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Birth of the County of Tyro

Castle Tyrol was the seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the region its name

Margaret, Countess of Tyrol

Over the centuries, the Counts residing in Tirol Castle, near Merano, extended their territory over the region. Later counts would 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 the Duchy of Carinthia. At the end of count Meinhard II's rule (1259–1295) the "county and reign of Tyrol" had established itself firmly in the "Land on the Adige and Inn", as the region was then called. This happened on the expense of the power of the bishops, who were nominally the feudal lords of the counts of Tyrol. Meinhard II also introduced more efficient systems for the administration of his territories.

Margarete "Maultasch" was the last effective ruler of Tyrol from the Meinhardinger Dynasty. In 1330 she was married to John-Henry (who later became the margrave of Moravia), who she repudiated with the help of the Tyrolean aristocracy in order to marry Duke Ludwig V of Bavaria, a member of the powerful Wittelsbach dynasty. This weakened the position of the countess and strengthened the local nobility. The only son of Margarete and Louis, Meinhard, died in 1363, two years after his father, leaving the countess without an heir.

Margarete Maultasch decided to bequeath Tyrol to Duke Rudolph IV of the House of Habsburg, probably pressed by the aristocracy, an act which caused a conflict between Meinhard's uncle Stephen II, who forged an alliance with the powerful Lord of Milan Bernabò Visconti to invade Tyrol, and the House of Habsburg. Stephen finally renounced Tyrol to the Habsburgs with the Peace of Schärding for a huge financial compensation after the death of Margarete Maultasch in 1369. The red eagle in Tyrol's coat of arms derives from the red Brandenburg eagle, dating from the time when Louis V and Margarete Maultasch governed Brandenburg as well


Habsburg rule

The acquisition of Tyrol was strategically important to the Habsburg dynasty, since it allowed it to connect their Austrian territories with their territorial possessions in the area of today's Switzerland. From that time, Tyrol was ruled by various lines of the Habsburg family, who bore the title Count. Tyrol repeatedly became involved in the political and military conflicts of the Habsburgs with Milan, Venice, Switzerland and the County of Gorizia, as well as Bavaria and Swabia.

The Battle of Sempach in 1386, in which Duke Leopold III of Austria,was defeated by the Old Swiss Confederacy had important repercussions on Tyrol, and was the first of a series of military conflicts between the county and its neighbours. The 1405-1408 war against the Swiss Appenzeller, 1413 the conflict with Venice and 1410 the invasion of the lower Inn valley by the Bavarians. In 1423, during the rule of Frederick IV "Empty Pockets", the first meeting that could be called a Tyrolean Parliament met. It consisted of aristocrats, bourgeois and even peasant representatives. During Frederick IV's tenure internal conflicts between the powerful local aristocracy and the duke arose, which eventually led to the decline of the nobles and of their traditional system of values, and strengthened the duke's rule over the country. This enabled Sigismund "Rich in Coin" to continue his father's rule to the end of the 15th century and lead the county into the modern era.

Sigismund's opulent lifestyle and the misfortunes of war with Venice bled the treasury, leading to his decision to mortgage the Tyrolean silver mines. By1490, Sigismund became so unpopular that he was forced to abdicate in favor of his more prosperous cousin, Maximilian, King of the Germans. Three years after the succession, Maximilian became Holy Roman Emperor, making his preferred residence, Innsbruck, the imperial capital.


Napoleonic Wars

Andreas Hofer led the Tyrolean Rebellion 1809 against the invading Napoleon I

Following defeat by Napoleon in 1805, Austria was forced to cede Tyrol to the Kingdom of Bavaria in the Peace of Pressburg.


