In 1136, Hugo von Liechtenstein was the first bearer of this name to be mentioned. He had named himself so after the Liechtenstein Castle, situated south of Vienna. In the centuries to follow, the family was able to expand their holdings considerably by acquisition, primarily in Lower Austria and in the South-Moravian territory. At the end of the 16th century, the three brothers, Karl, Maximilian and Gundakar, initiated a new era in the history of the family. Karl was elevated to the rank of Hereditary Imperial Prince in 1608, while his brothers were raised to the rank of Hereditary Imperial Prince in 1623.