Austria covers an area that had Early Paleolithic settlements and an Iron Age culture by 1000 BCE. Illyrians inhabited it, then the Celts invaded ca. 400 BCE, and the Romans invaded ca. 200 BCE. Germanic tribes arrived ca. 180 CE, and Bavarians and Avars settled here from the 6th century. The area was the Eastern Mark of Charlemagne. Hapsburg rule began in 1278 and lasted until 1918, during which time it was part of the large Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War I Austria was reduced to the German-speaking areas of the former empire. Nazi Germany annexed it in 1938, and from 1945 to 1955 it was occupied by the Allies. Since then it has become a member of the United Nations and, in 1995, of the European Union. The official language is German. Its position at the middle of Europe makes it a center of commerce, transportation, and culture.

Quick Facts on Austria

Go Historic ID
8,884,864 (#97 in world) (2021 est.)
German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in southern Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Austrian 80.8%, German 2.6%, Bosnian and Herzegovinian 1.9%, Turkish 1.8%, Serbian 1.6%, Romanian 1.3%, other 10% (2018 est.) note: data represent population by country of birth
Catholic 57%, Eastern Orthodox 8.7%, Muslim 7.9%, Evangelical Christian 3.3%, other/none/unspecified 23.1% (2018 est.) note: data on Muslim is a 2016 estimate; data on other/none/unspecified are from 2012-2018 estimates (2018 est.)