County of Tyrol

Last updated
(Princely) County of Tyrol
(Gefürstete) Grafschaft Tirol  (German)
Contea (principesca) del Tirolo  (Italian)
1799 Cary Map of Tyrol - Geographicus - Venice-cary-1799.jpg
Map of the County of Tyrol (1799)
Status State of the Holy Roman Empire (until 1806),
Crown land of the Habsburg monarchy, of the Austrian Empire (from 1804) and of Cisleithanian Austria-Hungary (from 1867)
Capital Meran, formally until 1848
Innsbruck, residence from 1420
Common languages Southern Bavarian, Venetian language, Gallo-Italian languages
Historical era Middle Ages
 Created County
 Bequeathed to
House of Habsburg
 Joined Austrian Circle
 Incorporated Trent
and Brixen
 Restored to Austria
 Partitioned by
Treaty of St Germain
September 10, 1919
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Arms of the Free State of Bavaria.svg Duchy of Bavaria
Flag of Trento.png Bishopric of Trent
Wappen Bistum Brixen.png Bishopric of Brixen
Republic of German-Austria Flag of Austria.svg
Kingdom of Italy Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg

The (Princely) County of Tyrol was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire established about 1140. After 1253, it was ruled by the House of Gorizia and from 1363 by the House of Habsburg. In 1804, the county of Tyrol, unified with the secularised prince-bishoprics of Trent and Brixen, became a crown land of the Austrian Empire. From 1867, it was a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary.


Today the territory of the historic crown land is divided between the Italian autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and the Austrian state of Tyrol. The two parts are today associated again in the Tyrol–South Tyrol–Trentino Euroregion.



Silver coin: 1 thaler County of Tyrol, Leopold V - 1621 1 thaler Leopold V of Austria - 1621.png
Silver coin: 1 thaler County of Tyrol, Leopold V - 1621

At least since German king Otto I had conquered the former Lombard kingdom of Italy in 961 and had himself crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome, the principal passes of the Eastern Alps had become an important transit area. The German monarchs regularly travelled across Brenner or Reschen Pass on their Italian expeditions aiming at papal coronation or the consolidation of Imperial rule.

In 1004 King Henry II of Germany separated the estates of Trent from the North Italian March of Verona and vested the Bishops of Trent with comital rights. In 1027 Henry's Salian successor, Emperor Conrad II, granted the Trent bishops further estates around Bozen and in the Vinschgau region; at the same time, he vested the Bishop of Brixen with the suzerainty in the Etschtal and Inntal, part of the German stem duchy of Bavaria under the rule of Conrad's son Henry III. Especially the Brixen bishops remained loyal supporters of the Salian rulers in the Investiture Controversy and in 1091 also received the Puster Valley from the hands of Emperor Henry IV.

Tyrol Castle was the seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the region its name. Tirol Schloss 01.jpg
Tyrol Castle was the seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the region its name.

Documented from about 1140 onwards, the comital dynasty residing in Tyrol Castle near Meran held the office of Vogts (bailiffs) in the Trent diocese. 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 the Welf duke Henry X of Bavaria in 1138, the Counts of Tyrol strengthened their independence. When Henry the Lion was again enfeoffed with the Bavarian duchy by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the 1154 Imperial Diet in Goslar, his possessions no longer comprised the Tyrolean lands. The Counts maintained that independence under the rising Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. In 1210, Count Albert IV of Tyrol also took over the Vogt office in the Bishopric of Brixen, prevailing against the rivalling Counts of Andechs.


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

In 1307 Meinhard's son Henry was elected King of Bohemia, After his death, he had one surviving daughter, Margaret Maultasch, who could gain the rule only over Tyrol. In 1342 she married Louis V of Wittelsbach, then Margrave of Brandenburg. The red eagle in Tyrol's coat of arms may derive from the Brandenburg eagle at the time when she and her husband ruled Tyrol and Brandenburg in personal union, though the Tyrolean eagle had already appeared in the 13th century.

Louis V 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. He was recognized by the House of Wittelsbach in 1369. From that time onward, Tyrol was ruled by various lines of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty, who held the title of Count.


Map of the County of Tyrol and the Austrian Circle during the 15th century Oostr1477.png
Map of the County of Tyrol and the Austrian Circle during the 15th century

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. After a second division within the Leopoldinian line in 1406, Duke Frederick IV of the Empty Pockets ruled them. In 1420 he made Innsbruck the Tyrolean residence. In 1490 his son and heir Sigismund renounced Tyrol and Further Austria in favour of his cousin German king Maximilian I of Habsburg. By then Maximilian I had re-united all Habsburg lands under his rule. In 1500 he 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: Archduke Matthias in 1608 and Maximilian III in 1612. After the death of Archduke Sigismund Francis in 1665, all Habsburg lands were again under the united rule of the Emperor Leopold I.

