Austria was dominated by the House of Habsburg and House of Habsburg-Lorraine from 1273 to 1918. In the 16th century, the Habsburgs would become the largest Western European Empire since Rome, but there was a political division between the Spanish and Austrian branches. This division became a physical reality by the middle of the 16th century. The capital of the Holy Roman Empire became Vienna, technically separating the Spanish sect of the Habsburgs from the Austrian sect.
In 1808, when Emperor Francis II of Austria dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, Austria became the Austrian Empire, and was also part of the German Confederation until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. In 1867, Austria formed a dual monarchy with Hungary: the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918). Nationalist strife increased during the decades until 1914. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Serb nationalist group, was a key trigger of the First World War. When this empire collapsed after the end of World War I in 1918, Austria was reduced to its’ current area.
The Order of the Golden Fleece is considered one of the most prestigious orders in Europe.