Download Habsburg Borderlands: a Comparative Perspective

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Late Middle Ages wikipedia , lookup

Migration Period wikipedia , lookup

Romania in the Early Middle Ages wikipedia , lookup

Paper prepared for the XIV International Economic History Congress
Helsinki, Finland, August 21-25, 2006
Session 98: Economic Relations between Empires and Borderlands
in the 19th and early 20th Centuries
Organisers: Antti Kuusterä, Yuri Petrov
Andrea Komlosy (University of Vienna):
Habsburg Borderlands: A Comparative Perspective
[email protected]
1. Expanding Empires: Colonies, Borderlands, Peripheries
What does it mean to speak of a borderland of an empire? How do borderlands
relate to the various types of territories constituting the empire at a given moment of
history? Depending upon geographical location, empires tend to be sea-based, or
land-based; respectively, overseas expansions of sea-based empires are called
colonies, while there is dispute on how to call expansions of land-based empires:
internal colonies, internal peripheries, conquered territories, new acquisitions? It is
necessary to differentiate the different ways of expansion and the functions the
incorporated lands fulfil for the older parts of the state; if the borders between the
former and the latter are marked by seas, rivers, mountains or no natural markers at
all, is of minor importance, however. In each case, territorial losses - e.g. by lost
wars, decolonisation, secession, declaration of independence etc. - lead to new
borders, hence turning new regions into borderlands.
Speaking of borderland certainly points on those territories, which are situated at the
fringe of an imperial state. But which notion of borderland is meant? Are borderlands
conceived to be
- whole lands, provinces, which - for a certain period of time - were annexed to an
- the regions of these provinces, situated within a smaller distance from the state
- Does the notion of borderland also include the heart-lands, the initial hereditary
lands, if they are bordering a neighbour country?
As a consequence of their relative position between competing neighbours, a
regional perspective will not be able to solve the problem of size and extension. On
the contrary, border regions by definition require multilateral perception from
different sides: from the dominating political and economic centres inside and
outside the state to which they belong to, from the side of their inhabitants, who
identify themselves with this region, and from the side of the direct neighbours on
the other side of the border. Borderlands are shaped by being situated at the fringe
of one state, and its political centre; at the same time they are shaped by the
transborder relations with neighbouring regions, which again influence the relations
to the politically dominating core. Transborder communication may be based on
several foundations:
- The borderland may be part of a transnational region, disposing of common
history, common economic integration, common cultural features.
Having belonged to a political unit, now located on the other side of the border,
impacts the future development of the region after joining another state. The
same applies for economic links and cultural identities. Even if the ties with the
former unit are cut, mutual interaction is not immediately stopped, and it may
survive long periods of separation.
Often border regions are characterized by permanent disputes of neighbouring
empires, to which state they belong to, causing armed conflict, changing statehood, or partitions, eventually strengthening the regional identity of the
population of being a distinct region in between.
Not every border region is the product of conquest or secession separating
regions which previously formed a political unit. Clear cut borders, which
separate states with their different political, economic and cultural legal systems,
may also cause communication: different conditions on the other side may attract
smugglers, investors, migrants, opening them access to purchasing, labour or
capital markets at different conditions than at home.
The different affiliations of a borderland with the states and societies on both sides
impact the analysis of its functions, too. Serving as a transborder region, it can fulfil
common functions; the functions which it fulfils for one side, can also contradict the
claims of the other side, hence causing competition and conflict. Huge borderland
territories, especially if they form separate administrative provinces, play a
completely different role than more narrow border zones or border towns. In general
borderlands are identified with military-geopolitical, with economic and with
demographic and socio-cultural tasks and purposes in different and changing
combinations. Each territorial acquisition at a state border has geopolitical impacts
on size, power and influence of an empire, with direct effects on the military
situation, which can be used for defensive, for expansionist purposes or as a buffer
zone to isolate conflicting neighbours and neighbouring conflicts. Economically a
borderland can serve as a periphery, delivering the core regions with raw materials,
cheap migrant labour, or favourable conditions for outsourcing production; it can
equally serve as a bridge-head for certain cross-border activities, as well out-going
as in-coming ones. It matters, if a borderland is politically dependent from a central
government and administration, or if it enjoys self-government. The success of
political interference from either side will depend upon the socio-cultural integration
of the region, the ethnic and religious composition of the population on each side.
Although borderlands always are situated at the geographical fringe of a state, they
do not necessarily represent peripheries in the world systemic sense of the term, i. e.
fulfilling functions according to the economic needs of a core, thus preventing a
development of the region in its self-interest. In many cases borderlands can be
identified with peripheralization, but there is no equation between borderland and
periphery. More so, economic, political, and cultural aspects of borderland
peripheralization do not always coincide, giving rise to complex patterns of selfreliant and dependent relations within and across the different spheres of society as
well as state borders.
Borders and borderlands evoke specific politics. Here we do not stress the
acquisition of a borderland by whatever means, which is the most obvious form of
border politics. Once the territory is incorporated, border politics will shape the
relations with the border-region as well as with the neighbour (whose border politics
have to be considered as well).
