County of Tyrol: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gefürstete Grafschaft Tirol
Princely County of Tyrol
State of the Holy Roman Empire, then
Kronland of Cisleithanian Austria

Flag Coat of arms
Austria-Hungary in 1914, showing Tirol coloured in red
Capital Meran, formally until 1848
Innsbruck, residence from 1420
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Created County 1140
 - Bequeathed to
    House of Habsburg
 - Joined Council of Princes 1582
 - Ceded to Bavaria  
 - Restored to Austria 1814
 - Partitioned by
    Treaty of St Germain
September 10, 1919 1919

The Princely County of Tyrol was an independent county within the Holy Roman Empire, and later a Kronland (Crown Land) of Cisleithanian Austria. Today its territory is divided between the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and the Austrian state of Tyrol. Both regions are today associated again in the Euroregion Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino.




Birth of Tyrol

In 1027 Emperor Conrad II split off the Bishopric of Trent from the former Lombard Kingdom of Italy and attached it to the stem duchy of Bavaria, then under the rule of his son Henry III. From the 12th century on the counts residing in Castle Tyrol near Merano held the office of a Vogt in the Trent diocese and also in the Bishopric of Brixen. They extended their territory over much of the region and came to surpass the power of the bishops, who were nominally their feudal lords. After the deposition of Henry the Proud as Bavarian duke in 1138 the Counts of Tyrol were able to strengthen their independence from Bavaria under Henry the Lion as well as the rising Wittelsbach dynasty.


In 1253 Count Meinhard of Gorizia (Görz) inherited the Tyrolean lands by marriage with Adelheid, daughter of the last Count Albert III of Tyrol. When his sons divided their heritage in 1271, the elder Meinhard II took Tyrol, for which he reached the acknowledgement as an immediate lordship. He supported the German king Rudolph of Habsburg against his rival King Ottokar II of Bohemia and in reward received the Duchy of Carinthia with the Carniolian march in 1286.

When Meinhard's son Henry - who even was elected King of Bohemia in 1307 - died in 1335 he left one daughter, Margaret Maultasch, who could only gain the rule over Tyrol. In 1342 she married Louis V of Wittelsbach, then Margrave of Brandenburg. The red eagle in Tyrol's coat of arms is derived from the Brandenburg eagle at the time when she and her husband ruled Tyrol and Brandenburg in personal union.

Habsburg hereditary lands (orange) in 1477

However Louis died in 1361, followed by Margaret's son Meinhard III two years later. Lacking any descendants to succeed her, she bequeathed the county to Rudolph IV of Habsburg, Duke of Austria in 1363, finally acknowledged by the House of Wittelsbach in 1369. From that time onwards, Tyrol was ruled by various lines of the Habsburg dynasty, who held the title of the Count.


After the Habsburg hereditary lands had been divided by the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg, Tyrol was ruled by the descendants of Duke Leopold III of Austria and, after a second division within the Leopoldinian line in 1406, by Duke Frederick IV of the Empty Pockets, who in 1420 made Innsbruck the Tyrolean residence. His son and heir Sigismund in 1490 finally renounced Tyrol and Further Austria in favour of his cousin German king Maximilian I of Habsburg, who by then had re-united all Habsburg lands under his rule and in 1500 also acquired the remaining Gorizia (Görz) territories around Lienz and the Puster Valley.

When Emperor Ferdinand I of Habsburg died in 1564, he bequeathed the rule over Tyrol and Further Austria to his second son Archduke Ferdinand II. Both territories thereafter fell to the younger sons of the Habsburg Emperors, as to Archduke Matthias in 1608 and Maximilian III in 1612. After the death of Archduke Sigismund Francis in 1665, all Habsburg lands were again under untited rule of the Emperor Leopold I. From the time of Maria Theresa of Austria, who ruled 1740−1780, onwards, Tyrol was governed by a central government of the Habsburg Monarchy at Vienna in all matters of major importance. In 1803 the lands of the Bishopric of Trent were secularised and incorporated into Tyrol.

Napoleonic Wars

Following defeat by Napoleon in 1805, Austria was forced to cede Tyrol to the Kingdom of Bavaria in the Peace of Pressburg. Tyrol as a part of Bavaria became a member of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806. The Tyroleans rose up against the Bavarian authority and succeeded three times in defeating Bavarian and French troops trying to retake the country. Austria lost the war of the Fifth Coalition against France, and got even harsher terms in the Treaty of Schönbrunn in 1809. Often glorified as Tyrol's national hero, Andreas Hofer, the leader of the uprising, was executed in 1810 in Mantua, having lost a third and final battle against the French and Bavarian forces. Tyrol remained under Bavaria and the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy for another four years before being reunified and returned to Austria following the decisions at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. Integrated into the Austrian Empire, from 1867 onwards it was a Kronland (Crown Land) of Cisleithania, the western half of Austria-Hungary.


The former Tyrol today (excluding Cortina and Livinallongo)      Coat of arms of Tyrol State of Tyrol (Flag of Austria Austria)      Coat of arms of South Tyrol Province of Bolzano-Bozen (Flag of Italy Italy)       Province of Trento (Flag of Italy Italy)

After World War I, the Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 ruled that, according to the London Pact, the southern part of the Austrian crown land of Tyrol had to be ceded to Italy, including the territory of the former Trent bishopric, roughly corresponding with the modern-day Province of Trento (Trentino), and also the south of the original Tyrol county, the present-day Province of Bolzano-Bozen. Italy's border was pushed northward to the strategically important Alpine water divide at the Brenner Pass, now including the south of Tyrol with its large German-speaking majority. [1] The northern part of Tyrol was retained by the First Austrian Republic and today forms the Austrian State of Tyrol with its East Tyrol exclave.

In 1945, Austrian attempts and South Tyrolean petitions to reunite German-speaking South Tyrol with Austria were not successful. From 1972 onwards, Südtirol / Alto Adige was granted autonomy by the Italian republic.


See also


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