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Austria and the Holy Roman Empire
The territory of Austria, originally known as the Celtic kingdom of Noricum, was a long time ally of Rome. It was occupied rather than conquered by the Romans during the reign of Augustus and made the province Noricum in 16 BC. Later it was conquered by Huns, Rugii, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Bavarii, Avars (until c. 800), and Franks (in that order). Finally, after 48 years of Hungarian rule (907 to 955), the core territory of Austria was awarded to Leopold of Babenberg in 976 after the revolt of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria. Being part of the Holy Roman Empire the Babenbergs ruled and expanded Austria from the 10th century to the 13th century.
After Frederick II, Duke of Austria died in 1246 and left no successor, Rudolf I of Habsburg gave the lands to his sons marking the beginning of the line of the Habsburgs, who continued to govern Austria until the 20th century.
With the short exception of Charles VII Albert of Bavaria, Austrian Habsburgs held the position of German Emperor beginning in 1438 with Albert II of Habsburg until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 14th and 15th Austria continued to expand its territory until it reached the position of a European imperial power at the end of the 15th century.
Just two years before the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, in 1804 the Empire of Austria was founded, which was transformed in 1867 into the dual-monarchy Austria-Hungary. The empire was split into several independent states in 1918, after the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I, with most of the German-speaking parts becoming a republic. (See Treaty of Saint-Germain.) A still nowadays very important and very problematic point was the loss of the German speaking South-Tyrol to Italy after WW I. Between 1918 and 1919 it was officially known as the Republic of German Austria (Republik Deutschösterreich). After the Entente powers forbade German Austria to unite with Germany, they also forbade the name, and then it was changed to simply Republic of Austria. The democratic republic lasted until 1933 when the chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß established an autocratic regime oriented towards Italian fascism (Austrofascism).
Austria became part of Germany in 1938 through the Anschluss and remained under Nazi rule until the end of World War II. After the defeat of the Axis Powers, the Allies occupied Austria until 1955, when the country became a fully independent republic under the condition that it would remain neutral (see: Austrian State Treaty). Austria also became a member of the UN in the same year. After the collapse of communist states in Eastern Europe, Austria became increasingly involved in European affairs. In 1995 they joined the European Union, and in 1999 adopted the Euro monetary system.