Margraviate of Moravia

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Margraviate of Moravia
Crown Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1348–1918)
Holy Roman Empire (1198–1806)
Austrian Empire (1804–67)
Cisleithania in Austria-Hungary (1867–1918)
Markrabství moravské
Margraviate of Moravia (red) and countries of the Bohemian Crown (pink) in the Holy Roman Empire (1618)
Margraviate of Moravia (red) and countries of the Bohemian Crown (pink) in the Holy Roman Empire (1618)
Capital Olomouc (1182–1641)
Brno (1641–1918)
Today part of Czech Republic
  • Creation 1182
  • The End 1918

The Margraviate of Moravia ( Czech Markrabství moravské ) was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from 1182 to 1918 on the territory of the historic Czech region of Moravia . The capital of the country was Olomouc until 1641 and later Brno .

The country belonged to the countries of the Bohemian Crown and, together with the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia, formed their core area. In 1527 it came under the rule of the Habsburgs and was a crown land of the empires of Austria and Austria-Hungary from 1804 and 1867 respectively . After the First World War the margravate was dissolved and Moravia became part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia .



The margraviate of Moravia was established when it was raised in 1182. The first margrave was Konrad III. Otto . His rule lasted only a short time (1182-1191). As early as 1198, Moravia was united with the newly formed Kingdom of Bohemia . This formal union ended in 1197 and Vladislav Heinrich became the new margrave. Both he and his predecessor came from the Přemyslid dynasty , who also ruled as kings in Bohemia.

The Přemyslids ruled Moravia for almost 300 years from the rise of the first Moravian prince Břetislav I in 1029 to their extinction in 1306. The House of Habsburg under Rudolf III followed the dynasty for a year . who had inherited the area and was King of Bohemia at the same time.

In 1310 Johann von Bohemia became the new margrave. With him the German Luxembourgers came to the Moravian throne. He was followed by his son Charles IV . Under him, Moravia, like Bohemia, experienced an economic and educational boom. However, as Margrave Karl only ruled briefly and in 1349 handed the title over to his brother Johann Heinrich. After his death in 1375, his son Jodok (Jost) became Margrave of Moravia, who shared the rulership of the country with his brothers Prokop and Johann Sobieslav. His successor Sigismund , the last Luxembourg margrave in Moravia, reunited them in 1419. After his death in 1437, times were turbulent for the country. In a short period of time, three ruling houses ruled the margraviate. First the Habsburgs until 1457 and Haus Kunstadt until 1469. Between 1479 and 1490 Moravia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary from Matthias Corvinus and then the Polish Jagiellonians ruled until 1526.

Under the Habsburgs until 1867

Moravia and the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia , 1888

In 1469 Moravia was occupied by the Kingdom of Hungary . The Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus tried with the support of the Moravian nobility Bohemian crown usurp and got himself elected in the same year as the new king of Bohemia. But he could never fully gain control of the kingdom. In 1479 an agreement was reached with King Wladislaw Jagiello and Corvinus was allowed to keep Moravia until his death.

After the conquest of most of Hungary by the Ottomans , the Habsburgs took power in Moravia, as in all Bohemian countries, in 1527. Important events in Moravian history such as the Thirty Years' War , absolutism and the Silesian Wars took place during her reign .

During the Silesian Wars and most recently in the German War of 1866, as in Bohemia, Moravia was in danger of being annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia . It was only possible to refrain from this when the German Empire was founded in 1871.

In 1804 Moravia became a crown land of the Austrian Empire . After the settlement between Austria and Hungary in 1867, when the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy was established, the margraviate of Moravia remained part of the Austrian half of the empire . The country received more rights and became a constitutional monarchy .

From industrialization to the end (1867–1918)

Moravia within Austria-Hungary
Map of the industrial plants in Moravia, 1860

The time of Austria-Hungary was another time of boom for Moravia. The industrialization and urbanization improved to large sections of the population living standards . Moravia developed, after Bohemia, into one of the most progressive and richest crown lands of the dual monarchy.

