views updated Jun 27 2018

Habsburg (Hapsburg) Austrian royal dynasty, a leading ruling house in Europe from the 13th to 19th century. It became a major force when Rudolf I was elected king of the Germans (1273). He established the core of the Habsburg dominions in Austria. The Habsburgs ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 1438 to 1806. Under Charles V, their dominions included the Low Countries, Spain and its empire, and parts of Italy. From 1556, the house divided into Austrian and Spanish branches. The Spanish branch ended in 1700, and the male line of the Austrian branch, in 1740. Maria Theresa, though losing Silesia, re-established the house as Habsburg-Lorraine. By 1867, the Habsburg Empire was reduced to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It ended in 1918, when Charles I was deposed.


views updated Jun 08 2018

Habsburg one of the principal dynasties of central Europe from medieval to modern times.

Taking their name from a castle in Aargau, Switzerland, the family established a hereditary monarchy in Austria in 1282, and secured the title of Holy Roman emperor from 1452, reaching its peak of power under Emperor Charles V. Austrian and Spanish branches were created when Charles divided the territories between his son Philip II and his brother Ferdinand; the Habsburgs ruled Spain 1504–1700, while Habsburg rule in Austria ended with the collapse of Austria–Hungary in 1918.
Habsburg lip a term for the prominent lower lip and chin characteristic of the Habsburg family, and said to be the result of inbreeding.