History of Burgenland

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The eagle symbol on the coat of arms of Burgenland is reminiscent of the medieval Counts of Mattersdorf-Forchtenstein , the breastplate of the Count of Güssing-Bernstein .

The history of Burgenland coincides with Austrian and Hungarian history in many epochs . This article is an overview of the region-specific peculiarities and the historical development up to today's state of Burgenland .


Geological conditions

The prehistory and prehistory of Burgenland was influenced by the fact that the country represents the westernmost part of a "worm extension", which forms the Eurasian steppe belt, which extends from eastern Mongolia to the eastern edge of the Alps . The most essential part of this steppe with its typical black earth is the Puszta west of the Carpathian break . Subsidence in the Tertiary period led to the formation of the Vienna and Pannonian basins , which were filled in with the debris from the surrounding mountains. The Neusiedler Bucht is the western branch of the Hungarian lowlands .

State of research

The inventory of prehistoric sites in Burgenland is uneven. The Oberpullendorf district is one of the best-researched areas in Burgenland. The systematic recording of the prehistoric sites, the Iron Age open-cast mine on lawn iron ore and the smelting traces as well as their mapping is thanks to the work of Josef Polatschek .


The oldest finds, small stone tools ( microliths ), come from the Mesolithic and were discovered near Neusiedl am See .


The oldest traces of settlement go back to the beginning of the Neolithic Age , the pre-note phase of linear ceramic tape , and are around 8,000 years old. Since then, Burgenland has been continuously settled. Finds from the early Neolithic period come from Purbach , Donnerskirchen , Neckenmarkt and several other sites - especially from the Oberpullendorf district.

Copper Age

An important find that can be assigned to the Baden culture was discovered in Zillingtal . In a waste pit was trepanned skull discovered a man. Traces of scarring on the bone margins show that he survived the procedure.

Bronze age

The oldest evidence of the Bronze Age belongs to the early Bronze Age group of forms of the Oggau-Sarród type and the more recent to the Wieselburg culture . The cult device from Haschendorf is one of the most famous Bronze Age finds in Burgenland. The drum-like or throne-like bronze object of unknown function - a comparison to the Nebra sky disc is appropriate according to the current state of research - has its only parallel in Balkakra in southern Sweden, 1200 km away . One of the eleven " bread loafs " known in Austria comes from Föllik near Großhöflein , where there was a Bronze Age fortification.

Iron age

The older Iron Age ( Hallstatt Age ) is documented by numerous fortified hilltop settlements and barrows . The best known among them are the ramparts of Purbach and castle, under monument protection standing, grave mounds of Donnerskirchen and the huge grave mounds of Schandorf , which are among the largest in Austria. Proof of the intensive long-distance trade in the earlier Iron Age are 120 hazelnut-sized amber beads , which were found in a tumulus near Deutschkreutz in 1909 . Traces of the oldest viticulture in Burgenland come from the Zagersdorf barrow . The woman buried there was given her bronze jewelry and over 50 vessels with contents as gifts. Among the numerous finds, three vines could be found, which prove the cultivation of the cultivated vine Vitis vinifera , namely a white wine variety .

The younger Iron Age, the Latène Age, is already on the threshold of early history. The bearers of this culture were the Celts . At that time there was a flourishing Celtic iron industry center in the Oberpullendorf district, which widely negotiated its surpluses. The turf iron ore mined in Pingen was smelted in a furnace (Burgenland type). The melted out shell ( furnace sow ) reached the quality of tool steel after being forged . The high-quality product was called Ferrum Noricum (Noric iron) by the Romans and was of great importance for the growing Roman armaments industry.

Roman times

The development of the Pannonia borders between the 1st and 4th centuries

In Roman times , the area of ​​today's Burgenland was part of the province of Pannonia , which included all of what was later to become Hungary on the right bank of the Danube . With Scarabantia (Sopron) and Savaria (Steinamanger), the Romans founded two cities on the Amber Road , which were to acquire outstanding importance in the later history of Burgenland. In addition, archaeological finds testify to the life of the Romans in Burgenland. Roman villas of the villa rustica type existed, for example, in Klingenbach , Zurndorf , Nickelsdorf , Weiden am See , Halbturn , Baumgarten , Leithaprodersdorf , Deutschkreutz and Sankt Martin an der Raab . Roman burial grounds can be found in Sigleß , Pilgersdorf , Pinkafeld , Königsdorf , Schandorf and Rax , among others . In Rechnitz a Roman aqueduct was opened.

Migration period

In the last quarter of the 4th century, the Roman province of Pannonia was affected by attacks by various groups such as Teutons, Alans and Huns. Thereupon these tribes of Rome were allowed to settle as federates in Pannonia. Marcomanni and quadrupeds now settled south of the Danube, both of which are also known as Suebi .


Approximate sphere of influence of the Huns at the time of Attila

In 433 Rome surrendered parts of Pannonia to the Huns for political reasons , which meant that West Rome finally had to surrender control of this area. It is possible that today's Burgenland finally came under the control of the Huns at the time of the Grand Duke Attila (445-453), who with his Germanic allies undertook great expeditions of conquest to the west. The Huns ruled here at least until 453 AD. After Attila's death (453), the Ostrogoths renounced the Huns to whom they had previously submitted. Apart from layers of destruction in Roman ruins, there are hardly any archaeological traces of the Huns in today's Burgenland. In Stoob in Burgenland , clay jugs are made with the name Hunnen- Plutzer , the shape of which may go back to the Huns.


Influence of the Ostrogothic Empire around 520

In 454 a league of the Gepids under their king Ardarich defeated an army of the Huns in the battle of the Nedao . Thereupon the Ostrogothic King Valamir received the permission from the Eastern Roman Emperor to settle in Pannonia. Thiudimir , the brother of King Valamir, took his seat on Lake Pelsod ( Neusiedler See ) and ruled here relatively independently over a part of the country. Between 451 and 456, Thiudimir and his concubine Ereleuva were born at Lake Neusiedl, who later became King of the Ostrogoths as Theodoric the Great and who is today considered one of the most important personalities of the Great Migration Period.

