Central Europe

The regions detailed in this page have never been unified at the same time, although all have been under Austrian tutelege at one point or another. The cultures represented here are extremely varied, ranging from French, Italian, and German to Czech, Slovak, Slovene, and Magyar.

Currently this includes: Aargau, Appenzell, Austria, Balaton, Basel, Berne, Bohemia (and the Czech Rep.), Carinthia, Celje, Fribourg, Geneva, Glarus, Gottschee, Graubunden, Habsburg, Hungary, Istria, Jura, Khorushka, Krumau, Kyburg, Liechtenstein, Lugano, Luzern, Moravia, Neuchatel, Nitra, Palatine (Nador) of Hungary, Rauracian Republic, Rhodanic Republic, St. Gall, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solothurn, Styria, Switzerland, Thurgau, Ticino, Tyrol, Unterwalden, Uri, Vaduz, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich, and Zurichgau.


AUSTRIA Margraves from c. 960. Dukes from 1155. Archdukes from 1359. An Empire 1804-1918. The Austrian court has been a central locus of European civilization for 500 years.

BALATON A Slavic principality in Pannonia, between the Danube, Drava, Mura, and Raba rivers. The name is preserved in Lake Balaton, a large finger lake in western Hungary. Blatnograd (Mospurc) was the capital city. Ss. Cyril and Methodius visited Blatnograd in 867.

BOHEMIA (Czech Republic) The western uplands of former Czechoslovakia, with the city of Prague at its core.

CARINTHIA A Slavic tribal state in southern Austria, adjacent to the Slovenian frontier. Made a Duchy in the 10th century, after considerable settlement of German immigrants from Austria and Bavaria.

CELJE (Cilli)
A town and district in east-central Slovenia; it is 37 miles (60 km.) east-northeast of Ljubljana, and 60 miles (96 km.) south of Graz, Austria.

GENEVA An important city on the frontier between Switzerland and France

GOTTSCHEE (Kocevje) A small town in southern Slovenia, 55 miles (88 km.) west of Zagreb and the same distance east of the Italian port of Trieste.

HABSBURG A county within Aargau, now a Swiss canton. This district is the original is the origin of the multinational dynasty of the same name.

HUNGARYThe Magyars were a Steppe Nomad people, vaguely related to the Finns, who broke into Central Europe in the 9th century. After being decisively defeated by a German army in 955, they settled down in the core of their domain, and have lived there ever since. "Hungary" is a misnomer, they are unrelated to the Huns; but they retain an appreciation of their ancient heritage nonetheless, and to this day are renowned as horsemen and archers. PALATINES OF HUNGARY
The palatine (Latin: comes palatii, comes palatinus, later palatinus (regni), Hungarian: nádorispán/ nádor, Slovak: nádvorný župan/ nádvorný špán, later: palatín / nádvorník, German: Palatin) was the highest dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary after the king (a kind of powerful prime minister and supreme judge) from the kingdom's rise up to 1848. Initially, he was the personal representative and sometimes vice-regent of the king. In the early centuries of the kingdom, he was appointed by the king, later elected by the Diet of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the Habsburgs solidified their hold of Hungary, the dignity became an appointed position once again. Finally, it became hereditary in a cadet (junior) branch of the Habsburg dynasty after King Francis appointed his brother Joseph. From the 12th century onwards, the palatine was also a representative of the king in judicial affairs. From 1200, he was also the count of several counties, thus being entitled to one third of the county taxes. From the 13th century, his deputy (vicepalatinus) was based in Pest (around 1300 temporarily in Old Buda), where he was simultaneously the county leader of the Pest county and judge of the middle nobility. He was the judge of all "free" persons (oligarchs, servientes regis, hospites and other land owners), especially the judge of the nobles outside the capital, but in 1222 nobles were exempt from his jurisdiction. He was also the judge of the Jászok (Alans), of the Cumanians and of the Jews. The authority of the Palatine was abolished in 1848, although it was retained as a titular ceremonial dignity until the collapse of  Austria-Hungary 70 years later. 
The office of palatine continued as a ceremonial position until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

ISTRIA An arrowhead-shaped peninsula jutting out into the northeastern Adriatic Sea, where Italy frontiers with what used to be Yugoslavia. Most of the district is part of Croatia (aside from a narrow strip of Slovenia giving access to the sea), but the chief city, Trieste, is just within Italy.

KRUMAU (Krumlov) A town in far southern Czech Republic, 15 miles (24 km.) southwest of Ceske Budejovice (Budweis), and about the same distance north of the Austrian frontier.

KYBURG A small town in northern Switzerland, 12 miles (19 km.) east-northeast of Zurich - a countship in the earlier Middle Ages. The various Kyburg dynasts held a very powerful and influential position within the region, and in German Swabia.

LIECHTENSTEIN The  principality of Liechtenstein comprises two mediaeval lordships, that of Vaduz and Schellenberg. The family is of ancient Bohemian extraction. They long served Austria and the Empire and were raised to the status of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire in 1608. John Adam I (d. 1712), one of these earlier Princes, acquired the two lordships from the Hohenems family in 1699 (Schellenberg) and 1712 (Vaduz). His successor, Anthony Florian, was granted these territories as a hereditary and sovereign Principality in 1719. It is possible to argue, albeit somewhat whimsically, that as Liechtenstein is the sole surviving state established exclusively as a creation of the Holy Roman Empire, that through it, the Empire continues to exist de jure within these 67 square miles of Alpine scenery.

LUGANO In the far south of Switzerland, between Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.

MORAVIA The eastern portion of the Czech Republic, north of Austria proper.

NEUCHÂTEL (Neuenburg) A city in western Switzerland, at the northern end of Lake Neuchâtel.

SLOVAKIA A region in the Carpathian mountains north of Hungary, east of Moravia and the Czech Republic, west of Galitzia and Ukraine, and south of Poland.

SLOVENIA In the extreme northwest of the Balkans. The Slovenes are a Slavic people, closely related to Croatians. This list traces the margraviate of Carniola, followed by the Duchy of Carniola (1590), the most significant political entity in the area until modern times.

STRAKONICE A town in southern Czech Republic, situated about 65 miles (105 km.) south-southwest of Prague and about 24 miles (38 km.) northeast of the German frontier. It is noted today for it's very well-preserved castle, and other early buildings. One might also mention in passing that this is the general region which created the lager beers which have formed much of the basis for modern American beers - the city of Ceské Budejovice (Budweis) is just 35 miles (55 km.) to the southeast.

STYRIA East-central Austria, between Ostmark itself and Salzburg. Organized around Traungau at first, Styria in and of itself was made a Margraviate in 1056, and a Duchy in 1180.

SWITZERLAND Yes, I know, Switzerland isn't exactly Central Europe. But I don't even want to think about the flames I'd get if I stuck it in with Germany, France, or Italy; and there isn't enough material to justify its own page, so I'll stretch Central Europe slightly. I include this well-known Alpine Republic for completeness sake, since it has been very influential in the development of Europe, but since it is a republic, my data here will be rather different from what I usually present. What follows is a catalogue of the 22 separate cantons, with information on each concerning its admission into the Swiss Union.

TYROL A County occupying the very mountainous western corridor of Austria.

ZURICHGAU The district around the city of Zurich, in northern Switzerland. The city itself was ruled by the Convent of Grossmünster until the 12th cent. and was an Imperial Free City from 1218.