Opinions on Austrian nobility

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The Austrian nobility (German: österreichischer Adel) is a status group in Austria. The nobility was officially abolished in 1919 after the fall of Austria-Hungary. The nobles are still part of Austrian society today, but they no longer retain any specific privileges. Austria's system of nobility was very similar to Germany's system (see German nobility), as both countries were previously part of the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806).

Any noble living in the Habsburg-ruled lands, and who owed their allegiance to the dynasty and therefore to the Emperor, was also considered part of the Austrian aristocracy. This applied to any member of the Bohemian, Hungarian, Polish, Croatian, and other nobilities in the Habsburg dominion. Attempting to differentiate between ethnicities can be quite confusing, especially for nobles during the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (1867-1918) and Holy Roman Empire (962-1806), not during the time of the Austrian Empire (1804-1867). A noble from Galicia, for example, could call himself a Polish noble, but he also rightfully belonged to the Austrian nobility.

When speaking of "Austrian nobility", two categories can be made: 1) the historic nobility that lived in the territories of the Habsburg empire and who swore allegiance to the dynasty, which included everyone until 1918; 2) the present, post-1918 Austrian nobility, specifically those who today retain Austrian citizenship, whose family originally come from Austria proper, South Tyrol (Italy) and Burgenland, or who were ennobled at any point under Habsburg rule and identify themselves as belonging to that status group.


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