In the middle of the 5th century there was an economic crisis in Pannonia, monetary transactions collapsed and people were forced to switch to bartering again. An earthquake in 456 made the situation even worse. Tensions arose between the various Germanic groups. In the winter of 469, the Ostrogoths defeated an alliance of Suebi, Sarmatians and Skiren in the "Pannonian Battle of Nations". In 472 the Goths withdrew surprisingly and left their former settlement areas to the losers.

Archaeological finds from the time of the Ostrogoths come from Oslip and Halbturn . The finds do not allow any definite ethnic identification, possibly they can be assigned to the Danube river .


In 510 Wacho became Duke of the Longobards . He subjugated the Suebi in the province of Pannonia by marriage and conquest policies. As a result, Wacho's domain reached today's Burgenland by 526 at the latest. Longobard-era graves have been found in Nikitsch and Steinbrunn in Burgenland . Settlements belonging to the graves have not yet been discovered. The archaeological finds obtained here attest to the highly developed handicrafts of the Longobards. The grave sites of Nikitsch and Steinbrunn belong to the so-called Hegykő group. The center of this group was Sopron . Their population seems to have been mixed and could come from provincial Romans , Rugiern , Herulians have passed, Swabians and the Lombards. In 567 the Lombards fought and expelled the Gepids in league with the Avars . After that, the Lombards apparently came under pressure from the Avars themselves. In 568 almost the "entire Lombard population" moved to Italy with their King Alboin . The Hegykő group left Pannonia with the Lombards in 568. Their traces can be found in Italy. However, it is unclear when the last Lombards left today's Burgenland.

middle Ages

In the Avar kingdom

The realm of the Avars

After the Lombards left, the Avars ruled here for about 200 years . During archaeological excavations, Avar period graves have been found in the Burgenland villages of Podersdorf am See , Sigleß , Edelstal and Leithaprodersdorf .

As the research on the Roman Villa von Königshof indicates, the local survival of the late Roman and early Christian culture and way of life can also be expected in this area, comparable for example to the Keszthely culture , which here is based on the cultures of the migrations, the Avars and Slavs met.

Carolingian period

The political space around today's Burgenland around 846

At the end of the 8th century, the Frankish king Charlemagne waged a series of wars of conquest against the empire of the pagan Avars. This marked the beginning of the gradual occupation of the former Avar and thus also of today's Burgenland areas. The fighting between Avars and Franconia finally ended in the year 803. The area of ​​Burgenland was incorporated into the Bavarian Avarmark and was in the sphere of influence of various Franconian counties and, more or less independent, Franconian vassal principalities, which were formally subordinate to the prefects of the Bavarian Ostland . Events in the Burgenland area of ​​the Carolingian era were characterized by intensive Christianization and the efforts of Slavic princes for more independence from the Franks. Around 800 the area was given to the Salzburg Church for mission. In 830, King Ludwig the German established the Raab as the ecclesiastical border between Salzburg (south of the Raab) and Passau (north of the Raab). With the Treaty of Verdun in 843, Burgenland became part of Eastern Franconia . With the Franconian conquest of the country, large numbers of Germanic settlers came to Burgenland for the first time. Archaeological finds from the Carolingian period were found in the Burgenland communities of Mattersburg , Kittsee , Walbersdorf , Pilgersdorf , Schattendorf , Sieggraben , Steinbrunn and Unterpetersdorf .

Avar principality

From 805 to 828 the Avar principality existed between Carnuntum and Sabaria (Szombathely) . The area of ​​this vassal principality spread around the Neusiedler See and probably on both sides of the Bernsteinstrasse and was thus bounded by the Vienna Woods in the west and by the Raab in the east and south-east. It formed a military buffer zone between the Franconian Empire and the Bulgarian Empire . A deterioration in the climate, which is documented for the year 822, as well as the political weakening due to wars, arms embargo and the loss of their sacred tradition due to the adoption of Christianity finally put an end to the political influence of the Avars around 828. The graves of the Avar settlement of Zillingtal were documented until the Avar Principality. The first written mention of a part of Burgenland comes from the time of the Avar principality. In 808 the brothers Wirut, Gisalmar and Wentilmar donated the "Wolfsbach" area to the Regensburg monastery of Sankt Emmeram , which was probably located in the area of ​​today's Mattersburg .

Steinamanger County

From about 825 to 860 Rihheri headed the Upper Pannonian county of Steinamanger , which was roughly bordered by the rivers Zöbernbach , Güns , Raab / Rabnitzbach , Pinka and Lafnitz . In 860 Rihheri was deposed by Prince Karlmann , the new administrator of the Bavarian east. Odalrich and Ernst followed him as Counts of Steinamanger. Due to a deed of gift from the East Franconian King Ludwig the German on September 15, 844 to the priest Dominicus , Pilgersdorf , which was located in the area of ​​the County of Steinamanger, is the oldest known community in Burgenland.

Danube County

The prefect of the Bavarian east country Ratpot was the first prefect with its own county. The Danube County Ratpots and his successors from the Wilhelminer and Aribonen dynasty between Enns , Danube and Raab was already divided into sub-counties at the time of Ratpots and bordered the County of Steinamanger near Zöbernbach.

Moravian Empire

In the north of the country, the Moravian Empire extended into Burgenland. It was created around the year 830. The area of ​​the Moravian princes was characterized by their strong (and largely successful) drive for independence and thus by the wars with the Franks that followed. The Moravian Empire reached its greatest expansion under Prince Sventopluk in the 880s. At that time most of today's Burgenland belonged to the Moravian Empire.

