Illyrian provinces

From Academic Kids

Illyrian Provinces (French Provinces illyriennes) were formed in 1809 when Austria ceded with the Treaty of Schoenbrunn its lands Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia southwest of the Sava River, Gorizia and Trieste to France after the defeat at the Battle of Wagram. These territories were amalgamated into the Illyrian Provinces, technically part of France, the capital of which was established at Ljubljana, modern Slovenia. The territory of Ragusan republic, which was annexed to France in 1808, was also integrated into the Illyrian Provinces.

The French administration, headed by a Governor-General, introduced civil law (Code civil) across the provinces. This was a major change to Croatian territories, which hitherto had been under Austrian Military Administration. August de Marmont was the first to be appointed as the Governor-General of the provinces on October 8, 1809, and held his post until January 1811. On April 9 the same year, Henri-Gratien Bertrand was appointed, who held this post until February 1812, when, on February 21, he was succeeded by Jean-Andoche Junot. The last Governor-General was Joseph Fouché, who was appointed in July 1813 and held his post for only one month.

The provinces initially consisted of seven provinces: Carinthia (capital Lienz), Istria (Trieste), Carniola (Villach), Civil Croatia (Karlovac), Military Croatia (Senj), Dalmatia (Zadar) and the Dubrovnik and Kotor province (Dubrovnik). In 1811 Illyrian provinces saw an administrative reorganization. The seat of the Governor General was Ljubljana; the country was initially divided in 4 intendancies (Ljubljana, Karlovac, Trieste, Zadar) and 10 sub-intendancies. Later that year, the number of intendancies was extended to eight, with Villach, Gorizia, Rijeka and Dubrovnik being elevated to intendancy rank. Two Chambers of Commerce were established, at Trieste and at Dubrovnik. The ecclesiastical administration was reorganized in accordance with the new political borders; two archdioceses were established with seats at Ljubljana and Zadar, with suffragan dioceses at Gorizia, Koper, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik (1811). The population (1811) was given at 460,116 for the intendancy of Ljubljana, 381,000 for the intendancy of Karlovac, 357,857 for the intendancy of Trieste and 305,285 for the intendancy of Zadar, in total 1.504.258 for all of Illyria.

At Karlovac, the headquarters of the Croatian military, a special French-language military school was established in 1811. There were 25 gymnasia (i.e. high schools) in the Illyrian provinces. A French decree emancipated the Jews; in effect the decree abolished a Habsburg regulation which had forbidden Jews to settle within Carniola. Proclamations were published in the provinces' official journal, Télégraphe officiel, simultaneously in French, German and "Slavonian"; this elevation of a Slavic language to an official language had a great impact on the development of the modern Slovenian language. Between 1811 and 1813, the French author Charles Nodier was working in Ljubljana as the editor of the journal.

The British Navy imposed a blockade of the Adriatic Sea, effective since the Treaty of Tilsit (July 1807), which brought merchant shipping to a standstill, a measure most seriously affecting the economy of the Dalmatian port cities. An attempt by joint French and Italian forces to seize the British-held Dalmatian island of Vis failed on October 22, 1810.

In August 1813, Austria declared war on France. Austrian troops led by General Franz Tomassich invaded the Illyrian provinces. Croat troops enrolled in the French army switched sides. Zadar surrendered to Austrian forces after a 34 day siege on December 6, 1813. At Dubrovnik an insurrection expelled the French and a provisorical Ragusan administration was established, hoping for the restoration of the Republic. It was occupied by Austrian troops on September 20, 1813. Boka Kotorska and environs were occupied in 1813 by Montenegrin forces, which held it until 1814, when the appearance of an Austrian force caused the Prince of Montenegro to turn over the territory to Austrian administration on June 11. The British withdrew from the occupied Dalmatian islands in July 1815, following the Battle of Waterloo.

The Congress of Vienna confirmed Austria in the possession of the former Illyrian Provinces. In 1816 they were reconstituted without Dalmatia as a Kingdom of Illyria, which was formally abolished only in 1849, even though the civil administration of the Croatian districts were already in 1822 placed under Hungarian administration.

Literature

sl:Ilirske province

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