stein, in 1572, a marked change came over Nikolsburg. He left no heir, and the estates, therefore, reverted to the Crown; and in 1576 the Emperor sold them to Adam von Dietrichstein, whose descendants, subsequently raised to princely rank, still hold them. The new lord of Nikolsburg belonged to a distinguished Romanist family, one of whom was later Bishop of Olmütz and a Cardinal. It was not to be expected that a man of such antecedents, known himself to be an ardent Catholic, should tolerate in his domains those who were so much despised and contemned by the Church as
- A younger branch of the family remained Protestant through the sixteenth century, in spite of the severe persecutions to which all were subject who resisted the Roman Church. About 1604, Count Charles Lichtenstein became a convert to the Catholic faith, and was rewarded by being raised to the rank of Prince in 1608, and in 1621 was made Regent of Bohemia. The family has ever since remained one of the most distinguished and powerful in Austria, and possesses large estates in various parts of the Empire. Only a few miles from Nikolsburg are the castles of Feldsburg and Eisgrub, still owned by Prince Liechtenstein (to use the modern orthography), the latter situated in the midst of a magnificent park of over a hundred square miles. The family has in recent years risen to royal rank, for since 1866 Liechtenstein has been an independent principality—one of the smallest kingdoms in Europe, with an area of only sixty-five square miles and a population not exceeding ten thousand souls, situated between the Tyrol and Switzerland. But a king is a king, even if his kingdom is no larger than a pocket-handkerchief!