Pannonian principality

Remains of the church in
Pilgersdorf, founded in 844 by the Moosburg missionary Dominicus

At that time, the south of Burgenland was under the influence of the Pannonian Principality and probably belonged to their sub-county of Dudleben. It was founded in 839 and stretched between Styria , Lake Balaton and the Drava , whereby the Pannonian princes had possessions in the county of Steinamanger and Steinamanger was probably ecclesiastically connected to the principality. It reached its heyday under the founder of the Principality of Pribina and his son and successor Prince Kocel . After his death it was alternately under the influence of Carolingian rulers and counts and the Moravian Empire. In today's Burgenland, Pinkafeld and probably Kitzladen (Chezilsaden) were originally owned by Prince Kocel. The Burgenland historian Alfred Ratz thought it conceivable that the Carolingian founding of the church ecclesia Ellodis could be the Burgenland Eltendorf and, in the case of Kunpoldesdorf , Rumpersdorf .

The capital and center of the ecclesiastical mission of the Pannonian principality was Moosburg . In Moosburg Dominicus worked as a priest and missionary from around 844 . In the same year, Dominicus built a stone church in today's pilgrim's village , the remains of which bear witness to the Christian mission that had an effect from the Pannonian principality on today's Burgenland.

At the Kingdom of Hungary

Development of the Hungarian border guard belt

The border guard settlements were in the Gyepűelve area of the Hungarian border protection system.
The Tabor ruins in Neusiedl am See may have been a medieval peep tower.

Around 900 the area was taken over by the Magyars . After the defeat of the Hungarians against the king of Eastern Franconia Otto I the Great in the battle on the Lechfeld in 955, the Hungarian border protection organization Gyepű was expanded, which served to protect this region from incursions by the Germans from the west. It consisted of an inner chain of castles from Karlburg via Eisenburg and an outer border wasteland (Gyepűelve). A large part of today's Burgenland in Austria lay in the Gyepűelve, where border guards were settled along the rivers Pinka , Lafnitz and Strembach and Zickenbach . Early earth castles such as Burg and Purbach were included in the Gyepű. The settlements of the border guards were mainly populated by Hungarians. A number of Burgenland localities such as Pöttsching , Oberpullendorf , Oberwart , Kohfidisch , Unterwart , Siget in der Wart Oberschützen , Unterschützen , Deutsch-Schützen and Mischendorf emerged from the settlements of the border guards.

Time of the first king Stephan I.

Under the first Hungarian King Stephan I (Hungary) the Christianization of the Hungarians began and (after the Carolingian period) a new settlement by German immigrants in the area of ​​today's Burgenland. It was part of the Kingdom of Hungary for a millennium and was unofficially called Heanzenland , Heinzenland or German West Hungary . The farmers of this part of the country who immigrated from Bavaria in the 11th century were called "Heanzen" , with their own dialect .

In 1009 the Diocese of Győr was founded, to which today's Burgenland belonged from then on. King Stephen ordered the building of churches and the organization of parishes. These “Stephanspfarren” include Donnerskirchen , Kleinfrauenhaid , Leithaprodersdorf , Marz and Pinkafeld . Stephen I was canonized in 1083. He is the national saint of Hungary. Due to his long affiliation to Hungary, numerous churches in Burgenland have been consecrated to Saint Stephen to this day, such as the Edelstal parish church or the Neuhaus am Klausenbach parish church .

Wezzelin of Wasserburg received from King Stephen I. an area for Ják . Wezzelin became the ancestor of the Hungarian aristocratic Ják family, who later owned the Eberau rule , among other things . The counties Wieselburg , Ödenburg and Eisenburg were founded under Stephan I. From where the political administration of today's Burgenland areas took place. Due to the good relations between King Stephen and the western royal family of the Salians , this was a relatively peaceful time for the “Burgenland” border guards.

Mid-11th to mid-13th century

Landsee Castle and other places in Burgenland belonged to the Styrian county of Pitten in the 11th and 12th centuries .
The knight's hall of Lockenhaus Castle from the middle of the 13th century

In 1030 Emperor Conrad II attacked Hungary. In the end, however, his troops got stuck in the swamps of the Hanság and Lake Neusiedl and had to withdraw. The Hungarian border was then pushed into what is now Lower Austria . In 1043 King Heinrich III. through what is now Burgenland's border guard area and penetrated Hungary to the Rabnitz (Danube) . Peace was made before a clash with Hungarian troops. As a result, the Leitha between Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire was probably established this year . In 1044 Heinrich III. Again against Hungary and the battle of Menfö broke out . In the course of the war between Hungary and Henry III. Taborac Castle in today's Draßburg was burned down. Under King Salomon (1063-1074) Petschenegen were probably settled in what is now Northern Burgenland ( Kittsee , Mönchhof , Pöttsching and numerous other places). In 1074 there was fighting between the Pechenegs and King Salomon at Lake Neusiedl, with the Pechenegs suffering a defeat.

In 1073, the present-day villages of Kobersdorf , Steinbach , Forchtenstein and Landsee Castle belonged to the Pitten County of the Styrian margraves under the Traungau region . In 1074 King Heinrich IV conquered the counties of Pressburg, Wieselburg and Ödenburg. In the same country, Heinrich IV gave away land around Lake Neusiedl to the Bishop of Freising. Henry IV soon had to give up his claims to the Hungarian counties.

In 1118, Margrave Leopold III. a retaliatory campaign against the Hungarians under King Stephan II. The area around Eisenstadt is said to have been devastated. It could also have been the area near the Hungarian iron castle / Vasvár .

The Worms Concordat in 1122 led to an upswing in the neighboring Mark an der Mur and a settlement up to the Lafnitz. As a result, a number of castles were newly founded in the border area between today's Styria and today's Burgenland. In 1127 King Stephan II and the Archbishop of Salzburg , Konrad, made peace. Among other things, the western border of Hungary with the Leitha, March and Lafnitz was determined. However, from today's perspective, the boundaries of that time are not entirely clear. The castles of Willersdorf and Bernstein may have been built by the Margraves of the Mark an der Mur or their ministerials .

In 1146 a battle took place near Kittsee between the troops of the Hungarian King Géza II and the Austrian Margrave Heinrich II Jasomirgott . In 1156 Austria was elevated to a duchy and Jasomirgott was its first duke. In 1156 King Géza II gave the knights Gottfried and Albrecht Lutzmannsburg , which was then a county castle.

