Austro-Hungarian Empire - The Ottomans Attack Vienna
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Austria-Hungary - 1600s


In the 1650s, most people in Europe thought of Austria as a place where instead of freedom they had rules that everyone had to be the same, and everyone had to be Catholic. But the Austrians saw themselves as the Holy Roman Empire, the core of civilization and God, with Islamic enemies on one side and Protestant enemies on the other side threatening barbarism.

When Ferdinand IV died in 1657, his son Leopold ruled after him. Austria became stronger and better organized - but still not interested in freedom or the Enlightenment. Leopold even threw all the Jewish people in Vienna out in 1670.

Siege of Vienna
Ottoman siege of Vienna 1683

In 1683 AD, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha used his base in Hungary to attack the city of Vienna in Austria, terrifying people all across Europe with the idea that they were going to be invaded by scary Islamic foreigners. In fact the Ottomans lost their battle, but afterwards Europeans were so scared that they republished the astrological predictions of the astronomer Tycho Brahe, from a hundred years earlier, to reassure themselves that the Ottoman Empire would soon collapse.

As soon as Austria had recovered from the Ottoman attack, they had to fight another war: the War of the Spanish Succession. Austria was fighting France again. This time they were fighting over who would be king of Spain. The Austrians wanted Charles III, who was Austrian. But Louis XIV of France wanted Philip V, who was French. In 1714 AD, Louis won, and Philip became King of Spain. For the second time in a century, first in the Thirty Years' War and then in the War of the Spanish Succession, Austria lost a war with France.

War of the Spanish Succession
More Austria-Hungary: the 1700s

Bibliography and further reading about the Austro-Hungarian Empire:

More Austria-Hungary
Ottoman Empire
Thirty Years War
Richelieu and Louis XIII of France
Early Modern Spain
European History home

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 26 April, 2017