Austria-Hungary in 1914:
.mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}
Tyrolean crown land
Transleithania Tirol Donaumonarchie.png
Austria-Hungary in 1914:
  Tyrolean crown land

From the time of Maria Theresa of Austria (1740−1780) onward, Tyrol was governed by the central government of the Habsburg monarchy at Vienna in all matters of major importance. In 1803 the lands of the Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen were secularised and incorporated into the county.

Napoleonic Wars

Andreas Hofer led the Tyrolean Rebellion against the invading French forces. Tiroler Landsturm 1809.jpg
Andreas Hofer led the Tyrolean Rebellion against the invading French forces.

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 harsh terms in the Treaty of Schönbrunn in 1809. Glorified as Tyrol's national hero, Andreas Hofer, the leader of the uprising, was executed in 1810 in Mantua. His forces had 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.

In 1814, by decisions of the Congress of Vienna, Tyrol was reunified and returned to Austria. It was integrated into the Austrian Empire. From 1867 onwards, it was a Kronland (Crown Land) of Cisleithania.

The former crown land of Tyrol today:
State of Tyrol (Austria)
South Tyrol (Italy)
Trentino (Italy) Tirol-Suedtirol-Trentino.png
The former crown land of Tyrol today:
   Trentino CoA.svg Trentino (Italy)

End of the County

After World War I, the victors settled border changes. The Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 ruled according to the 1915 London Pact, that the southern part of the Austrian crown land of Tyrol had to be ceded to the Kingdom of Italy, including the territory of the former Trent bishopric, roughly corresponding to the modern-day Trentino, as well as the south of the medieval Tyrol county, the present-day province of South Tyrol. Italy thus took control of the strategically important Alpine water divide at the Brenner Pass and over the south of Tyrol proper with its large German-speaking majority. [2] Since 1949 both parts form the autonomous Italian Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region. The northern part of Tyrol retained by the First Austrian Republic today forms the Austrian State of Tyrol with its East Tyrol exclave.

In 1945 following World War II, Austrian attempts and South Tyrolean petitions to reunite South Tyrol with Austria were not successful. Italy kept control. From 1972 onwards, the Italian Republic has granted further autonomy to the Trentino - Alto Adige/Südtirol province.

Counts of Tyrol

Male line extinct.

House of Meinhardin

Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, heiress of the Meinhardin dynasty Margarethe Tirol.jpg
Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, heiress of the Meinhardin dynasty

County bequeathed to Albert's son-in-law:

Male line extinct, Countess Margaret, daughter of Henry II, married to:

divorced, secondly to:

Line extinct.

House of Habsburg

County bequeathed to

Line extinct, Habsburg lands re-unified under


Archduke Sigismund Francis, last of the Tyrolean line of the Habsburg dynasty Giovanni Maria Morandi 002.jpg
Archduke Sigismund Francis, last of the Tyrolean line of the Habsburg dynasty

Habsburg regents of Tyrol and Further Austria:

Line extinct, Habsburg lands re-unified under


See also

Related Research Articles

Duchy of Carinthia Central European state of the Holy Roman Empire and later Austrian Empire (976–1918)

The Duchy of Carinthia was a duchy located in southern Austria and parts of northern Slovenia. It was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria in 976, and was the first newly created Imperial State after the original German stem duchies.

Tyrol (state) State of Austria

Tyrol is a state (Land) in western Austria. It comprises the Austrian part of the historical Princely County of Tyrol. It is a constituent part of the present-day Euroregion Tyrol–South Tyrol–Trentino. The capital of Tyrol is Innsbruck.

Henry of Bohemia King of Bohemia

Henry of Gorizia, a member of the House of Gorizia, was Duke of Carinthia and Landgrave of Carniola and Count of Tyrol from 1295 until his death, as well as King of Bohemia, Margrave of Moravia and titular King of Poland in 1306 and again from 1307 until 1310. After his death, the Habsburgs took over Carinthia and Carniola and held them almost without interruption until 1918.

Margaret, Countess of Tyrol Countess of Tyrol

Margaret, nicknamed Margarete Maultasch, was the last Countess of Tyrol from the House of Gorizia (Meinhardiner), and an unsuccessful claimant to the Duchy of Carinthia. Upon her death, Tyrol became united with the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburg dynasty.

Frederick IV, Duke of Austria

Frederick IV, also known as Frederick of the Empty Pockets, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1402 until his death. As a scion of the Habsburg Leopoldian line, he ruled over Further Austria and the County of Tyrol from 1406 onwards.

