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Univerza v Ljubljani 01.jpg
The Carniolan Provincial Assembly Building in Ljubljana, also the seat of the Regional Committee and the Governor of the Duchy of Carniola, today the seat of the University of Ljubljana
Flag of Krain.svg
Carniola Arms.svg
Das Herzogthum Krain 1791.jpg
1791 map of Carniola
Coordinates: 41°26′05″N25°07′58″E / 41.4347°N 25.1328°E / 41.4347; 25.1328 Coordinates: 41°26′05″N25°07′58″E / 41.4347°N 25.1328°E / 41.4347; 25.1328
Country Slovenia
400 m (1,300 ft)
Traditional regions of Slovenia.
Carniola: 2a Upper, 2b Inner, 2c Lower
Prekmurje Borders of the Historical Habsburgian Lands in the Republic of Slovenia.png
Traditional regions of Slovenia.

Carniola (Slovene : Kranjska; Slovene pronunciation:  [ˈkɾàːnska] , [1] German : Krain; Italian : Carniola; Hungarian : Krajna) is a historical region that comprised parts of present-day Slovenia. Although as a whole it does not exist anymore, Slovenes living within the former borders of the region still tend to identify with its traditional parts Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola (with the sub-part of White Carniola), and to a lesser degree with Inner Carniola. In 1991, 47% of the population of Slovenia lived within the borders of the former Duchy of Carniola.



A state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Austrian Circle and a duchy in the hereditary possession of the Habsburgs, later part of the Austrian Empire and of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land from 1849, when it was also subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola, until 1918. From the second half of the 13th century, its capital was Ljubljana (Laibach). Previous overlords of Carniola had their seats in Kranj (Krainburg) and Kamnik (Stein), which are therefore sometimes referred to as its earlier capitals. Nowadays, its territory (in the extent at its dissolution) is almost entirely located in Slovenia, except for a small part in northwest Italy, around Fusine in Valromana. [2] [note 1] Carniola in its final form, established in 1815, [3] encompassed 9,904 km2 (3,824 sq mi). [4] In 1914, before the beginning of World War I, it had a population of slightly under 530,000 inhabitants, of whom 95% were Slovenes. [3]


The region was crossed by the Julian and Karavanken Alps. The highest mountain peaks are Nanos, 4,200 feet (1,300 m); Vremščica, 3,360 feet (1,020 m); Snežnik, 5,900 feet (1,800 m); and Triglav, 9,300 feet (2,800 m). The main rivers were the Sava, Tržič Bistrica, Kokra, Kamnik Bistrica, Sora, Ljubljanica, Mirna, Krka, and Kolpa rivers. Notable lakes included the Black Lake (Slovene : Črno jezero), Lake Bohinj, Lake Bled, and Lake Cerknica.
Nearby are the Ljubljana Marshes, and a series of hot and mineral springs which can be found at Dolenjske Toplice, Šmarješke Toplice, and Izlake. [5]

Agriculture thrived more in Upper Carniola than in Lower Carniola. The Vipava Valley was especially famous for its wine and vegetables, and for its mild climate. The average temperature was 56 °F (13 °C) in spring, 77 °F (25 °C) in summer, 59 °F (15 °C) in autumn, and 26 °F (−3 °C) in winter.

In 1910 the main railroads were the Juzna, the Prince Rudolf, the Bohinjska, the Kamniska, the Dolenjska, and the Vrhniska. The principal cities and towns in the region were: Kamnik, Kranj, Tržič, Vrhnika, Vipava, Idrija, Turjak, Ribnica, Metlika, Novo Mesto, Vače. [5]



After the fall of the Roman Empire, Lombards settled in Carniola, followed by Slavs around the sixth century AD. [6] [7] [8] As a part of the Holy Roman Empire, the area was successively ruled by Bavarian, Frankish and local nobility, and eventually by the Austrian Habsburgs almost continuously from 1335 to 1918, though beset by many raids from the Ottomans and rebellions by local residents against Habsburg rule from the 15th to the 17th centuries. From about 900 AD until the 20th century, Carniola's ruling classes and urban areas spoke German, while the peasantry spoke Slovene.

