Historical Information

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Historical Information

Post by Ac1ds0ld13r on Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:35 pm

The name Vindobona derives from a Celtic language, suggesting that the region must have been inhabited before Roman times. The Romans created a military camp (occupied by Legio X Gemina) during the 1st century on the site of the city centre of present-day Vienna. The settlement was raised to the status of a municipium in 212. Even today, the streets of the First District show where the encampment placed its walls and moats. The Romans stayed until the 5th century.

Roman Vindobona was located in the outskirts of the empire and thus fell prey to the chaos of the Völkerwanderung. There are some indications that a catastrophic fire occurred around the beginning of the 5th century. However, the remains of the encampment were not deserted, and a small settlement remained. The streets and houses of early medieval Vienna followed the former Roman walls, which gives rise to the conclusion that parts of the fortification were still in place and used by the settlers. The first documented mention of the city during the Middle Ages dates to 881 when a battle apud Weniam was fought against the Magyars. However, it is unclear whether this refers to the city or the River Wien. Early Vienna was centred around the Berghof.

Byzantine copper coins from the 6th century have been found several times in the area of today's city centre, indicating considerable trade activity. Graves from the 6th century were found during excavations next to the Berghof, in an area around Salvatorgasse. At that time, the Langobards controlled the area, with Slavs and Avars following later. The Salzburg Annals mention a battle against the Magyars at a location called Wenia in 881, which may be a reference to Vienna. Emperor Otto I defeated the Magyars in 955 in the Battle of Lechfeld. This allowed early Vienna to start to develop towards the Middle Ages.

Babenberg Rule
Duke Henry II of the Babenberg dynasty elevated Vienna to his capital in 1155In 976, the Margraviate of Ostarrîchi was given to the Babenberg family. Vienna lay at its border to Hungary.

Vienna was an important site of trade as early as the 11th century. In the Exchange of Mautern between the Bishop of Passau and Margrave Leopold IV, Vienna is mentioned as a Civitas for the first time, which indicates the existence of a well-ordered settlement. In 1155, Duke Henry II of Austria made Vienna his capital. In 1156, Austria was raised to a duchy in the Privilegium Minus, with Vienna becoming the seat of the duke. During that time, the Schottenstift was founded.

The events surrounding the Third Crusade, during which King Richard the Lionheart was discovered and captured by Duke Leopold V the Virtuous two days before Christmas of 1192 in Erdberg near Vienna, brought an enormous ransom of 50,000 Silver Marks (about 10 to 12 tons of silver, about a third of the emperor's claims against the English. Richard had been extradited to him in March 1193). This allowed the creation of a mint and the construction of city walls around the year 1200. At the U-Bahn station Stubentor, some remains of the city walls can still be seen today. Because he had abused a protected crusader, Leopold V was excommunicated by Pope Celestine III, and died (without having been absolved) after falling from a horse in a tournament.

In 1221, Vienna received the rights of a city and as a staple port (Stapelrecht). This meant that all traders passing through Vienna had to offer their goods in the city. This allowed the Viennese to act as middlemen in trade, so that Vienna soon created a network of far-reaching trade relations, particularly along the Danube basin and to Venice, and to become one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire.

However, it was considered embarrassing that Vienna did not have its own bishop. It is known that Duke Frederick II negotiated about the creation of a bishopric in Vienna, and the same is suspected of Ottokar Přemysl.

Habsburg Rule
Duke Rudolf IV of Austria, known as "the Founder", did much to expand the cityIn 1278, Rudolf I took control over the Austrian lands after his victory over Ottokar II of Bohemia and began to establish Habsburg rule. In Vienna, it took a relatively long time for the Habsburgs to establish their control, because partisans of Ottokar remained strong for a long time. There were several uprisings against Albert I. The family of the Paltrams vom Stephansfreithof was foremost among the insurgents.

In 1280, Jans der Enikel wrote the "Fürstenbuch", a first history of the city.
With the Luxembourg emperors, Prague became the imperial residence and Vienna stood in its shadow. The early Habsburgs attempted to extend it in order to keep up. Duke Albert II, for example, had the gothic choir of the Stephansdom built. In 1327, Frederick the Handsome published his edict allowing the city to maintain an Eisenbuch (iron book) listing its privileges.

Rudolf IV of Austria deserves credit for his prudent economic policy, which raised the level of prosperity. His epithet the Founder is due to two things: first, he founded the University of Vienna in 1365, and second, he began the construction of the gothic nave in the Stephansdom. The latter is connected to the creation of a metropolitan chapter, as a symbolic substitute for a bishop.

The time of inheritance disputes among the Habsburgs resulting not only in confusion, but also in an economic decline and social unrest, with disputes between the parties of patricians and artisans. While the patricians supported Ernest the Iron, the artisans supported Leopold IV. In 1408, the mayor Konrad Vorlauf, an exponent of the patrician party, was executed.

After the election of Duke Albert V as German King Albert II, Vienna became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Albert's name is remembered for his expulsion of the Jewish population of Vienna in 1421/22.

Eventually, in 1469, Vienna was given its own bishop, and the Stephansdom became a cathedral. During the upheavals of the era of the weak Emperor Frederick III, Vienna remained on the side of his opponents (first Albert VI, then Matthias Corvinus), as Frederick proved unable to maintain peace in the land vis-à-vis rampaging gangs of mercenaries (often remaining from the Hussite Wars).

In 1522, under Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor the Blood Judgment of Wiener Neustadt led to the execution of leading members of the opposition within the city, and thus a destruction of the political structures. From then on, the city stood under direct imperial control.

In 1556, Vienna became the seat of the Emperor, with Hungary and Bohemia having been added to the Habsburg realm in 1526. During this time, the city was also recatholicised after having become Protestant rather quickly. In 1551, the Jesuits were brought to town and soon gained a large influence in court. The leader of the counterreformation here was Melchior Khlesl, Bishop of Vienna from 1600.

Panoramic view of Vienna after the city walls were reconstructed in 1548. In the middle is St Stephen's Cathedral, behind the medieval Hofburg complex. Right next to it the Minoritenkirche and to the far right Schottenstift with the Schottentor gate.
[edit] Turkish sieges

Siege of Vienna in 1683In 1529, Vienna was besieged by the Ottoman Turks for the first time (the First Turkish Siege), although unsuccessfully. The city, protected by medieval walls, only barely withstood the attacks, until epidemics and an early winter forced the Turks to retreat. The siege had shown that new fortifications were needed. Following plans by Hermes Schallauzer, Vienna was expanded to a fortress in 1548. The city was furnished with eleven bastions and surrounded by a moat. A glacis was created around Vienna, a broad strip without any buildings, which allowed defenders to fire freely. These fortifications, which accounted for the major part of building activities well into the 17th century, proved decisive in the Second Turkish Siege of 1683, as they allowed the city to maintain itself for two months, until the Turkish army was defeated by the army led by the Polish King Jan Sobieski. This was the turning point in the Turkish Wars, as the Ottoman Empire was pushed back more and more during the following decades.

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