CARINTHIA (Ger. Kärnten), a duchy and crownland of Austria, bounded E. by Styria, N. by Styria and Salzburg, W. by Tirol, and S. by Italy, Görz and Gradisca and Carniola. It has an area of 4005 sq. m. Carinthia is for the most part a mountainous region, divided by the Drave, which traverses it from west to east into two parts. To the north of the valley of the Drave the duchy is occupied by the Hohe Tauern and the primitive Alps of Carinthia and Styria, which belong to the central zone of the Eastern Alps. The Hohe Tauern contains the massifs of the Gross Glockner (12,455 ft.); the Hochnarr (10,670 ft.) and the Ankogel (11,006 ft.), and is traversed by the saddles of the Hochthor and the Malnitzer Tauern, which separates these groups from one another. To the east of the Hohe Tauern stretches the group of the primitive Alps of Carinthia and Styria, namely the Pöllaer Alps with the glacier-covered peak of the Hafner Eck (10,041 ft.); the Stang Alps with the highest peak the Eisenhut (8007 ft.); the Saualpe with the highest peak the Grosse Saualpe (6825 ft.); and finally the Koralpen chain or the Stainzer Alps (7023 ft.) separated from the preceding group by the Lavant valley. The country south of the Drave is occupied by several groups of the southern limestone zone, namely the Carnic Alps, the Julian Alps, the Karawankas and the Steiner Alps. The Carnic Alps are divided by the Gail valley into the South Carnic group and the northern Gailthal Alps. They are traversed by the Pontebba or Pontafel Pass, through which passes one of the principal Alpine roads from Italy to Austria. The road is covered by the fortress of Malborgeth, where Captain Hensel with a handful of men met with a heroic death defending the place against an overwhelming French force in the campaign of 1809. A similar fate overtook, on the same day, the 18th of May 1809, Captain Hermann von Hermannsdorf and his small garrison, who were defending the Predil fort. This fort covers the road which traverses the Predil Pass in the Julian Alps and is the principal road leading from Carinthia to the Coastland. Commemorative monuments have been erected in both places. The Gailthal Alps end with the Dobratsch or Villacher Alp (7107 ft.), situated to the south-west of Villach (q.v.), which is celebrated as one of the finest views in the whole eastern Alps. South of Hermagor, the principal place of the Gail valley, is the chain of mountains which is famous as being the only place where the beautiful Wulfenia Carinthiaca is found. The highest peaks in the Karawankas are the Grosse Mittagskogel (7033 ft.), the Och Obir (7023 ft.) and the Petzen (6934 ft.). The Ursula Berg (5563 ft.) ends the group of the Karawankas, which are continued by the Steiner Alps.
The principal river is the Drave, which flows from west to east through the length of the duchy, and receives in its course the waters of all the other streams, except the Fella, which reaches the Adriatic by its junction with the Tagliamento. Its principal tributaries are the Gail on the right, and the Möll, the Lieser, the Gurk with the Glan, and the Lavant on the left. Carinthia possesses a great number of Alpine lakes, which, unlike the other Alpine lakes, lie in the longitudinal valleys. The principal lakes are: the Millstätter-see (81 sq. m. in extent, 908 ft. deep, at an altitude of 1902 ft.), the Wörther-see (17 sq. m. in extent, 212 ft. deep, at an altitude of 1438 ft.), the Ossiach-see (101 sq. m. in extent, 150 ft. deep, at an altitude of 1599 ft.), and the elongated Weissen-see (41 m. long, 309 ft. deep, at an altitude of 3037 ft.).
The climate is severe in the north and north-west parts, but the south and south-east districts are milder, while the most favoured part is the Lavant valley. Of the total area only 13.71% is arable land, 10.50% is occupied by meadows and gardens, 5.18% by pastures, while 44.24% is covered by forests, almost exclusively pine-forests. Cattle-rearing is well developed, and the horses bred in Carinthia enjoy a good reputation. The mineral wealth of Carinthia is great, and consists in lead, iron, zinc and coal. Iron ore is extracted in the region of the Saualpe, and is worked in the foundries of St Leonhard, St Gertraud, Prävali, Hirt, Treibach and Eberstein. About two-thirds of the total production of lead in Austria is extracted in Carinthia, the principal places being Bleiberg and Raibl. The metallurgic industries are well developed, and consist in the production of iron, steel, machinery, small-arms, lead articles, wire-cables and rails. The principal manufacturing places are Prävali, Brückl, Klagenfurt, Lippitzbach, Wolfsberg, St Veit and Buchscheiden near Feldkirchen. The manufacture of small-arms is concentrated at Ferlach. Other trades are the manufacture of paper, leather, cement and the exploitation of forests.
The population of Carinthia in 1900 was 367,344, which corresponds to 91 inhabitants per sq. m. According to nationality, 71.54% were Germans, and 28.39% Slovenes, mostly settled in the districts adjoining the Slovene province of Carniola. Over 94% of the population were Roman Catholics. The local diet, of which the bishop of Gurk is a member ex officio, is composed of 37 members, and Carinthia sends 10 deputies to the Reichsrat at Vienna. For administrative purposes, the province is divided into seven districts, and an autonomous municipality, Klagenfurt (pop. 24,314), the capital. Other principal places are: Villach (9690), Wolfsberg (4852), St Veit (4667), an old town, the former capital of Carinthia up to 1518, Prävali (4047), Travis (3640), a favourite summer-resort and tourist place, Bleiberg (3435), Völkermarkt (2606) and Spittal (2564).
Carinthia is so called from the Carni, a Celtic people, and in the time of Augustus it formed part of Noricum. After the fall of the Roman empire, it was the nucleus of the kingdom of Carentania, which was founded by Samo, a Frankish adventurer, but soon fell to pieces after his death. Under Charlemagne it constituted a margravate, which in 843 passed into the hands of Louis the German, whose grandson Arnulf was the first to bear the title of duke of Carinthia. The duchy was held by various families during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, and at length in 1335 was bestowed by Louis the Bavarian on the dukes of Austria. It was divided into Upper or Western Carinthia and Lower or Eastern; of these the former fell to France in 1809, but was reconquered in 1813. It was created a separate crownland in 1849.
See Aelschker. Geschichte Kärntens (Klagenfurt, 1885).