In 1202 King Emmerich gave the village of Mattersdorf to the voivode Benedikt and his wife Thota . Thota became the ancestor of the Mattersdorf-Forchtenstein family, who were wealthy in medieval Burgenland .

Monasteries and Crusades

The Cistercian monastery
Klostermarienberg , founded in 1194

Most of the founding of Hungarian monasteries in the high to late Middle Ages goes back to the Hungarian royal house of the Árpáden . Even monastery Szentgotthárd , which played a significant role as landlord in today's Burgenland, is a royal foundation: King Béla III. in 1183. In Burgenland itself, however, “private” donors played the greater role. In 1157 Wolfer, ancestor of the Güssing counts , founded a Benedictine monastery in Güssing , and in 1194 Dominikus Bors ( Ban of Slavonia ) founded the Cistercian monastery in Marienberg . The Lockenhaus Franciscan monastery was founded in 1316 . It is possible that Count Nikolaus II. Kakas (the rooster) from Güssing was the founder; because he was living in Lockenhaus at that time.

During the first crusade in 1096, what is now Northern Burgenland was the marching area of ​​the western army, which comprised around 50,000 to 60,000 people. Likewise with the second crusade , when the army crossed the area between Pressburg and Ödenburg at Pentecost 1147 , as well as with the third crusade , where an army of about 180,000 people crossed the same area.

The Ban of Slavonia Dominikus Bors had vowed to take part in a crusade. Since he could not keep this vow, he donated Klostermarienberg instead . Nicholas Borz , owner of the castle country lake , took in 1217 together with the Hungarian King Andrew II. On the Fifth Crusade in part. Count Posa was involved in the same crusade and received a land donation from the king in 1222 (including Lackendorf and Weppersdorf ) in the neighborhood of Nikolaus Borz. A third participant in the Damiet crusade, Demetrius Csák , acquired Güssing Castle around 1220 .

Various indications suggest that Lockenhaus Castle could have been owned by the Order of the Knights Templar or maybe even partially built by them. However, the opinion of science is not clear here. According to legend, members of the order of the Templars sought refuge with the Counts of Güssing at Lockenhaus Castle in 1312 after the order was dissolved by the Pope. Another legend says that there was a connecting passage between the castles Lockenhaus and Bernstein, which the Templars used. In 1214 there was a Johanniterkommende in the county suburb of Ödenburg . In 1238 Loipersbach was wholly or partially owned by this knightly order . The property was presumably looked after from Ödenburg. In 1246 Güssing Castle was given to the Johanniter for a short time. The Teutonic Order no possessions or activities in today's Burgenland from the time of the Middle Ages are known.

Interregnum in the Holy Roman Empire

Fortress destroyed by King Ottokar II. Přemysl in 1273 :
Leithaprodersdorf's local mountain Gschlössl

Family connections between the Austrian Babenbergs and the Hungarian Árpáds as well as military interventions on the part of the Babenberger Frederick the Warrior (he occupied Bernstein Castle and invaded the counties of Ödenburg and Eisenburg in 1235) as well as military counter-actions on the part of the Hungarians had already occurred in the 1230s Tensions in the (Burgenland) border area led.

The Austrian interregnum after the death of the last Babenberger, reinforced by the interregnum in the Holy Roman Empire , brought further political turmoil and wars. The Interregnum is also the time when the Güssing Counts established themselves at the top of Hungarian politics. Heinrich II. From Güssing, one of the greatest landlords in Burgenland, became court judge in 1253, imperial judge in 1254, palatine in 1260 and held the office of Banus of Slavonia for many years . Heinrich II's family policy determined events in today's Burgenland for years. He owned a large number of castles (e.g. Bernstein, Lockenhaus, Rechnitz). In 1260 he and his troops went to the battle of Kressenbrunn at the side of King Bélas IV . He had Schlaining Castle built, which he handed over to the Bohemian King Ottokar II Přemysl in 1270 together with other castles . This enabled the Bohemian king to rule over large parts of today's Burgenland. But Heinrich returned to Hungary as early as 1272 to overthrow the king for two years and to take over the government of Hungary together with Joachim Gutkeled and Matthias Csák. His policy provoked the Bohemian king, whereupon Ottokar II Přemysl invaded Hungary and in 1273 destroyed the fortresses of Leithaprodersdorf , Purbach and Sankt Margarethen .

With the takeover of power by Rudolf I von Habsburg in the Holy Roman Empire (1273) and the death of Heinrich II von Güssing (1274) the dispute between the Güssing counts and the Bohemian king ended. However, a period of renewed wars followed in what is now Burgenland: The sons of Heinrich II fell out with the Habsburgs .

Time of the Güssing Counts

Today's Burgenland in the small Hungarian kingdom of the Güssing Counts (Kőszegi) around 1300

From the middle of the 11th to the middle of the 12th century, the family of the Güssing Counts rose to become one of the most powerful noble families in Hungary and one of the largest private landlords. This was particularly favored by the policy of King Bélas IV. The Mongol storm reached Hungary in 1241 and showed that the Hungarian defense system was not up to such an attack. In today's Burgenland, Neusiedl am See was destroyed by the Mongols. Only stone castles like Burg Lockenhaus and Burg Güssing could withstand . Béla IV now had stone castles built and allowed the rich landlords to build such castles. These nobles included the Güssing Counts, who became mighty with the building of castles. The lightly armed border guards in our area lost their importance. The Güssing counts even managed to bring a large part of the former royal guards under their control.

In 1289 a war broke out in the German-West Hungarian border area between the Lords of Güns and the Habsburg Duchy of Austria and Styria - the so-called " Güssinger Feud ". The Austrian troops remained victorious and destroyed numerous villages in the course of the fighting, which are now mainly in Burgenland. However, the conquered rulers had to be returned to the Güns lords after the peace treaty of Hainburg (1291). At the time of the greatest power of the Hungarian oligarchs , the north of the country was ruled by Matthäus Csák and the south by the Lords of Güns from the Héder family. The Héder had at the peak of this period more than 25 castles and palaces. The oligarchs in today's Burgenland were more powerful than the Hungarian king at that time.

