Austrians (German: Österreicher) are the citizens and nationals of Austria. The English term Austrians was applied to the population of Habsburg Austria from the 17th or 18th century. Subsequently, during the 19th century, it referred to the citizens of the Empire of Austria (1804–1867), and from 1867 until 1918 to the citizens of Cisleithania. In the closest sense, the term Austria originally referred to the historical March of Austria, corresponding roughly to the Vienna Basin in what is today Lower Austria.
Historically, Austrians were regarded as ethnic Germans and viewed themselves as such. The Austrian lands (including Bohemia) were part of the Holy Roman Empire and the German Confederation until the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 which resulted in Prussia expelling the Austrian Empire from the Confederation. Thus, when Germany was founded as a nation-state in 1871, Austria was not a part of it. In 1867, Austria was reformed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria was reduced to a rump state and adopted and briefly used the name the Republic of German-Austria (German: Republik Deutschösterreich) in an attempt for union with Germany, but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919). The First Austrian Republic was founded in 1919. Nazi Germany annexed Austria with the Anschluss in 1938.
After the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe, both the political ideology of pan-Germanism and the union with Germany have become associated with Nazism, resulting in Austrians developing their own separate and distinct national identity. Today, the vast majority of Austrians do not identify as German.