Albert II, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria and Styria

Albert II, known as the Wise or the Lame, a member of the House of Habsburg, was duke of Austria and Styria from 1330, as well as duke of Carinthia and margrave of Carniola from 1335 until his death.

Albert III, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria

Albert III of Austria, known as Albert with the Braid (Pigtail), a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1365 until his death.

Inner Austria Historical region of Europe

Inner Austria was a term used from the late 14th to the early 17th century for the Habsburg hereditary lands south of the Semmering Pass, referring to the Imperial duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola and the lands of the Austrian Littoral. The residence of the Inner Austrian archdukes and stadtholders was at the Burg castle complex in Graz.

Meinhard, Duke of Carinthia

Meinhard II, a member of the House of Gorizia (Meinhardiner), ruled the County of Gorizia and the County of Tyrol together with his younger brother Albert from 1258. In 1271 they divided their heritage and Meinhard became sole ruler of Tyrol. In 1286 he was enfeoffed with the Duchy of Carinthia and the adjacent March of Carniola.

Meinhard I, Count of Gorizia-Tyrol

Meinhard I, a member of the House of Gorizia (Meinhardiner), was Count of Gorizia from 1231 and Count of Tyrol from 1253 until his death.

Meinhard III, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, was duke of Upper Bavaria and count of Tyrol from 1361 until his death. He was the son of Duke Louis V of Bavaria with Countess Margaret of Tyrol and as such also the last descendant of the Tyrolean branch of the House of Gorizia.

Leopoldian line

The Leopoldian line was a sequence of descent in the Habsburg dynasty begun by Duke Leopold III of Austria, who, after the death of his elder brother Rudolf IV, divided the Habsburg hereditary lands with his brother Albert III according to the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg.

Louis V, Duke of Bavaria Duke of Bavaria

Louis V, called the Brandenburger, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, ruled as Margrave of Brandenburg from 1323 to 1351 and as Duke of Bavaria from 1347 until his death. From 1342 he also was co-ruling Count of Tyrol by his marriage with the Meinhardiner countess Margaret.

Prince-Bishopric of Trent Imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire in present-day northern Italy (1027-1803)

The Prince-Bishopric of Trent was an ecclesiastical principality roughly corresponding to the present-day Northern Italian autonomous province of Trentino. It was created in 1027 and existed until 1802, when it was secularised and absorbed into the County of Tyrol held by the House of Habsburg. Trent was a Hochstift, an Imperial State under the authority of a prince-bishop at Trento.

John Henry, Margrave of Moravia Count of Tyrol

John Henry of Luxembourg, a member of the House of Luxembourg, was Count of Tyrol from 1335 to 1341 and Margrave of Moravia from 1349 until his death.

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).

House of Gorizia Noble family in the Holy Roman Empire

The Counts of Gorizia, also known as the Meinhardiner, were a comital, princely and ducal dynasty in the Holy Roman Empire. Named after Gorizia Castle in Gorizia, they were originally "advocates" (Vogts) in the Patriarchate of Aquileia who ruled the County of Gorizia (Görz) from the early 12th century until the year 1500. Staunch supporters of the Emperors against the papacy, they reached the height of their power in the aftermath of the battle of Marchfeld between the 1280s and 1310s, when they controlled most of contemporary Slovenia, western and south-western Austria and north-eastern Italy mostly as (princely) Counts of Gorizia and Tyrol, Landgraves of Savinja and Dukes of Carinthia and Carniola. After 1335, they began a steady decline until their territories shrunk back to the original County of Gorizia by the mid 1370s. Their remaining lands were inherited by the Habsburg ruler Maximilian I.

Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Germany Queen consort of Germany and Jerusalem

Elisabeth of Bavaria, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, was Queen of Germany and Jerusalem from 1246 to 1254 by her marriage to King Conrad IV of Germany.

Otto III, Duke of Carinthia

Otto III, a member of the House of Gorizia, was Duke of Carinthia and Count of Tyrol from 1295 until his death. He ruled jointly with his younger brothers Louis and Henry VI.

Albert IV, Count of Tyrol

Albert IV was Count of Tyrol from 1202 until his death, the last from the original House of Tirol. He also served as Vogt of the bishoprics of Trent and Brixen.


  1. Year: 1620 - 1621; Composition: Silver; Weight: 28,4 gram; Diameter: 42 mm -
  2. Oscar Benvenuto (ed.): "South Tyrol in Figures 2008", Provincial Statistics Institute of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Bozen/Bolzano 2007, p. 19, Table 11

Commons-logo.svg Media related to County of Tyrol at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 46°54′58″N11°12′22″E / 46.91611°N 11.20611°E / 46.91611; 11.20611