The nationalism of the European peoples, which grew stronger around the turn of the century , also found its way into Moravia. The first serious tensions arose between the German and Czech population in the country. The Viennese government tried to counteract this by means of a compensation. The so-called Moravian Compromise , which was implemented through the enactment of four state laws, was an important preliminary stage to an Austro-Czech Compromise and was able to largely calm the ethnic conflicts in the crown land.

In the middle of the First World War , Charles I, the last Moravian margrave came to the throne in 1916 . On October 28, 1918, shortly before the dissolution of Austria-Hungary on October 31, Moravia became part of the newly proclaimed Czechoslovakia . On November 11th, when Charles I renounced any share in state affairs within the Austrian half of the empire, he also lost his rule in Moravia. The country existed in its form until January 1, 1949 as a region of Czechoslovakia.

State and administration

The Moravian Parliament. Today the seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
Political districts in Moravia and Silesia, 1897

Moravia has been an imperial territory of the Holy Roman Empire since its foundation in 1182 . In 1804 it became an administrative unit of the Austrian Empire as a crown land . As the Crown Land of Austria-Hungary from 1867, Moravia had extensive internal autonomy within Cisleithania . Since 1861 the monarchy had its own elected state parliament with 151 members and sent members to the cisleithan Reichstag in Vienna .

The constitution of Moravia was enacted on December 30, 1849. It was repealed on December 31, 1851 and reinstated on February 26, 1861. Formally, it was in force until the Czechoslovak Constitution was passed in 1920 .

At the head of the State Administration of Moravia kk stood governor's office in Brno, which were subordinate to the all state offices except the courts in the direct or mittelbarerer way. The most important state central offices in the country included the kk Landesschulrat, the kk Sanitätsrat, the kk Police Directorate in Brno, the kk Landesfinanzdirektion, the kk Post and Telegraphendirektion, the kk Staatsbahnbetriebsdirektion, which had its seat in Olomouc, while all other central offices were in the Officiate the state capital.

The highest court of the country, the Imperial and Royal Higher Regional Court for Moravia and Silesia, to which the regional court in Brno and the district courts in Olomouc, Iglau, Znaim , Hungarian Hradisch and Neutitschein were subordinate, was also in Olomouc .

In 1910 Moravia comprised 2,897 local parishes and 3,291 localities. Brno, Jihlava, Kremsier, Olomouc, Hungarian Hradish and Znaim formed free cities .

Since the 14th century, the crown land itself has been divided into six large districts : Brno, Iglau, Olmütz, Prerau, Hungarian Hradisch and Znaim.

In 1848 there was a restructuring and the creation of smaller political districts and judicial districts . These were restructured again in 1861 (see Moravia # administrative division ).

List of margraves

The Moravian margraves were mostly also the kings of Bohemia in personal union. There were 46 margraves by 1918. Since Matthias II the title only existed formally.


Postage stamp for Olomouc, 1877
Postcard of the Witkowitz mining and steel works, 1898

Moravia’s economy formed one of the most important foundations of the Habsburg Empire.

Around 1900 agriculture was the main occupation of the residents. Of the total area of land, 54.79% were found on arable land, 8.21% on meadows and gardens, 0.55% on vineyards, 5.75% on pastures and 27.44% on woodlands. Agriculture provided mainly grain , namely in 1903: wheat , rye , barley , oats and maize . In addition, were millet , buckwheat , legumes , oilseed rape , poppy , anise , fennel , flax , hemp , and also in large quantities potatoes , sugar beet , fodder beet , cabbage , clover won other forage herbs and hay. The vegetable supplies in particular asparagus , the fruit growing especially plums for export. Wine was grown on the hills from Znojmo to the March , especially around Bisenz . In 1900 the livestock population comprised: 134,026 horses , 789,552 cattle , 37,683 sheep , 158,726 goats , 455,318 pigs , 3,120,520 poultry , especially chickens and geese , bees (91,962 beehives).

The country had hard coal , lignite , iron ore , pig iron , graphite and copper in terms of raw materials . The number of workers employed in mining and smelting works around 1900 was 13,209, the value of annual production was 27,768,110 crowns .