Border politics will shape the border as a zone or as a line, they will decide on
methods of fortification, on the permeability of the border for goods, capital, and
migration, they will set up criteria for the intensity and the selectivity of transborder relations and the means of controls and sanctions. Although
measurements aim at the border and will take place at the border, they affect the
bilateral relations of the neighbouring states, their international competivity; some
of them have specific regional effects on the borderlands, whether handicapping
the border regions or supplying it with special functions.
Border regions are also affected by the state of internal integration within the
empire to which they belong to. On a political and administrative level one has to
look at the amount of local and regional autonomy, the contribution of a border
region to tax collection and its share of state expenditures. On an economic level
one has to investigate about existence and functioning of internal borders,
affecting the circulation of goods, capital, and people between the different
provinces of an empire. In the case of newly associated territories specific
strategies of regional integration might be necessary in order to adjust different
levels of development or legal traditions.
We conclude: borderland politics aim at internal and on external borders, both of
them shaping the relations of a borderland with its surrounding regions, within the
country, with neighbours and with regard to broader interregional and international
2. The Habsburg Monarchy
In a long-term historical perspective, the territorial composition of the Habsburg
Monarchy shows big variations, causing permanent changes in what could be
defined "heart-lands" and "border-lands"; while former heart-lands got lost or
became bordering regions, former border-lands moved towards a central position,
geographically and politically. If we look at the beginning of the 18th century, when
Habsburg Austria included the Austrian Netherlands, Lombardy and the former
Spanish possessions in Italy, Silesia, Hungary and Transylvania, its continental
extension was to the west, the north, the south and the east. With the loss of Silesia
and the Netherlands during the 18th century Habsburg Austria was reduced to its
central European part. Further expansion as well as commercial connections were
directed eastwards and south-eastwards, i.e. Galicia and Bukovina, Venetia and
Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Netherlands and Silesia, the borderlands in
the west and north, were among the economically most developed regions of the
Habsburg Monarchy. After their separation, heart-lands approached the borders of
the Empire: Tyrol in the west, Bohemia and Moravia in the north. The new
acquisitions in the east represented a different type of borderland, conquered or
acquired not out of medieval dynastical ambitions and connections, but as a part of
imperial state-building, tending at territorial consolidation of the Empire as a modern
Another pillar of territorial consolidation was internal integration of the lands and
provinces in economic, political and administrative respects. Important steps were
the setting up of direct rule and central administration, the abolition of internal
customs and tolls, the introduction of a customs union, and the transformation of
subjects from feudal subordination to a feudal lord to state citizenship. State
territorialization provoked strong conflicts with the feudal authorities about who was
entitled to exercise political power, juridical rights, to collect revenues and taxes from
the subjects etc. The central state limited the power of regional powers by setting up
new administrative districts, which were controlled by state authorities.
The new territorial delimitations with their respective borders also served as a means
to establish central state authority in the newly acquired provinces.
In order to differentiate types of borderlands, each border province requires to be
checked along the following questionnaire:
- Date, motif and method of acquisition of province
- State(s) to which it previously belonged to
- Functions of the province for the political core
- Functions of the province for the economic core(s)
- Functions of the province in a trans-national context (external affiliations,
intermediately role, competing external centres, ...)
- State of internal integration (political, economic, cultural)
- Size and importance of the province for the empire; is the whole province
considered a borderland, or is there a more narrow border zone, or border town
with specific functions, e.g. fortress, military basis; duty-free zone, free port;
market, production for smuggling;
transit economy (part of a long-distance trade route); transnational border zone
3. Habsburg Borderlands: A Typology
In the 19th century the following types of Habsburg borderlands can be observed:
a) Borderlands vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire
The borderlands with the Ottoman Empire date back to the 16th century, when the
Ottoman Empire incorporated vast parts of Hungary (as a pashalik) and Transylvania
(as a suzerain duchy) into their sphere of influence. A military border zone (Vojna
krajina, Militärgrenze, Confin) was established all along the border with the Ottoman
Empire by the Habsburg rulers, whose claim on the Hungarian Lands resulted from a
succession treaty with the Jagellonian dynasty, who ruled Hungary until their last
king died in the Battle of Mohács, lost against the Ottomans in 1526. The borderland
was exempted from local aristocracy's rights, it was a special military province,
directly governed from the court (first in Graz, later on in Vienna). Inhabitants, most
of them orthodox settlers fleeing the occupation of their lands by the Ottomans,
served as soldiers; they were rewarded for their services with land, which they
cultivated for their families' subsistence, without being subjected to a feudal lord.
When the Ottoman Army was pushed out of Hungary and Transylvania after the
defeat of Vienna in 1683, the military borderland province, originally built up in
Croatia and Slavonia, was enlarged by a Transylvanian section, which attracted
Romanian settlers, former serfs on Hungarian estates, now hoping for social advent
as peasant-soldier. At the moment of its maximal extension the military border
province comprised 1800 km, 49.000 km2 and a population of 1,25 million. The
provincial status was abolished in 1881, when Serbia and Romania had succeeded
the Ottoman Empire as neighbouring states.
