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Suchenwirt, Peter - Sulzer, Balduin (14/25)
Südsteiermark Südtirol-Abkommen

Südtirol, "Alto Adige"

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South Tyrol: Tirol Castle near Merano.

South Tyrol (also South Tirol), Italian: "Alto Adige", from 1948 to 1972 the official German name was "Tiroler Etschland"; denotes the part of the Tyrol south of the Brenner Pass, which formerly belonged to Austria; since 1919 part of Italy; 7,400 km2, pop. 422,900 (1991). The majority of the population in the larger cities (Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone) is Italian; the rural population largely consists of native-speakers of German (1991: 68 % German-speaking, 27,6 % Italian-speaking, 4,4 % Ladin-speaking). The economy is dominated by tourism (24.8 million overnight stays, million 3.9 visitors, half of them from Germany).

The South Tyrol boasts an old and rich culture. The oldest secular frescoes in German-speaking countries can be seen in the St. Prokulus church (Naturns/Naturno). The murals, discovered in 1972/73, in Rodeneck Castle are considered to be the oldest secular frescoes in Europe. Aribo from Obermais near Merano wrote the oldest book on the German language around 770. A copy of the Nibelungenlied was found in Obermontani Castle in the Vinschgau (Val Venosta) region; Hans Ried of Bozen (Bolzano) wrote the only surviving manuscript of the Gudrunlied. Walther von der Vogelweide almost certainly came from Lajen (Laion) in the Eisack (Isarco) valley as did Oswald von Wolkenstein. M. Pacher, P. Troger and J. P. Fallmerayer also came from the South Tyrol. Two of the most important modern artists are P. Flora and K. Plattner. The Gothic cloister of Bressanone (Brixen) is decorated with the most important example of Alpine mural paintings. The South Tyrol has more than 130 fortresses and castles and a relatively large number of towns that were established early on in its history (Meran/Merano, Sterzing/Vipiteno, Klausen/Chiusa).

In 1920 "Der Schlern", a magazine devoted to issues of local history and culture, was founded. The South Tyrol cultural institute in Bolzano, established in 1954, arranges annual exhibitions, authors´ readings, conferences on local culture and education and guest performances by foreign theatres and orchestras.

The Ladins live in the 4 Dolomite valleys of Val Badia (Gadertal), Val Gardena (Grödner Tal), Val d´Avisio (Fassatal), and Valle d´Ampezzo (Ampezzotal)-Buchenstein and are divided among the 3 provinces of Bolzano, Trento and Belluno.

Since 1945 German-language and Italian-German-Ladin language education has existed side by side with Italian schools.

History: Until 1919 the South Tyrol was an important part of the Tyrol. Contrary to Wilson´s Fourteen Points and the desire of the population, the Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 not only attached the Italian-speaking Trentino to Italy, but also the German-speaking South Tyrol from Salurn (Salorno) to the Brenner/Brennero Pass. The Italianisation of the region was started almost immediately (mainly on the initiative of E. Tolomei from Trentino), beginning with place names, schools, etc. and was advanced even more after Mussolini came to power (1922): local municipal administration authorities were abolished, Italian mayors were appointed, German-language schools and German-language private tuition were banned, the use of the German language in public offices and in public life was forbidden, family names were Italianised and local ethnic groups were ousted from public office. Italian immigration was encouraged to advance Italianisation, the number of Italians rose quickly, especially in the towns. In 1939 Hitler signed an agreement with Mussolini on the resettlement of the South Tyrol population. Following Italian coercive measures and German propaganda, 213,000 South Tyroleans (86 % of the German- and Ladin-speaking population) opted for German nationality. By 1943 70,000 South Tyroleans, mainly salaried employees from the towns and villages in the valleys, had emigrated. In September 1943 the South Tyrol and its neighbouring Italian provinces were occupied by German troops.

