Austria History – Subdivision of the Habsburgs

The attempt to expand towards north and east, which failed for the first time, was resumed by the same Rodolfo who had already secured the Tyrol to his home: he in fact stipulated with Charles of Bohemia, his father-in-law, from 1346 king of the Romans (Charles IV), a succession pact, to which Louis the Great of Hungary also joined. Meanwhile, he looked after the internal prosperity of his state. The establishment of the University of Vienna dates back to him (1365) and the beginning of the construction of the cathedral of Santo Stefano. Proud of the power of his house, he also sought to make himself increasingly independent of the Empire. He replaced a false document, the so-called Privilegium maius, al Privilegium minus granted in 1156 by Emperor Frederick I and this charter, falsified in 1358 in the ducal chancellery, elevated the archdukes of Austria above the electors, whose position had been determined shortly before by Charles IV with the Bull of ‘ gold (1356). The document, however, was not recognized by the emperor.

According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, this progressive and sure ascent of the Austrian state, however, had an interruption, due to the division of the house into the two lines Albertina and Leopoldina (see Habsburg). Albert III had lower and upper Austria, that is, the smaller part; Leopoldo obtained all the other inherited towns of the Habsburgs and was also able to increase his possessions due to the subjugation of Trieste (1382) and, for a short time (1381-1386), also of Treviso. He also bought, from the Counts of Montfort, the city of Feldkirch and the inner part of today’s Vorarlberg, between the Arlberg and Lake Constance, called the Bregenzer Wald. ; the protectorate of Swabia; the county of Hohenberg and the langraviato of the Breisgau, with the sovereignty over the city of Freiburg. These territories were called, from then on, Austrian Vorlande (Anterior Austria). Instead, he lost the last remnants of the Habsburg rule in Switzerland: and the final battle of Sempach cost him his life (9 July 1386). His sons still subdivided the vast lands bequeathed by their father: the two eldest sons, William and Leopold IV, died young; of the two cadets, in 1411 Ernesto kept “inner Austria” for himself (ie Styria, Carinthia, Carniola) and Frederick IV, called Tascavuota, had the Tyrol and the anterior Austria.

In this way, as a result of a dynastic partition, the formation of that state of Austria could seem irremediably compromised, which had, with Rudolph IV, reached a considerable fortune. The danger was all the more serious, since, just then, the Hussite war in Bohemia and the advance of the Turks towards Hungary threw the whole Danube valley into a dangerous situation. Especially the Hussite wars that raged incessantly for decades, determined by religious and social reasons, as well as by Czech nationalism in revolt against the Germans, represented a serious unknown factor for the existence of the Habsburg state, now divided in two. It is true that on the death of Duke Albert V (II, as emperor), on 27 October 1439, his cousin Frederick V, son of Duke Ernest of the Styrian branch, and destined guardian of the unborn hereditary prince (Ladislao, 22 February 1440), he gathered in his hands, as regent, all the German territories that arose from the divisions of 1379 and 1411. But he, although he was also elected king of the Romans (Frederick III), he was a man absolutely incapable of dominating a situation made extremely difficult by the Hussite wars on the frontiers, by the internal conflicts of the nobility, by the ambition of the king’s brother himself, Albert VI. Those were years of struggle, years of helplessness of the head of state. In 1462, Frederick III was even besieged in his palace by the Viennese citizens led by the burgomaster Wolfgang Holzer: and he owed his salvation only to the intervention of the Styrian nobleman Andrea Baumkircher. Given the man and the internal situation of the state, even the attempts had to succeed, which Frederick III also did, to secure Bohemia and Hungary. With the Treaty of Wiener Neustadt, he met Matthias Corvinus as king of Hungary, provided that the crown of St. Stephen was ensured to the descendants of the Habsburgs; and even the Catholics of Bohemia, fighting against King John of Podĕbrad, excommunicated by Pope Pius II, accepted him as king in Olmütz. But Frederick could not dominate all of Bohemia; and on the death of King John, the crown passed to Vladislao, eldest son of King Casimir of Poland. Meanwhile, the external threats did not cease. The Turks themselves, coming out of their Slavic territories, made various raids in Styria. And so was Austria, attacked from all sides; in the last years of Frederick’s reign he could not stand up to the grandiose and powerful politics of Mattia Corvinus. An insignificant incident moved the battlefield to Austria: Frederick had welcomed the archbishop of Gran, Giovanni Beckenschlager, expelled by Mattia, and had invested him with the archbishopric of Salzburg. Mattia took the opportunity to break into Austria. In 1485 he occupied part of Styria and even Vienna, called in Hungarian Bécs (border town), and Lower Austria, and had the Austrian states pay homage, while the emperor wandered and abandoned for the country, where the civil war raged. Despite all this disaster, Frederick never lost faith in the great future of his home, which, with a mixture of reverie and certain foreboding, he gladly symbolized in his motto: AEIOU (Austria erit in orbe ultima or Austriae est imperare orbi universo). But certainly, at the end of the fifteenth century, the dreams of expansion to the east and north seemed definitively vanished; and, as well as becoming the center of a great political unity between the Alps, the Sudetenland and the Carpathians, Austria now seemed drawn in tow from the neighboring kingdom of Hungary.

Austria History - Subdivision of the Habsburgs

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