The military border province had a pure military function; agriculture served
subsistence and was subordinated to military services. After a while, the soldiers
were trained to be elite troupes, fighting not only against the Ottoman Army, but on
other battle-fields as well. This caused further neglect of the regional agriculture.
Towns were small, handicrafts and industry hardly developed, military supply was
imported into the province. The borderland province hence was economically very
backward. Nevertheless it cannot be regarded an economic periphery, because
there were no resources to be withdrawn except military ones. From a military point
of view it was a key province, delivering specialists for various battlefields, so that it
may be labelled a military centre or a military bridge-head. As a result of the specific
location at one of the most contested military fronts of Europe, it does not make
sense to apply the terms "centre" and "periphery" in their economic meaning. Once
the Vojna krajina lost its military function and became part of the Hungarian
Kingdom, strategic centrality turned into economic peripherality. The property rights
and the ethno-religious orientation of the former warrior-peasants guaranteed them a
special status within Croatia, however.
Dalmatia, former part of Venetia, became part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1797
and received the status of a separate crown-land after the end of Napoleonic rule in
1815. Although it had a long border with the Ottoman Empire, it was not incorporated
into the military border province, but remained a civil province, providing ports for the
Austrian Navy, however.
Bosnia and Herzegovina represents a special case. The Ottoman province was
occupied by Habsburg troops in 1878 and administered as a Habsburg protectorate.
Occupation took place with the consent of the Great Powers as well as of the
Ottoman High Gate, who agreed for a protectorate status at the Berlin Congress.
This compromise allowed to maintain formal Ottoman dominion, thus preventing
Russia from extending its influence on the Balkan peninsula as well as the partition
of the province among the newly arising neighbouring nation-states along ethnoreligious lines. The incorporation into the Habsburg Monarchy was only partial until
the annexation in 1908, which ended the equilibrium of power and paved the way for
a military conflict about the Balkan state borders. When Bosnia and Herzegovina
was annexed in 1908, it still remained outside of the two entities, in which the
Habsburg Empire was divided, Cisleithania and Transleithania, representing a
special colonial entity.
b) Borderlands vis-à-vis the Russian Empire
For a long time, the Austrian and the Russian Empires did not have a common
border. The Empires only became neighbours in the last quarter of the 18th century
as a result of the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Empire and the Moldavian Duchy.
The Polish Empire was partitioned in 1772, 1775 and 1795 between Prussia, Russia
and Austria. The Duchy of Moldavia, which was suzerain to the Ottoman High Gate,
was partitioned in 1775 between Russia and Austria, who gained Bessarabia and
Bukovina, while a rest of Moldavia remained under Ottoman influence. The
expansionist advances corresponded with the territorial consolidation of the
Prussian, Austrian and Russian Empires, which were directed against each other - at
the expense of independent states in between, which were transformed in border
provinces. At the same time the partition powers were interested in diminishing the
Ottoman zone of influence, carefully watching that the territorial gains did not
change the balance of power in favour of one of them.
Galicia and Bukovina first of all had a military and a geo-strategic function. Galicia
was a huge province with 78.500 km2 and 5,4 million inhabitants (1869). Bukovina
with 10.500 km2 and 457.000 inhabitants, was administered as a part of Galicia until
it got its own government in 1849. The population was predominantly agrarian, a
majority of small-holders producing for subsistence and working on the estates of a
small minority of feudal land-lords. Handicrafts and industrial production were on a
low level. Galicia was at the cross-roads of some trans-European East-West and
North-South trading routes. When Galicia became annexed in 1772, the question
soon arose if it should join the Customs Union, which was established in 1775,
comprising the hereditary lands, but not Hungary, the Tyrol, the Netherlands, and
Lombardy. Merchants trading in Galicia opposed accession, because it increased
the prices of transit goods; Austrian and Bohemian industrialists argued in favour of
the big Galician market. A compromise was found, so Galicia joined the Union in
1784, while Brody, Podgórze, and Biala were exempted as duty-free merchant
Obviously Galicia was perceived under economic premises right from the beginning.
Integrating the province into the customs union meant opening it for industrial
exports of the western provinces, while no efforts were undertaken to develop
industry or civil infrastructure in Galicia. Such measurements only took place in the
second half of the 19th century, when Galicia's richnesses were discovered to be
useful for the core provinces. In order to transport salt, coal and oil to the Western
regions, a railway line was opened in 1847. After the abolition of serfdom,
agricultural products, especially wheat, became interesting for export. With some
exceptions, e.g. brewing and distillery, there was no large scale industrial
production. Oil, which gained importance after the development of new drilling
techniques, left the region unrefined, while the big refineries were located in the
Vienna region as well as in the sea-ports of Fiume/Rijeka and Trieste. We may
therefore speak of Galicia as an internal periphery supplying the central regions with
raw materials, agricultural products, and labour, hence in a way replacing the
functions overseas colonies fulfilled for the western European Sea Powers.
