1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tirol

TIROL (or Tyrol[1]), the most southerly province of the Austrian Empire. It makes a great bend southwards towards Italy, by which it is bounded on the S.E., S. and S.W., while on the W. it adjoins part of present Switzerland (till 1652 the Lower Engadine was Tirolese, and not Swiss) and also the Austrian province of Voralberg; to the N. it borders on Bavaria and to the E. the province of Upper Austria. It is traversed from west to east by the main chain of the Alps, which rises in various snow-covered summits, the more important being the Ortler (12,802 ft., the loftiest peak in Tirol and in the Eastern Alps generally), the Wildspitze (12,382 ft., Oetzthal group), the Zuckerhütl (11,520 ft., Stubai group), the Hochfeiler (11,559 ft., Zillerthal group), the Gross Venediger (12,008 ft.) and the Gross Glockner (12,461 ft., both in the Tauern range), while more to the south are the Dolomites, which culminate in the Marmolata (10,972 ft.). It is divided into two very distinct portions by the Brenner Pass (4495 ft.), connecting the Stubai and the Zillerthal groups; over this pass a splendid railway was built in 1864–1867 from Innsbruck to Verona, while the highway over the pass has from the earliest times been of immense importance from every point of view. The Brenner, too, being on the main watershed of the Alps, separates the two main river systems of which Tirol is composed. To the north this province comprises the middle portion of the Inn Valley, with its tributaries, as well as the upper portion of the Lech valley, all flowing towards the Danube and so to the Black Sea, while south of the pass is the great upper valley of the Adige or Etsch, with many tributaries, as well as (since 1500) a portion of the upper Drave valley, which physically belongs to Carinthia—all these (save the Drave) flow to the Adriatic Sea. The area of Tirol is 10,204 sq. m. In 1900 its population was 852,712 (all but wholly Romanist), of whom more than half were German-speaking, and many in the south Italian-speaking, while in certain side valleys of the Adige system the quaint old Ladin dialect, still surviving also in the Swiss Engadine, is the prevailing tongue; in the southern half of the region there are a few German-speaking among the Italian-speaking folk. The capital is Innsbruck, while other important towns are Trent, Botzen and Rovereto.

The present very irregular shape of the district is due to historical causes. The original Tirol consisted of part of the middle Inn valley and of the uppermost portion (the Vintschgau) of the Adige valley. In 1500, by inheritance from the counts of Görz, the Pusterthal and upper Drave valley (east) were added; in 1505 the lower portion of the Zillerthal, with the Inn valley from its entrance to Kufstein, and the Kitzbühel region (north-east) were all won from Bavaria; in 1517 Rovereto and several other places on the present south-eastern frontier were acquired from Venice; in 1803 many fiefs in the bishoprics of Trent and Brixen were annexed on the secularization of those two bishoprics; while finally the rest of the Zillerthal, with Windisch Matrei, was obtained in 1816 from the archbishopric of Salzburg. Besides the great railway line over the Brenner, there are other lines from Botzen past Meran to Mals, from Franzensfeste up the Pusterthal to Lienz in the Drave valley, and from Innsbruck, by a tunnel beneath the Arlberg Pass to the Vorarlberg and the Rhine valley.

The majority of the population is devoted to pastoral, and in some degree to agricultural pursuits, the cattle, as in other Alpine lands, being the mainstay of the peasants. In summer they are driven up to the mountain pastures (called here Almen, but Alpen in Switzerland), which are, however, less carefully looked after than in Switzerland, partly because in many cases they have been alienated by the neighbouring hamlets to far distant places. Forestry also employs a certain proportion of the population, but the felling of trees is carried on wastefully, though less so than in former years. A few minerals are found in the district, but in this department the salt works of Hall, near Innsbruck, take the first place. In southern Tirol, silk-spinning is still one of the principal industries, while good local wines are produced near Meran and Botzen. There are also some factories of preserved fruits and tobacco. But, save in the towns, Tirol is above all a pastoral land.

