The House of Habsburg (usually spelled Hapsburg in English) was an important royal house of Europe and is best known as supplying all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1452 and 1740, as well as rulers of Spain and the Austrian Empire. Originally from Switzerland, the dynasty first reigned in Austria, which they ruled for over six centuries, but a series of dynastic marriages brought Burgundy, Spain, Bohemia, Hungary and other territories into the inheritance. In the sixteenth century the senior Spanish and junior Austrian branches of the family separated.
As royal houses are by convention determined via the male line, the Spanish branch ended upon the death of Charles II in 1700 and was replaced by the Anjou branch of the House of Bourbon in the person of his great-nephew Philip V. The Austrian branch technically ended in 1780 with the death of Maria Theresa of Austria and was replaced by the Veaudemont branch of the House of Lorraine in the person of her son Joseph II . However, in practice, the new successor house styled itself as Habsburg-Lorraine (Habsburg-Lothringen in German).
Under the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, the Habsburg dynasty survived under the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was eventually diminished after the end of World War I.
The ruling Habsburg family of Spain and Austria joined in supporting the Catholic side of the Thirty Years' War. Also, the Austrian branch of the family had been occupied with resisting the advancement of the Ottoman Empire. After Grantville was sent to the past and aligned itself with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, the balance of power gradually began to shift against the Habsburgs. Spain subsequently joined with its former rivals England, France, and Denmark to form the League of Ostend against the newly established United States of Europe. Austria was undermined by Albrecht von Wallenstein, who aligned himself with the USE after learning that, in the OTL, he had been assassinated at the hands of the Habsburgs. He deposed Ferdinand II from the throne of Bohemia in 1633.
In 1634, the Habsburg family received a heavy blow when Ferdinand II died and his son, Ferdinand III, renounced all claims to the the title of "Holy Roman Emperor" and proclaimed himself "Emperor of Austria-Hungary", effectively ending the Holy Roman Empire. Also in 1634, Don Fernando declared himself "King in the Netherlands" and married Ferdinand III's sister Maria Anna of Austria, creating a third branch of the family. These actions caused strain between the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs. From the Spanish perspective, Ferdinand III was seen as having tacitly consented to Fernando's de facto declaration of independence. Also, Ferdinand's decision not to even attempt to be named Holy Roman Emperor was not seen as recognition that the Holy Roman Empire was defunct, but as effectively ceding the lands that Gustavus Adolphus had won.
Further strain was likely to result from the division in the Catholic Church, as Austria was cautiously supportive of Pope Urban VIII, and the Netherlands had openly declared for Urban. On the other hand, while Philip IV of Spain was, personally, highly upset with Cardinal Gaspar Borja y Velasco, he was publicly supporting Borja, and was no friend of Urban.
- Ferdinand II of Austria
- Ferdinand III of Austria
- Maria Anna of Austria
- Philip IV of Spain
- Don Fernando