The peripheral function of the Galician economy was contested by other economic
players, however. Competition between cores can be observed in the field of the oil
industry, where know how and investment was Canadian and U.S.-American rather
than Austrian. There was also a strong competition for Galician labour migrants
since the 1880s, when the concentration process in Galician agriculture did not allow
the small peasants to survive any longer without additional earnings. Instead of
going to Vienna or specialized agricultural regions within the Habsburg Monarchy,
the majority of labour migrants went to Germany, working on a seasonal basis on the
estates of the East Elbian farms, or emigrated to the United States of America.
Labour was one of the commodities, Galicia as a labour periphery delivered to core
regions; however, Austrian regions were defeated by Germany, and the United
States, which received the majority of Galician labour.
The labour market also demonstrates, how economic and cultural relations may
mingle. Social stratification in Galicia had an ethnic component, Poles (the majority
in western Galicia) rather representing the landed aristocracy, Ukrainians (in
Habsburg Austria called Ruthenians; the majority in eastern Galicia) small-holders
and landless population. Germany was interested in migrant labour, but it did not
want to increase the number of Poles working in Germany and therefore preferred
Ruthenians to Poles. When anti-polish migration laws were opposed by big industry
and agriculture in 1885, special residence regulations guaranteed, that Galician
migrants had to return to Habsburg homelands every winter.
c) Borderlands vis-à-vis Holy Roman Empire (until 1806), Deutscher Bund,
and Deutsches Reich
As long as (the central European part of) the Habsburg Monarchy belonged to the
Holy Roman Empire and the House of Habsburg held the role of the Emperor,
borders with neighbouring German states did not matter in many respects. However,
the German states were separated by customs borders until the foundation of the
German Customs Union (Deutscher Zollverein) in 1834, which Habsburg Austria did
not join. Capital, goods, and migrants had to obey a whole series of regulations in
order to move from one German state to the other.
Being part of the Holy Roman Empire did not prevent the member states from wars
and territorial disputes. Austria was especially touched by the conquest of Silesia in
1740, one of the main industrial provinces, by Prussia, this loss alerting the
Viennese authorities to initiate administrative and economic reforms. Bohemia and
Moravia, core provinces since their dynastical unification in the 16th century, now
became border provinces, without ever being considered "borderland", however.
Nevertheless Bohemian regions bordering Silesia and Saxony turned into locations
for illegal exports and imports, merchants and industrial producers on both sides
profiting from avoiding customs. Border generated traffic equally took place between
Vorarlberg and Switzerland, or between Lombardy and France.
After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the foundation of the Habsburg
Empire in 1804/06, borders with German states became more important. The
Austrian state underwent a process of territorialization – borders serving to mark the
sovereignty and political unity of the Austrian Lands. The process of an Austrian
state formation had already begun, while the Holy Roman Empire was still operating,
but it accelerated with its dissolution. The separation was achieved, when German
and Austrian state-building became exclusive and antagonistic project, resulting in
the war of 1866 and the foundation of the German nation state in 1871. The regions
on both sides of the border did not show specific imbalances in their economic
development; nevertheless economic integration between the Austrian Monarchy
and the other German states was severed, while the links of the border regions with
regions within their respective states became stronger. Labour migration again
serves as a good example: until the beginning of the 19th century, medium and long
distance labour migration to the Vienna region originated mainly from Southern
Germany; after the political separation, labour came from the Bohemian Lands, while
migration from Germany significantly diminished during the 19th century.
Until the turn of the 18th to the 19th century Habsburg Austria also held – scattered
– possessions in the western part of the Holy Roman Empire, which can be regarded
as dislocated borderlands. These territories were taken over by Napoleonic France,
or (and) they were seized by the process of territorial consolidation of the German
States after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Their loss was compensated by
Habsburg’s territorial acquisitions in eastern and south-eastern Europe, as
mentioned above.
d) Internal borders
Internal borders played an important role in the Habsburg Monarchy, which
consisted of a number of distinctive provinces (lands) with a high degree of selfgovernance, united by a common sovereign. State formation engendered
centralization, which was achieved by the administrative, fiscal and legal reforms of
the 18th century. At the same time it was refused and fought by the traditional elites,
aristocratic as well as urban ones, who were afraid to loose power on the level of
local or regional governance.
So internal borders, in spite of the ongoing administrative and legal attempts to
overcome traditional feudal borders, did not disappear. On the one hand, local and
regional manorial power was replaced by state bureaucracy which subjected each
citizen to the same laws and procedures; internal tariffs on trade were replaced by a
customs union; external tariffs were adjusted; feudal restrictions against the mobility
of their subjects gave way to a new passport legislation administered by the state.
On the other hand, new administrative territories with new borders were formed.
While the movement of goods and capital was freed from internal barriers and tolls,
on the level of civil administration the territorialization of the state required a new
spatial order attributing distinctive competences to distinctive administrative
territories with regard to residence, travelling, and migration from one territory to the
other. So the struggle between central state administration and local elites was
reflected by different types of borders, competing against each other for the control
of the subjects. Internal political-administrative borders existed between each crownland. They were completed by administrative borders on the regional and local level,
including ecclesiastical, juridical, and fiscal borders as well.
