Friday, February 1, 2008


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Etymology of Austrian

Main article: History of Austria History

Main articles: Hallstatt culture, Noricum, and March of Austria Ancient times
Over time the Bavarii and Alamanni were conquered by another Germanic people, the Franks, and were incorporated in their empire. The Frankish Empire eventually evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, a vast multi ethnical Empire mostly located in Central Europe. Eventually Vienna, Austria's capital, grew to become the secret capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a cultural centre for arts and science, music and fine cuisine.
In 1278 the territory, by then corresponding roughly to what are now Upper and Lower Austria, passed to the House of Habsburg, with whose history it became closely associated until the early 20th century. Within a century the Habsburgs had added Carinthia, Styria, Carniola, and Tyrol to their rule, thus effectively controlling most of the territory of the modern Republic of Austria. Being ruled from the Duchy of Austria, the name of the duchy came to be informally applied to all these territories collectively, and hence their inhabitants also became known as Austrians.
The Habsburgs greatly increased their political prestige and power with the acquisition of the lands of the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia in 1526. Hungary was more successful at retaining its cultural identity than Bohemia, which underwent a period of intense German colonisation, coupled with Germanization. However, the longer history under rule from Vienna, and the common German-speaking identity of lands such as Carinthia, Styria, or Tyrol, created a sense of Austrian identity.

Austrian people Medieval times
Although not formally a united state, the lands ruled by the Habsburgs would sometimes be known, at least to outsiders, by the name Austria. In reality they remained a disparate range of semi-autonomous states, most of which were part of the complex network of states that was the Holy Roman Empire (the imperial institutions of which were themselves controlled for much of their later existence by the Habsburgs). However, the second half of the 18th century saw an increasingly centralised state begin to develop under the regency of Maria Theresa of Austria and her son Joseph II. After the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon, the emperor Franz II formally founded the Austrian Empire in 1804 and became as Franz I the first Austrian emperor. For the first time the citizens of the various territories were now citizens of the one same state, while the other German-speaking states still cultivated their Kleinstaaterei and didn't succeed in forming a homogenous empire before 1871 when the German Empire was founded.
A further major change resulted from a reorganisation of the empire in 1867 into a dual monarchy, with the Kingdom of Hungary gaining a considerable amount of political autonomy as one of the two halves. The other half remained a patchwork of states, broadly coterminous with the modern-day Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and parts of Poland, Ukraine, Italy, and Croatia. These non-Hungarian lands, formally known as "the Kingdoms and States Represented in the Imperial Council" were sometimes known as Austria, for want of a better name. An alternative label in this context is Cisleithania.

Modern times

For more details on this topic, see Pan-Germanism. 19th-century nationalism
The last year of the First World War saw the collapse of Habsburg authority throughout an increasingly greater part of its empire, and the military surrender in November 1918 finally brought with it the abdication of the last emperor. The creation of the Czecho-Slovak and South Slav states, full independence for a rump Hungary, and the post-war treaties imposed by the victorious Allies combined to see the newly-established Austrian republic both with the boundaries it has today, and a largely homogeneous German-speaking population. However, German-speaking communities were also left scattered throughout the other new states, as well as in the southern part of Tyrol which now found itself part of Italy.
Initially the republic took the name German Austria, initially reflecting the republic being the German-speaking part of the old Austria and showing the popular desire to unite with the new German republic. This hope was to be dashed by the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919, and the new state changed its name to Republic of Austria on 21 October 1919.
Desire for unity with Germany was motivated both by a sense of common national identity, and also by a fear that the new state, stripped of its one-time imperial possessions, and surrounded by potentially hostile nation-states, would not be economically viable.
By 1938, with Nazi governments in control of both Berlin and Vienna, the country was annexed to Germany as Ostmark. In 1942 the name was changed to the Danubian and Alpine Districts, thus eradicating any links with an Austrian national past.

The 20th century
The end of World War II in 1945 saw the re-establishment of an independent Austria, although the Allied Powers remained in occupation until 1955.
Austrians, wishing to distance themselves from the Third Reich, decided to develop a self-image unambiguously separate from its neighbour, basing itself on cultural achievements of the past and, though not without controversy, the centuries of Habsburgs rule.
Unlike in the early 19th century, Austrians do not consider themselves to be a German subgroup. Indeed, being (mis)identified as such can cause resentment. The logic of the existence of an independent German-speaking Austrian state is no longer questioned as it was in the early years of its existence. Most Germans likewise consider the Austrians to be a separate German-speaking people like the Swiss. Austria today still remains broadly ethnically homogeneous. However, immigration in recent decades has resulted in around 8,9% of the country being a member of an ethnic or linguistic minority.
Austria's history and geographical location has resulted in recent immigration from Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland. As with neighbouring Germany, there has also been immigration from Turkey and former Yugoslav states such as Serbia.

Post World War II

Main article: Austrian culture Language

Main article: Austrian Cuisine

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