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In the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Navy

The Habsburgs, having gained the Trieste territory and access to the sea as early as 1382, started to develop their Navy intensively only after 1815 when already controlling the coastline between Venice and Montenegro, particularly from the second half of the 19th century onwards. Owing to the Venetian uprising in 1848 with a tendency to secede, the main military naval base was gradually transferred initially to Trieste and eventually to Pula. The naval academy, on the other hand, was moved for a short period to Trieste and to Rijeka later on. At that time, the unreliable Italian naval staff was replaced by seamen and officers of other nationalities.

There were many Slovenians from the Slovenian ethnic territory among the Croatian, Hungarian, German, Italian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, and other seamen living in the monarchy. The proximity of military bases motivated many volunteers to join the Navy, thus gaining various ranks and acquiring professions. Apart from the possibility of becoming professional mariners, they were attracted by the possibility of free education and travel. Specifically, the Navy was known to provide good education, which included schooling aboard seagoing ships.

The exhibited collection speaks of Slovenian seafarers and their life in the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Navy, as well as of important events these men had witnessed in those times. A special emphasis is given to the Battle of Vis in 1866 with Viceadmiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, World War I with Great Admiral Anton Haus, and travels of these men to other continents. Exhibited here are ship models, nautical items, uniforms, logbooks, souvenirs brought by them from their travels, as well as other personal belongings and a rich pictorial material.