The capital of Carniola, originally situated at Kranj (Krainburg), was briefly moved to Kamnik (Stein) and finally to the current capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana (Laibach).


Antiquity and Middle Ages

Old Slavic Carniola around 800 AD Karniola around 800.png
Old Slavic Carniola around 800 AD

Before the coming of the Romans (c. 200 BC), the Taurisci dwelt in the north of Carniola, the Pannonians in the southeast, the Iapodes or Carni, a Celtic tribe, in the southwest. [5]

Carniola formed part of the Roman province of Pannonia; the northern part was joined to Noricum, the south-western and south-eastern parts and the city of Aemona to Venice and Istria. In the time of Augustus all the region from Aemona to the Kolpa River (Culpa) belonged to the province of Savia. [5]

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476), Carniola was incorporated into Odoacer's Kingdom of Italy, and then in 493, under Theodoric, it formed part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom. Between the upper Sava and the Soča rivers lived the Carni, and towards the end of the sixth century Slavs settled the region called by Latin writers Carnia, or Carniola meaning 'little Carnia'; i.e., part of greater Carnia. [5] The Latin name was later borrowed into Slavic, becoming Kranjska, [10] and into German as Chrainmark, Krain.

The new inhabitants, to whom modern historiography frequently refers to as Alpine Slavs, were subjected to the Avars, but around 623 they joined the Slavic tribal union of Samo. After Samo's death in AD 658, they fell again under the Avar rule, but most probably enjoyed partial autonomy.

March of Carniola

The Mark Krain (March of Carniola) was in the southeast of the 10th-century Holy Roman Empire. Its namesake and capital was Krainburg (now Kranj). HRR 10Jh.jpg
The Mark Krain (March of Carniola) was in the southeast of the 10th-century Holy Roman Empire. Its namesake and capital was Krainburg (now Kranj).

Carniola was governed by the Franks about the year 788, and was Christianized by missionaries from the Patriarchate of Aquileia and others. When Charlemagne established the margraviate of Friuli, he added to it a part of Carniola. After the division of Friuli, it became an independent margraviate, having its own Slavic margrave residing at Kranj, subject to the governor of Bavaria at first, and after 976 to the Dukes of Carinthia. Henry IV gave it to the Patriarch of Aquileia (1071) and it formed part of the Patriarchal State of Friuli. [5]

Several sources from the High Middle Ages suggest that there was a common Carantanian (that is, Carinthian) identity that slowly vanished after the 14th century and was replaced by a regional Carniolan identity.

In the Middle Ages the Church held much property in Carniola, and thus in 974 in Upper and Lower Carniola the Bishop of Freising became in 974 a feudal lord of the town of Škofja Loka, the Bishop of Brixen held Bled and possessions in the Bohinj Valley, and the Bishop of Lavant received Mokronog. [5]

Among secular potentates, the Dukes of Meran, Gorizia, Babenberg, and Zilli held possessions given to them in fief by the patriarchs of Aquileia. The dukes governed the province for nearly half a century. [5]

Finally Carniola was given in fief with the consent of the patriarch to Frederick II of Austria, who obtained the title of duke in 1245. Frederick was succeeded by Ulrich III, Duke of Carinthia, who married Agnes of Andechs, a relative of the patriarch, and he endowed the churches and monasteries, established the government mint at the town of Kostanjevica, and finally (in 1268) willed to Ottokar II, King of Bohemia, all his possessions and the government of Carinthia and Carniola. [5]

Duchy of Carniola

Coat of Arms of Duchy of Carniola. Carniola coat of arms.png
Coat of Arms of Duchy of Carniola.

