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The adjective kaiserlich-königlich (usually abbreviated to k. k.) is German for Imperial-Royal and was applied to the authorities and state institutions of the Austrian Empire until the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which established the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Thereafter, in what was now the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the abbreviation k. k. only applied to institutions of the western half of the empire (Cisleithania or Old Austria). Common institutions of both halves of the empire were described from 1867 to 1918 as k. u. k. or "Imperial and Royal". Contrary to the regulations, the Common Army continued to use the abbreviation k. k. to describe itself until 1889.

Today, the abbreviation k. k. is often replaced by the easier to pronounce k. u. k. ("k and k"), but the two terms are historically and legally distinct. The prefix k. u. k. (kaiserlich und königlich) only properly referred to the authorities and institutions of both halves of the empire. The first k. (kaiserlich = "Imperial") referred to the Emperor of Austria. In k. k., the second k. (königlich) referred, from 1867, to the title King of Bohemia, which the emperor held in personal union. In k. u. k., the second k. (königlich) referred to the title King of Hungary which was borne by the Habsburg monarchs.

The abbreviation h. k. k., which was frequently used in connexion with the central ministries, meant "high" imperial-royal (hohes kaiserlich-königliches), e. g. in h. k. k. Ministerium für Kultus und Unterricht, h. k. k. Statthalterei für Tirol und Vorarlberg,[1] h. k. k. Ministerium für Handel und Volkswirthschaft, etc.[2]

Terms used in other languages of the monarchy[edit]

German Slovak Czech Hungarian Polish Italian Slovenian
k. k. – kaiserlich-königlich  c.k. – cisársko-kráľovský  c.k. – císařsko-královský  cs. kir. – császári-királyi  C. K. – cesarsko-królewski  I.R. – Imperial Regio  c. k. – cesarsko-kraljevi 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Die Ameisen von Tirol by Vincenz Maria Gredler, Jos. Eberle'schen, Bozen, 1858, p. 54.
  2. ^ Programm des Kaiserl.-Königl. Gymnasiums zu Linz: für das Schuljahr 1859/60, Jos. Feichtinger, Linz, 1860, p. 6.