The industry in Moravia has been at a high level since industrialization . The most important branch was the sheep's wool industry, which included woolen spinning, worsted spinning, woolening, worsted and mixed fabrics, sheep's wool printing, carpets and blankets. Further branches of the textile industry were silk weaving, cotton spinning and weaving, flax and linen weaving, junk weaving, cotton printing, dyeing and finishing, ribbon manufacture, knitting and lace manufacture. Beet sugar production was particularly highly developed, employing 54 factories in 1902 with 23,085 workers and a production of 2,823,682 quintals of sugar. Iron and steel goods, cast goods, rails, sheet metal, pipes, etc. are mainly supplied by large plants in Witkowitz , Blansko , Friedland and Sobotín . Other products of the metal industry were iron dishes, machines, wire pins and zinc sheet. Also important were the manufacture of men's clothes and hats, the tannery and footwear manufacture, the distillery and liqueur production, the brewery (1902: 120 establishments with a production of 1,995,504 hl) and the malt production, the milling operation, the production of chemical products , the Pottery, glass and paper manufacture, the manufacture of furniture from bent wood and carts. The state operated six tobacco factories (with 9,681 workers). The trade was important. The export includes both raw products and manufactured goods. Moravia had 1,878 km of railways , 12,132 km of country roads and 264 km of waterways .


Ethnic map of western Austria of Hungary. German language areas (light red) and Czech (light blue), 1911

The Moravian population at the time of the margravate experienced rapid population growth in the time of Austria-Hungary after events such as the Thirty Years War had led to a sharp decline in population . From 1890 to 1900 alone there was an increase of 7.1%. The population development in the same period was:

year 1851 1880 1890 1900 1910
Residents 1,799,838 2,153,407 2,276,870 2,437,706 2,622,271

In terms of nationality, the population was predominantly Slavic and German . The German minority lived mainly on the borders with Lower Austria and Silesia, otherwise in various linguistic islands (around Brno , Olomouc , Iglau , Zwittau ) and in some larger cities. The Slavs were mostly distinguished by local names. The ethnic distribution according to the census was as follows:

Ethnicity 1851 1880 1890 1900 1910
Czechs , Moravians , Slovaks (Slavs) 1,264,027 70.2% 1,507,327 70.0% 1,590,513 69.9% 1,727,270 70.9% 1,911,316 71.7%
German 497.654 27.6% 628.907 29.2% 664.168 29.2% 675.492 27.7% 734.712 27.6%
Poland 3,083 0.1% 5,039 0.2% 15,560 0.6% 15,972 0.6%

From an ecclesiastical point of view, Moravia formed the diocese of Olomouc , to which the diocese of Brno is subordinate to this day . There were 18 evangelical parishes, which were subordinated to the Superintendentur of Moravia and Silesia . There were seniorates in Brno, Stotschau and Zauchtl. The Helvetic Church had a superintendent in Ingrowitz and is divided into 2 senior councils and 24 parish offices. There were Jewish religious communities in almost all of the major communities, 50 in total. There were also a few smaller communities such as the Orthodox Church and the Hussite movement . The religious distribution in 1900 was:

religion 1900 percent
Roman Catholic 2,325,057 95.4%
Protestant 66,365 2.7%
Jewish 44,255 1.8%

The population density in 1910 was 118 inhabitants per km².

Education and culture

Brno, 1908

Moravia had one of the highest literacy rates in Austria-Hungary.

The teaching institutions in the margraviate were a German and a Czech technical university in Brno , 2 theological schools, 30 grammar schools and junior high schools , 28 secondary schools , eleven teacher training institutions , four state trade schools, 15 industrial technical schools, four higher commercial schools , 46 agricultural and forestry schools , one Mountain school, a military high school ( Weißkirchen ) and 2647 elementary schools .

In terms of culture, Moravia experienced a cultural heyday, especially in the final phase of the margravate. In particular, Moravian nationalism and separatism, which has partially reappeared since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992, has led to a glorification of the time in the region when Moravia was largely independent. The new scientific and economic achievements brought better living conditions for a large part of the population and, in addition to a certain degree of prosperity, enabled the majority of the population to participate in the cultural life of the crown land. This was particularly evident in the growth of the most important cities such as the capital Brno or Olomouc , which were greatly expanded and became important centers in culture, politics and science.