Period of the Anjou and Luxembourgers

The Kanizsay founded the Gothic church of Mariasdorf .

After the power of the Counts of Güssing came to an end, the Kanizsay family gained outstanding importance in what is now Burgenland , alongside the Mattersdorf Forchtenstein . They were involved in the fight against the Güssing and other oligarchs on the side of the king and subsequently gained considerable possession and influence under King Karl Robert . The power of the Kanizsay reached its peak under King Sigismund . In the time of the Kanizsay, for example, Pinkafeld was raised to the status of a (manorial) town and the Gothic church in Mariasdorf was founded . They owned most of the castles in today's Burgenland. The name "Eysenstat" (strong, iron, hence Eisenstadt ) comes from the time of the Kanizsay . In 1373 today's capital of Burgenland came into their possession.

Fight between Friedrich III. and Matthias Corvinus

In 1459 Emperor
Friedrich III was founded at Güssing Castle . elected Hungarian king and rival candidate to reigning Matthias Corvinus .

In the late Middle Ages, part of western Hungary was leased to Austria; the Habsburgs sought to permanently connect this area with Austria. On February 14, 1459, Emperor Friedrich III. elected by 24 magnates at Güssing Castle , mostly wealthy in western Hungary, to be the Hungarian king and thus to be the opposing candidate for the reigning king Matthias Corvinus . In 1459, the Habsburgs unilaterally attached what would later become Burgenland to Austria. On April 14, 1459, the emperor was attacked by troops of the Hungarian king near Pinkafeld and forced to retreat. The military conflict between the emperor and the Hungarian crown was ended on July 19, 1463 by the Peace of Ödenburg. King Matthias Corvinus reunited the area with Hungary.

Nobility and manorial rule in the Middle Ages

Forchtenstein Castle : medieval rulership center in the north of Burgenland

The most important noble families for Burgenland from the 11th to the 15th century were the Héder family , the lords of Güns , the Mattersdorf-Forchtenstein , Osl and Kanizsay families . With the Mattersdorf-Forchtenstein and the lords of Güns, the formation of lords in the Burgenland area began. The lords were usually named after the suburb and seat of the landlord, where he mostly maintained a castle or a chateau. In the 11th and 12th centuries the central power of the Hungarian Árpáden kings weakened, and individual noble families gained influence. The kings tried to preserve the favor of these aristocrats by granting them property, which, however, increased the power of the rich nobility even further and the feudal system gained ever greater importance.

At the beginning of the 13th century, a consolidation of land ownership and a rapidly increasing number of unfree farmers can be seen. By the middle of the 14th century, a relatively uniform social structure with dependent farmers had developed. The largest rule in the north of the country was the rule of Hungarian Altenburg under the Count Poth. The gentlemen at Lockenhaus in central Burgenland were the Günser, then the Kanizsay and later the Hungarian high nobility Nádasdy . The greatest rule in the south was the rule of Güssing under the von Güns and later under the Hungarian magnates Batthyány . The Bernstein rule was ruled by the Kanizsay, Koenigsberg and Batthyány. The Eberau and Rotenturm lords were subordinate to the Erdődy . Areas with spiritual landlords were the lords of Pernau , Heiligenkreuz , Klostermarienberg and St. Gotthard . In addition to these, there have been various petty lords over the centuries.

Earlier modern times

Nikolaus Esterházy established the supremacy of the Esterházy in the north of Burgenland.
Ádám Batthyány established the supremacy of the Batthyány in the south of Burgenland.

In 1526 the Habsburgs inherited the crown of Hungary; However, they could only rule Hungary if it was not occupied by the Turks . With the beginning of the Habsburg rule in Hungary, the border conflict in western Hungary came to an end. In addition to Ödenburg, Rust on Lake Neusiedl was already known back then and became a royal free town in the 17th century. Count Nikolaus Esterházy , the founder of the West Hungarian Forchtenstein line of the Esterházy magnate family , transformed it from a small Hungarian noble family into one of the largest aristocratic families in Hungary. As one of the first aristocrats in Hungary, he converted to Catholicism in the course of the Counter Reformation . In 1625 the imperial family made him Palatine and thus the highest secular dignitary in royal Hungary .

After 1626 large parts of today's Burgenland came under the rule of the Hungarian families Esterházy and Batthyány . In 1647, on the instructions of Emperor Ferdinand II, in his capacity as King of Hungary, all western Hungarian rulers still under Austrian administration came under Hungarian administration. In the territory of the Esterházy and Batthyány magnate families, flourishing Jewish communities developed from 1670, such as the Siebengemeinden in what is now Northern and Southern Burgenland, which were granted the right by the landlord to organize their everyday lives according to the rules of their faith in return for payment of protection money.

In 1683 many communities in what is now Northern Burgenland were devastated during the second Turkish siege of Vienna . During Kuruc - . Uprising of Francis II Rákóczi 1703-1711 and the possessions of the loyal to the emperor were Paul I Prince Esterházy hit hard. From 1765 to 1766 peasant unrest broke out in what is now southern Burgenland.

During the Napoleonic Wars , the area was temporarily occupied by the French. From 1848 to 1849, during the revolution in Hungary , there was no fighting in western Hungary. Ludwig Batthyány , who later became wealthy in Burgenland, acted as prime minister of the revolutionary government and was shot in Pest on October 6, 1849 at the massive instigation of Baron Haynau .

In 1854, the Hungarian Reichstag resolved to repeal serfdom. With the basic relief , the land managed by the farmers was transferred to the former landlords in exchange for a fee. Unredeemed land remained with the former landlords. The former subjects became citizens , the localities of the rule free communities.

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise , the government in Budapest began with a consistent policy of Magyarization in all of Old Hungary . The aim was to turn the kingdom's 50% non-Magyar population into Magyars within about forty years. From 1898 the communities in the entire Kingdom of Hungary were only allowed to use Hungarian place names. Since 1907, under Minister of Education Count Albert Apponyi, the almost exclusive use of the Hungarian language in school lessons was enforced. This led to considerable tension in the German-populated area of ​​today's Burgenland.

