The Holy Roman Empire in Habsburg Europe c. 1600

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Map Code: Ax01434

By 1600, the once great Holy Roman Empire had diminished into a medley of separate Germanic states presided over by many secular and ecclesiastical princes, some of whom were Lutheran reformists. Although allegiance was paid to the Catholic Habsburg emperor, heading a powerful dynasty that had occupied the Holy Roman throne since 1438, these states were mostly independent. By 1600, the dynastic capital was Vienna and, from 1415–1742, all Holy Roman Emperors came from Austria, although the House of Habsburg extended as far as Spain. The appellation ‘Habsburg’ is taken from Habsburg Castle, a fortress in Switzerland. Otto II, one of the founding members of the Habsburg family, took the fortress name as his own and declared himself ‘Count of Habsburg’. Enemies of the Holy Roman Empire were France and the Ottoman Empire.

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