Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in the southern part of Central Europe, situated at Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine states, one of which is the capital Vienna, the largest city and state by population. The country is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. It occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of 9 million people.Austria emerged from the remnants of the Eastern and Hungarian March at the end of the first millennium. Originally a margraviate of Bavaria, it later developed into a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire in 1156, and then an archduchy in 1453. As of the 16th century, Vienna began serving as the administrative imperial capital and Austria thus became the heartland of the House of Habsburg. Following the Empire's dissolution in 1806, Austria established its own empire, which became a great power and the dominant member of the German Confederation. The Austrian Empire's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 led to the end of the Confederation and paved the way for the establishment of Austria-Hungary a year later.
Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, which ultimately escalated into World War I. The Empire's defeat and subsequent collapse led to the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918 and later the First Austrian Republic in 1919. During the interwar period, anti-parliamentarian sentiments culminated in the formation of an Austrofascist dictatorship under Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934. A year before the outbreak of World War II, Austria was annexed into Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler, and it became a sub-national division. Following its liberation in 1945 and an extended period of Allied occupation, the country regained its sovereignty and declared its perpetual neutrality in 1955.
Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a popularly elected president as head of state and a chancellor as head of government and chief executive. Major urban areas include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently listed as one of the richest countries in the world by GDP per capita, one of the countries with the highest standard of living, and was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index in 2021.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and of the European Union since 1995. It plays host to the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. It also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999.