After 1918: Burgenland came into being

Colloquial languages ​​in Austria-Hungary from: Distribution of Races in Austria-Hungary, Historical Atlas, William R. Shepherd , 1911
The territorial division of Austria-Hungary after the First World War

Austrian claims and reality

In 1918, after the end of the First World War and the associated dissolution of Austria-Hungary , intensive efforts were made to join the German-speaking areas of western Hungary to Austria. The new state of German Austria , which arose on part of Cisleithania , claimed the right to German West Hungary, following Woodrow Wilson 's right to self-determination for the peoples of the Danube monarchy. After the end of the war, the Soviet republic of the communist Béla Kun existed in Hungary for a few months . Priests and teachers were arrested and executed, and there were tumults and fights with Red Army soldiers. After 133 days, following military intervention by the Entente, the government was replaced by a right-wing government, which followed the so-called white terror (the persecution of left -wing radicals and Jews).

The victors of the First World War decided in 1919 in the Treaty of St. Germain that "German West Hungary" should be attached to Austria , after the first draft treaties had provided for the creation of the republic without this area. In 1920, in the Treaty of Trianon , Hungary was obliged to cede this part of Old Hungary to Austria. Admission to the Republic of Austria was regulated in the Federal Constitutional Law on the status of Burgenland as an independent and equal state in the Federation and its provisional establishment of January 25, 1921.

In the Mattersburg district there were attacks by the population against the Hungarian gendarmerie and the Hungarian community notaries. In return, irregulars, financed by Hungarian aristocrats, prevented the Austrian gendarmerie from taking the land in the spring of 1921 by attacking them like partisans. In 1921 , King Charles IV Habsburg used Ödenburg , where he had supporters in the Hungarian army , twice as a springboard to regain the throne in Hungary. Both attempts failed.

A few weeks after the establishment of the short-lived Lajtabánság Republic under the leadership of the commander-in-chief Pál Prónay , the area was occupied by the Austrian army in November 1921 and officially handed over from Hungary to Austria on December 5, 1921.

For the area around Sopron (Sopron) , which was intended as the capital of the new Austrian federal state of Hungary was friendly after violent protests on Hungary's mediation Italy from 14 to 16 December 1921, the referendum in 1921 in Burgenland performed. The majority of the city's residents were in favor of remaining with Hungary, while the majority of residents of the surrounding rural communities were in favor of joining Austria. The correct handling of the voting in the city of Ödenburg was very much questioned by the Austrian media. The decision in favor of Hungary remained final and also affected the pro-Austrian rural communities around the city.

After this new demarcation was completed, a few communities moved from Austria to Hungary and vice versa at their own request.

The name of the new state

The name "Burgenland" reminds us that the country is made up of parts of three old Hungarian counties :

At the beginning of 1919, Austria also claimed parts of the Pressburg County (Slovak Bratislava , Hungarian Pozsony ) for Burgenland. Therefore, in June 1919, the name "Vierburgenland" was proposed. In mid-August 1919, however, it became clear in the peace negotiations that Pressburg was going to Czechoslovakia. Karl Renner recommended from St. Germain to change the name to "Dreiburgenland". The name Burgenland was allegedly first proposed by Frauenkirchener Gregor Meidlinger, on September 6, 1919 after a German-West Hungarian delegation had spoken to State Chancellor Karl Renner . This state name became official and generally in use at the latest with the Federal Constitutional Law on the position of Burgenland of 1921.

Burgenland in the First Republic and the "Third Reich"

Tobias Portschy : Deputy Gauleiter of the Reichsgau Styria during the Third Reich

In April 1922 the new federal state received its constitution ( 2nd Federal Constitutional Law on Burgenland of April 7, 1922). The newly elected Burgenland Parliament met for the first time on June 15, 1922 . Bad Sauerbrunn was the provisional seat of the state government and administration until 1925, and on October 19, 1925, the small town of Eisenstadt , which had been relatively insignificant until then, became the capital of Burgenland. However, since they did not want to abandon the option of Sopron as the capital, the state constitution of 1926 also stated “The state government is in Eisenstadt, the state parliament meets at the state government seat” , while a state capital was not mentioned.

In 1927 a momentous incident occurred in Schattendorf when a peaceful demonstration by the Social Democrats was shot at. The defendants were acquitted in the Schattendorfer verdict , to the indignation of the workers . At the following mass rally in Vienna - referred to by the conservative federal government as the " July Revolt " - radical elements set fire to the Palace of Justice , whereupon the police shot wildly into the crowd and killed dozens of demonstrators. Austrian historiography today regards Schattendorf as the first step towards civil war and Austrofascism .

At the time of the corporate state , the national anthem Mein Heimatvolk, mein Heimatland in 1936 was established as a unifying element.

After Austria was " annexed " to the German Reich on March 13, 1938, Burgenland was dissolved and on October 15, 1938 it was divided into the Reichsgaue Niederdonau and Styria . From May 1938 to April 1945, Tobias Portschy from Burgenland was Deputy Gauleiter of Styria.

From 1943 onwards, the Burgenland was flown over by allied bomber groups, which bombed the industrial centers around Vienna and Wiener Neustadt. This led to aerial battles with German fighter planes , so that numerous American and German planes crashed on Burgenland, for example in Markt Allhau , Riedlingsdorf or Stinatz .

In 1945 the Nazi regime had concentration camp prisoners and forced laborers erect (useless) fortifications (“ southeast wall ”) against the advancing Red Army on Burgenland territory . The construction work cost tens of thousands of lives. The “ Volkssturm ”, which was completely unsuitable and hardly armed, was supposed to stop the Russians. When Rechnitz massacre and massacre of German shooters few days hundreds were killed Jews before the war ended in Burgenland.

Burgenland in the Second Republic

Allied occupation zone in Austria

In the spring of 1945 soldiers of the Red Army near Klostermarienberg in Burgenland, coming from Hungary, set foot on Austrian soil for the first time.

