They expected Serbia would not accept. Serbia accepted nine of the ten demands but only partially accepted the other one. Austria-Hungary declared war.

These events brought the Empire into conflict with Serbia. Russia moved its army to help Serbia. This set off troop movements on both sides and started World War I.

End of the Empire

A humorous "obituary" of the Austrian Empire, published in Kraków in late 1918. Click on the image for a translation.

Near the end of the war, it was understood that the allied powers would win. Part of the empire started declaring independence from the monarch. They formed their own countries.

The following countries were formed from the former Habsburg lands:

Some Austro-Hungarian lands were also given to Romania and Italy.


  1. The civil ensign, as a symbol of "corporate identity", doubled as the consular flag, as decreed on 18 February 1869. It came into use on 1 August 1869. Legations, however, flew the black-and-yellow flag of Austria alongside the red-white-green flag of Hungary, while embassies flew the two national flags alongside the imperial standard.[6]


  1. Citype – Internet – Portal Betriebsges.m.b.H. "Austro-Hungarian Empire k.u.k. Monarchy dual-monarchic Habsburg Emperors of Austria". Archived from the original on 23 November 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  2. Fisher, Gilman. The Essentials of Geography for School Year 1888–1889, p. 47. New England Publishing Company (Boston), 1888. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  3. From the Encyclopædia Britannica (1878), although note that this "Romani" refers to the language of those described by the EB as "Gypsies"; the EB's "Romani or Wallachian" refers to what is today known as Romanian; Rosyn and Ukrainian correspond to dialects of what the EB refers to as "Ruthenian"; and Yiddish was the common language of the Austrian Jews, although Hebrew was also known by many.
  4. Geographischer Atlas zur Vaterlandskunde, 1911, Tabelle 3.
  5. (in English) Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon" Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1. Retrieved 12 January 2019. 
  6. Rudolf Agstner, Austria(-Hungary) and Its Consulates in the United States of America since 1820 (LIT Verlag, 2012), p. 45.
  7. Michael L. Miller. "Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1867-1918". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  8. "First World - Primary Documents - Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia, 23 July 1914". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 

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