The History of the House of Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a small landlocked country in the central part of Europe that borders Switzerland to its west and Austria to its east. It is also known as the Principality of Liechtenstein and its capital Vaduz.

Liechtenstein has a very small population, is not heavily urbanized, and is a predominantly German-speaking country that does not share its border with the Federal Republic of Germany.

Liechtenstein is a monarchy-ruled country ruled by the prince regnant of Liechtenstein as the head of state. The country was named after the Liechtenstein family in 1719 and hailed from the Liechtenstein castle in lower Austria, which the family possessed from at least 1140 to the 13th century and from 1807 onwards.

The Liechtenstein family of lower Austria decided to purchase Schellenberg in 1699, followed by the county of Vaduz in 1712.

In the year 1719, Charles VI of the holy roman empire gave an announcement that Vaduz and Schellenberg were to become part of the Principality of Liechtenstein in honor of his faithful servant, Antonio Florian of Liechtenstein.

On this very day, the country became a sovereign member state of the holy roman empire. Similar to what was expected, the princes of Liechtenstein last set foot in their new principality for numerous decades. Liechtenstein is the only remaining European country that still practices strict agnatic primogeniture.

From July 25th, 1806, a confederation of Rhine was formed, and the prince of Liechtenstein was a member; he was a vassal of its hegemon-styled protector French emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte until the end of the confederation in 1813.

Liechtenstein was, however, invaded by the French during the Napoleonic wars, and after the demise of Napoleon in 1815, Liechtenstein joined a new coalition famously known as the German confederation.

In 1842, Prince Aloysius II was the first prince of Liechtenstein to visit his country. During the reign of prince John II (1858-19290, Liechtenstein was given a constitution in 1862, revised in 1921.

In the year 1868, Liechtenstein disbanded its army out of financial consideration. The end of the principality’s long-standing customs union with Austria was followed in favor of the custom treaty with Switzerland in 1923.

Since the elimination of the army, Liechtenstein has no army of their own to date and the country has always avoided conflicts with other nations.

Prince Francis I reigned between 1929-1938 and was the first prince to visit Liechtenstein regularly. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria prince Francis Joseph II became the first prince to reside in Liechtenstein permanently.

In the year 1866, Liechtenstein became independent. With the invasion of Napoleon, Liechtenstein faced significant consequences as imperial legal and political mechanisms broke down. At the same time, Francis II, the holy roman emperor, renounced the imperial throne, and the empire ended.

As a result, Liechtenstein ended up having any responsibilities to any outdated (feudal) lord beyond its borders. Until the start of world war I, the country enjoyed a thriving economic relationship with Austria.

The country also maintained neutrality during World War 1 and World War II. After the demise of Nazi German, much of Liechtenstein’s territorial land was taken by Czechoslovakia and Poland.

The country experienced rapid industrialization during the reign of Francis Joseph II, who served as the prince from 1938 until his death in 1989.

After the death of Francis Joseph II, he was succeeded by his son Hans Adam II, where during his reign, the country joined the United Nations in 1990, the European free trade association in 1991, the European economic area in 1995, and the world trade organization in 1995.

In 2004, Hans Adam’s son assumed the day-to-day royal governance responsibilities while his father remained officially the head of state.

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