This complicated network of borders covered the whole state territory, but it did not
necessarily create borderlands. It supplied the tools to control mobility, migration,
and access to poor relief. The network of political-administrative borders has to be
put in relation with the gaps and regional imbalances which existed between
distinctive economic regions, which increased the more the market integration of the
political economy took shape.
How did the spatial administrative reforms affect the incorporation of new provinces
at the border of the Empire? Both processes corresponded to the same interest of
territorializing state power, both against internal and external competition. Internal
and external consolidation were more directly linked, when conquest and annexation
raised the question of how to integrate the newly acquired territories into the existing
political, administrative, and economic structures. Measurements of integration
differed widely, as the following examples demonstrate.
In the case of the Customs Union, initiated in 1775 between the hereditary Austrian
and Bohemian Lands, we can observe the initial absence of Hungary, the Tyrol, the
Netherlands, and Lombardy. The exclusion of Hungary was argued by the refusion
of the Hungarian nobility to introduce administrative reforms which would allow
central authorities to collect taxes, to control the recruitment of soldiers and to
establish direct state control over subjects. Moreover, this conflict may also be read
as a legacy of Hungary's former status as a borderland under Ottoman rule. Ottoman
rule did not only bring along political suppression and tax collection by an occupying
power, it also offered political privileges and freedom of religion to the local
aristocracy. When Hungary moved from an Ottoman to an Austrian borderland, the
elites were not ready to accept the political-administrative reforms undermining their
traditional power; they preferred autonomy to political and economic integration,
even if this autonomy was economically not favourable for their country. Hungary
was excluded from industrial development; it was dedicated to import Austrian
industrial commodities, which subjected to much higher tariffs than the agricultural
goods, which Hungarian producers exported to Austria. From the side of the
manorial agriculture this unequal exchange, which was conceived to compensate for
the lack of direct central state taxation, was not questioned.
In the case of the Tyrol, joining the Customs Union was rejected because of its
negative impact on Tyrol's function as an economy offering transit services. A
compromise was only found in 1825, when Tyrol and Lombardy, after years of
French occupation, became members. When Galician merchants after annexation by
Habsburg Austria asked for the same privilege, they were granted a few duty-free
trading towns, but had to join the common economic project in spite of their diverging
interests in 1784. Although the country was part of the common market, industrial
development was not on the agenda, Galicia serving as market for industrial exports
from the west of the Empire, delivering selected raw materials to the Austrian and
Bohemian Lands.
Obviously their is a link between borderland status and the form of economic
integration, which may explain the different conditions under which Austrian crownlands were joining the common market. Investigating internal borders, also requires
to take account of the economic boundaries between more central and more
peripheral regions within the Habsburg state and to relate them with politicaladministrative borders.
Another, different example to illustrate this link is the moment, when a province had
to accept central recruitment of soldiers. While Galicia did so right after its
annexation, Tyrol and Hungary did not join the crown lands forming a common area
of conscription. As a consequence their citizens had to accept strict passport
regulations when they wanted to enter those parts of the Empire which formed the
"conscription provinces" (Konskribierte Länder).
4. Conclusions and hypotheses for further research
Borderland is too general a term to define commonalities between regions and lands
at the fringes of the Habsburg Empire. Borderlands with the west and north fulfilled
different functions than borderlands with eastern and south-eastern Europe. In both
cases the development of the borderland has to be related with the internal spatial
configuration, both political and economic, which links internal with external borders.
East and south-eastern borderlands, which were acquired in the process of state
territorialization in the 18th and 19th centuries, represent a type of borderland, which
requires special attention. A structural comparison stressing border as a common
feature does not take account of the very different contexts and functions of western
and eastern borderlands.The comparative approach with other types of Habsburg
borderlands may serve to identify what is special about the acquisitions in eastern
and south-eastern Europe, however.
The countries and regions, which were subjected to the Habsburg eastwards
expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries, have distinctive histories and identities,
which were shaped when they formed part of the Polish-Lithuanian, the Russian and
the Ottoman Empire, to which they belonged before conquest or annexation.
Agricultural systems, political constitutions and governance practices showed big
differences, which survived and persisted integration into Habsburg's administrative,
political and economic structures. Also cultural identities differed significantly: While
the Habsburg "heart-lands" were catholic countries, the rise of protestantism being
suppressed by a radical counter-reformation, which at the same time served to
establish central power over regional ambitions for self-administration, the newly
acquired provinces were religiously mixed. There were protestants in Hungary,
which were out of the reach of re-catholisation because of Ottoman rule; there were
Polish catholics in Galicia; there were jews, who lived all over eastern and southeastern Europe because of higher religious tolerance, which simultaneously was
linked to the economic functions the Jewish elites fulfilled in trade and finance. The
majority of the population were christian orthodox, accepting their respective church
authorities in Constantinople or Russia, or - in the course of the 19th century - in
new nation states. Along with Habsburg annexation, there were constant efforts to
integrate orthodox christians into the hierarchy of the catholic church, however,
which led to the so called "unification", local orthodox churches, who followed
orthodox rites while accepting the Roman catholic patriarch as their pope. Religious
diversity mingled with ethnic mix, producing specific ethno-religious hybrids.
Among the broad range of ethnic groups, Germans only represented a minority.