The peasants are famous for their devotion to the Roman Catholic religion, their fervent loyalty to the House of Austria, their excellent marksmanship, and their love of singing and music, the zither being the national instrument. There is a university at Innsbruck, but primary education, though compulsory, does not attain any very high degree of excellence, as in summer the schools are closed, for all hands are then required in the fields or on the mountain pastures. The picturesque local costumes have nearly altogether disappeared, save in the Passeyerthal, near Meran, while the increasing crowds of summer visitors have largely spoilt the simplicity of the natives. Ecclesiastically, Tirol is ruled bgthe archbishop of Salzburg and his two suffragans, the bishops of rent and of Brixen. The country is divided into 21 administrative districts (Bezirke), each composed of a number of communes or civil parishes. Tirol sends 25 representatives to the Austrian parliament at Vienna. Locally it is ruled by an Imperial governor (the Statthalter) who resides at Innsbruck, where, too, meets annually the local legislature or Diet (the Landtag), composed (according to the constitution of 1861) of 68 members; the archbishop of Salzburg, the bishops of Trent and Brixen, and the rector of the university of Innsbruck sit in person, while the great ecclesiastical corporations send four deputies, the chambers of commerce of Innsbruck, Trent and Rovereto each one, the nobles ten, the towns 13, and the peasants 34.

History.—By far the greater portion of the region later called Tirol was inhabited, when it makes its appearance in history, by the Raetians (perhaps a Celtic race, though some still hold that they were connected with the Etruscans), who were conquered (14 B.C.) by Drusus and Tiberius, and were later organized into the Roman province of Raetia. In the 5th and following centuries the north portion was Teutonized, first by the Ostrogoths, mainly by the Baiouarii, but the Teutonic Langobardi who pressed up from the south became Romanized themselves, so that the double character of the inhabitants of the land appears quite early. In 774 the Carolingians conquered the Langobardi or Lombards, and in 788 the Baiouarii. But the officials charged with the rule of these parts gradually became semi-independent, particularly the Bavarian dukes in the region north of Trent. Some time after the break-up of that duchy in 976, the emperor Conrad II. entrusted all temporal powers in the northern region to the bishop of Brixen, and in the southern portion to the bishop of Trent, detaching these southern districts from Italy (to which they had always belonged, save from 951 to 962, when the march of Verona was annexed to the duchy of Carinthia) and incorporating them with Germany. The bishops, in their turn, had to exercise their temporal rights through lay vassals, of whom the most powerful in the course of the 12th century were the lords of Andechs, near Munich. On the extinction of this family in 1248, most of their fiefs were given by the two bishops to the father-in-law of the last lord of Andechs, Albert, count of Tirol. This new family took its name from the still existing castle of Tirol (Later Roman, Teriolis), above Meran, in the upper Adige valley, and is mentioned for the first time in 1140. Albert's elder daughter, Adelaide, married Meinhard, count of Gorz (north of Trieste); their elder son Meinhard (d. 1295) took Tirol, and the younger Gorzg but in 1500 the latter's line became extinct, and the elder line inherited its possessions. Long before that time the senior branch of the elder line had ended in Margaret, nicknamed die Maultasche (the Pocket-mouth), who, in 1342, married Louis of Brandenburg (d. 1361), and whose only child Meinhard died in her lifetime in 1363; Tirol accordingly passed by agreement in the latter year of the junior branch of the elder line, the Habsburgers, dukes of Austria since 1282. In this way Tirol came to the dynasty which has ever since held it (save 1805–1814). From that time onwards till 1665 Tirol was generally entrusted to a cadet of the Austrian house, who ruled first at Meran, and from about 1420 at Innsbruck, as a nearly independent prince; but since 1665 the province has been governed from Vienna. We have noted above the manner in which the limits of Tirol were gradually extended. Several of these additions were due to the archduke Maximilian, who ruled Tirol from 1490 onwards, becoming emperor in 1493 and dying in 1519. His memory is still cherished in the district, for he conferred on it the title of Gefürstete Grafschaft, spent much time in it, and erected in the chief church of Innsbruck a sumptuous monument as his tomb.

