Cisleithania (German: Cisleithanien, also Zisleithanien, Hungarian: Ciszlajtánia, Czech: Předlitavsko, Polish: Przedlitawia, Croatian: Cislajtanija, Slovene: Cislajtanija, Ukrainian: Цислейтанія, transliterated: Tsysleitàniia) was a common yet unofficial denotation of the northern and western part of Austria-Hungary, the Dual Monarchy created in the Compromise of 1867—as distinguished from Transleithania, i.e. the Hungarian Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen east of ("beyond") the Leitha River.
The Cisleithanian capital was Vienna, the residence of the Austrian emperor. The territory had a population of 28,571,900 in 1910. It reached from Vorarlberg in the west to the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and the Duchy of Bukovina (today part of Poland, Ukraine and Romania) in the east, as well as from the Kingdom of Bohemia in the north to the Kingdom of Dalmatia (today part of Croatia) in the south. It comprised the current States of Austria (except for Burgenland), as well as most of the territories of the Czech Republic and Slovenia (except for Prekmurje), and parts of Italy (Trieste, Gorizia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol), Croatia (Istria, Dalmatia) and Montenegro (Kotor Bay).
The Latin name Cisleithania derives from the Leitha river, a tributary of the Danube forming the historical boundary between the Archduchy of Austria and the Hungarian Kingdom in the area southeast of Vienna (on the way to Budapest), much of its territory lay west (or on "this" side, from a Viennese perspective) of it.
After the constitutional changes of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Cisleithanian crown lands (Kronländer) continued to constitute the Austrian Empire, but the latter term was rarely used, to avoid confusion with the era before 1867, when the Kingdom of Hungary had been a constituent part of that empire. The somewhat cumbersome name was Die im Reichsrat vertretenen Königreiche und Länder ("The Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council"). The phrase was used by politicians and bureaucrats, but it had no official status until 1915; the press and general public seldom used it, and did so with a derogatory connotation. In general the lands were just called Austria, though the term "Austrian lands" (Österreichische Länder) originally did not only apply to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (i.e. Bohemia proper, the Margraviate of Moravia and Duchy of Silesia) nor the territories annexed in the 18th century Partitions of Poland (Galicia) or former Venetian Dalmatia.
From 1867, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Kingdom of Slavonia and the Principality of Transylvania were no longer "Austrian" crown lands. Rather, they constituted an autonomous state, officially called the "Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of St Stephen" (Hungarian: Szent István Koronájának Országai or A Magyar Szent Korona Országai, German: Länder der Heiligen Ungarischen Stephanskrone) and commonly known as Transleithania or just Hungary. The Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina occupied in 1878 formed a separate part. Both the "Austrian" and "Hungarian" lands of the Dual Monarchy comprised large predominantly Slavic settled territories in the north (Czechs, Slovaks, Poles and Ukrainians) as well as in the south (Slovenes and Croats).
Cisleithania consisted of 15 crown lands which had representatives in the Imperial Council (Reichsrat), the Cisleithanian parliament in Vienna. The crown lands centered around the Archduchy of Austria (Erzherzogtum Österreich) were not states, but provinces in the modern sense. However, they were areas with unique historic political and legal characteristics and were therefore more than mere administrative districts. They have been conceived of as "historical-political entities".
Each crown land had a regional assembly, the Landtag, which enacted laws (Landesgesetze) on matters of regional and mostly minor importance. Until 1848, the Landtage had been traditional diets (assemblies of the estates of the realm). They were disbanded after the Revolutions of 1848 and reformed after 1860. Some members held their position as ex officio members (e.g., bishops), while others were elected. There was no universal and equal suffrage, but a mixture of privilege and limited franchise. The executive committee of a Landtag was called Landesausschuss and headed by a Landeshauptmann, being president of the Landtag as well.
From 1868 onwards Emperor Franz Joseph himself (in his function as monarch of a crown land, being king, archduke, grandduke, duke or count) and his Imperial–Royal (k.k.) government headed by the Minister-President of Austria were represented at the capital cities of the crown lands—except for Vorarlberg which was administered with Tyrol—by a stadtholder (Statthalter), in few crown lands called Landespräsident, who acted as chief executive.
