A Reconstruction of a Bavarian Grave
After the Roman Empire fell the surrounding tribes which the Romans called Barbarians migrated to different areas. The Danube valley was a prime route for many of these migrations.
The Germanic Lombards entered the region in around 500; they were displaced by the Avars, whose origin is unknown, and Slavs. The Lombards reached Italy, their final destination in 569. By 600 the Bavarians, subjects of the Franks, had moved east to encounter the Slavs whom they fought for control of large sections of the eastern Alps. In 624 the western Slavs defeated the Avars under the leadership of a Frankish merchant named Samo
who became their king. The Bavarians extended their lands at the expense of the Slavs and Avars and by the time of the death of the Frankish King Dagobert I in 639 the Bavarian Dukes
were acting virtually independent of their Frankish overlords.
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Map Of Austria And Switzerland
Christianity survived in the region and in the 600’s and 700’s Christian missionaries from the west kept the faith alive among the Bavarian dukes.
During the 700’s the Carolingian Frankish kings restored their power over the Bavarians. The Frankish King Charlemagne led attacks against the Avars and drove them out of their
domain; they took refuse in Lower Austria between the Fischa and Leitha rivers and soon disappeared from history.
Maps Of Austria
Later threats came from the Bulgarians, Moravians of the Great Moravian Kingdom’ and the Magyars who entered the Hungarian Plain in 896. On August 10, 955 King Otto I and his German
army defeated a combined force of Magyars and Bavarians at the Battle of Lechfeld, outside of Augsburg. Due to this accomplishment Otto became Holy Roman Emperor in 962. Most of the population were Bavarians or Alemannii both Germanic tribes with pockets of a small remaining Roman population.
Map Of Switzerland And Austria
Austria’s first important ruling family were the Babenbergs who were originally from Bamberg. Germany but a branch of the family came to Austria to first serve as margraves (counts)
of the march, boarder lands. The March of Austria was the southeastern frontier of the Holy Roman Empire that was created in 976 out of a territory that bordered the Kingdom of Hungary. This was the time when the country was settled, forests were cleared, towns were built and monasteries were established.
However, the Babenbergs held very little of this territory in 976 when the march was established. To the west Salzburg, which was part of Bavaria (today part of Germany), was by in
large governed by the archbishop. The Tyrol was divided up among small lords who ruled their holdings. To the south and southwest was the Duchy of Carinthia (part of south central Austria) and new march of Styria (today in south east Austria) that had separated from Carinthia in 1180.