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A view of Trieste in 1885 - In allen Häfen war Österreich Picture: © Wikipedia / Flanker (Horst F. Mayer, Dieter Winkler)

Vienna and Triest - Through History Connected

[Source: ©FriedlNews - http://www.friedlnews.com/article/vienna-triest-through-history-connected.]

Published: June 25, 2015; 19:30

A recent visit by Triest's Mayor Roberto Cosolini highlights that Vienna and Trieste were connected in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy for more than 500 years. Especially in the 18th and 19th century the port of Trieste flourished and because of its location became one of the most developed economic areas of the Habsburg Empire. It was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague).  

Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city.

Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic, and Germanic cultures. In 2009, it had a population of about 205,000 and it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Province of Trieste.

Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy.

In the 19th century, it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague).

In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music. It underwent an economic revival during the 1930s, and Trieste was an important spot in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs after the Second World War.

Today, the city is in one of the richest regions of Italy, and has been a great centre for shipping, through its port (Port of Trieste), shipbuilding and financial services.

After two centuries of war against the nearby major power, the Republic of Venice (which briefly occupied it in 1283–87, and again in 1368–72), the leading citizens of Trieste petitioned Leopold III of Habsburg, Duke of Austria, to make Trieste part of his domains. The agreement of voluntary submission (dedizione) was signed at the castle of Graz on 30 September 1382.

The citizens, however, maintained a certain degree of autonomy up until the 17th century. Following an unsuccessful Habsburg invasion of Venice in the prelude to the 1508–16 War of the League of Cambrai, the Venetians occupied Trieste again in 1508, and were allowed to keep the city under the terms of the peace treaty.

However, the Habsburg Empire recovered Trieste a little over one year later, when the conflict resumed.

By the 18th century Trieste became an important port and trade hub.

In 1719, it was made a free port within the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Charles VI, and remained a free port until 1 July 1891.

The reign of his successor, Maria Theresa of Austria, marked the beginning of a very prosperous era for the city.

In the following decades, Trieste was briefly occupied by troops of the French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars on several occasions, in 1797, 1805 and 1809.

From 1809 to 1813, Trieste was annexed into Illyrian Provinces, interrupting its status of free port and losing its autonomy.

The municipal autonomy was not restored after the return of the city to the Austrian Empire in 1813.

Following the Napoleonic Wars, Trieste continued to prosper as the Free Imperial City of Trieste (German: Reichsunmittelbare Stadt Triest), a status that granted economic freedom, but limited its political self-government.

The city's role as Austria's main trading port and shipbuilding centre was later emphasized with the foundation of the merchant shipping line Austrian Lloyd in 1836, whose headquarters stood at the corner of the Piazza Grande and Sanità (today's Piazza Unità d'Italia). By 1913 Austrian Lloyd had a fleet of 62 ships comprising a total of 236,000 tons.

With the introduction of the constitutionalism in the Austrian Empire in 1860, the municipal autonomy of the city was restored, with Trieste becoming capital of the Austrian Littoral crown land (German: Österreichisches Küstenland).

The particular Friulian dialect, called Tergestino, spoken until the beginning of the 19th century, was gradually overcome by the Triestine dialect of Venetian (a language deriving directly from Vulgar Latin) and other languages, including standard Italian, Slovene, and German. While Triestine and Italian were spoken by the largest part of the population, German was the language of the Austrian bureaucracy and Slovene was predominantly spoken in the surrounding villages. From the last decades of the 19th century, the number of speakers of Slovene grew steadily, reaching 25% of the overall population of Trieste municipality in 1911 (30% of the Austro-Hungarian citizens in Trieste).

In the later part of the 19th century, Pope Leo XIII considered moving his residence to Trieste or Salzburg because of what he considered a hostile anti-Catholic climate in Italy following the 1870 Capture of Rome by the newly established Kingdom of Italy. However, the Austrian monarch, Franz Josef I, rejected the idea.

The modern Austro-Hungarian Navy used Trieste as a base and for shipbuilding. The construction of the first major trunk railway in the Empire, the Vienna-Trieste Austrian Southern Railway, was completed in 1857, a valuable asset for trade and the supply of coal.

In 1882 an Irredentist activist, Guglielmo Oberdan, attempted to assassinate Emperor Franz Joseph, who was visiting Trieste. Oberdan was caught, convicted, and executed. He was regarded as a martyr by radical Irredentists, but as a cowardly villain by the supporters of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Franz Joseph, who reigned another thirty-five years, never visited Trieste again.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Trieste was a bustling cosmopolitan city frequented by artists and philosophers such as Egon Schiele, James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Sigmund Freud, Dragotin Kette, Ivan Cankar, Scipio Slataper, and Umberto Saba.

The city was the major port on the Austrian Riviera, and perhaps the only real enclave of Mitteleuropa (i.e. Central Europe) south of the Alps. `


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