At the beginning of the 17th century, the Eggenberg family, who were originally bankers, brought forth one of the most significant and influential statesmen in the history of Styria - Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg. The Eggenberg family were provincial merchants, masters of the mint and town magistrates, but it was Hans Ulrich who was to receive the highest honours of the realm and turn his dynasty into the richest and most distinguished family in the land. Power and fame soon paled after the early end of the Eggenberg dynasty in the 18th century and Hans Ulrich slowly turned into a legendary figure.
Despite numerous attempts, there are still no absolutely conclusive answers regarding the origin of the Eggenberg family. The first traceable member of the family is Ulrich Eggenberger († 1448), who was first mentioned in a document dating back to 1432 in his position as town magistrate of Graz.
The first Prince
The Eggenberg family were provincial merchants, masters of the mint and town magistrates, but it was Hans Ulrich who received the highest honours of the realm and turned his dynasty into the richest and most distinguished family in the land.
Hans Ulrich’s only son and heir, Johann Anton I, Prince of Eggenberg, studied at the Jesuit University in Graz. After an extended Grand Tour through the whole of Europe he finally returned to Graz in 1632. During this time he supported the further conversion of the residence in Graz.
With two sons in one generation for the first time, the succession of the family seemed to be more secure than ever before. However, the brothers Johann Christian and Johann Seyfried were not very successful in dealing with the family’s fortunes.
Both heiresses, Maria Eleonora and Maria Theresia von Eggenberg were married in a ceremonial double wedding to the two Counts of Leslie in 1719. In 1754, after the death of their mother, they quickly agreed upon how to best separate the Eggenberg estate.