Department of Alto Adige

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Department of Alto Adige
Dipartimento dell'Alto Adige
Department of Kingdom of Italy
1810–1814
Location of Alto Adige
French map of Napoleonic Italy. The Department of Alto Adige (Haut-Adige) is located in the north.
Capital Trento
History
 •  Established 1810
 •  Disestablished 1814

The Department of Alto Adige (Italian: Dipartimento dell'Alto Adige, French: département du Haut-Adige) was a department of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy. It was named after the river Adige (Etsch), which flowed through it. The capital of the department was Trento.

The department's territory was not the same as that of the modern Italian province of Alto Adige. Some of the territory is the same, such as the city of Bolzano, but most of the rest is now part of the province of Trento. These two provinces form the region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.

History[change | change source]

"Alto Adige" in history: in red during the Cisalpine Republic, in green during the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, and in blue today

The name "Alto Adige" was created in the late 18th century by Napoleon Bonaparte, when he occupied the territory of northern Italy near the Alps. This was the name of the French administrative division known as the "Department of Alto Adige" (Dipartimento dell'Alto Adige), created during Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy in 1810. It was officially named Haut Adige to get rid of relation to the historic "County of Tyrol" of Austria.[1] The District of Alto Adige was created by Napoleon as part of the Dipartamento del Benaco in his Cisalpine Republic, and was near Verona.[2][3] This Benaco department, created in 1797, was gotten rid of in 1798 as a result of administrative changes to the Cisalpine Republic.

Some years later, Napoleon created the Department of Alto Adige further north. This department was a part of the Kingdom of Italy from 1810 to 1814.[4] It was created with the division of the Austrian Tyrol between French Bavaria and the Kingdom of Italy, and included the southern part of Tyrol with the city of Bolzano with surroundings (along with the Trentino). The boundaries were made by Austrian and German commissioners, who said that a territory would belong to the Kingdom of Italy if it is inhabited by Italians.[5]

The department was ended after the defeat of Napoleon in 1814. Its territory is now divided between the Italian provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol.

The name Alto Adige was reused. Today it is the Italian name of the part of Tyrol south of the Brenner Pass. Ettore Tolomei[6] made it official in Italy after World War I.

References[change | change source]

  1. Rolf Steininger, Department of Contemporary History. University of Innsbruck
  2. Cisalpine Republic (1797). Raccolta delle leggi, proclami, ordini ed avvisi, Vol 4 (in Italian). Milan: Luigi Viladini. p. 201.
  3. Cisalpine Republic (1798). Raccolta delle leggi, proclami, ordini ed avvisi, Vol 5 (in Italian). Milan: Luigi Viladini. p. 184.
  4. Cfr. Reinhard Stauber, Der Zentralstaat an seinen Grenzen. Administrative Integration, Herrschaftswechsel und politische Kultur im südlichen Alpenraum 1750-1820, Göttingen 2001, pp. 317ss.
  5. Nuova antologia di scienze, lettere ed arti, Volume 2, 1866, pag. 431
  6. Ettore Tolomei and Alto Adige

More reading[change | change source]

  • Reinhard Stauber, Der Zentralstaat an seinen Grenzen. Administrative Integration, Herrschaftswechsel und politische Kultur im südlichen Alpenraum 1750–1820 (Schriftenreihe der Historischen Kommission der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 64), Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001. ISBN 978-3-525-36057-6

Related pages[change | change source]