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First posted on July 27th 2008

The administrative reform of 1754 divided the trritory of Tyrol in 6 circles (Kreise) : Welfische Confinen, Oberinntal, Unterinntal and Wipptal, Pustertal, Viertel on Etsch and Eisack, Burggrafenamt and Vinschgau.
The borders of circles shown on the map on the left are an approximation.
In 1783, the Burggrafenamt and Vinschgau were annexed into the Viertel on Etsch and Eisack (seat Bozen), and the latter was renamed Kreis an der Etsch
Secularization; the Princebishoprics of Brixen (Bressanone), Trient (Trento), the County of Werdenfels and parts of the Princearchbishopric of Salzburg (Matrei) were annexed into Tyrol.
In 1805 Austria ceded Tyrol to Bavaria; Tyrol was now divided in three circles - Innkreis, Eisackkreis, Etschkreis.
In 1814 Tyrol (without the Werdenfelser Land) was restored to Austrian rule. Vorarlberg, while not strictly part of Tyrol, was administrated as an attachment to Tyrol. The division into six circles (Welfische Confinen, Oberinntal, Unterinntal, Pustertal, Kreis an der Etsch, Trient) was reintroduced.
In 1849 an administrative reform reduced the number of circles to three - Innsbruck, Brixen, Trient.
In 1861 Vorarlberg was administratively separated from Tyrol.
In 1868 the circles were abolished, replaced by 21 districts.
In the Treaty of St. Germain 1919 Austria was compelled to cede Southern Tyrol and the Trentino to Italy. The Italian administration introduced the term Alto Adige for the German-speaking region of Southern Tyrol (a major reason for annexation of the area was Italian control of strategic Alpine passes).
In 1946 the Austrian government had approached the Allies in an attempt to renegotiate the Tyrolean border, arguing that the population of Southern Tyrol (Alto Adige) was majority German-speaking and Austrian-feeling. The Italian government forestalled any further progress of these negotiations by merging the provnces of Trentino and Alto Adige; the new province of Trentino-Alto Adige had an Italian-speaking population majority.
In a Europe where national borders lose in importance, the formation of cross-national cultural / economic regions is encouraged. Administrations in both Austrian and Italian Tyrol utilize this opportunity; they propagate a view of Tyrol which includes the traditionally German speaking regions of Northern, Eastern and Southern Tyrol, but leave out the Italian-speaking Trentino.
See Tirol Atlas (Univ. Innsbruck)

Behörden der Staatlichen Verwaltung und Justiz bis 1919 (Offices of State Administration and Justice until 1919), from Archivio di Stato di Bolzano
Historical Map of Tyrol 1766, by Thomas Höckmann
Tirol Atlas
Map : Tirol unter Bayerischer Herrschaft 1809, from Wikipedia
REFERENCE Putzger / Bruckmüller, Historischer Weltatlas zur allgemeinen und österreichischen Geschichte (Historical World Atlas, on General and Austrian History), Wien : öbv (1998) 2000

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