Austria, the usual name of the great empire now officially called the Austro - Hungarian Monarchy, is a Latinised form of the German Oesterreich (Fr. Autriche), meaning ' Eastern Kingdom.' Since 1867, the empire is composed of a union of two states under one emperor, but administratively distinct. The one is Austria, or Cisleithania (' on this side the Leitha,' a tributary of the Danube on the frontiers of the archduchy of Austria and Hungary); the other, Hungary and the lands of the Hungarian crown, or Trans-leithania. The Austrian dominions form geographically a compact territory, with a circumference of about 5350 miles. The total area, 240,456 sq. m., is greater than that of any other European state save Bussia, and is nearly twice the area of the United Kingdom. The body of the empire lies in the interior of Europe, though it has about 500 miles of sea-coast on the Adriatic. Austria borders on Italy, Switzerland, Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia, Bussia, Boumania, Servia, and Montenegro. The nominally Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, occupied and administered by Austria, are for all practical purposes part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, though not included as such in official statistics. The following table shows the area and population of the empire at the censuses of 1880 and 1900:
Austrian Lands -
Area in sq. miles.
Population in 1880.
Population in 1900.
Istria, Trieste, etc.................
Tyrol and Vorarlberg. ........
Total for Austria.
Lands of the Hungarian Crown -
Hungary & Transylvania.....
Croatia and Slavonia...........
Total for Hungary...............
Total for the Monarchy........
The area of Bosnia and Herzegovina is 23,179 Sq. in., and the pop. in 1895 was estimated at 1,738,092. In 1900 the capital, Vienna, had a pop. of 1,622,269; and there were in the empire seven other towns above 100,000 (Budapest, Prague, Trieste, Leniberg, Gratz, Brun, Szegedin), and thirteen others above 50,000.
Three-fourths of Austria is mountainous or hilly, being traversed by three great mountain-chains - the Alps, Carpathians, and Sudetes, whose chief ridges are of primitive rock. The RhAetian and Noric Alps stretch from Switzerland to the Danube, and contain the highest points of the Austrian territories, the Ortler Spitze rising to 12,814 feet. The Carpathian Chain, extending for 880 miles, rises on the left bank of the Danube, near Presburg, and sweeping in a curve, first east, and then southward through Transylvania, again meets the Danube; it culminates at 8517 feet. The Sudetes run through the northeast of Moravia and Bohemia, in which last the range is known as the Riesengebirge, or Giant Mountains. Continuous with this range, but beginning on the left bank of the Elbe, are the Erzgebirge, or Ore Mountains, on the confines of Saxony. The chief plains of the Austrian empire are the vast lowlands of Hungary and the plain of Galicia. The chief lakes are Lake Balaton (382 sq. m.) and the Neusiedler See (117), both in Hungary; and remarkable is also the Zirknitz Lake (q.v.) in Illyria.
The leading rivers are: the Danube, which has a course of 850 miles within the Austrian dominions, its navigable affluents being the Inn, Save, Drave, March, Waag, and the Thoiss, which drains nearly half of Hungary; the Vistula, with its tributary the Bug; the Elbe, with the Moldau and Eger; the Dniester and Adige.
The climate of Austria varies much on account of the extent and diversity of the surface. In the warmest southern region between 42°-46°lat., rice, olives, oranges, and lemons ripen in the better localities; and wine and maize are produced everywhere. In the middle temperate region from 46°-49°, which has the greatest extent and diversity of surface, wine and maize still thrive to perfection. In the northern region, beyond 49°, except in favoured spots, neither wine nor maize succeeds; but grain, fruit, flax, and hemp thrive excellently.
The mineral wealth of Austria is not surpassed in any European country. Bohemia, Hungary, Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, and Tyrol take the first place in respect of mineral produce. Except platinum, none of the useful metals is wanting. The value of their yearly produce is estimated at about £12,000,000. Of this sum coal yields about a half, iron a fifth, salt a tenth, and gold and silver together one-fourteenth; whilst copper, zinc, quicksilver, lead, iron, coal, and many other minerals, together with precious stones, marble, gypsum, etc, are plentiful. Austria is peculiarly rich in salt. Bock-salt exists in immense beds on both sides of the Carpathians, chiefly at Wieliczka (q.v.). There are inexhaustible deposits of coal in the monarchy, the richest in Moravia and Bohemia. Austria has some 1600 mineral springs, some of them of European reputation, as the sulphur baths of Baden in Lower Austria, the saline waters of Karlsbad, Marienbad, Franzensbad, Teplitz, etc, all in Bohemia.