Ottokar was defeated by Rudolph I of Germany, and at the meeting at Augsburg in 1282, he gave in fief to his sons Albrecht and Rudolf the province of Carniola, but it was leased to Meinhard, count of Gorizia-Tirol. Duke Henry of Carinthia claimed Carniola; and the Dukes of Austria asserted their claim as successors to the Bohemian kingdom. When Henry died 1335 Jan, King of Bohemia, renounced his claims, and Albrecht, Duke of Austria, received Carniola; it was proclaimed a duchy by Rudolf IV, in 1364. Emperor Frederick III united Upper, Lower, and Central Carniola as Metlika and Pivka into one duchy. The union of the dismembered parts was completed by 1607. [5]

French Intermezzo

The Carniolan Parliament building. In 1919 it became the main building of the University of Ljubljana. Univerza Ljubljana.jpg
The Carniolan Parliament building. In 1919 it became the main building of the University of Ljubljana.
Carniola within Austria-Hungary (number 4). Austria-Hungary map.svg
Carniola within Austria-Hungary (number 4).

French revolutionary troops occupied Carniola in 1797, and from 1805 to 1806. Under the Treaty of Vienna, Carniola became part of the Illyrian provinces of France (1809–1814), with Ljubljana as its capital, and Carniola formed a part of the new territory from 1809 to 1813. [5] The defeat of Napoleon restored Carniola to Austrian Emperor Francis I, with larger boundaries, but at the extinction of the Illyrian Kingdom Carniola was confined to the limits outlined at the Congress of Vienna, 1815. [5] From 1816 to 1849 Carniola was part of the Austrian Kingdom of Illyria with capital in Ljubljana.

Ecclesiastical history

In early Christian times the duchy was under the jurisdiction of the metropolitans of Aquileia (who became Patriarchs), Syrmium, and Salona. In consequence of the immigration of the pagan Slovenes, this arrangement was not a lasting one. After they had embraced Christianity in the seventh and eighth centuries Charlemagne conferred the major part of Carniola on the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and the remainder on the Diocese of Trieste. In 1100 that patriarchate was divided into five archdeaconries, of which Krain was one. [5]

The diocese of Ljubljana or Laibach was established by Emperor Frederick III on 6 December 1461. It was directly subject to the pope. This was confirmed by a Bull of Pope Pius II, 10 September 1462. The new diocese consisted of part of Upper Carniola, two parishes in Lower Carniola, and a portion of Lower Styria and Carinthia; the remaining portion of Carniola was attached to Aquileia, later on to Gorizia and Trieste. At the redistribution of dioceses (1787 to 1791) not all the parishes in Carniola were included in the Diocese of Ljubljana, but this was accomplished in 1833, by taking two deaneries from the Diocese of Trieste, one from Gorizia, and one parish from the Diocese of Lavant, so as to include all the territory within the political boundaries of the crownland. [5]

Austrian administration

The Austrian Empire reorganized the territory in 1849 as a duchy and a Cisleithanian crownland in Austria-Hungary known as the Duchy of Carniola. It was bounded on the north by Carinthia, on the north-east by Styria, on the south-east and south by Croatia, and on the west by Trieste, Goritza, and Istria; with area of 3,857 square miles (9,990 km2) and population of 510,000. The capital, Ljubljana, was the see of a prince-bishop, population, 40,000; it was known to the Romans as Aemona, and was destroyed by Obri in the sixth century. Carniola was divided into Upper Carniola (Slovenian name: Gorenjska), Lower Carniola (Slovenian: Dolenjska), and Inner Carniola (Slovenian: Notranjska). Politically the province was divided into eleven districts consisting of 359 municipalities; the provincial capital was the residence of the imperial governor. The districts were: Kamnik, Kranj, Radovljica, the neighbourhood of Ljubljana, Logatec, Postojna, Litija, Krsko, Novo Mesto, Crnomelj, and Gotschee or Kocevje. There were 31 judicial circuits. [5]

