Early history

  • Pre-history: Archaeological evidence suggests that the area that is now Austria was inhabited as early as the Palaeolithic era. The Celts were the first recorded civilisation to settle in the region.

  • 15 BCE: After an initially peaceful occupation for the prior two decades, the Romans invade, claiming the land as far as the Danube River as part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region is ruled by various Germanic tribes and kingdoms.

Babenberg era

  • 976 CE: Leopold I from the House of Babenberg becomes the first margrave of Austria, marking the beginning of the Babenberg rule in Austria.

  • 1156: An area corresponding to modern Lower Austria is established as an independent duchy under the Babenberg dynasty.

  • 1192: The Babenberg family gains a significant portion of territory as they win the duchy of Steiermark.

  • 1246: The Babenberg line ends and is succeeded by the House of Habsburg.

Habsburg era

  • Late 1200s: After Rudolf I's election as King of Germany in 1273, the Habsburg dynasty rises to power, gradually expanding its territory to include much of Central Europe. The Habsburgs go on to rule Austria for over six centuries, and during this time, Austria becomes a centre of culture and learning.

  • 1500s: The Reformation sweeps through Europe, but the Habsburgs remain Catholic. They implement counter-reformation measures to maintain the dominance of the Catholic Church in the country, causing a mass emigration of Protestants to other countries such as Germany.

  • Early 1800s: France, under Napoleon Bonaparte, defeats Austria in several wars, leading to significant territorial concessions. Though brief, French rule has a lasting impact on the country, particularly in legal and administrative reforms.

  • 1815: The Habsburgs regain control of Austria after Napoleon's defeat.

  • 1848: The March Revolution occurs as a series of liberal revolts across the Habsburg Empire. Emperor Ferdinand I abdicates in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph, who will reign until 1916.

  • 1867: The Austro-Hungarian Empire is established, uniting Austria and Hungary under a dual monarchy. This period marks the country's peak of power and influence in Europe.

World War I

  • 1914: The outbreak of World War I profoundly impacts Austria-Hungary as the empire suffers significant losses and defeat in the war, leading to its eventual collapse and the formation of the First Austrian Republic in 1918. In 1919, the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain officially dissolves the Austro-Hungarian Empire and establishes the borders of the Republic of Austria.

Anschluss and World War II

  • 1938: Austria is annexed by Nazi Germany, marking the start of the Anschluss. Austria is occupied by Nazi forces during World War II, suffering significant damage during the war.

  • 1945: By the war's end, more than 65,000 Jewish Austrians have been killed, with the total death toll for Austria at 250,000.

Post-War era

  • Post-1945: Austria is occupied by Allied forces and undergoes significant political and economic reforms.

  • 1955: The Austrian State Treaty is signed by the UK, France, the US and the USSR, declaring Austria an independent and neutral country.

Modern Austria

  • 1995: Austria becomes a member of the European Union.

  • 2020: Austria's first case of Covid-19 is identified, and the Austrian government implements measures to contain the virus, such as widespread lockdowns and restrictions, leading to significant economic impact. More than 6 million cases of Covid-19 are diagnosed over the next few years, with a death toll of over 22,000.

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