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Margraviate of Carniola
Markgrafschaft Krain
Stara Kranjska
Arms-Carniola
1054 - 1364 (1590)

Capital
Circle
Bench
Ljubljana
none
none
Established 1054
Raised to Duchy 1364 (1590)

The Margraviate of Carniola was an Imperial Estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Traditionally, the margraviate was bordered by Carinthia and Styria to the north, Croatia and Slavonia to the east, Istria and Dalmatia to the south, and Friuli, Gorizia, Udine and Gradisca to the west. Prior to the creation of the separate margraviate, Carniola was part of the Margraviate of Carinthia.

The Holy Roman Emperor Henry II the Black created Carniola as a separate territory in 1054 as a fief of the Duchy of Carinthia. In 1071 the Margraviate was transferred by King Henry IV to the powerful Patriarchate of Aquileia, and after the extinction of the line of margraves with the death of Poppo III in 1108 the patriarchs took over the governing of the territory. The patriarchs partitioned the territory between several powerful fiefs, the most prominent of which were Meran, Gorizia, Babenberg and Cilli. Patriarch Berthold of Meran gave the fief to Frederick the Warlike with royal consent in 1245.

Frederick died the following year and he Carniola was given to Duke Ulrich III of Carinthia, a cousin of the patriarch. Ulrich developed Carniola, endowed many lands to the church, and established a mint at Kostanjevica. He willed his lands to King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1268. Ottokar became embroiled in a dispute with Rudolph of Habsburg over the election of the German kingship. Rudolph and the Reichstag demanded he cede all lands to him acquired after the death of the Emperor Frederick II Stupor Mundi (in 1250), which would have included Carinthia and Carniola. Ottokar refused, but was eventually defeated in 1276 and was forced to cede the lands.

Rudolph gave Carniola to his sons Albert and Rudolph in 1282 after a meeting in Augsburg, but instead Carniola was leased to Count Meinhard II of the Tyrol. Carniola remained in the Meinharding Dynasty until Count Henry died in 1335, and after King John the Blind of Bohemia renounced his rights of inheritance, Dukes Otto and Albert II the Wise gained Carniola despite an agreement Henry had made with King Louis IV of Upper Bavaria where his daughters would inherit his lands. Rudolph IV the Founder of Austria declared Carniola a Duchy in 1364, although like his claiming of the title of "Archduke of Austria", it was not confirmed until his descendants confirmed the title later in 1590. Carniola itself retained its Slovene culture unlike neighbouring Carinthia which adopted German culture. Carniola was often in rebellion against the Habsburgs from the 15th Century onwards. The most significant was the Croatian and Slovenian peasant revolt of 1573. The Carniolans also adopted Lutheranism although the Emperor Ferdinand I stamped it out.

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