Although three-fourths of the surface is mountainous, more than five-sixths is productive, being used either for tillage, meadows, pasture, or forest. Grain of all kinds is cultivated; rice grows in the Banat; potatoes are raised everywhere; fruit grows in profusion; for wine, Austria is second only to France; and other vegetable products are flax and hemp, tobacco, rape-seed. Nearly a third of the productive surface is covered with wood.
Bohemia takes the lead in manufacturing industry, then follow Austria Proper, Moravia and Silesia, and Hungary. Vienna is the chief seat of manufacture for articles of luxury; Moravia, Silesia, and Bohemia for linen, woollen, and glass wares; Styria and Carinthia, for iron and steel wares. The chief manufactured articles of export are those of silk and wool; the only others of consequence are linen twist, glass wares, and cotton goods. The yearly value of manufactured iron is considerable. The glass wares of Bohemia are of special excellence. The manufactures of cotton, of silk, of hemp and flax, are very extensive. The manufacture of tobacco is a state monopoly. Austria is not favourably situated for foreign commerce. High mountains oppose great obstacles on all hands to communication, and separate the producing districts from the only sea that touches the empire; while the chief navigable rivers have their mouths in other countries. The total imports vary in value from £42,000,000 to £70,000,000 a year, some of the principal items being cotton, wool, woollen yarn, cotton yarn, coffee, silk, coal and coke, machinery, furs and hides, tobacco. The exports have an annual value of from £60,000,000 to £80,000,000, half being for agricultural products - grain, sugar, cattle, flour, eggs, feathers, etc.; also timber, minerals, wood-wares.
Nearly two-thirds of the whole commerce of the empire is carried on with Germany. Its next best markets are Roumania, Russia, Italy, and Servia. The direct trade with Great Britain is comparatively small; the Board of Trade returns recognising only the trade by way of the Austrian seaboard. Between 1891 and 1902 the exports from Austria to Great Britain varied from £1,100,000 to £1,375,245; and the goods imported direct from Great Britain, from £1,600,000 to £2,516,899. The length of railways in 1902 was 12,750 miles - more than half belonging to state lines.
There are three distinct budgets, one for the whole empire, another for Austria Proper, and a third for the kingdom of Hungary. Besides their share of the interest on the national debt, Austria pays a larger and Hungary a smaller sum towards the 'common expenditure of the empire;' the precise proportions - to be settled every ten years - have of late been fiercely disputed by the Hungarians, and, with Hungarian home-rule demands, caused very strained relations between Austria and Hungary in 1904-5. The budget estimates for the imperial expenses for the year 1904 showed a total of £16,270,500. - The accounts of Austria Proper generally show large deficits. In 1904 the revenue was, however, stated at £72,396,250, and the expenditure at £72,282,150. In 1904 the general debt of the empire was £222,212,0S4, and the special debt of Austria £156,904,946. For Hungary in 1903 the revenue and expenditure nearly balanced at £45,435,946; the debt (largely for railways) amounted to £214,366,540. Hungary also pays £2,541,606 annually to the common debt of the empire.
The population is very unequally distributed. The most populous districts are those of the south-west and of the north-west. The Alpine regions and those of the Carpathians are sparsest; and generally the density diminishes towards the east. The population of Austria embraces a greater number of races, distinct in origin and language, than that of any other European country except Russia. The Slavs are the most numerous race, amounting to nearly 42 per cent. of the whole population. They form the bulk of the population of Bohemia, Moravia, Carniola, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, the Woiwodina, the north of Hungary, and Galicia. They are, however, split up into a number of peoples or tribes, differing greatly in language, religion, culture, and manners; so that their seeming preponderance in the empire is thus lost. The chief branches of the Slavic stem are, in the north, the Czechs or Bohemians (the most numerous of all), Ruthenians, and Poles; and in the south, the Slovenians, Croats, Serbs, and Bulgarians. The Germans number above 25 per cent., dispersed everywhere, but mainly in the western parts of the empire. The Romance peoples (speaking languages derived from that of ancient Rome) amount to fully 9 1/2 per cent., and are divided into western and eastern. The western consist of Italians, inhabiting the south of Tyrol, Istria, and Dalmatia; the Ladins (Latins), in some valleys of Tyrol; and the Friulians about Gorz, north of Trieste. The eastern Romance people are the Roumanians, who are found in Transylvania, Hungary, the Woiwodina, and the Bukowina. The Magyars, or Hungarians proper, number over 16 per cent.: they are located chiefly in Hungary and Transylvania. The small remaining portion is composed chiefly of Jews, Armenians, and Gypsies. The principal languages are German, Hungarian, and Bohemian; but Polish, Ruthenian, and Croat languages are also spoken.
