County of Tyrol

Last updated
(Princely) County of Tyrol

(Gefürstete) Grafschaft Tirol  (German)
Contea (principesca) del Tirolo  (Italian)
Flag of Tirol.svg
Wappen Gefurstete Grafschaft Tirol.png
Coat of arms
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, Italian (Venetian variant)
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
Part of a series on the
History of Austria
Austria coat of arms official.svg


Flag of Austria.svg Austriaportal

The (Princely) County of Tyrol was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire established about 1140. Originally a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of the Counts of Tyrol, it was inherited by the Counts of Gorizia in 1253 and finally fell to the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1363. In 1804 the Princely County of Tyrol, unified with the secularised Prince-Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen, became a crown land of the Austrian Empire in 1804 and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary.

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Graf</i> historical title of the German nobility

Graf (male) or Gräfin (female) is a historical title of the German nobility, usually translated as "count". Considered to be intermediate among noble ranks, the title is often treated as equivalent to the British title of "earl".

Tyrol Castle building in "Tirol, South Tyrol", Italy

Tyrol Castle, less commonly Tirol Castle is a castle in the comune (municipality) of Tirol near Merano, in the Burggrafenamt district of South Tyrol, Italy. It was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the whole Tyrol region its name.


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. Both parts are today associated again in the Tyrol–South Tyrol–Trentino Euroregion.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol Region of Italy

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol is an autonomous region in Northern Italy. Since the 1970s, most legislative and administrative powers have been transferred to the two self-governing provinces that make up the region: the Province of Trento, commonly known as Trentino, and the Province of Bolzano, commonly known as South Tyrol.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.



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.

Kingdom of Germany 10th-century kingdom of Germany

The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia and Burgundy.

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor German king and first emperor of the Ottonian empire

Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.

Kingdom of the Lombards former country

The Kingdom of the Lombards also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy, was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.

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.

Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Henry II, also known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Obl. S. B., was Holy Roman Emperor from 1014 until his death in 1024 and the last member of the Ottonian dynasty of Emperors as he had no children. The Duke of Bavaria from 995, Henry became King of Germany following the sudden death of his second cousin, Emperor Otto III in 1002, was crowned King of Italy in 1004, and was crowned by the Pope as Emperor in 1014.

Trento Comune in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Trento is a city on the Adige River in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Italy. It is the capital of the autonomous province of Trento. In the 16th century, the city was the location of the Council of Trent. Formerly part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, it was annexed by Italy in 1919. With almost 120,000 inhabitants, Trento is the third largest city in the Alps and second largest in the Tyrol.

March of Verona

The March of Verona and Aquileia was a vast march of the Holy Roman Empire in northeastern Italy during the Middle Ages, centered on the cities of Verona and Aquileia. Seized by King Otto I of Germany in 952, it was held by the Dukes of Bavaria; from 976 in personal union with the Duchy of Carinthia. The margravial regime ended with the advent of the Lombard League in 1167.

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.

Merano Comune in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Merano or Meran is a town and comune in South Tyrol, northern Italy. Generally best known for its spa resorts, it is located within a basin, surrounded by mountains standing up to 3,335 metres above sea level, at the entrance to the Passeier Valley and the Vinschgau.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Vogt</i> title of overlordship or nobility in the Holy Roman Empire

A Vogt in the Holy Roman Empire was a title of a reeve or advocate, an overlord exerting guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice over a certain territory. The territory or area of responsibility of a Vogt is called a Vogtei. The term also denotes a mayor of a village.

House of Welf noble family

The House of Welf is a European dynasty that has included many German and British monarchs from the 11th to 20th century and Emperor Ivan VI of Russia in the 18th century.


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.

Meinhard I, Count of Gorizia-Tyrol Count of Gorizia

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.

Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, and individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.

Ottokar II of Bohemia Czech king and warrior

Ottokar II, the Iron and Golden King, was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty who reigned as King of Bohemia from 1253 until his death in 1278. He also held the titles of Margrave of Moravia from 1247, Duke of Austria from 1251, Duke of Styria from 1260, as well as Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Carniola from 1269.

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
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 1809 against the invading Napoleon I Tiroler Landsturm 1809.jpg
Andreas Hofer led the Tyrolean Rebellion 1809 against the invading Napoleon I

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. [1] 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

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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