Under the Habsburgs

600 years under the Habsburgs. Photo: K. Kunaver /STB

In the 14th century, most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs. Their powerful competitors were the counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area, which in 1436 acquired the title of state counts. This large dynasty, important at a European political level, which had its seat on Slovenian territory, died off in 1456, and its numerous large estates became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up to the beginning of the 20th century. Intensive German colonisation between the 11th and the 15th centuries narrowed Slovenian lands to an area only a little bigger than the present-day Slovenian ethnic territory.

At the end of the Middle Ages, in the 15th and the 16th centuries, life in this area was marked by Turkish incursions. Dissatisfaction with the ineffective feudal defences against the Turks and the introduction of new taxes, particularly tribute, as well as bonded labour, brought about peasant revolts. The biggest revolt in 1515 took place across nearly the whole Slovenian territory. From 1572 to 1573, Slovenian and Croatian peasants organised a united revolt. Uprisings, which met with bloody defeats, continued right up until the first half of the 18th century.