Introduction of Tyrol
Federal state of W Austria, between Bavaria and the Trentino–Alto Adige region, N Italy. Its capital is Innsbruck. The South Tyrol is now part of Italy. A mountainous region, it has a strategic position guarding both sides of the Brenner Pass. Once inhabited by Rhaetic tribes, it fell to Rome in 15 b.c. and was conquered by Teutonic tribes at the end of the Roman Empire and by the Franks. From the 11th to the 19th centuries, large areas of the South Tyrol were ruled by the bishops of Trent and of Brixen.
The North Tyrol passed to the Hapsburgs in 1363, and both regions were united under Austria in 1801. Napoleon passed the Tyrol to Bavaria in 1805, but in 1809 Andreas Hofer led the Tyrolians against both the French and the Bavarians. The area was returned to Austria in 1815 but was divided again by the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which gave the southern part to Italy. Under Benito Mussolini’s regime the German-speaking South Tyrol was subjected to a rigorous program of Italianization. Today the rights of the German-speaking inhabitants of the South Tyrol are guaranteed by the Italian constitution.