The duchy was constituted by rescript of 20 December 1860, and by imperial patent of 26 February 1861, modified by legislation of 21 December 1867, granting power to the home parliament to enact all laws not reserved to the imperial diet, at which it was represented by eleven delegates, of whom two elected by the landowners, three by the cities, towns, commercial and industrial boards, five by the village communes, and one by a fifth curia by secret ballot, every duly registered male twenty-four years of age has the right to vote. The home legislature consisted of a single chamber of thirty-seven members, among whom the prince-bishop sits ex-officio. The emperor convened the legislature, and it is presided over by the governor. The landed interests elected ten members, the cities and towns eight, the commercial and industrial boards two, the village communes sixteen. In 1907, instead of these rules, universal and equal suffrage for all men was introduced. The business of the chamber was restricted to legislating on agriculture, public and charitable institutions, administration of communes, church and school affairs, the transportation and housing of soldiers in war and during manoeuvres, and other local matters. The land budget of 1901 amounted to 3,573,280 crowns ($714,656). [5]

Modern era

In 1918, the duchy ceased to exist and its territory became part of the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and subsequently part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). The western part of the duchy, with the towns of Postojna, Ilirska Bistrica, Idrija and Šturje was annexed to Italy in 1920, but was subsequently also included into Yugoslavia in 1947. [11] Since 1991, the region has been part of an independent Slovenia.

See also


  1. In the extent at its dissolution.

Related Research Articles

The history of Slovenia chronicles the period of the Slovenian territory from the 5th century BC to the present. In the Early Bronze Age, Proto-Illyrian tribes settled an area stretching from present-day Albania to the city of Trieste. The Slovenian territory was part of the Roman Empire, and it was devastated by the Migration Period's incursions during late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The main route from the Pannonian plain to Italy ran through present-day Slovenia. Alpine Slavs, ancestors of modern-day Slovenians, settled the area in the late 6th Century AD. The Holy Roman Empire controlled the land for nearly 1,000 years, and between the mid-14th century and 1918 most of Slovenia was under Habsburg rule. In 1918, Slovenes formed Yugoslavia along with Serbs and Croats, while a minority came under Italy. The state of Slovenia was created in 1945 as part of federal Yugoslavia. Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia in June 1991, and is today a member of the European Union and NATO.

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Duchy of Carniola

The Duchy of Carniola was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire, established under Habsburg rule on the territory of the former East Frankish March of Carniola in 1364. A hereditary land of the Habsburg Monarchy, it became a constituent land of the Austrian Empire in 1804 and part of the Kingdom of Illyria until 1849. A separate crown land from 1849, it was incorporated into the Cisleithanian territories of Austria-Hungary from 1867 until the state's dissolution in 1918. Its capital was Ljubljana.


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Austrian Littoral Former crown land of the Austrian Empire

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Kingdom of Illyria

The Kingdom of Illyria was a crown land of the Austrian Empire from 1816 to 1849, the successor state of the Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces, reconquered by Austria in the War of the Sixth Coalition and restored according to the Final Act of the Vienna Congress. Its administrative centre was in Ljubljana

Upper Carniola Traditional region of Slovenia

Upper Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the northern mountainous part of the larger Carniola region. The centre of the region is Kranj, while other urban centers include Jesenice, Tržič, Škofja Loka, Kamnik, and Domžale. It has around 300,000 inhabitants or 14% of the population of Slovenia.

Lower Carniola Traditional region of Slovenia

Lower Carniola is a traditional region in Slovenia, the southeastern part of the historical Carniola region.

Inner Carniola Traditional region of Slovenia

Inner Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the southwestern part of the larger Carniola region. It comprises the Hrušica karst plateau up to Postojna Gate, bordering the Slovenian Littoral in the west. Its administrative and economic center of the region is Postojna, and other minor centers include Logatec, Cerknica, Pivka, and Ilirska Bistrica.

Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca

The Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, historically sometimes shortened to and spelled "Goritz", was a crown land of the Habsburg dynasty within the Austrian Littoral on the Adriatic Sea, in what is now a multilingual border area of Italy and Slovenia. It was named for its two major urban centers, Gorizia and Gradisca d'Isonzo.

