1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Austria, Upper

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AUSTRIA, UPPER (Ger. Oberösterreich or Österreich ob der Enns, "Austria above the river Enns"), an archduchy and crown-land of Austria, bounded N. by Bohemia, W. by Bavaria, S. by Salzburg and Styria, and E. by Lower Austria. It has an area of 4631 sq. m. Upper Austria is divided by the Danube into two unequal parts. Its smaller northern part is a prolongation of the southern angle of the Bohemian forest and contains as culminating points the Plöcklstein (4510 ft.) and the Sternstein (3690 ft.). The southern part belongs to the region of the Eastern Alps, containing the Salzkammergut and Upper Austrian Alps, which are found principally in the district of Salzkammergut (q.v.). To the north of these mountains, stretching towards the Danube, is the Alpine foothill region, composed partly of terraces and partly of swelling undulations, of which the most important is the Hausruckwald. This is a wooded chain of mountains, with many branches, rich in brown coal and culminating in the Göblberg (2950 ft.). Upper Austria belongs to the watershed of the Danube, which flows through it from west to east, and receives here on the right the Inn with the Salzach, the Traun, the Enns with the Steyr and on its left the Great and Little Mühl rivers. The Schwarzenberg canal between the Great Mühl and the Moldau establishes a direct navigable route between the Danube and the Elbe. The climate of Upper Austria, which varies according to the altitude, is on the whole moderate; it is somewhat severe in the north, but is mild in Salzkammergut. The population of the duchy in 1900 was 809,918, which is equivalent to 174.8 inhabitants per sq. m. It has the greatest density of population of any of the Alpine provinces. The inhabitants are almost exclusively of German stock and Roman Catholics. For administrative purposes, Upper Austria is divided into two autonomous municipalities, Linz (58,778) the capital, and Steyr (17,592) and 12 districts. Other principal towns are Wels (12,187), Ischl (9646) and Gmunden (7126). The local diet, of which the bishop of Linz is a member ex officio, is composed of 50 members and the duchy sends 22 members to the Reichsrat at Vienna. The soil in the valleys and on the lower slopes of the hills is fertile, indeed 35.08% of the whole area is arable. Agriculture is well developed and relatively large quantities of the principal cereals are produced. Upper Austria has the largest proportion of meadows in all Austria, 18.54%, while 2.49% is lowland and Alpine pasturage. Of the remainder, woods occupy 34.02%, gardens 1.99% and 4.93% is unproductive. Cattle-breeding is also in a very advanced stage and together with the timber-trade forms a considerable resource of the province. The principal mineral wealth of Upper Austria is salt, of which it extracts nearly 50% of the total Austrian production. Other important products are lignite, gypsum and a variety of valuable stones and clays. There are about thirty mineral springs, the best known being the salt baths of Ischl and the iodine waters at Hall. The principal industries are the iron and metal manufactures, chiefly centred at Steyr. Next in importance are the machine, linen, cotton and paper manufactures, the milling, brewing and distilling industries and shipbuilding. The principal articles of export are salt, stone, timber, live-stock, woollen and iron wares and paper.

See[edit]

  • Edlbacher, Landeskunde von Oberösterreich (Linz, 2nd ed., 1883).
  • Vansca, op. cit. in the preceding article.