The history of the eastern European country of Austria is linked to that of the Catholic Habsburg Dynasty. While providing most of the emperors to the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), Austria presided for more than six centuries (1273–1918) over the destiny of the Austrian monarchy as well as over a number of states and kingdoms, constituting a multinational and multiconfessional empire, before giving up its dreams of European hegemony at the end of World War I. Austria then became a small federal Danubian republic of homogeneous religious confession, representing approximately the limits of the hereditary countries of “the House of Austria” (around 8 million inhabitants in 2001). This dynasty never developed a national consciousness; however, its identity was built in its will to assert the ...

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