The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 established the dual monarchy
Dual monarchy
Dual monarchy occurs when two separate kingdoms are ruled by the same monarch, follow the same foreign policy, exist in a customs union with each other and have a combined military but are otherwise self-governing...

 of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

. The Compromise re-established the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

, separate from and no longer subject to the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

. Under the Compromise, the Cisleithania
Cisleithania was a name of the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary, the Dual Monarchy created in 1867 and dissolved in 1918. The name was used by politicians and bureaucrats, but it had no official status...

n (Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n) and Transleithanian (Hungarian) regions of the state were governed by separate Parliaments and Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

s. Unity was maintained through rule of a single head of state of both territories and governments. The armed forces were combined with the Emperor-King as commander-in-chief. Certain key ministries were under the direct authority of the Crown, and served the whole Empire and Kingdom.


In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Austria was a quasi-independent state within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, ruled by the House of Habsburg
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

, while the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 was a sovereign state outside the Empire. In 1526 at the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

, Hungary was defeated and largely conquered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The crown of Hungary was inherited by the Habsburgs, with part of the Kingdom preserved from the Ottomans, who were subsequently driven out of Hungary in 1699. From 1526 to 1806, Austria and Hungary were in a “union of crowns”, having the same ruler but remaining two countries. In the 18th century, Hungary was legally subordinated to Austria, though remaining nominally sovereign.

In 1804–6, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 was created. The Austrian Empire included Hungary as a constituent state, no longer sovereign. This was resented by the Hungarian people, or Magyars. Nationalist sentiment
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 among the Magyars and other peoples of the region threatened the stability of the state and the power of the Austrian elite.

In the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1848
Hungarian Revolution of 1848
The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was one of many of the European Revolutions of 1848 and closely linked to other revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas...

, the Magyars tried to regain independence, and were defeated by the Austrian Empire only with the aid of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. After 1848, the Empire instituted several constitutional reforms, trying to resolve the problem, but without success.

In 1866, Austria was completely defeated in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 and its position as the leading state of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 ended forever, as the remaining German minor states were soon absorbed into the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 created by Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

. Austria also lost almost all of her remaining claims and influence in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, which had been her chief foreign policy interest.

The state needed to redefine itself to maintain unity in the face of nationalism.


In the wake of the defeat by Prussia, there were renewed calls in Hungary for complete separation from Austria. To avoid this, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

 and his court floated the suggestion of a dual monarchy.

Hungarian statesman Ferenc Deák
Ferenc Deák
Ferenc Deák de Kehida , , was a Hungarian statesman and Minister of Justice. He was known as "The Wise Man of the Nation".-Early life and law career:...

 is considered the intellectual force behind the Compromise. Deák initially wanted independence for Hungary and supported the 1848 Revolution, but he broke with the outright nationalists and advocated a modified union under the Habsburgs. Deák took the line that while Hungary had the right to full internal independence, questions of defense and foreign affairs were "common" to both Austria and Hungary under the Pragmatic Sanction
Pragmatic Sanction of 1713
The Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 was an edict issued by Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI to ensure that the throne of the Archduchy of Austria could be inherited by a daughter....

. He also felt that Hungary benefited through continued unity with wealthier, more industrialized Austria, and that the Compromise would end the pressures on Austria of continually choosing between the Magyar and Slav populations of the Kingdom of Hungary. Imperial Chancellor Beust quickly negotiated the Compromise with the Hungarian leaders. Beust was particularly eager to renew the conflict with Prussia, and thought a quick settlement with Hungary would make that possible. Franz Joseph and Deák signed the Compromise, and it was ratified by the restored Diet of Hungary
Diet of Hungary
The Diet of Hungary was a legislative institution in the medieval kingdom of Hungary from the 15th century, and in its successor states, Royal Hungary and the Habsburg kingdom of Hungary throughout the Early Modern period...

 on 30 March 1867.

Beust's desired revenge against Prussia did not materialize. When in 1870, Beust wanted Austria-Hungary to support France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 against Prussia, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy
Gyula Andrássy
Gyula Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorka was a Hungarian statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Hungary and subsequently as Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary...

 was "vigorously opposed", effectively vetoing Austrian intervention.


Under the Compromise, Austria and Hungary each had separate parliaments that met in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and Buda (later Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

), respectively, that passed and maintained separate laws. Each region had its own government, headed by its own prime minister. The "common monarchy" consisted of the emperor-king, and the common ministers of foreign affairs, defense, and finance in Vienna. The terms of the Compromise were renegotiated every ten years.

Continuing pressures

The Compromise of 1867 was meant to be a temporary solution to the problems the state faced, but the resulting system was maintained until the forced dissolution of the state following World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The favoritism shown to the Magyars—the second largest ethnic group in the state after the Germans—caused discontent on the part of other ethnic groups like the Czechs
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

ns. Although a "Nationalities Law" was enacted to preserve the rights of ethnic minorities, the two parliaments took very different approaches to this issue.

The basic problem in the later years was that the Compromise with Hungary only whetted the appetites of non-Hungarian minorities and regions in Hungary that were historically within the boundaries of the previous Hungarian Empire. In these, the majority of Hungarians felt they had unwillingly—and only under coercion—accepted the Compromise. The Austrian Archduke—whom was separately crowned King of Hungary—had to swear in his coronation oath not to revise or diminish the historic Imperial (Hungarian) domains to the Hungarian Nobility, Magnates, and Upper Classes. These Hungarian groups never acquiesced to granting “their” minorities the recognition and local autonomy which the Germans had given of the Magyars themselves in the selfsame Compromise.

As such, several ethnic minorities faced increased pressures of Magyarization
Magyarization is a kind of assimilation or acculturation, a process by which non-Magyar elements came to adopt Magyar culture and language due to social pressure .Defiance or appeals to the Nationalities Law, met...

. Furthermore, the renegotiations that occurred every ten years often led to constitutional crises. Ultimately the Compromise—intended to fix the problems faced by a multi-national state—failed to sublet the internal pressures the old unitary state had felt. As to which extent the Dual Monarchy stabilized the country in the face of rising nationalism is debated even today—particularly by those ethnic groups thus disenfranchised.

Further reading

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