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Duchy of Styria
Herzogtum Steiermark
1180 - 1918

Raised from Margraviate 1180
To Hungary 1254 - 1260
Abolished 1918

The Duchy of Styria was an Imperial Estate of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the informal Slovene province of Lower Styria. Traditionally, the duchy was bordered by Austria to the north, Salzburg to the west, Carinthia, Carniola and Croatia to the south, and Hungary to the east. The duchy was very mountainous and forested, earning it the nickname "Green March". Styria was rich in natural resources, with coal mining operations dating back to Roman times. Traditionally Styria was the most densely populated and richest mountainous region of Europe. The capital of Styria has always been Graz.

The lands of the duchy formed part of the Margraviate of Carnithia until 1056 when they were separated to form the Margraviate of Styria. In 1180 the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa raised Styria to a duchy, ending the subordination of Styria to the Dukes of Carinthia. In 1186 Duke Ottokar I signed the Georgenberg Pact with Duke Leopold V of Austria which brought Sytria under Austrian rule after his death in 1192. After Leopold's death in 1194 Styria passed to his younger son Leopold VI the Glorious, while Austria passed to his elder son Frederick I. Leopold reunited the Babenberg lands in 1199 after Frederick's death.

After Duke Frederick III of Austria died in 1248 the male line of the Babenbergs became extinct. The heiress of Austria and Styria, Gertrude, married Margrave Herman VI of Baden-Baden. Herman could not establish himself in Austria, and after his death in 1250, Gertrude's second husband Roman of Halicz also failed, and Frederick I of Baden-Baden also could not, losing Styria to King Ottokar II Bohemia in 1251. King Bela IV of Hungary annexed Styria 1254 - 1260, after which Ottokar regained the duchy. Disputes with the House of Habsburg saw Ottokar lose Styria to King Rudolph I in 1276. Rudolph gave Styria to his son Albert I in 1282. In 1283 Albert was left the sole ruler of Austria and Styria and from that time on most Dukes of Styria were also the Dukes, and Archdukes, of Austria.

The Reformation arrived in Styria in c. 1530. Charles II later introduced the Counter-Reformation, invited the Jesuits into the country in 1573, and founded the Catholic University of Graz in 1586. All Protestant schools were closed and Protestant preachers were expelled in 1598. Protestantism only survived in the isolated valleys. An adopted narrow reading of the Peace of Augsburg (1555) allowed only the nobility to remain Protestant, although they had to keep the services inside their own homes. Also beginning in the 16th Century were Turkish raids which lead to the deaths of tens of thousands, the destruction of cities, villages and monasteries, and the enslavement of significant numbers of the population. By the time they ceased in the 17th Century, 20 destructive invasions had occurred.

After the Emperor Ferdinand II defeated the Protestant rebellion at the Battle of the White Mountain near Prague in 1620, all Protestant church services were forbidden in 1625. Three years later the nobility were forced to reconvert to Catholicism or lose the possessions and lands and be exiled. Many left bankrupt but they later returned and converted, or their descendents did. The latter half of the 17th Century saw further anti-Protestant actions taken against the communities in the isolated valleys. 30,000 people were forcibly exiled to Transylvania when they refused to convert. It was only the Emperor Joseph II in 1781 that ended religious persecution. In 1848 Styria, with the other lands of the Habsburg monarchy, were granted complete liberty of religion and of conscience, parity of religions, and the right to the public exercise of religion.

After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the Treaty of Saint Germain divided and abolished the Duchy of Styria. The southern Slovene-speaking third was given to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The northern two thirds, containing the city of Graz, was made the state of Styria in Austria.

Austro-Hungarian Empire
Bohemia | Bukovina | Carinthia | Carniola | Dalmatia | Galicia and Lodomeria | Littoral
Lower Austria | Moravia | Salzburg | Silesia | Styria | Tyrol | Upper Austria | Vorarlberg
Croatia-Slavonia | Hungary | Rijeka
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Austrian Circle
on the Adige | Austria (bailiwick) | Breisgau | Brixen | Carinthia | Carniola | Chur | Friuli
Further Austria | Gorizia | Lower Austria | Styria | Tarasp | Trent | Tyrol | Upper Austria

Earlier Members:
Austria (archduchy) | Gradisca | Gurk | Hardegg | Lavant | Losenstein | Rogendorf
Schaunberg | Seckau | Wolkenstein-Rodenegg