They had moved into the region by various waves of settlements and - after the
period of military colonisation by the German Order (Deutscher Orden) was over peacefully coexisted, although ethnic difference very often corresponded with a
social and economic hierarchy in favour of Germans. Habsburg expansion into the
region attracted new German speaking elites and promoted the social advent of local
Germans, without realizing the far reaching projects of germanizing administration
and education, however.
Having formed a political unity with a neighbouring region, which now belongs to a
neighbouring state, or belonging to a group which is living on both sides of the
border in cultural or religious regards, may represent a chance and a burden. It is a
burden, if it engenders special measurements of assimilation pressure or of control,
destroying the identity of the people. It may turn into a chance, if the multiple
identities are used for bridge-building, turning border areas into zones of contacts in
economic or cultural respects.
The different historical context of acquisition of the eastern and south-eastern
European provinces by the House of Habsburg requires a specification, which notion
of borderland applies:
In the case of the regions bordering the Ottoman Empire, borderland is a very
flexible category, changing its geographical position with the changing
extensions of the Empires. In a narrow sense of the word, borderland in the 16th
and 17th can be used for the small zone of Habsburg Hungary, especially those
regions, which became a special administrative unit, the "Military border
province". As soon as Habsburg Austria took over the rest of Hungary from the
Ottomans, one might include all Hungary into a vast definition of "borderland";
this is not the way, how the term was conceived by contemporaries, however.
Hungary always enjoyed a special status within the Empire, but it was not
considered borderland. The idea of borderland was restricted to the "Military
border province", which at the same time was enlarged and moved eastwards
along with the military defeat of the Ottoman Army, including territories in Banat
and Transylvania since the 18th century.
When Galicia and Bukovina were incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy, the
concept of a military border province was not applied, neither vis-à-vis the
Ottoman Empire nor the Russian or the Prussian Empires, which neighboured
Galicia. At the time of conquest these provinces were regarded as transitional
acquisitions, serving as buffer zone rather than border province; when they had
become an integral part of the Empire, the perception changed and they were
regarded border provinces - regardless of the big size of the province and the
distance of most of its regions to the state border.
In the case of Dalmatia, province and borderland were identical, because the
country was a narrow costal province bordering the Ottoman Empire, respectively
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its special military function was based on the long sea
coast, where the Austrian Navy was anchored.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was the last province shifting from Ottoman to
Habsburg domination, on the one hand may be regarded as a borderland. On the
other hand it was officially not incorporated into the Habsburg state, remaining
part of the Ottoman Empire, which withdrew from all administrative functions,
however. As a protectorate, Bosnia and Herzegovina represented a borderland
region outside of the Habsburg Empire's territory, thus representing a veritable
colony, although directly bordering the motherland.
All acquisitions were occupied because of military and geo-strategic motifs. After a
period of time, other functions prevailed - according to the economic potential (and
the power of its provincial elite) of a province. The "Military border province" can be
regarded as an exception: it primarily fulfilled military functions until its dissolution in
1881; then it became a peripheral border region of the respective Lands of the
Hungarian Crown (Croatia-Slavonia, Hungary, Transylvania), backward, but without
any attraction for economic exploitation. Quasi-colonial economic extraction did take
place in Croatia-Slavonia, Hungary, and Transylvania, which can be regarded
internal peripheries or colonies, which were not conceived borderlands, however.
Their function as internal colonies specializing on exports of agricultural products,
raw materials and migrant labour, was comparable to Galicia and Bukovina, which
conversely were considered borderlands. It may thus make more sense to ask for
the degree of peripheralization of a region and the functions which it fulfils in the
political economy of the Empire, than to reason about its borderland status. All
eastern and south-eastern provinces were supplying the developed regions in the
western and central parts of the Empire with products, gained on the grounds of their
specialization on natural resources and cheap labour. Transferring them to the
industrialized regions created surplus values which are characteristic for the
economic relationship between motherland and colony. This economic function was
inseparably interconnected with the geo-strategic position of these provinces, which
renders a separation of military and economic provinces difficult. A net separation
was only possible for the Vojna krajina, but not for the eastern and south-eastern
provinces in general.
For all these eastern provinces, no economic policies were conceived aiming at a
development comparable to the western provinces. We may therefore speak of
internal colonialism, conceding that the colonial relationship differed from those
Empires, where motherland and colonies were geographically separated (mostly by
seas) and their inhabitants enjoyed different civil rights. In the Habsburg Empire
incorporation was linked with equal civil rights (except Bosnia & Herzegovina), which
did not prevent the provinces and their citizens from economic peripheralization.
Justification and discourse vis-à-vis the peripheral provinces were similar to the
colonial discourse, pointing at lower standards of civilization, inseparably associated
with ethnic and religious difference. The ethnographic and anthropological
disciplines, which came up in the course of the 19th century, openly illustrate the
racist approach to the Empire’s internal peripheries, which therefore rather deserve
the term "internal colonies".