After the end of the war, in May 1945, the South Tyrolean People´s Party was founded in Bolzano; it demanded the right of self-determination for the region. 156,628 South Tyroleans (practically the whole adult native population) signed a petition calling for the return to Austria. This demand was presented by Austria at the Paris peace conference, but rejected by the Allies in 1946. The Paris Agreement between Austria and Italy was signed and adopted as an amendment to the Italian peace treaty of 1947. The agreement, and the issue of autonomy in particular, was only marginally observed; the South Tyrol was united under the Statute of Autonomy of 1948 with the Italian-speaking Trentino to form one region in which the Italians had a 5 : 2 majority. At the same time parts of the Trento province which belonged to the German-speaking region came to the Bolzano province, as well as the "Unterland" south of Bozen/Bolzano, the 4 German-speaking municipalities in the upper Nonsberg region and the 2 German-speaking municipalities in the Fleimstal/Val di Fiemma valley. Within the region, the provinces of Bolzano and Trento have been granted autonomy, i.e. they have their own regional governments, diets and power of legislation. The issue of optants (Italian or German nationality) was settled satisfactorily; the provisions of the Paris Treaty relating to the German-language school system, which had been reintroduced in 1945 by the allied powers, were fulfilled. But problems remained with language, public administration, allocation of council flats, appointments to office and, above all, in the autonomy issue, and despite Austria´s numerous diplomatic interventions, complaints were long ignored by the Italian government. Negotiations on compliance with the Paris Treaty continued for a long time, radical South Tyrol activists carried out bomb attacks. On November 22, 1969 the assembly of the South Tyrol People´s Party finally adopted the negotiation results (South Tyrol Package) with a narrow majority. From then on South Tyrolean representatives tried hard to put the concessions made by the Italian government into practice. When the provincial assembly of the South Tyrolean People´s Party (SVP) approved the implementation of the South Tyrol Package on May 30, 1992 and Austria officially declared before the United Nations on June 11, 1992 that the dispute with Italy had been settled, the South Tyrol negotiations had reached their formal conclusion.

The expansion of South Tyrol´s autonomy enabled its further development in the economic and cultural fields. Important facilities were established, such as museums and libraries, music courses were organised and a radio station was set up through which the population was given access to emissions from the German-language countries etc. Academic training and the training of skilled workers was improved. All these changes also effected the migration of the population.

The German-speakers and the Ladins in the South Tyrol are represented in the Italian parliament (election of 1994) by 3 delegates and 3 senators (SVP), the Italian-speakers by one senator (neo-Fascists = MSI/DN); 3 politicians from the Bolzano province (SVP, Verdi/Greens, MSI/DN) have seats in the European Parliament. In the South Tyrolean provincial diet (election of 1993) the SVP holds 19 seats and the neo-Fascists have 4, the Verdi/Green, the Liberals, the Union for South Tyrol and the Partito Popolare hold 2 seats each, the Lega Nord, the Partito Democratico della Sinistra, the Ladins and the Unione Centro 1 seat each. The neo-Fascists are by far the strongest Italian political party in the South Tyrol. The South Tyrol provincial government is made up of the provincial governor and 10 provincial councillors. The provincial governor comes from the SVP (1948-55 K. Erckert, 1956-60 A. Pupp, 1960-89 S. Magnago, since 1989 L. Durnwalder).

Developments in the ecclesiastical structure of the South Tyrol: until 1964 the northern part of the South Tyrol up to Klausen/Chiusa and the Obervinschgau upper part of Val Venosta and the area around Ampezzo-Buchenstein formed the diocese of Bressanone, to which the largest part of northern Tyrol and Vorarlberg had belonged until 1925, while the lower Eisack/Isarco Valley and the Etsch/Adige Valley, with the cities of Bolzano and Merano, belonged to the diocese of Trento. In 1964 the German-speaking deaneries of the bishopric of Trento were merged with the diocese of Bressanone to form a single diocese ("Diocese Bolzano-Bressanone"). The boundaries of the dioceses now correspond to the provincial borders.

Literature: Südtirol in Not und Bewährung, ed. by A. Ebner 1955; J. Kögl, Der Bozner Anteil der Kirche des heiligen Vigilius im Spiegelbild der Zahlen, 1956; A. Leidlmaier, Bevölkerung und Wirtschaft in Südtirol, 1958; W. and E. Frodl, Kunst in Südtirol, 1960; Südtirol, Eine Frage des europäschen Gewissens, ed. by F. Huter, 1965; M. Forcher, Ti. Geschichte in Wort und Bild, 21984; K. Stuhlpfarrer, Umsiedlung Südtirols, 2 vols., 1985; J. Gelmi, Kirchengeschichte Ti., 1986; J. Fontana et al., Geschichte des Landes Tirol, 4 vols., 1985ff.; W. Freiberg, Südtirol und der italienische Nationalismus, 2 vols., 1989f.; E. Baumgartner, H. Mayr and G. Mumelter, Feuernacht, 21992; Südtirol-Handbuch, 131994.

Population of South Tirol / Alto Adige
Ladinians Others
1910 223,913 7,339 9,429 10,770
1921 193,271 27,048 9,910 24,506
1961 232,717 128,271 12,594 281
1971 260,351 137,759 15,456 475
1981 279,544 123,695 17,736 9,593
1991 287,503 116,914 18,434 17,657

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