In 1806, delegates from Tyrol travelled to Vienna to make plans for an insurrection of the Tyrolean people. Among them was the later leader of the insurgents, Andreas Hofer. The insurrection began on 9 April  1809 in Innsbruck. On 12 April 1809 Innsbruck was freed by the Tyrolean "Landsturm" commanded by captain Martin Teimer in the battle later known as theFirst battle of the Bergisel. One day later a military unit of 8000 men consisting of Bavarian and French Troops approached Innsbruck from the Brenner Pass, but was convinced to surrender by captain Teimer, who dressed up as a Major of the regular Austrian army and made the Bavarian officers believe that the Austrian army was approaching Innsbruck, when in fact it was still about 40 miles away. In order to convalidate the capitulation agreement, Teimer was subsequently appointed Major of the Austrian army. Throughout Tyrol, the Bavarian troops were killed or driven out. The Tyroleans fought mainly as skirmishing sharpshooters, taking advantage of the mountainous nature of the land. They were highly mobile and made use of artificial avalanches to combat their enemies. Following the defeat of the Austrian Army on the Bavarian front, Napoleon dispatched Charles Lefebvre to Tyrol, and by 19 May Innsbruck had been seized again and the rebellion seemed quelled.

Following the Treaty of Schönbrunn Tyrol was again ceded to Bavaria by the Austrian Emperor. On 21 October Bavarian, French and Italian troops under the command of the Duke Drouet d’Erlon poured into Tyrol, forcing the Tyroleans to retreat to the Bergisel again. On 5 January 1810 the leader of the Tyroleans, Andreas Hofer was betrayed and denounced to the authorities.Napoleon learnt of the capture at the start of February and ordered Hofer to be tried and executed. This order was acted upon soon and Hofer died at the dungeon of the fortress of Mantua on 20 February 1810.


Crownland of Tyrol

Tyrol remained divided under Bavarian and Italian authority for another four years, before its reunification and return to Austria following the decisions at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. Integrated into the Austrian Empire, from 1867 onwards, it was a Kronland (Crown Land) of Cisleithania, the western half of Austria-Hungary.




Counts of Tirol


Albrecht IV


1190-1200 Heraldic seal: Eagle [1]


1211-1217 Heraldic seal: Eagle.:


1220-1253 Heraldic seal: Eagle


House of Gorizia


Albrecht of Goriza and Tyrol



1261-1269 Heraldic seal: Eagle



1266-1271  Equestrian seal with the eldest  arms of Tirol:  Eagle.:


Meinhard II




Equestrian seal of Meinhard II 1259

(Österreichische Nationalbibliothek)


Arms: Per bend: the sinister chif Azure, a lion Or; the dexter base bendy of six Argent and Gules

Crest: Gorizia

L.: X s •  meinhardi • comitis • goricie    &    tirolis    advocati    aqil    brix    n  trideti. (Turul p. 83)


1271-1295 Coin: R°: Square cross and cross Saltire; V°: Eagle


Albert  II


Equestrian Seal: Rider on horseback. 1295


Arms Goriza: Per bend: the sinister chif Azure, a lion Or; the dexter base bendy of six Argent and Gules

Crest: Gorizia

Caption.:  s    alberti    com    gor et tirol    aquil    brixn    trid advoca (Turul p. 83)


Otto of Carinthia, Tirol and Gorizia





Equestrian seal: Arms: 1. Carinthia, 2. Tirol. L.:


Arms of Carinthia: Per pale the dexter Or, three lions passant Sable; the sinister Gules a fesse Argent


Louis of Carinthia, Tirol and Gorizia



1296-1305: Heraldic seal: Arms: Tirol


 Henry of Carinthia, Tirol and Gorizia

* 1270 - †1335

Duke of Carinthia 1295-1335

Count ofTirol 1295-1335

¥ Anna, dau of Wenceslas II, 1307

King of Bohemia 1307-1310


1330 ca Fresco in Tirol . Castle (Hye Farbtafel I.)


Arms: Argent, an eagle Gules.

Crest: A pair of wings Sable mounted of a bend with pending lime leaves Or.


John Albert


Son of Albert II


Seal with caption: s    iohannis    comitis goricie et tirolis


Margarethe Maultasch


¥ Charles of Luxemburg  1335-1342

¥ Meinhard V of Wittelsbach 1342-1363


Arms of Tirol, Wittelsbach and Carinthia


House of Austria (1363 - 1780)


Rudolf IV



The Archducal Hat


Tyrol became part of Austria in 1363 under Duke Rudolf IV the founder. He invented the Austrian archducal hat. The basis was the “Kurhut” of the seven electors who elected the German king.