Selected Literature:
Becker Joachim/Odman Asli, Von den inneren zu äußeren Grenzen. Die Auflösung von
Habsburgermonarchie und Osmanischem Reich im Vergleich, in: Becker Joachim/Komlosy Andrea
(Hg.), Grenzen weltweit. Zonen, Linien, Mauern im historischen Vergleich (Wien 2004), 75-100.
Baumgart Peter, Schlesien als eigenständige Provinz im altpreußischen Staat (1740-1806), in:
Conrads Norbert (Hg.), Schlesien. Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas (Berlin 1994).
Adolf Beer, Die Zollpolitik und die Schaffung eines einheitlichen Zollgebietes unter Maria Theresia, in:
Mittheilungen des Instituts für oesterreichische Geschichtsforschung Bd. XIV (Innsbruck 1893), 237326.
Berend Ivan/Ranki György, Underdevelopment in Europe in the Context of East-West-Relations in
the 19th Century. Budapest 1980 (= Studia Historica 158).
Berend, Iván/Ránki, György, The European Periphery and Industrialization 1780 – 1914
Bidermann Hermann Ignaz, Die Bukowina unter österreichischer Verwaltung 1775 - 1875 (Lemberg
Caro Leopold, Auswanderung und Auswanderungspolitik in Österreich. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot
1909 (Schriften des Vereins für Socialpolitik 131).
Doppler Elisabeth, Die sozio-ökonomischen Verhältnisse in Galizien in der zweiten Hälfte des 19.
Jahrhunderts. Wien 1991.
Ernst G. (Hg.), Die österreichische Militärgrenze (Regensburg 1982).
Feichtiger Johannes/Prutsch Ursula/Csáky Moritz (Hg.), Habsburg postcolonial. Machtstrukturen und
kollektives Gedächtnis. Innsbruck 2003.
Franaszek Piotr, Die Voraussetzungen für die Entwicklung des Erdölbergbaus in Galizien. In: Buszko,
Josef / Leitsch, Walter (Hg.): Österreich – Polen. 1000 Jahre Beziehungen. Krakau: Jagellonische
Univ. 1996 (Studia Austro-Polonica 5), 195-204.
Geschichte der Eisenbahn der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie, Bd.1, hg. H. Strack
(Wien/Teschen/Leipzig 1898).
Die Geschichte der Erdölindustrie in Österreich, Hg. ÖMV-AG u.a. (Wien o. J.).
Geselle Andrea, Bewegung und ihre Kontrolle in Lombardo-Venetien, in: Waltraud Heindl/Edith
Saurer (Hg.), Grenze und Staat. Paßwesen, Staatsbürgerschaft, Heimatrecht und
Fremdengesetzgebung in der österreichischen Monarchie (1750-1867) (Wien-Köln-Weimar 2000),
Göllner Carl, Die Siebenbürgische Militärgrenze. Ein Beitrag zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
1762-1851 (München 1974).
Good David F.,The Economic Rise of the Habsburg Empire, 1750-1914. Berkeley 1984.
Horst Glassl, Das österreichische Einrichtungswerk in Galizien (1772-1790) (= Veröffentlichungen des
Osteuropa-Institutes, Wiesbaden 1975).
Gross Nachum Th., Die Stellung der Habsburgermonarchie in der Weltwirtschaft, in: Brusatti Alois
(Hg.), Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848-1918, Bd. 1 (Wien 1973) 1-28.
Hárs Endre/Müller-Funk Wolfgang/Reber Ursula/Ruthner Clemens (Hg.), Zentren, Peripherien und
kollektive Identititäten in Österreich-Ungarn. Tübingen-Basel 2006.
Heindl Waltraud / Saurer Edith (Hg.), Grenze und Staat. Paßwesen, Staatsbürgerschaft, Heimatrecht
und Fremdengesetzgebung in der österreichischen Monarchie (1750-1867) (Wien – Köln - Weimar
Jochen Hauser, Zur wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung der österreichischen Karpatenländer Galizien und
Bukowina 1848-1918. Wien 1997.
Hofbauer Hannes / Roman Viorel, Bukowina, Bessarabien, Moldawien. Vergessenes Land zwischen
Westeuropa, Rußland und der Türkei (Wien 1997).
Kappeler Andreas, Der schwierige Weg zur Nation. Beiträge zur neueren Geschichte der Ukraine. Wien 2003.
Karaman Igor, Die südslawischen Länder der Habsburger Monarchie, in: Handbuch der europäischen
Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, hg. Fischer Wolfram u.a., Bd. 4 (Stuttgart 1993) 1027 – 1047
Kaser Karl, Freier Bauer und Soldat. Die Militarisierung der agrarischen Gesellschaft in der kroatischslawonischen Militärgrenze (1535-1881) (= Zur Kunde Südosteuropas II/15, Graz 1986).
Kiraly B./Rothenberg, War and Society in East Central Europe during the 18 and 19 th Century, Vol.
1. New York 1979.
Klingenstein Grete (Hg.), Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen den österreichischen Niederlanden und
den österreichischen Erbländern im 18. Jahrhundert (Graz 1991).
Knittler Herbert, Die Donaumonarchie 1648-1848, in: Handbuch der europäischen Wirtschafts- und
Sozialgeschichte, hg. Fischer Wolfram u.a., Bd. 4 (Stuttgart 1993), 880-915.
