Bismarck consolidating german empire

Marriages brought several large, non-German, areas under Habsburg control including parts of modern day Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary and Croatia.It also included other parts of the Holy Roman Empire, such as the Low Countries (today's Belgium and The Netherlands), which were at the time largely considered ethnic Germans (although...the people of Belgium and The Netherlands would obvious dispute that).The family made the post of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire largely hereditary, despite being an elected office.

The major outcome of the War of Austrian Succession (on the European continent, as it was a larger war) was the survival of the Habsburg's Austrian holdings, but the loss of Silesia.

The House of Habsburg was initially based in Austria and its first attempted expansion was actually into what is today Switzerland and South Western Germany (known then as "Further Austria").

The Habsburg were denied this expansion in the Swabian Wars, although this did help spur the formation of Switzerland as a coherent and independent entity.

The Habsburgs became one of the most powerful families in Europe, if not the dominant power in Europe, by the late 1500s.

Their rule also claimed the entire New World until other powers joined them in the hunt for Empire.

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