Austrian Empire

The Austrian Empire (German: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling Kaisertum Österreich, pronounced [ˌkaɪzɐtuːm ˈøːstəʁaɪç] (listen)), officially known as the Empire of Austria, was a multinational European great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous monarchy in Europe after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third-largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire.

Empire of Austria
Kaisertum Österreich (German)
Anthem: Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser
"God Save Emperor Francis"

The Austrian Empire in 1815, with the boundaries of the German Confederation in dotted lines
The Austrian Empire in 1815, with the boundaries of the German Confederation in dotted lines
Greatest extent of the Austrian Empire(1846–1859)
Greatest extent of the Austrian Empire
Common languagesGerman, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Ruthenian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, Lombard, Venetian, Friulian, Ladin, Italian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish
Roman Catholic (official)
Lutheranism, Calvinist, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Jewish
Francis I
Ferdinand I
Franz Joseph I
Klemens von Metternich (first)
Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust (last)
LegislatureImperial Council
House of Lords
House of Deputies
Historical era19th century
11 August 1804
6 August 1806
8 June 1815
20 October 1860
14 June 1866
30 March 1867
698,700 km2 (269,800 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Holy Roman Empire
Archduchy of Austria
Electorate of Salzburg
Kingdom of Hungary
Republic of Venice
Duchy of Milan
Bohemian Crown
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Kingdom of Croatia
Kingdom of Slavonia
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
Duchy of Bukovina
Principality of Transylvania
Federation of the Seven Communities
Duchy of Warsaw
Free City of Cracow
North German Confederation
Kingdom of Italy
Duchy of Warsaw
Free City of Cracow
1: Territories of Austria and Bohemia only.

The empire was proclaimed by Francis II in 1804 in response to Napoleon's declaration of the First French Empire, unifying all Habsburg possessions under one central government. It remained part of the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806. It continued fighting against Napoleon throughout the Napoleonic Wars, except for a period between 1809 and 1813, when Austria was first allied with Napoleon during the invasion of Russia and later neutral during the first few weeks of the Sixth Coalition War. Austria emerged victorious in the war, and became a leading member of the German Confederation along with Prussia after the Congress of Vienna.

The Kingdom of Hungary—as Regnum Independens—was administered by its own institutions separately from the rest of the empire. After Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was adopted, joining the Kingdom of Hungary and the Empire of Austria to form Austria-Hungary.

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