Austrian Legacy & Habsburg Heritage in Galicia:
Nationalism at Universities, 18th & 19th Century

The era in which Galicia was ruled by Habsburg Emperors from Vienna (1772 to 1918) was a period of rapid social, technological and intellectual change. It begins at the age of liberal enlightenment and the roots of nationalism in the Romantic ideas of a communal liberty and leads to a period of militant nationalism with racial undertones. Universities are institutions where innovation is bred and elites are created - new ideas, thoughts and developments almost always leave marks on the level of tertiary education. This is particularly true for nationalism, as it is the universities that reflect upon culture and history of nations.

This article on the history of academia in Habsburg-Austrian Galicia should review Austrian heritage in Central and Eastern Europe with a special emphasis on nationalism on the level of universities. The University of Krakow has been the intellectual centre for the Poles ever since 1400 - in the late 18th century (when much of today′s Poland fell under Austrian-Habsburg rule), this status gained a new dimension, as the university now became a key to Polish national identity.

Unsurprisingly, this university played a crucial role in the Polish revolts against Habsburg-Austrian rule in 1846, which led to the incorporation of the city state Krakow into Austrian Galicia. There, the city of Lviv was home to the other Galician academic institutions. The two main fault lines in Galicia ran between Austrian colonists and their subjects on one hand; and the between these subjects (especially between Poles and Ruthenians) on the other.

This article is sub-divided into four separate sections: In the general history of Galicia between 1772 and 1914, I included aspects of "non-academic" nationalism as far as society, politics or major events such as revolts were concerned. It should provide the frame for more detailed aspects to follow. The next section gives an overview on the three universities of Habsburg-Austrian Galicia and the history of each of these institutions; as well as an overview on some other educational facilities of significance. Finally, I have investigated ethnic rivalry and nationalism specifically at the level of the described universities. This section concludes with a list of student associations that pursued national concepts in Lviv and Krakow.

Article Overview

Galicia in the 18th century: Galicia turns Austrian
First Division of Poland, 1772: Galicia turns Austrian (or Habsburg)
Austrian Colonisation of Habsburg-Austrian Galicia: 1773 to 1846
Galicia and the reign of Franz Joseph I of Austria: 1848 to 1914
Nationalism in Galicia and Imperial Politics: 1848 to 1914
Education in Austrian Galicia: Secondary & Tertiary Education

Note also the supplementary articles on Studentenverbindungen (Burschenschaft), the traditional Austrian fraternities. It includes a brief overview on the history of European universities and how they traditionally divided the student body according to national background; how this created the substrate for the development of "Studentenverbindungen", fraternities which after the Napoleonic Wars became the powerhouse for German nationalism in Austria and elsewhere; and how in turn their traditions influenced student culture in all of Central Europe.

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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)