- Kingdom of Bohemia (Land of the Bohemian Crown)
- Kingdom of Dalmatia
- Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
- Grand Duchy of Cracow (Subdivision of Galicia and Lodomeria)
- Duchy of Bukovina
- Duchy of Carinthia
- Duchy of Carniola
- Duchy of Salzburg
- Duchy of Silesia (Land of the Bohemian Crown)
- Duchy of Styria
- Margraviate of Istria (Subdivision of Austrian Littoral)
- Margraviate of Moravia (Land of the Bohemian Crown)
- Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca (Subdivision of Austrian Littoral)
- Princely County of Tyrol
- Princely County of Vorarlberg
- Free City of Trieste (Subdivision of Austrian Littoral)
According to the "December Constititution", a redraft of the emperor's 1861 February Patent, the Austrian government was generally responsible in all affairs concerning the Cisleithanian lands, except for the common Austro-Hungarian Army, the Austro-Hungarian Navy and the Foreign Ministry, these k.u.k. matters remained reserved for the Imperial and Royal Ministers' Council for Common Affairs of Austria-Hungary.
The Austrian Reichsrat, a bicameral legislature implemented in 1861, became the Cisleithanian parliament. Originally consisting of delegates of the Landtage, in 1873 direct election of the House of Deputies (Abgeordnetenhaus) was introduced with a four-class franchise suffrage for male landowners and bourgeois. Equal, direct, secret and universal suffrage—for men—was not introduced until a 1907 electoral reform. In this Lower House (with 353 members in 1873 and 516 in 1907), at first German-speaking deputies dominated, but with the extension of the suffrage the Slavs gained a majority. An ethnic nationalist struggle between German-speaking and Slavic deputies, especially in the context of the Czech National Revival, was played out. Leaders of the movement like František Palacký advocated the emancipation of the Slavic population within the Monarchy (Austroslavism), while politicians of the Young Czech Party principally denied the right of the Reichsrat to put any decisions relevant for the "Czech lands", and used means of filibustering as well as absence to torpedo its work. They were antagonized by radical German nationalists led by Georg von Schönerer, demanding the dissolution of the Monarchy and the unification of the "German Austrian" lands with the German Empire.
Since 1893, no k.k. government could rely on a parliamentary majority. Nevertheless, Polish members of parliament and politicians like Count Kasimir Felix Badeni achieved some success involving Galician Poles by special regulations for this "developing country"; thence the Polenklub played a constructive role most of the time. Politics were frequently paralysed because of the tensions between different nationalities. When Czech obstruction at the Reichsrat prevented the parliament from working, the emperor went on to rule autocratically through imperial decrees (Kaiserliche Verordnungen) submitted by his government. The Reichsrat was prorogued in March 1914 at the behest of Minister-President Count Karl von Stürgkh, it did not meet during the July Crisis and was not reconvened until May 1917, after the accession of Emperor Karl in 1916.
For representation in matters relevant to the whole real union of Austria-Hungary (foreign affairs, defence, and the financing thereof) the Reichsrat appointed delegations of 60 members to discuss these matters parallel to Hungarian delegations of the same size and to come, in separate votes, to the same conclusion on the recommendation of the responsible common ministry. In Cisleithania, the 60 delegates consisted of 40 elected members of the House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus) and 20 members of the Upper House (Herrenhaus). The delegations convened simultaneously, both either in Vienna or in Budapest, though spatially divided. In case of not getting the same decision in three attempts, the law permitted the summoning of a common session of both delegations and the eventual counting of the votes in total, but the Hungarians, who averted any Imperial "roof" over their part of the dual monarchy, as well as the common ministers, carefully avoided reaching this situation.
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The largest group within Cisleithania were Austrian Germans (including Yiddish-speaking Jews), who made up around a third of the population. German-speakers and Czechs made up a majority of the population.
|Ethnicity||% of total population|
|Source: Allgemeines Verzeichnis der Ortsgemeinden und Ortschaften Österreichs nach den Ergebnissen der Volkszählung vom 31. Dezember 1910 (ed. by K.K. Statistische Zentralkommission, Vienna, 1915) (the latest Austrian gazetteer, register of political communities, giving the results of the 1910 census)|
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