Habsburg (or, less correctly, Hapsburg) was the name of one of the ruling houses of Europe. The name is derived from the Swiss Habichtburg (Hawk Castle).
The first rulers came from Burgundy, the duchy that took up most of the former Frankish kingdom of Lotharingia. From Burgundy, the family extended its influence and holdings from Spain to the eastern reaches of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly today's Austria. Within only two or three generations, the Habsburgs had managed to secure a grasp on the imperial throne that would last for generations.
By the turn of the 19th century, Habsburg power had waned significantly. In western Europe, their role had become nominal at best; in the East, however, the Habsburgs maintained their hold. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France, the Habsburgs retreated behind the title of Austro-Hungarian Emperors.
Holy Roman Emperors of the House of Habsburg