Erzherzogshut in Mariastein in Tirol (Foto: A. Prock)

Tyrolean archducal hat

The Tyrolean Archducal hat was donated by Maximilian III, the German master, for Mariastein Castle near Kufstein in Tyrol, which became a place of pilgrimage in the 18th century. It is part of the Tyrolean state insignia. The naming of this provincial crown does not mean that Tyrol was an archduchy (it was a prince-duchy), but that the ruler of Tyrol as a Habsburg prince bore the title of Archduke of Austria from birth, even if he did not rule in Vienna. The own crown shows the temporarily emancipated special position as sovereign and the trisection of the hereditary lands in Lower Austria, Inner Austria and Upper Austria (Tyrol with Front Austria).

The original ermine surround was lost over time and was replaced by white silk with the tips of the ermine tail painted on it.

The Archducal hat consists of a pointed crown and a cherry-red velvet cap with a round pointed ermine cuff. A hooped crown is set over it. The crown bows are square and set with pearls and rubies, the imperial orb is made of a lenticular sapphire.

The pointed or heathen crown (12 points) is supposed to be an indication of the age of Austria, as such a crown was already used in pagan antiquity. Of course Austria is not that old, but at least the right to claim it should be asserted. The browband set with precious stones is derived from the imperial or imperial crown and is supposed to show the royal claim. The imperial orb is the symbol for the global claim to rule. The cross above it indicates the Christian ruler who rules on behalf of God.

In the course of history there have been many Archduke hats, but only three have survived: Klosterneuburg Abbey near Vienna (foundation of Archduke Maximilian III the German Master, Count of Tyrol), Mariastein near Wörgl (from the time of Archduke Ferdinand II, around 1595) , Graz.


Its design resembles the original archducal hat and depictions on coins of the archdukes Ferdinand I and Ferdinand II of Tyrol.. The ermine has been lost over time and was replaced with silk in ermine pattern. Both the hat and the sceptre were probably made in 1602.

Although Tyrol was a county, the hat is called archducal hat since its ruler Maximilian III (12 October 1558 – 2 November 1618) Born in Wiener Neustadt, Maximilian was the fourth son of the emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain. He was a grandson of Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, daughter and heiress of Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, who himself was the eldest son of Casimir IV of Poland  From the  Jagiellonian Dynasty.was an imperial Habsburg archduke, which is a higher rank than the count of Tyrol. He appears to have considered it unsuitable for his personal use after personal examination of the hat at Innsbruck in 1613. It was given as a votive offering to the church in Mariastein.


Only members of the House of Habsburg held the title of Archduke or Archduchess. The archducal hat is often depicted in portraits of Habsburgs, for example Maria Theresa herself and some of her children and grandchildren in the giant hall of the Innsbruck Hofburg.



After Restoration



Albrecht III



Winged altar of Tirol Castle  (1370-’72)

Right wing: Arms of Tirol and donor Albrecht III kneeling with his wife


Rudolph I


1363 – 1365

Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia and Styria, Margrave of Carniola


Leopold II

1365 – 1386

Duke of Carinthia, Inner Austria and Styria, Margrave of Carniola, Lord of Treviso


Armorial Bellenville fol 24


Leopold III



Seal ofLeopol III, 1377

The crested arms of Austria and Tirol and the arms of  Stiria, Carinthia and Krain



William the Courteous


1386 – 1406

Duke of Carinthia, Inner Austria and Styria, Margrave of Carniola



1395 ca. Arms: Argent an eagle Gules bille and ckawed and  with mounting Or

Crest: A pair of wings Sable decorated with a bend and pending lime-leaves Or. (Przemysl).


From  Brudeschaft von St. Christoph am Arlberg. Wappenbuch

Coats of arms  in the Habsburg castle Rheinfelden (CH)

The arms of Austria and Tirol 1410 ca


Leopold IV



Frederick IV




Arms.: ¼ 1&4: Gules a fesse Argent  (Austria); 2&3: Argent an eagle Gules billled and mounted Or (Tirol).

