Leopold I, also Luitpold or Liutpold, (died 994 in Würzburg) was the first Margrave of Österreich from the Babenberg dynasty.
Leopold was a count in the BavarianDanube district and first appears in documents from the 960s as a faithful follower of Emperor Otto I the Great. After the insurgence by Henry II the Wrangler of Bavaria in 976 against Emperor Otto II, he was appointed as "markgrave in the East", the core territory of modern Austria, instead of a Burkhard. His residence was probably at Pöchlarn, but maybe already Melk, where his successors resided. The territory, which originally had only coincided with the modern Wachau, was enlarged in the east at least as far as the Wienerwald.
Leopold is the first reasonably known historical figure in Austria. The milennial anniversary of his appointment as markgrave was therefor celebrated as Thousand years of Austria in 1976 - celebrations under the same title were held twenty years later at the anniversary of the famous Ostarrichi document first mentioning the Old German name of Austria.
Even though he is not mentioned in the Babenberger Chronicle written by his descendant Otto of Freising (which only starts with Leopold's grandson Adalbert) he is known as the progenitor of this dynasty, which put its stamp on Austria. Otto of Freising's claim of ancestry to the Franconian Babenbergers, who are remembered for the Babenberger insurgency of the early 10th century, has not been proven, but cannnot be completely ruled out.
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