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Later on his return journey from England Richard I tried to pass through Austria in disguise but was discovered and imprisoned and handed over to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. The
English had to pay a heavy ransom for Richard’s return. Leopold V received a share of the ransom which he used to build a road from Vienna to Styria (today in south east Austria) and build new walls around many cities. In 1192 the Babenbergs territory was expanded as they gained control of the duchy of Styria.
After Leopold V’s death his domains were divided among his sons, one of them Frederick I (1195-1198) ruled and then his brother Leopold VI the Glorious (1198-1230) became sole ruler.
Under Leopold VI most of the land in Austria came under cultivation thanks to the aid of new farming technologies like the iron wheeled plough. The growing of grapes expanded and the Danube became an important trade route. Under Leopold VI the gothic style reached Austria. Improvement were made in Vienna, among them was the rebuilding of St Stephen’s Church in 1230. He founded a Cistercian monastery at Litienfeld known as Litienfeld Abbey in 1206. Leopold VI participated in several crusades in Palestine, Egypt, he Albigensian Crusade in southern France, and the crusade against the Saracens in Spain. He also was rigorous in his attacks against heretics in his own domains.
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The last Babenberg Duke in Austria was Friedrich II the Quarrelsome (1230-1246) was the son of Leopold VI but he lacked his father’s diplomatic skills and managed to offend his nobles
and the emperor alike. He died at the Battle of the Leitha River while fighting the Hungarians in 1246 and is buried at Heilegenkreuz Abbey. After Friedrich II the last Babenberg died there was a conflict over who would rule Austria. King Ottokar II of Bohemia managed to maintain rule but was finally defeated by Rudolf I the first Hapsburg monarch to rule Austria. The Hofburg Palace Winter Residence of the Habsburgs in downtown Vienna, Austria The Establishment of Habsburg Rule in Austria (1 minute) Continued Habsburg Rule (1 minute) Division of Habsburg Lands (1 minute) Maximilian I and Charles V (1 minute) The Establishment of Habsburg Rule in Austria (1 minute)
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King Ottokar II of Bohemia and Rudolf of Habsburg the German King were contesting for Austria after the Babenburg line had died out. In 1278 Ruldolf defeated Ottokar’s forces at the
Battle of Durnkrut, Ottokar himself died in battle. Rudolf I (1273-1291) became the first Habsburg ruler of Austria. Ruldolf made his son Albert governor of Austria and Styria, the on Christmas 1282 he set up his two sons Albrecht and Rudolf II to rule Austria, Styria (today in south east Austria) and Carniola (today Slovenia) jointly.
The Habsburg family originated in Switzerland but the Swiss fought against their rule and over the years they would slowly lose their Swiss territory while maintaining and expanding
their Austrian holdings, as well as, many other territories across Europe. Rudolf had gained control of Austria and Styria. The territories of Carinthia (today in south central Austria) and Carniola (today’s Slovenia) came under Habsburg rule in 1335 and Tyrol (today in both Austria and Italy) in 1363. These provinces together became known as Habsburg Hereditary Lands and form the basis of what would become the modern country of Austria.