Crest: A peacock’s tail

L.:  nil.

Bergshammer n°1304.




Archduke 1477


Merano Bozener Tor.

 Fresco of Royal Arms, Austria, Burgundy, Carinthia and Tirol

In base: Merano.



Merano. Bozner Tor 1450

The Bozener Tor (Bozen Gate) dates to the 14th century and is located to the south facing the Sandplatz. It also has a single stone arch with three storeys and a very steep roof. To the outside is a coat of arms carved out of stone, with the coats of arms of Austria, Tyrol and the city. Above that is a fresco with the imperial eagle of the Habsburg dynasty, which is crowned and honoured by the collar of the Order of the  Fleece. To the left and the right of the imperial eagle are further coats of arms, amongst them Tyrol and Austria. It is considered by many to the most beautiful of all town gates.


Foto H.d. V. 2016

Achievement of Tirol, 1470

Arms and crest of Tirol. House of Habsburg (1363 - 1780)

Kelamt, Merano. Painted wood, third quarer 15th century



1489: Alliance of Austria-Tirol with crests, crown and supporters


Equestrian Arm of Tirol 15th century


Maximilian I

1490 - 1519

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Styria

Maximilians Ehrenpforte 1517

By Albrecht Dürer

The knight for Tirol


Ferdinand I

1519 - 1564

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia and  Styria, Margrave of Carniola


Introduction of a crown of laurel on the arms of Tirol


Tiroler Landesordnung 1526

The arms of The King of Germany, Sicilia (Trinacria), Hungay (Arpad), Bohemia, Austria and Tirol




Achievement of Tirol

Two cupids for supporters, a wreath above the shield

Innsbrücker Bürgerbuch 1547



Wooden disk with arms of Tirol crowned with a crown of laurel

Monastery St, Martin in Gnadenwald, 1558


Guldentaler 1567

A wreath above the head


Ferdinand II

1564 - 1595

Doppeltaler 1580

A wreath around the head


Rudolph II

1595 - 1608

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary



1608 - 1612

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary


Maximilian II

1612 - 1618

Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order


Achievement of  Tirol  on the Map of Tirol by Matthias Burgkhlener 1611/1629


Caption: Tirolisch Wappen sambt beider Tirolischer Riesen Haymonis unnd Thursi

The dexter knight with the arms of Austria and a lynx sejant for crest; the sinister knight with arms and crest of a capricorn’s head (for Gotteshausbund (?)).



1618 - 1619

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary


Ferdinand III

1619 - 1620

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia and Carniola



1620 - 1621


Ferdinand III

1621 - 1625

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia and Carniola


Leopold V

1625 - 1632


Ferdinand Charles

1632 - 1662


Sigismund Francis

1662 - 1665

Bishop of Augsburg Gürk and Trent


Leopold VI

1665 – 1705

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola and Styria


Joseph I

1705 - 1711

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola and Styria


Charles (VI)

1711 - 1740

Holy Roman Emperor, King of GermanyBohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of CarinthiaCarniola, Milan, and Styria


Maria Theresia

1740 - 1780

Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Carinthia, Carniola, Milan and Styria




A quarterly of Hungary, Bohemia; Burgundy and Tirol and in nombril point Austria


House of Lorraine-Habsburg (Vaudemont) (1780 - 1918)


Joseph II

1780 - 1790

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of\ Carinthia, Carniola, Milan and Styria

Larger Arms of Joseph II


The arms of Tirol on the eighth field of the central shield


Leopold VII

1790 - 1792

Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola,  Milan and Styria



1792 - 1835

Holy Roman Emperor and Emperor of Austria, King of Germany, Bohemia, Hungary and Lombardy-Venetia, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola, Milan and Styria



1835 - 1848

Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, Hungary and  Lombardy-Venetia, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola and Styria


Francis Joseph

1848 - 1916

Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, Hungary and Lombardy-Venetia, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola and Styria