Koch Klaus, Österreich und der Deutsche Zollverein (1848-1871), in: Die Habsburgermonarchie 18481918, Bd. 6/1: Die Habsburgermonarchie im System der internationalen Beziehungen (Wien 1989),
Komlosy Andrea/Weitensfelder Hubert, Regionen vergleichen. Am Beispiel Vorarlbergs und des
Oberen Waldviertels im 18. und 19. Jh, in: Geschichte und Region 6 (1997), 197-240.
Komlosy Andrea, Grenze und ungleiche regionale Entwicklung. Binnenmarkt und Migration in der
Habsburgermonarchie. Wien: Promedia 2003.
Komlosy Andrea, Innere Peripherien als Ersatz für Kolonien? Zentrenbildung und Peripherisierung in
der Habsburgermonarchie, in: Hárs Endre/Müller-Funk Wolfgang/Reber Ursula/Ruthner Clemens
(Hg.), Zentren, Peripherien und kollektive Identititäten in Österreich-Ungarn. Tübingen-Basel 2006,
Krajasich Peter, Die Militärgrenze in Kroatien mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der sozialen und
wirtschaftlichen Verhältnisse in den Jahren 1754 bis 1807, in: Schriftenreihe des
Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums in Wien (Militärwiss. Institut), Bd.6. Wien 1973.
Mack Karlheinz (Hg.), Galizien um die Jahrhundertwende. Politische, soziale und kulturelle Verbindungen mit
Österreich. Wien – München 1990.
Madurowicz-Urbanska Helga, Die Industrie Galiziens im Rahmen der wirtschaftlichen Struktur der
Habsburgermonarchie, in: Studia Austropolonica. Krakau 1978, 157-173.
Mark Rudolf A.: Galizien unter österreichischer Herrschaft. Verwaltung – Kirche - Bevölkerung.
Marburg 1994.
Mitter A., Die ukrainische Erwerbsmigration nach Preussen 1900-1914, in: Jahrbuch für Geschichte,
Bd. 34 (1986).
Mosser Alois, Das Habsburgerreich als Wirtschaftsraum unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der
östlichen Karpatengebiete, in: Slawinski Ilona/Strelka Joseph P. (Hg.), Die Bukowina in
Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Bern u.a. 1995), 53-72.
Müller Funk Wolfgang / Plener Peter / Ruthner Clemens (Hg.), Kakanien revisited. Das Eigene und
das Fremde (in) der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie. Tübingen-Basel 2002.
Nolte Hans-Heinrich (Hg.), Internal Peripheries in European History. Göttingen - Zürich1991.
Nolte Hans-Heinrich (Hg.), Europäische Innere Peripherien im 20. Jahrhundert (= Historische
Mitteilungen im Auftrage der Ranke-Gesellschaft, Beihefte Bd. 23). Franz Steiner Stuttgart 1997.
Nolte Hans-Heinrich (Hg.), Innere Peripherien in Ost und West (= Historische Mitteilungen der RankeGesellschaft, Beihefte). Franz Steiner Stuttgart 2001.
Nouzille Jean, Histoire de Frontières: l’Autriche et l’Empire Ottoman. Paris 1991.
Olsson Lars, ”Labor Migration as a Prelude to World War I”, in: International Migration Review vol.
30/1996, 875-900.
Pacholkiv Svjatoslav, Das Werden einer Grenze, in: Waltraud Heindl/Edith Saurer (Hg.), Grenze und
Staat. Paßwesen, Staatsbürgerschaft, Heimatrecht und Fremdengesetzgebung in der
österreichischen Monarchie (1750-1867) (Wien-Köln-Weimar 2000), 519-620.
Paulinyi Akos, Ungarn 1700 – 1850, in: Handbuch der europäischen Wirtschafts- und
Sozialgeschichte, hg. Fischer Wolfram u.a., Bd. 4 (Stuttgart 1993) 916-947.
Rad Christof, Colonisationsplan für Ungarn, Siebenbürgen, Slavonien, Galizien und Bukowina. Wien
Rosdolksky Roman, Untertan und Staat in Galizien. Die Reformen unter Maria Theresia und Joseph
II., Hg. Ralph Melville (= Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz,
Abteilung Universalgeschichte 34, Mainz 1992).
Saurer Edith, Straße, Schmuggel, Lottospiel. Materielle Kultur und Staat in Niederösterreich, Böhmen
und Lombardo-Venetien im frühen 19. Jahrhundert (Göttingen 1989).
Stolz Otto, Geschichte des Zollwesens, Verkehrs und Handels in Tirol und Vorarlberg. Von den
Anfängen bis ins 20. Jahrhundert, in: Schlern-Schriften, Bd. 108 (Innsbruck 1953).
Roman Viorel/Hofbauer Hannes, Transsilvanien – Siebenbürgen. Begegnung der Völker am
Kreuzweg der Reiche (Wien 1996).
Weigl Andreas, Demographischer Wandel und Modernisierung in Wien (= Kommentare zum
Historischen Atlas der Stadt Wien Bd. 5, Wien 2000).