After the collapse of the National Socialist regime, the immediate re-establishment of Burgenland was not originally part of the work plan of the provisional state government under Karl Renner, in office since April 27, 1945 . At the request of Burgenland politicians and the intervention of the Red Army, the state government passed the Federal Constitutional Act on August 29, 1945, which constituted Burgenland as an independent federal state on October 1, 1945 .

Burgenland was part of the Soviet zone of occupation in Austria until 1955 . In autumn 1956, after the suppression of the Hungarian uprising, tens of thousands of Hungarians were able to flee to the west across the border with Burgenland. As a symbol of this escape, the Andau Bridge became the subject of a fact-based novel by American author James A. Michener in 1956, which was in place in 1956, and the subject of the 2000 film The Bockerer III - The Bridge of Andau .

In 1957 the Hungarian government erected a massive fortification on the border with Burgenland, which was supposed to make crossing the green border impossible: This iron curtain did not fall until 1989. In a symbolic act on June 27, 1989, the Foreign Ministers of Austria and Hungary, Alois, cut through at Klingenbach Mock and Gyula Horn , the barbed wire fence with wire cutters. The subsequent flight of hundreds of GDR citizens via Hungary and Austria to West Germany, which was not prevented by the Hungarian security forces, symbolized the end of the communist regime in the Eastern bloc of that time .

Domestically, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Burgenland Social Democrats opposed the fact that the Esterházy family had a very considerable part of the area in their private property. Considerations were made as to whether or how the family could be partially expropriated or obliged to surrender land. Legally correct solutions were not found. The confrontation later gave way to intensive cooperation between the state administration and the Esterházy Goods Directorate.

Additional information


  • Felix Czeike : The Burgenland. Land of storks and castles. Culture, landscape and history between the Eastern Alps and Pussta. (= DuMont art travel guide ). Dumont, Cologne 1991, ISBN 3-7701-2089-2 .
  • August Ernst: History of Burgenland. Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-7028-0311-4 .
  • Josef Tiefenbach (Hrsg.): Historischer Atlas Burgenland (= scientific work from Burgenland. 141). Burgenland State Museum publishing house, Eisenstadt 2011, ISBN 978-3-85405-185-5 .

Early history:

  • Karl Kaus : Burgenland. Archeology and regional studies, Opera selecta (= scientific work from Burgenland. 114). Burgenland State Museum publishing house, Eisenstadt 2006, ISBN 3-85405-153-0 .
  • Luis D. Nebelsick: Hallstatt culture in the east of Austria (= research reports on prehistory and early history. Volume 18). Verlag Niederösterr. Pressehaus, St. Pölten 1997, ISBN 3-85326-053-5 .
  • A. Ohrberger (Ed.): Archaeological iron research in Europe. With special consideration of prehistoric and early historical iron production and smelting in Burgenland (= scientific work from Burgenland. 59). Burgenland State Museum publishing house, Eisenstadt 1977, ISBN 3-85405-051-8 .

19./20. Century:

  • Elisabeth Deinhofer, Traude Horvath (ed.): Grenzfall Burgenland 1921–1991. Verlag Kanica, Eisenstadt 1991, ISBN 3-900874-03 .
  • Gebhard Klötzl: The administrative structure of the later Burgenland 1848–1921 (= Burgenland research. Volume 83). Eisenstadt 2001, ISBN 3-901517-28-6 .
  • Rüdiger Wurth: German West Hungary changing to Burgenland - Posthistorical Aspects 1900 to 1938. In: Scientific works from Burgenland. Issue 95, Eisenstadt 1996, pp. 141-174 ( PDF on ZOBODAT ).


  • Gerald Schlag, Burgenland Provincial Government (ed.): History, culture and economy in biographies. Verlag Rötzer, Eisenstadt 1991, ISBN 3-85374-210-6 .

