Kakania - K.u.K - K.k. - K.u.

Often the expressions K.u.K., but also K.K. and K.U. can be found - what does this mean, besides that it belongs to a country that sometimes was called Kakania? These abbreviations appeared following the "reconciliation" (Ausgleich) between Austria and Hungary 1867, which separated the Austrian Empire in two parts and gave own rights to Hungary. There was the Austrian half, Cisleithania, and the Hungarian, Transleithania. However Austria and Hungary had a common army and a common secretary of state, secretary of finance and secretary of war as well as a common customs tariff.

The Austrian half were officially called "the countries represented in the imperial council" with the emperor as head of state, he was also king of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Galicia etc., and the institutions belonging to this part where "kaiserlich-königlich", imperial-royal or K.k.

The countries of the Hungarian crown, as they were officially called, had the king of Hungary as head of state, there were "Königlich-ungarisch" royal-Hungarian, or k.u. Since the emperor of Austria and the king of Hungary were the same person, Franz Joseph and later Karl were crowned both Austrian emperor and Hungarian king, all common authorities were "Kaiserlich und königlich", imperial and royal, k.u.k. The double-headed eagle symbolized this dual function.


The Tobacco monopoly

If tobacco is the issue, it is still today a state monopoly in Austria and has served all the times to replenish the treasury of the government.

The tobacco monopoly was created 1784 by Joseph II., only the state was allowed to cultivate, produce and sell tobacco. These rights were then conceded against a fee or prepayment, whereby e.g. cigarette stores were given to disabled ex-service men. Joseph II. was a pragmatic who turned a vice into something fruitful for the community. Several times in history the tobacco monopoly was a valuable assed, e.g. used to secure critical loans after the World War One.

In the 1848 Italian revolution, the population was called to stop smoking in order to damage the Austrian Government! 4.5 million lire was the Austrian income from tobacco sales in Italy alone. Less than hundred years later in 1934 the then in Austria illegal national socialists called for an identical boycott and appealed to stop smoking. Thereupon "sudden stop of smoking" was declared illegal by the government...

With the entry of Austria into the European union the tobacco monopoly loosened up. For retail there is still the need for a concession given by the monopoly administration, but the production and wholesale is open to competition. The state has secured himself his income via taxes on tobacco products...

It should be quoted the remark by Victor von Kahler that "the two largest accomplishment that tied the monarchy together was the menu in the restaurants and the tobacco monopoly."


The Imperial Dinner table

 The imperial dinner table was a complex organization with a large production capacity. The kitchen consisted of 12 hall-like areas with cooking machines, pots and large roast, at which 400 pieces of poultry could be roasted in one hour. The table-ware was sufficient to serve up to four thousand persons. The sugar bakery provided tons of candy, which were distributed at the imperial ball. The imperial wine cellar extended over three floors under the Hofburg castle, with a 67000 l concrete barrel for mixed wine for the servants, numerous oakwood barrels of 18000 HL total volume and up to 60000 bottles in the bottle cellar. A large crowd of servants cared for the kitchen, from the appointed wood carriers over cooks to the food carriers, tasters, cutters, decorators up to the servants in uniform. Each formal meal needed a large administration: invitations had to be written, seat orders, menus, music, telegrams and purchase requests.


at the occasion of the visit of the Russian Czar
August 27, 1896
Chablis Chicken cream soup
Hock Entree
Bordeaux Sirloin
Roasted Lamb saddle
Filet of partridge
Turkey escalope
Sherry or Madeira Compote
Tokay or Lacrimae Christi Sweet course
Coffee and Liqueur Ice cream

This Diner was the last official event in which empress Elisabeth participated.

The Diner of the emperor at 17 o'clock usually consisted of six courses: Soup, fish, two meats, sweet course, dessert. The waiters served slowly, the emperor ate fast and little. If he put down knife and fork at his plate, everyone had to stop, therefore the invited often stayed hungry and left to go to a Coffee house, to grab something to eat.