Otto Hupp, 1894

Arms of Tirol

Crowned with the crown  of Tirol [2]



1916 - 1918

Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia and Hungary, Duke of Carinthia, Carniola and Styria


State of Tyrol in Austria, North Tirol

1918 - 1938


A wreath added


Annexed to Nazi Germany

1938 - 1945


State of Tyrol in Austria

1945 - present


Present Arms (1946)


Present division of Tirol



South Tirol


Provinz Bozen–Südtirol in German, Provincia autonoma di Bolzano–Alto Adige in Italian and Provinzia autonoma de Bulsan–Südtirol in Ladino, reflecting the three main language groups to which its population belongs.


Annexation by Italy

South Tyrol as an administrative entity originated during the First World War. The Allies promised the area to Italy in the Treaty of London of 1915 as an incentive to enter the war on their side. Until 1918 it was part of the Austro-Hungarian princely County of Tyrol, but this almost completely German-speaking territory was occupied by Italy at the end of the war in November 1918 and was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1919. The province as it exists today was created in 1926 after an administrative reorganization of the Kingdom of Italy, and was incorporated together with the province of Trento into the newly created region of Venezia Tridentina ("Trentine Venetia").

With the rise of Italian Fascism, the new regime made efforts to bring forward the Italianization of South Tyrol. The German language was banished from public service, German teaching was officially forbidden, and German newspapers were censored (with the exception of the fascistic Alpenzeitung). The regime also favored immigration from other Italian regions.

In 1943, when the Italian government signed an armistice with the Allies, the region was occupied by Germany, which reorganised it as the Operation Zone of the Alpine Foothills and put it under the administration of Gauleiter Franz Hofer. The region was de facto annexed to Germany (with the addition of the province of Belluno) until the end of the war. This status ended along with the Nazi regime, and Italian rule was restored in 1945.


Nr. 35

Gau:Tirol-Vorarlberg (Reichsgau)

Verwaltungssitz: Innsbruck

Fläche: 13.126 km2

Einwohner (1941): 486.400

Gauleiter (exkl. Stellvertreter): Franz Hofer ab 1932



According to the new Statute of Autonomy (Art. 3), the state of South Tyrol has the right to use its own banner as well as its own coat of arms. The state coat of arms was awarded in 1983, but the banner did not receive the final approval of the responsible state authorities until autumn 1996. At the request of the South Tyrolean provincial government (unanimous decision of October 7, 1996) it was approved by a decree of the President of the Republic on November 22, 1996.

The center of the banner is covered with the state coat of arms. It bears the following inscription in gold: "AUTONOME PROVINZ BOZEN SÜDTIROL" (in the white field), "PROVINCIA AUTONOMA DI BOLZANO ALTO ADIGE" (in the red field) and "PROVINZIA AUTONÒMA DE BULSAN SÜDTIROL" (partly in the white and partly in the red field) .


Trentino Alto Adige


From the 9th century until 1801, the region was part of the Holy Roman Empire. After being part of the short-lived Napoleonic Republic of Italy and Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, the region was part of the Austrian Empire and its successor Austria-Hungary from 1815 until its 1919 transfer to Italy in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye at the end of World War I. Together with the Austrian state of Tyrol it is represented by the Euroregion Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino.



In the coat of arms of the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige is of the two autonomous provinces that form it:

1 in the first and fourth quarter the eagle of St. Wenceslaus, billed and membered with wings loaded with supports with clovers of Or, surrounded by outgoing red flames, It refers to the Autonomous Province of Trento;

2 in the second and third quarter the ancient Tyrolean eagle Gules billed, langued and membered Or and with wings loaded with gold supports. It refers to the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.


The coat of arms, and the flag, came into force in 1983, even if the two symbols represented in it had already been used separately on the two provincial banners for some time.




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 © Hubert de Vries 2021-03-02  




[1] Hye, F.H.: Das Tiroler Landeswappen. Innsbruck 1972

[2] Ströhl, Hugo Gerard: Österreichisch-Ungarische Wappenrolle. Anton Schroll & Co.. Wien, 1900.

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