Owing to its position astride of the Alps, and so commanding the road across them, Tirol has often been the scene of sharp fighting. In 1499 the Swiss won a victory in the Calven gorge (near the head of the Adige valley) against Maximilian, which resulted in the Swiss gaining their practical independence of the empire. In 1703 the Bavarians and French, during the War of the Spanish Succession, took Innsbruck, but were then driven back. In 1805, by the peace of Pressburg, Napoleon forced Austria to hand over Tirol to his ally, Bavaria, which held it till 1814. On the outbreak of war (1809) between France and Bavaria, the people rose in revolt. Their leader was Andreas Hofer (b. 1767), a small innkeeper of the Passeyerthal, and under him the peasants repeatedly defeated the Bavarian, French and Saxon troops. Three times (April 13, May 29 and Aug. 13) did they drive the foe out of Innsbruck. On the 15th of August, Hofer, yielding to the popular wish, assumed the government of Tirol. But in October the ill-success of the Austrians against the French elsewhere forced them to conclude the peace of Vienna, by which Tirol was definitely secured to Bavaria. The peasants refused to believe in the bad news, and continued to resist the French, but were at last overpowered by numbers. The French occupied the Passeyerthal on the 23rd of November, and Hofer was obliged to seek shelter in a hut on the mountain pastures. Here he was betrayed by a neighbour to the French (Jan. 27, 1810), who took him captive to Mantua, where, by express order of Napoleon, he was shot (Feb. 20, 1810) for the sole offence of being loyal to his emperor and his native land. His bones now lie in the great church at Innsbruck, side by side with those of his two chief supporters, the Capuchin friar and army chaplain, Joachim Haspinger (d. 1858), and the peasant, Joseph Speckbacher.

See in general vol. xiii., Tirol (Vienna, 1893), of the great official work entitled Die oesterreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild. The following more special works may be consulted: A. Achleitner and E. Ubl, Tirol und Vorarlberg (Leipzig, 1825); J. Alton, Die ladinischen Idiomen in Ladinien, Gröden, Fassa, Buchenstein, Ampezzo (Innsbruck, 1879); F. Arens, Das tiroler Volk in seinen Weisthümern (Gotha, 1904): W. A. Baillie-Grohman, Tirol and the Tirolese (London, 1876), Gaddings with a Primitive People (2 vols., London, 1878), Sport in the Alps (London, 1896), and The Land in the Mountains (1907); Miss R. H. Busk, The Valleys of Tirol (London, 1874); E. H. Compton and W. A. Baillie-Grohman, Tyrol (London, 1908); J. Egger, Geschichte Tirols (3 vols., Innsbruck, 1872–1880); J. Gilbert and G. C. Churchill, The Dolomite Mountains (London, 1864); Max Haushofer, Tirol (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1899); J. Hirn, Tirols Erhebung im Jahre 1809 (Innsbruck, 1909); Alfons Huber, Geschiehte d. Vereinigung Tirols mit Oesteweich (Innsbruck, 1864); A. Jäger, Geschichte d. landständischen Verfassung von Tirol (3 vols., Innsbruck, 1882–1885); W. D. McCrackan, The Tyrol (London, 1905); E. Oefele, Geschichte der Grafen von Andechs (Innsbruck, 1877); L. Purtscheller and H. Hess, Der Hochtourist in den Ostalpen, 3rd ed., 3 vols. (Leipzig and Vienna, 1903); E. Richter Die Erschliessung der Ostalpeu (3 vols., Berlin, 1893–1894); A. Schaubach, Deutsche Alpen (2nd ed., 5 vols., Jena, 1865–1871); Chr. Schneller, Landeskunde von Tirol (Innsbruck, 1872); F. A. Sinnacher, Beiträge zur Geschichte der bischöft. Kirche Säben und Brixen (really a special territorial history of Tirol) (10 vols., Brixen, 1821–1837); J. Staffler, Tirol und Vorarlberg, (2 vols., Innsbruck, 1839–1846); A. Steinitzer, Geschichtliche und kulturgeschichtliche Wanderungen durch Tirol und Vorarlberg (Innsbruck, 1905); Th. Vernaleken, Alpensagen (largely Tirolese; Vienna, 1858); Beda Weber, Das Land Tirol (3 vols., Innsbruck, 1837–1838); Martin Wilckens, Die Alpenwirthschaft der Schweiz, des Algäu, und der westoesterreichischen Alpenländer (Vienna, 1874); I. V. Zingerle, Sagen, Märchen, und Gebräuche aus Tirol (Innsbruck, 1859); I. V. Zingerle and K. Th. von Inama-Sternegg, Die tirolischen Weisthümer (4 vols., Vienna, 1875–1888).  (W. A. B. C.) 

  1. To speak, as is commonly done, of “the Tirol” is as absurd as speaking of “the England.” As regards the English spelling of the name adopted throughout the Ency. Brit., it should, however, be stated that the writer of this article regards “Tyrol” as more correct.—(Ed.)