The Austria Portal

Topographical map of Austria
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Austria, formally the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine federal states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, the most populous city and federal state. Austria is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The country occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of around 9 million.

The area of today's Austria had been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic period. Around 400 BC, it was inhabited by the Celts and then annexed by the Romans in the late 1st century BC. Christianization in the region began in the 4th and 5th centuries, during the late Roman period, followed by the arrival of numerous Germanic tribes during the Migration Period. Austria, as a unified state, emerged from the remnants of the Eastern and Hungarian March at the end of the first millennium, first as a frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, it then developed into a duchy in 1156, and was made an Archduchy in 1453. Being the heartland of the Habsburg monarchy since the late 13th century, Austria was a major imperial power in Central Europe for centuries and from the 16th century, Vienna was also serving as the Holy Roman Empire's administrative capital. Before the dissolution of the empire two years later, in 1804, Austria established its own empire, which became a great power and one of the largest states in Europe during its whole existence. The empire's defeat in wars and the loss of territories in the 1860s paved the way for the establishment of Austria-Hungary in 1867.

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, which ultimately escalated into World War I. The empire's defeat and subsequent collapse led to the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918 and the First Austrian Republic in 1919. During the interwar period, anti-parliamentarian sentiments culminated in the formation of an Austrofascist dictatorship under Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934. A year before the outbreak of World War II, Austria was annexed into Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler, and it became a sub-national division. After its liberation in 1945 and a decade of Allied occupation, the country regained its sovereignty and declared its perpetual neutrality in 1955.

Austria is a semi-presidential representative democracy with a popularly elected president as head of state and a chancellor as head of government and chief executive. Major cities include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Austria has the 13th highest nominal GDP per capita with high standards of living; it was ranked 22nd in the world for its Human Development Index in 2022. The country has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and of the European Union since 1995. It hosts the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Interpol. It also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. (Full article...)
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The Freedom Party of Austria (German: Freiheitliche Partei Österreich, FPÖ) is a national-conservative, right-wing populist, eurosceptic, and far-right political party in Austria. It has been led by Herbert Kickl since 2021. It is the third largest of five parties in the National Council, with 30 of the 183 seats, and won 16.2% of votes cast in the 2019 legislative election and it is represented in all nine state legislatures. On a European level, the FPÖ is a founding member of the Identity and Democracy Party and its six MEPs sit with the Identity and Democracy (ID) group.

The FPÖ was founded in 1956 as the successor to the short-lived Federation of Independents (VdU), representing pan-Germanists and national liberals opposed to socialism and Catholic clericalism, represented by the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), respectively. Its first leader, Anton Reinthaller, was a former Nazi functionary and SS officer, but the FPÖ did not advocate far-right policies and presented itself as a centrist party. The FPÖ was long the third largest in Austria and had modest support. Under the leadership of Norbert Steger in the early 1980s, it sought to style itself on Germany's Free Democratic Party (FDP). The FPÖ gave external support to SPÖ chancellor Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ) after the 1970 election and joined Fred Sinowatz's government, as SPÖ's junior partner, after the 1983 election. (Full article...)

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Interior of Wilhering Abbey Church, Upper Austria


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Statue of Athena outside the Austrian Parliament
Statue of Athena outside the Austrian Parliament

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Franz Joseph I of Austria

Franz Joseph I of Austria was (18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia and Apostolic King of Hungary from 1848 until 1916.

Born in Schönbrunn Palace, he became emperor in the tumultuous Revolutions of 1848 at the young age of 18. He initially ruled with absolutism until the 1860s when the defeat in the Austro-Prussian War forced him to sign the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which established the dual monarchy with him as King of Hungary. Franz Joseph eventually also allowed the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. Under his later rule, Austria experienced unprecedented industrial growth and a flowering of the arts and culture. His reign would become the longest rule of an Austrian monarch.

He was married to the legendary Elisabeth of Bavaria. Their son Crown Prince Rudolph would later commit suicide in Mayerling. World War I broke out in 1914 after the assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Franz Joseph would not witness the collapse of his empire, dying in 1916 at the age of 86 years, in his birthplace, the palace of Schönbrunn. With his passing, an era came to an end.

Did you know (auto-generated)

  • ... that a priest refused to perform the wedding ceremony for Austrian socialist Josef Peskoller and his fiancée Maria Griel on political grounds in 1928?
  • ... that Austrian online streamer Keekihime became fluent in Japanese from live-streaming daily on the Japanese video website Nico Douga?
  • ... that American horticulturalist Joseph Lancaster Budd traveled to England, France, Austria, Russia, and China in 1882 to discover fruit trees that could grow in Iowa?
  • ... that Mordecai Strelisker published a Hebrew elegy on the death of Emperor Francis I of Austria?
  • ... that Austrian doctor Paul Bargehr was decried for exposing healthy Indonesians to the leprosy bacillus in his experiments?
  • ... that on Christmas Eve in 1818, the Christmas carol "Stille Nacht" ("Silent Night") was first performed in the Nikolauskirche in Oberndorf, Austria?

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