Web links

Commons : History of Burgenland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cult device from Haschendorf
  2. Remnants of the Roman aqueduct in the Rechnitz Nature Park ( memento from May 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) on the “Geschrittenstein Nature Park” website, accessed on April 14, 2013.
  3. a b c Andreas Lehne : The art monuments of the political district of Neusiedl am See. Edited by the Federal Monuments Office, Berger Verlag, Horn 2012.
  4. ^ Romanes, Huns and Teutons - The Migration Period on the website http://www.atlas-burgenland.at/ (accessed on August 6, 2016)
  5. Treasure Chest: Stoober Plutzer (accessed on August 6, 2016)
  6. Felix Dahn : The migration of people. Germanic-Romanesque early history of Europe. Publisher Hans Kaiser, Klagenfurt 1977.
  7. Hermann Schreiber: In the footsteps of the Goths. List Verlag, Munich 1977.
  8. Angelika Holl: Two primaries from the Burgenland about the migration period. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Vienna, Vienna 1983.
  9. Angelika Kern: The trade along the Amber Road during the Longobard period. Burgenland Homeland Papers 4/2008, Eisenstadt 2008.
  10. Falko Daim , Erik Szameit : early history of Austria.
  11. Angelika Kern: Longobard-era settlement structures in Burgenland based on two case studies. Thesis. University of Vienna, Vienna 2013.
  12. "Podersdorf: Avar graves exposed" (accessed on August 6, 2016)
  13. Sigleß: Sensational find at the end (accessed on August 6, 2016)
  14. ^ Edith B. Thomas: Roman villas in Pannonia, contributions to the Pannonian settlement history. Budapest 1964.
  15. ^ Ernst Dümmler: History of the East Franconian Empire, Volume 1. Verlag Duncker & Humblot, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-7749-3663-8 , p. 400ff.
  16. a b c Herwig Wolfram: Salzburg, Bavaria, Austria. The Conversio Bagoarium et Carantanorum and the sources of their time. Verlag Oldenbourg, Vienna / Munich 1996.
  17. Josef Tiefenbach (Ed.): Historischer Atlas Burgenland (= scientific work from Burgenland. 141). Burgenland State Museum publishing house, Eisenstadt 2011, ISBN 978-3-85405-185-5 , p. 54.
  18. ^ Béla Miklós Szőke: The Danube and the last days of the Avar Khaganate. In: Ten Thousand Years along Middle Danube. Varia Archaeologica Hungarica XXVI, Archaeolingua, Budapest 2011.
  19. Avar graves near Sigleß attest to the end of a culture on the website http://www.krone.at/
  20. Walter Pohl : The Avars. A steppe people in Central Europe. Munich 1988.
  21. ^ Hajnalka Herold: Avar time in Burgenland. Burgenland homeland sheets 73/3, Eisenstadt 2011.
  22. The Avar Period in Burgenland - Archaeological research results on the settlement and the burial ground of Zillingtal , University of Exeter
  23. ^ Burgenland chronological tables - political history. On the website of the Archiv Verlag
  24. Michael Mitterauer : Carolingian margraves in the south-east Franconian imperial aristocracy and Bavarian tribal nobility in Austria. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nachf., Graz / Vienna / Cologne 1963.
  25. ^ A b c Alfred Ratz: Development of the parish network and the Carolingian era in the southern Burgenland area. (= Burgenland research. Issue 10). Ed. Bgld. State Archives, Eisenstadt, 1950.
  26. Uta von Freeden, Herwig Friesinger, Egon Wamers (ed.): Faith, cult and rule. Phenomena of the Religious. Colloquia on prehistory and early history. Volume 12, Roman-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-7749-3663-8 , p. 400ff.
  27. ^ Regest 1379 (donation from Ludwig the German to Dominicus). On the Regesta Imperii website
  28. Pilgrim's Village. History. On the homepage http://www.pilgersdorf.at/ of the Pilgersdorf community
  29. ^ Fritz Zimmermann: Historical-ethnographic analysis of the German settlement areas of western Hungary. Verlag Braumüller, Vienna 1974, ISBN 3-7003-0082-4 , p. 147.
  30. The history of the Tabor ruins. On the website http://www.burgenkunde.at/ (accessed on August 7, 2016)
  31. István Fodor: The descent of Hungarians and land acquisition. In: Ladislaus Triber (Ed.): The Obere Wart. Festschrift. Oberwart 1977, p. 112.
  32. László Somogyi: The Burgenland Magyars in a geographical perspective. Dissertation. Graz 1966, p. 19ff.
  33. ^ Fritz Posch: The German-Hungarian border development in the 10th and 11th centuries on the soil of today's Styria. In: Festschrift for "Balduin Saria" for his 70th birthday. (= Book series of the Southeast German Historical Commission , Volume 11), Verlag R. Oldenbourg, Munich 1964, pp. 114–127.
  34. Entry on Die Mundart in Burgenland in the Austria Forum  (in the Heimatlexikon).
  35. Robert Bouchal, Gabriele Lukacs: The secret network of the Templars. Verlag Pichler, Vienna / Graz / Klagenfurt 2010, ISBN 978-3-85431-515-5 , p. 138ff.
  36. The Güssinger. Results of the symposia in the context of the “Schlaininger Talks” 1986/1987 Ed. Burgenländisches Landesmuseum Eisenstadt, Eisenstadt 1989, p. 342.
  37. ^ Gertrud Buttlar: Wiener Neustadt. History, art, culture, economy. new academic press, 1993, ISBN 3-7003-1032-3 , p. 146.
  38. ^ Josef Karl Homma: History of the city of Pinkafeld. Self-published by the municipality of Pinkafeld, Pinkafeld 1987.
  39. ^ Treaty of Ödenburg-Wiener Neustadt between Emperor Friedrich III. and King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary on the website of the Lower Austrian State Museum
  40. a b August Ernst: History of Burgenland. Verlag für Geschichte u. Politics, Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-7028-0311-4 , p. 49ff.
  41. a b Daniel Ursprung: Serfdom (Hungary) ( Memento from September 14, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) on the homepage of the University of Klagenfurt http://www.uni-klu.ac.at/ accessed on October 13, 2010.
  42. ^ History of the Jews in Burgenland. Website regiowiki.at, accessed on February 8, 2015.
  43. ^ Albert Judeich: The basic discharge in Germany. Brockhaus-Verlag, Leipzig 1863, p. 13ff.
  44. Carl Freiherr von Czoernig : The Austrian budget for 1862, 2nd volume. Ed. Kk Direction of administrative statistics, Vienna 1862, p. 413ff.
  45. Andreas Moritsch (Ed.): From Ethnos to Nationality. The national differentiation process using the example of selected places in Carinthia and Burgenland. Verlag Oldenbourg, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-486-55878-1 , p. 109.
  46. a b Federal Constitutional Law of 25 January 1921 on the position of Burgenland as an independent and equal state in the federal government and on its provisional establishment. StF: Federal Law Gazette No. 85/1921 - only parts of this law are in force (original version eReader, ALEX Online ; as amended online, ris.bka ).
  47. Emperor Karl's stay in western Hungary in March 1921 , website regiowiki.at, accessed on February 8, 2015.
  48. The origin of the state name "Burgenland" (PDF, 11 kB; on burgenland.at)
  49. Federal Constitutional Law of April 7, 1922, which in accordance with Section 2 of the Federal Constitutional Law of January 25, 1921, BG Bl. No. 85, enacts provisional state regulations and provisional state election regulations for Burgenland (2nd Federal Constitutional Act on Burgenland). BGBl. No. 202/1922 (eReader, ALEX Online ).
  50. Eisenstadt became the capital 85 years ago. ORF Burgenland from October 19, 2010, accessed on October 19, 2010.
  51. ^ List of allied aircraft shot down in World War II , website regiowiki.at, accessed on November 22, 2014.
  52. A B-17 shot down over Riedlingsdorf in 1944 , website regiowiki.at, accessed on November 22, 2014.
  53. ^ Shooting of a Me 109 over Riedlingsdorf in 1944 , website regiowiki.at, accessed on November 22, 2014.
  54. ^ Crash of a B-17 near Stinatz on July 26, 1944 , website regiowiki.at, accessed on November 22, 2014.