In 1900 there were 30,580,192 Roman Catholics; 4,990,678 Greeks and Armenians united with the Roman Church; 3,423,175 Orthodox Greeks; 1,654,396 Lutherans; 2,569,699 Calvinists; 68,872 Unitarians; 2,076,277 Jews. There are nearly 300 abbeys and above 500 convents in the empire.
Education, whether high or low, is mostly gratuitous. The primary schools in Austria are to a very large extent in the hands of the clergy. The law enforces compulsory attendance at the 'Volks-schulen,' or national schools, of all children between the ages of six and twelve. There is a very great difference between the German provinces and the Slavonic ones in respect of education. In Vorarlberg 82 per cent. of the inhabitants read and write; in Bukowina not quite 10 per cent. There are eleven universities in the empire, at Vienna, Prague, Gratz, Brtinn, Innsbruck, Pesth (Budapest), Cracow, Klausenburg, Lemberg, and Czernowitz. Vienna, Gratz, and Innsbruck rank as German universities; Prague has since 1880 a Bohemian and a German university. There are in the whole monarchy over 4000 newspapers and other periodicals (about 380 newspapers), of which nearly half are in German.
Military service is compulsory on all citizens capable of bearing anus. The term of service is twelve years - three in the standing army, seven in the reserve, and two in the landwehr. The army has on a peace footing 396,000 men, and on a war footing 2,580,000. The navy comprised 11 ironclads, 15 cruisers, 62 torpedo boats, and 20 vessels for coast defence. These are manned by about 9000 men, raised to 14,000 in time of war.
Austria is a monarchy hereditary in the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. In the case of the reigning family dying out, the states of Bohemia and of Hungary have the right of choosing a new king. Since the year 1867 Austria has been reconstructed as a dual empire, consisting of a German or 'Cisleithan' monarchy, and a Magyar or ' Transleithan' kingdom. Each of the two countries has its own laws, parliament, ministers, and government, and deals with the affairs exclusively relating to itself. The ministers for affairs common to the whole empire (foreign affairs, finance, army) are not responsible to either parliament, but to the Delegations - a body forming a connecting link between the two portions of the empire. These constitute; a parliament of 120 members: the one-half is chosen by the legislature of Germanic Austria, and the other half represents Hungary. The person of the sovereign is another link between the two members of the empire.
The Austrian Reichsrath consists of an upper and a lower house. The upper house is composed of the princes of the imperial family who are of age, of upwards of 50 nobles, 10 archbishops, 7 bishops, and 105 life-members nominated by the emperor. The lower house numbers 353 elected members. The executive of Hungary is carried on in the name of ' the king' by a responsible ministry.
The empire of Austria arose from the smallest beginnings at the end of the 8th century. In 796 a Margraviate, called the Eastern Mark (i.e. 'March' or frontier-land), was founded as an outpost of the empire of Charlemagne, in the country between the Enns and the Raab. The name Oesterreich appears first in 996. In 1156 the mark was raised to a duchy; and after coming into the possession of the House of Hapsburg in 1282, it rapidly rose to be a powerful state. The princes of that House extended their dominion by marriage, by purchase, and otherwise, over a number of other states, including the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary; and from 1438 down to the 19th century, they held almost without interruption the throne of the German empire (nominally 'the Holy Roman Empire") - the emperor being the most conspicuous, if not always the most powerful personage amongst the crowned heads of Europe. In 1804 Francis declared himself hereditary Emperor of Austria, and two years afterwards resigned the dignities of German Emperor and King of the Romans. Thenceforward, especially during the troublous times of 1848-50, Austria held the pre-eminence amongst German states; but after the victory of Prussia at Koniggratz (Sadowa), in the short but decisive Austro-Prussian war of 1866, Austria was excluded from Germany - an exclusion made final by the reconstruction of the German empire with the kings of Prussia as hereditary German emperors. In 1867 Austria was itself reconstituted on its present footing as the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
See Coxe, History of the House of Austria (3 vols. 1847-53; continued by Kelley, 1853); Leger, Histoirede I'Autriche-Hongrie (1879); Sidney Whitman, The Realm of the Habsburgs (1893).
Austria, Archduchy of, the cradle and nucleus of the Austrian empire, lies on both sides of the Danube, from the mouth of the Inn to Presburg, on the borders of Hungary, and embraces an area of 18,052 sq. m., with a pop. (1900) of 4,089,547. It now forms three of the crown-lands, or administrative provinces of the empire - viz. Lower and Upper Austria (i.e. Austria below, and Austria above, the Enns), and the duchy of Salzburg.