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The Duchy of Carinthia ( ; ) was a duchy located in southern Austriamarker and parts of northern Sloveniamarker. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire from 976 until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806, and a crownland of Austria-Hungary until its dissolution in 1918. By the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain the main area of the duchy formed the Austrian state of Carinthiamarker, a small southeastern part (about half of the present region of Slovene Carinthia and the Municipality of Jezerskomarker) was included into the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker, while the Canale Valley with the municipality of Tarvisiomarker was ceded to the Kingdom of Italy.

Carantania and medieval dynasties

In the 7th century the area was part of the Slavic principality of Carantania and later of the empire of Charlemagne from 788 to 843, when it became part of the eastern Frankish kingdom of King Louis the German. From 889 to 976 it was the Carinthian March of Bavaria, but Count Berthold was already raised to the status of a duke by King Henry I of Germany. After Berthold became Duke of Bavaria in 938 both territories were ruled by one duke.

In 976 Emperor Otto II deposed Duke Henry II. "the Quarreller" of Bavaria, and by creating a sixth duchy in his empire, the new Duchy of Carinthia, split the latter's lands investing Henry the Younger as duke for the Duchy of Carinthia and Otto I of Swabia for the Duchy of Bavaria. In 995, Adalbero I of Eppenstein became margrave and in 1012 Duke of Carinthia. He was removed from office in 1035. In 1077, the duchy was given to Luitpold, another member of the Eppensteinmarker family, which, however, ended with the death of Henry III of Carinthia in 1122. At that time, the duchy was considerably reduced in area: a large part of what is today Upper Styria passed to Ottokar II of Styria. The remainder of Carinthia passed from the last Eppenstein duke, Henry III of Carinthia, to his godchild Henry of the Spanheim family, who as Henry IV. ruled from 1122 to his early death the following year. The most outstanding of the Spanheim dukes was Bernhard, the first Carinthian duke who was actually described and honoured in documents as "prince of the land". The last Spanheim duke was Ulrich III, who chose Ottokar II of Bohemia as his heir. The last Spanheim, Philipp, who was Archbishop of Salzburg, attempted to become duke but did not prevail against Ottokar in spite of being supported by Rudolf of Habsburg. He died in 1279.


Rudolf, after defeating Ottokar and becoming King of Germany, gave Carinthia to Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol. In 1335, after the death of Henry, the last male of this line, Emperor Louis the Bavarian gave Carinthia and the southern part of the Tyrol as an imperial fief on May 2, 1335 in Linzmarker to the Habsburg family who ruled it until 1918. As the other component parts of the Habsburg monarchy, Carinthia remained a semi-autonomous state with its own constitutional structure for a long time. The Habsburgs divided up their territories within the family twice, in the 1379 Treaty of Neuberg and again in 1564. Each time, the Duchy of Carinthia became part of Inner Austria and was ruled jointly with Styria and Carniola.

Maria Theresa of Austria and Joseph II attempted to create a more unitary Habsburg state, and in 1804, Carinthia was integrated into the Austrian Empiremarker. In 1867, it became a Kronland of Cisleithania, the western part of Austria-Hungary. See History of Austria.

Over the centuries, German, which carried more prestige, expanded at the expense of Slovene, but the fact that in the 16th century the Estates of Carinthia could still point out that Carinthia was "a Windic Archduchy", i.e. a sovereign Slovene principality, shows that the Carinthian people were aware of their ancient and pre-German roots.

20th century

Following the end of the First World War and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the Treaty of Saint-Germain stipulated the Carinthian Canale Valley from Tarvisiomarker south as far as Pontebbamarker go to Italymarker and that the Slovene-speaking areas of the Meža Valley, the Drava Valley area around Unterdrauburgmarker,which was afterwards renamed Dravogradmarker, and the Jezersko area be ceded to the new SHS-State. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker, however, was not satisfied with these parts of the former duchy and also occupied land north of the Karawanken mountain range, including the capital city of Klagenfurt. The Entente powers decided on a two-stage referendum, of which the first stage, the Carinthian Plebiscitemarker was held on October 10, 1920 to determine the fate of Carinthia. The outcome in favour of Austria did not change the borders as decided upon in the Treaty of Saint-Germain.

The Austrian part of Carinthiamarker ( ) is now a federal state of Austria, the area that was ceded to Italy is now part of the Italian province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, and most of the area that had gone to Yugoslavia now forms part of the region of Carinthia in Slovenia.

Dukes of Carinthia

Various dynasties

Luitpolding House

Salian House

Luitpolding House

Liudolfing House

Salian House
  • Otto I (1002-1004), again
  • Conrad I (1004-1011)

House of Eppensteinmarker

Salian House

Elder House of Welf

House of Ezzonen

House of Zähringen

House of Eppensteinmarker

House of Spanheim

  • Henry IV (1122-1123 )
  • Engelbert (1123-1134)
  • Ulrich I (1134-1144)
  • Henry V (1144-1161)
  • Herman II (1161-1181)
  • Ulrich II (1181-1201)
  • Bernhard (regent from 1199, duke 1202-1256)
  • Ulrich III (1256-1269)

Various dynasties


House of Habsburg


House of Habsburg

Leopoldinian Line

Habsburg territories reunified in 1458

Inner Austrian Habsburgs

Carinthia was unified with the rest of the Habsburg territories again in 1619.See List of rulers of Austria

Notes and References

See also

External links

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