Denominational history

Central Europe in the age of the early Reformation (around 1530):
  • Roman Catholic
  • Protestant (either Lutheran or Reformed )
  • hussistic ( utraquistic )
  • Islamic
  • Before 1436 the only recognized denomination in the Margraviate of Moravia was the Roman Catholic Church .

    The burning of the theologian and reformer Jan Hus on July 6, 1415 triggered violent protests in the Kingdom of Bohemia . Since then, various Reformation or revolutionary movements have formed there that were directed against the Roman Catholic Church . These new movements became known collectively as the Hussites among Catholics and soon spread to Czech-speaking Moravia as well. As a result of the conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church and also within this inconsistent movement (especially between radicals and moderates ), the Hussite Wars broke out in the years 1419–1434 . The Hussite Wars ended with a Catholic-Utraquist victory, but the margraviate could not achieve religious stability before 1485.

    Traditional Utraquism had been legally recognized in the Margraviate of Moravia since 1436 by the Basel compacts . The Hussist Utraquists formed the majority of the Christians in the margraviate, especially among the population and some nobility. Nevertheless, there was a large minority of Catholics in Moravia, many of whom were members of the Moravian nobility who de facto controlled the country until the Thirty Years' War .

    In 1457 the small Protestant group of the Bohemian Brothers (also called Moravian Brothers ) split off from the utraquist Hussites. The Hussist faith of the new Bohemian king (and also Margrave of Moravia ) Georg von Podebrady caused widespread diplomatic outrage in Catholic Europe and led to the war with Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, which lasted from 1468 to 1479 and ended with the Peace of Olomouc . The Bohemian crown lands, especially Moravia and Silesia , were conquered and brought back to Catholicism. With the Peace of Olomouc Corvinus renounced further claims in Bohemia, but kept the Bohemian neighboring countries Moravia, Silesia, Upper and Lower Lusatia and the title of King of Bohemia. The Bohemian claims to rule of whoever would die first should fall to the other. With this provision, the constitutional unity of the Bohemian crown was preserved, even if there were currently two kings. In 1490 Vladislav II became king over the whole of Bohemia and was also able to acquire the throne of Hungary.

    In 1485 the Basel compacts in the Bohemian Kutná Hora were confirmed by Bohemian estates. The Vladislav regional order of 1500 did not introduce any legal restrictions for the Hussites. The Bohemian Diet of 1512 extended this agreement "for ever". All of these three agreements were also put into effect in the margravate.

    From 1520 the Lutheran Reformation gained increasing influence in the kingdom . Lutheranism had spread particularly among German Moravians . From 1525 various Anabaptist congregations were founded, e.g. B. in Nikolsburg . In 1575, on behalf of the non-Catholic countries of the Bohemian Crown, the Confessio Bohemica was written by Hussist neo-Utraquists and Lutherans . The Calvinism reached the Margraviate of Moravia late in the second half of the 16th century. Because of the confessional diversity of Bohemian Protestantism, the formation of a regional church did not succeed. The Protestant faiths achieved their recognition as permitted denominations with the majesty letter of 1609.

    In 1618 with the second lintel in Prague , the Thirty Years War broke out. In 1619 the margravate united with other Bohemian crown lands (including Catholic-Hussist Bohemia , Lutheran Silesia , Catholic-Lutheran Upper Lusatia and Lutheran Lower Lusatia ) to form the Bohemian Confederation . Under the Calvinist King Frederick V of the Palatinate , the Confederation declared Protestantism in fact the state religion .

    After the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620, the vast majority of the Hussites and other Protestants were eventually forcibly returned to Catholicism, expelled or fled to the remaining Protestant countries. The margraviate was now almost exclusively Roman Catholic with small Protestant communities that suffered discrimination from the Habsburg Roman Catholic authorities. The Bohemian Roman Catholic Church was now long-term shaped by cryptoprotestantism . An anti-Catholic sentiment led to the split of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church from the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and has shaped the Czech Roman Catholic Church to this day.

    See also

    Web links

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