Duchy of Austria

The Duchy of Austria (German: Herzogtum Österreich) was a medieval principality of the Holy Roman Empire, established in 1156 by the Privilegium Minus, when the Margraviate of Austria (Ostarrîchi) was detached from Bavaria and elevated to a duchy in its own right. After the ruling dukes of the House of Babenberg became extinct in male line, there was as much as three decades of rivalry on inheritance and rulership, until the German king Rudolf I took over the dominion as the first monarch of the Habsburg dynasty in 1276. Thereafter, Austria became the patrimony and ancestral homeland of the dynasty and the nucleus of the Habsburg monarchy. In 1453, the archducal title of the Austrian rulers, invented by Duke Rudolf IV in the forged Privilegium Maius of 1359, was officially acknowledged by the Habsburg emperor Frederick III.

Duchy of Austria
Herzogtum Österreich
1156–1453
Map of the Austrian duchy in the 13th century: Austria proper shown in solid red, the Duchy of Styria, an Austrian possession since 1192, in hatched red. The pale highlighted area roughly corresponds with the anachronistic Austrian Circle (est. 1512), and is merely for context. The rest of the Holy Roman Empire is shown in pale orange.
StatusDuchy, within the Holy Roman Empire
CapitalVienna
Common languagesAustro-Bavarian German
Religion
Roman Catholicism
GovernmentFeudal Duchy
Duke of Austria 
 1141–1177
Henry II
(first duke, from 1156)
 1230–1246
Frederick II
(last Babenberg duke)
 1251–1276
Ottokar
(Přemyslid dynasty)
 1282–1291
Albert I
(first Habsburg duke)
 1440–1457
Ladislaus I
(last duke, archduke from 1453)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
17 September 1156
17 August 1186
26 August 1278
1358/59
25 September 1379
 Archduchy recognized
6 January 1453
ISO 3166 codeAT
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Margraviate of Austria
Duchy of Styria
Archduchy of Austria

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