Education in Austrian Galicia: Technical University
Lviv (Technische Hochschule Lemberg)

The Napoleonic Wars and Britain′s blockade of the seaways forced not only France, but all of continental Europe to increase domestic production in the early 19th century. The resulting shortness of many pre-industrial goods revealed how underdeveloped many parts of the Habsburg Empire were. In response, Emperor Franz I established several universities with a focus on civil and military engineering, so-called "Polytechnischer Institute": In Prague (1806), Graz (1811), Vienna (1815 - today′s TU). They proved to be successful, and so similar institutions were modelled after these three in subsequent years - in Trieste, Pest, Brno, as well as other regional capitals of the Habsburg Empire.

In 1843, a technical "Lehranstalt" (a non-university institution of higher education) was founded in Lviv and developed rather well. In Krakow, a technical Lehranstalt existed since 1834; when Krakow was merged with Habsburg-Austrian Galicia as a result of the 1848 revolution, the central authorities in Vienna were reluctant to make a decision which of the two institutions they would develop into a university.

The following years until 1866 were dominated by a strange indifference regarding higher education in engineering subjects: Reforms kept being postponed and funding for the Technische Lehranstalten was cut. Only with the educational reforms of 1866 in the innovative spirit of the Ausgleich, all technical Lehranstalten of the Empire were standardised, modernised and re-named into "K.k. Technisches Institut".

In 1867, important academic privileges were declared for the Habsburg Empire: The freedom of teaching (Lehrfreiheit) and the freedom of study (Lernfreiheit). Technical Lehranstalten were somewhat more rigorous and under stricter control of the authorities; they were granted these rights only in 1873. In 1876/77, the "Technisches Institut" of Krakow was dissolved and the one of Lviv finally elevated to a Hochschule (university), the "Technische Hochschule".

A focus of the new university, for which representative main buildings and laboratories were built, was chemistry. In 1901, all Technische Hochschulen of the monarchy were granted the "Promotionsrecht", the right to award PhDs. After the discovery of oil fields in Galicia around 1900, the Technische Hochschule Lviv anticipated the rise of a golden age and increased its chemistry facilities in 1905 to specialise on petrology.

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Further Reading

Studentenverbindung: Fraternities and Burschenschaft

Wikipedia on the Habsburg Empire (Habsburg Monarchy)

Wikipedia on Nationalism

Sources for 19th century History (key to nationalism)