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South Tyrol, Tirol
(also Tyrol), a historical region of Europe, situated in the Alps. In antiquity, the region was inhabited by the Rhaetians and Illyrians. Circa 15 B.C., Tirol was conquered by the Romans, and most of it was made part of the province of Rhaetia. The western part of Tirol was occupied by the Alamanni in the fourth and fifth centuries, the northern part by the Baiuwarii in the sixth century, and the southern part by the Lombards. From the 11th to 13th centuries, a number of feudal domains, including the bishoprics of Trent and Brixen and the county of Tirol, existed in Tirol when the region was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Meinhard II, who ruled as count of Tirol from 1258 to 1295, united Tirol, Gorizia, and Carinthia under his rule and received the title of duke of Carinthia.
In 1363 the county of Tirol was taken by the Hapsburgs.
Livestock raising played a large role in the economy of Tirol, and between the 15th and 17th centuries mining was introduced, particularly of silver, copper, and mercury. An important trade route connecting Germany and Italy ran through the Brenner Pass. The peasants, a considerable number of whom retained their personal freedom, had their own representatives in the Landtag, which met at Innsbruck. The Tirolean peasants and miners, led by M. Gaismair, fought in the Great Peasant War of 1524–26. The Reformation movement in Tirol was crushed by the Hapsburgs in the second half of the 16th century.
The attempt of Bavaria to seize Tirol during the War of the Spanish Succession led to an anti-Bavarian revolt by Tirolean peasants in 1703. In 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars, Tirol was annexed to Bavaria, an ally of Napoleonic France. In 1809 a revolt against the Franco-Bavarian occupation led by A. Hofer was put down, and Tirol was divided among Bavaria, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Illyrian provinces. Tirol was restored to the Haps-burg Empire by the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) and, together with the bishoprics of Trent and Brixen, which had been secularized in 1803, it formed the crown Land of Tirol.
The Catholic clergy and clerical circles exercised a strong influence in Tirol. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, irredentism became widespread in the southern part of Tirol, where Italians predominate.
In accordance with the Treaty of St. Germain (1919), Tirol was divided between Austria and Italy. The territory north of Brenner went to the Republic of Austria, becoming the Land of Tirol, and the largely Italian territory south of Brenner was given to Italy, becoming the semiautonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adigein 1948.
(also Tyrol), a Land in western Austria, situated in the Alps. Population, 540,000 (1971). Tirol covers an area of 12,600 sq km. The capital is Innsbruck. High montane alpine relief with numerous glaciers and névés predominates in the south, where the maximum elevation is 3,774 m, at the Wildspitze. Elevations decrease in the north, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 m. The chief river is the Inn.
There is mining of salt (north of Solbad Hall) and magnesite (Hochfilzen) in Tirol, and timber is worked. Nonferrous metallurgy is also important, notably copper smelting in Brixlegg. Tirol also has enterprises of the machine-building, metalworking, chemical, woodworking, garment, textile, and food-processing industries. Construction materials are also produced. Innsbruck is the chief industrial center. A hydroelectric power plant supplies electric energy to the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy. Cattle are raised for milk and meat, and sheep and swine are also bred. Rye, potatoes, and barley are grown in the valleys. The main transportation link with Italy is the Brenner Pass. Tirol is a center for mountain climbing, hiking, and winter sports. Many inhabitants are employed in the service sphere.