This article is about Tyrol, the shire. For other meanings, see Tyrol (disambiguation).
The Tyrol is a historical region in Western Central Europe, which includes the Austrian state of Tyrol (consisting of North Tyrol and East Tyrol) and the Italian regions known as South Tyrol and Trentino.
Middle ages and early modern era
The Tyrol, originally the southern part of the Duchy of Bavaria during the early middle ages, consisted largely of ecclesiastical holdings of the Bishops of Brixen and Trento. Over the centuries, the Counts residing in Castle Tyrol , near Meran, extended their territory over much of the region and came to surpass the power of the bishops, who were nominally their feudal lords, and later came to hold much of their territory directly from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Meinhardinger family, originating in Gorizia, held not only Tyrol and Gorizia, but for a time also the Duchy of Carinthia.
Tyrol's independence came to an end in 1363, when countess Margarete Maultasch - lacking any descendants to succeed her - bequeathed it to the Austrian monarch, Duke Rudolf IV of Habsburg. From that time onwards, Tyrol was ruled by various lines of the Habsburg family, who held the title of the Count of Tyrol (see List of rulers of Austria).
Napoleonic Wars and 19th century
Following heavy defeat against Napoleon, Austria was forced cede the Tyrol to Bavaria in 1805. In 1809 the Tyroleans who are known to be an obstinate and proud people, rose up against the Bavarian authority and succeeded two times in defeating Bavarian and French troops trying to retake the county. Often glorified as national hero, Andreas Hofer, the leader of the uprising, was executed in 1810 in Mantova having finally lost a third battle against the French and Bavarian forces. The Tyrol remained under Bavarian and partial Italian authority for another four years before being reunified and returned to Austria following the decisions at the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and was integrated into the Austrian Empire. From 1867 ownards, it was a Kronland of Cisleithania, the western half of Austria-Hungary
World War I and its aftermath
In the final days of World War I, Austrian-Hungarian troops defending the Tyrol's borders were misinformed about the date of the final ceasefire, which lead to them dropping their weapons one day too early. (Coindicidentally, this is still celebrated as the victory in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in Italy, even though the Austrian side had already stopped fighting.)
This blunder not only allowed Italian troops to take large portions of the Austrian army as prisoners, but also to overrun the Austrian positions and occupy Tyrol. The Treaty of Saint-Germain then ruled that the southern part of Tyrol had to be ceded to Italy. That included not only the largely Italian speaking area today known as Trentino (then often called Welschtirol in German), but also the territory now known as South Tyrol, although it harbored only a 3%-minority of Italians.
The northern part, consisting of the geographically separate regions of Northern Tyrol and Eastern Tyrol, is today one of nine federal states of the Federal Republic of Austria called Tyrol (consisting of North Tyrol and East Tyrol), while South Tyrol today constitutes the Italian province of Bozen-Bolzano.