Interior of House of Esterházy, Hungary



The House of Esterházy is a Hungarian noble family beginning in the Middle Ages. Since the 17th century they were among the great landowner magnates of the Kingdom of Hungary, during the time it was part of the Habsburg Empire and later Austria-Hungary.

The Esterházys arose among the minor nobility of the northern part of the Kingdom of Hungary (today's southwest Slovakia). This is reflected in the full name of the family, Esterházy of Galantha, Galanta being a small town east of Bratislava, now capital of Slovakia.

The success of the family arose from the steady accumulation of land, and loyalty both to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Habsburg Emperor. The latter factor was perhaps the most important. A consistent theme of Hungarian history was an ardent and sometimes violent wish to become free of Austrian rule, a wish that was finally fulfilled at the end of the First World War. The Esterházy princes were consistently loyal to the Habsburg monarchy, and on several occasions rendered vital services to it in times of crisis. These included the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, and the outright occupation of Vienna by Napoleon in 1809.


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