History of Styria - Historic Encyclopedia Entries



Meyer 1902-1909



Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1902-1909, Article : Steiermark (excerpts)
         During Roman rule, in which the country was inhabited by Celts, the eastern part of Styria belonged to Pannonia, the western part to Noricum. During the Barbaric Peoples' Migration the Visigoths, Huns, Ostrogoths, Rugians, Lombards, Franks and Avars successively occupied or traversed the country. Since 595 Slavs (Winds, thus the country in earlier times having been called Windische Mark) first took possession of the lower part, after the defeat of the Avars also the upper part. As a part of this Carantanian Slav territory, the Mur territory came under Bavarian, later Carolingian rule. Christianity spread over this territory from Salzburg, which was elevated to a metropolitan seat, and which extended its archdiocesis also over what was to become Styria. Under the successors of Charlemagne the country suffered hostile incursions of the Magyars. The larger part of the country, toward the west and north, was held by the Margraves of Carantania (see Carinthia), the stretch on the left bank of the Enns by the Dukes of Bavaria. In the 10th century Upper and Central Styria, as the "Kärntner Mark" [Carinthian March] was separated from the Duchy of Carinthia; given out by Otto I. Markward, the founder of the Eppenstein Line, in 1035 it fell to Arnold von Lambach, and in 1056 to a relative of Arnold, Count Ottokar von Steyr in the Traungau. Since the name Steiermark (Styrian March) has come to replace the earlier term "Kärntner Mark" (Carinthian March). It even extended beyond the Semmering and up to the Enns. Margrave Ottokar II. (1164-1192), under whom Styria was elevated to duchy by Emperor Friedrich I., because he was heirless, concluded the Georgenberg Succession Treaty with Duke Leopold V. of Austria in 1186, in accordance to which the latter, after Ottokar's death in 1192, united the Duchy of Styria with his lands. Leopold's sons Friedrichy and Leopold VI. in 1194 split the inheritance, but already in 1198 by Friedrich's death both fell into Leopold's hand; Leopold in 1230 was succeeded by Friedrich the Battlesome. With his death (1246), the end of the Babenberg Line, for Styria the ruinous interlude set in, during which the country, under the mediation of the pope, in 1254 was partitioned by the kings Ottokar II. of Bohemia and Bela IV. of Hungary. In 1260 Ottokar II. defeated the Hungarians on the Marchfeld near Kroissenbrunn, and in 1262 he was enfiefed by German King Richard with Austria and Styria, but in 1276 he was declared having forfeited these fiefs by King Rudolf von Habsburg, who appointed his eldest son Albrecht I. stadholder in 1282, together with his younger brother Rudolf, and in 1283 enfiefed him with Styria as hereditary duke. Since Styria remained possession of the House of Habsburg. In the partition after the death of Rudolf IV. (1365) between the brothers Albrecht III. and Leopold III. in 1379, Styria with Carinthia, Tyrol etc. fell to the latter. When his sons in 1406 again partitioned the inheritance, Styria was allocated to Ernst the Iron-Willed. His oldest son and successor (since 1424) was to become Emperor Friedrich III., who again united all Habsburg lands in his hands. When the princely Counts of Cilli died out in 1456, Friedrich, on the basis of older treaties, acquired their possessions. His rule in Styria, because of the Baumkirchen Feud and by repeated Ottoman incursions, who devastated the country especially in 1480, and by the Hungarians, was unruly. On the other hand the capital Graz, which he often visited, saw the reconstructionj of the castle, of the fortification and of the dome. During the rule of Emperor Maximilian the Jews were expelled, and the Slav peasants staged a large-scale rebellion (1515). The teaching of the German reformers already since 1530 found reception in Styria. In 1547 country foreman Freiherr Johann Ungnad on the Augsburg Reichstag demanded freedom of religion, but the [guarantee of] the latter only could be achieved on the diets of Bruck 1575 and 1578 from Duke Karl II., the youngest son of Emperor Ferdinand I., who during the partition of 1564 had been given Styria, Carinthia and Carniola. In order to stem the spread of the new confession, Duke Karl in 1570 called the Jesuits into the country and established the college in Graz in 1586. His son Ferdinand II., who assumed governmenr in 1596, declared the privilege issued by his father Karl II. [for the Lutherans] as void and in 1598 expelled the Protestant teachers and preachers from the country. An appounted Counterreformation Commission ordered the Protestant burgers either to convert to Catholicism or to emigrate. Many Protestants at that time deserted their faith, others left the country, only among the powerful noble families Protestant faith lasted longer, also in certain peasant families in the inaccessible mountains of northern Styria, where, after Joseph II. in 1781 introduced freedom of religion, a few Protestant communities were formed. But by and large the Counterreformation already was implemented in Styria by 1600. Ferdinand II. in 1619 inherited also the other Austrian lands, and since Styria formed part of the latter. Styria largely was spared the sufferings of the 30 Years War, as the enemies of the Emperor did not invade its territory. The successes of the Emperor in the other Habsburg territories had the consequence that a second attempt to re-Catholicize Styria was undertaken. The Protestant nobles were asked to emigrate or convert. Since 1690, and in the second half of the century Styria had to suffer much from the Turks, until the victories of Prince Eugen of Savoy forever terminated this threat. Since Emperor Karl VI. (1728) no ruler accepted the homage [of Styria], since 1730 none confirmed the duchy's privileges. The Inner Austrian administration was dissolved, their responsibilities transferred to the Austrian chancellery in Vienna; later under Maria Theresia a Styrian government was established as a subaltern authority. Since Styria shared the fate of the Austrian monarchy, and remained a Habsburg possession also during the Napoleonic wars, during which French armies invaded the country in 1797, 1800, 1805 and 1809-1810. Since the reawakening of political life in Austria in 1860, in Styria the diet proved loyal to the constitution and liberal; in 1865 it spoke out against the sistation of the constitution and on October 20th 1869 it demanded the concordat to be cancelled. The agitation of the Slavs (Slovenes) in Styria, which since 1880 was favored by the government, only had the effect that the Germans became all the more active and the German National Party had its main support in Styria. In 1883 the 600th annivbersary of Habsburg rule was celebrated in the presence of the Emperor.
source in German, posted by Zeno







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First posted on March 14th 2009

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