Municipality of Jezersko Municipality of Slovenia

The Municipality of Jezersko is a municipality in northern Slovenia. In 1995, Jezersko became part of Preddvor and became an independent municipality in 1998. Originally located in the historic region of Carinthia, it became part of the Upper Carniola Statistical Region in 2005. The seat of the municipality is the town of Zgornje Jezersko.

County of Gorizia

The County of Gorizia, from 1365 Princely County of Gorizia, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. Originally mediate Vogts of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, the Counts of Gorizia (Meinhardiner) ruled over several fiefs in the area of Lienz and in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy with their residence at Gorizia (Görz).

March of Carniola

The Marchof Carniola was a southeastern state of the Holy Roman Empire in the High Middle Ages, the predecessor of the Duchy of Carniola. It corresponded roughly to the central Carniolan region of present-day Slovenia. At the time of its creation, the march served as a frontier defense against the Kingdoms of Hungary and Croatia.

Slovene Lands

The Slovene lands or Slovenian lands is the historical denomination for the territories in Central and Southern Europe where people primarily spoke Slovene. The Slovene lands were part of the Illyrian provinces, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. They encompassed Carniola, southern part of Carinthia, southern part of Styria, Istria, Gorizia and Gradisca, Trieste, and Prekmurje. Their territory more or less corresponds to modern Slovenia and the adjacent territories in Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, where autochthonous Slovene minorities live. In the areas where present-day Slovenia borders to neighboring countries, they were never homogeneously ethnically Slovene.

The settlement of the Eastern Alps region by early Slavs took place during the 6th to 8th centuries. It is part of the southward expansion of the early Slavs which would result in the characterization of the South Slavic group, and would ultimately result in the ethnogenesis of present-day Slovenes. The Eastern Alpine territories concerned comprise modern-day Slovenia, Eastern Friuli and large parts of modern-day Austria.

Slovene minority in Italy, also known as Slovenes in Italy is the name given to Italian citizens who belong to the autochthonous Slovene ethnic and linguistic minority living in the Italian autonomous region of Friuli – Venezia Giulia. The vast majority of members of the Slovene ethnic minority live in the Provinces of Trieste, Gorizia, and Udine. Estimates of their number vary significantly; the official figures show 52,194 Slovenian speakers in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, as per the 1971 Census, but Slovenian estimates speak of 83,000 to 100,000 people.


  1. "Slovenski pravopis 2001: Kranjska".
  2. Perko, Drago; Orožen Adamič, Milan (1998). "Zgodovinske dežele Slovenije" [Historical Lands of Slovenia]. Slovenija: pokrajina in ljudje [Slovenia: Its Landscape and Its People] (in Slovenian) (3. izdaja ed.). Mladinska knjiga. p. 16. ISBN   9788611150338.
  3. 1 2 Pipp, Lojze (1935). "Razvoj števila prebivalstva Ljubljane in bivše vojvodine Kranjske" [The Development of the Number of Population of Ljubljana and the Former Duchy of Carniola]. Kronika Slovenskih Mest (in Slovenian). City Municipality of Ljubljana. 2 (1).
  4. Perko, Drago; Orožen Adamič, Milan, eds. (1998). Slovenija – pokrajine in ljudje[Slovenia – Landscapes and People] (in Slovenian). Mladinska knjiga. p. 16. ISBN   9788611150338.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Krmpotić, Martin Davorin (1910). "Krain". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. Minahan, James. 2000. One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, p. 633.
  7. Staab, Franz. 1976. Ostrogothic Geographers at the Court of Theodoric the Great: A Study of Some Sources of the Anonymous Cosmographer of Ravenna. Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies 7: 27–64, p. 54.
  8. Plut-Pregelj, Leopoldina & Carole Rogel. 2010. The A to Z of Slovenia. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, p. 48.
  9. Prothero, GW; Great Britain. Foreign Office. Historical Section (1920). Carniola, Carinthia and Styria. Peace handbooks. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 11. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  10. Snoj, Marko (2009). Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen[Etymological dictionary of Slovenian geographical names]. Ljubljana: Modrijan. pp. 210–211.
  11. See: Paris Peace Treaties, 1947

Further reading