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(Princely) County of Gorizia
Contea (Principesca) di Gorizia (Italian)
(Gefürstete) Grafschaft Görz (German)
c. 1117–1500
Flag of Gorizia
Coat of arms of Gorizia
Coat of arms
County of Gorizia (red) at the time of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (circa 1250); the highlighted area roughly corresponds with the later Austrian Circle, which is provided for context only.
County of Gorizia (red) at the time of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (circa 1250); the highlighted area roughly corresponds with the later Austrian Circle, which is provided for context only.
Map of the Habsburg hereditary lands around 1526. The County of Gorizia in yellow.
Map of the Habsburg hereditary lands around 1526. The County of Gorizia in yellow.
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
Official languagesLatin
Common languages
Roman Catholicism
• 1122–1142
Meinhard I
• 1454–1500
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Meinhard, Count of Gorizia
c. 1117
• Meinhard III inherited Tyrol
• Raised to principality
• Bequeathed to House of Habsburg
• Joined Austrian Circle
• Reunited with Gradisca
CurrencyGorizian Denar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Patria del Friuli
Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca

The County of Gorizia (Italian: Contea di Gorizia, German: Grafschaft Görz, Slovene: Goriška grofija, Friulian: Contee di Gurize), from 1365 Princely County of Gorizia, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. Originally mediate Vogts of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, the Counts of Gorizia (Meinhardiner) ruled over several fiefs in the area of Lienz and in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy with their residence at Gorizia (Görz).

In 1253 the Counts of Gorizia inherited the County of Tyrol, from 1271 onwards ruled by the Gorizia-Tyrol branch which became extinct in the male line in 1335. The younger line ruled the comital lands of Gorizia and Lienz until its extinction in 1500, whereafter the estates were finally acquired by the Austrian House of Habsburg.


Bruck Castle, Lienz

Gorizia (House of Meinhardin)

Count Meinhard I, a descendant of the Meinhardiner noble family with possessions around Lienz in the Duchy of Bavaria, is mentioned as a count as early as 1117.[1] As a vogt official of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, he was enfeoffed with large estates in the former March of Friuli, including the town of Gorizia.

The borders of the county changed frequently in the following four centuries, due to frequent wars with Aquileia and other counties, but also to the subdivision of the territory in two main nuclei: one around the Bavarian ancestral seat of Lienz on the upper Drava River up to Innichen in the Puster Valley, the other centered on Gorizia in Friuli itself.

Gorizia-Tyrol (House of Meinhardin)

Meinhard's descendant Count Meinhard III of Gorizia, a follower of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II, upon the extinction of the ducal House of Babenberg was appointed administrator of Styria in 1248. He campaigned the adjacent Duchy of Carinthia but was defeated by the troops of Duke Bernhard von Spanheim and his son Archbishop Philip of Salzburg at Greifenburg in 1252. Nevertheless, the county reached the apex of its power, when Meinhard III inherited County of Tyrol (as Meinhard I) from his father-in-law Count Albert IV one year later.

Gorizia Castle

After Count Meinhard III had died in 1258, his sons at first ruled jointly until in 1271 they divided their heritage: While the elder Meinhard IV took the comital Tyrolean lands west of the Puster Valley, his brother Albert retained the Meinhardiner ancestral lands around Lienz and Gorizia. After his death, the County of Gorizia was again partitioned among his sons into the "inner county" at Gorizia, ruled by Henry III, and the "outer county" around Lienz und Albert II. When Count Henry III was assassinated in 1323, the Gorizia lands were shattered into four countries. The Counts of Gorizia temporarily controlled the Italian March of Treviso (Marca Trevigiana) and the remains of the Istrian march around Pazin (Mitterburg), which Count Albert III of Görz bequeathed to the House of Habsburg in 1365.

In 1365 Count Meinhard VI of Görz was granted the princely title by the Luxembourg emperor Charles IV, the county was thereon called Gefürstete Grafschaft Görz. The Meinhardiner nevertheless suffered a steep decline under their powerful neighbours, the Austrian lands of the Habsburg dynasty and the Republic of Venice.

Gorizia (House of Meinhardin)

After the Habsburgs had acquired the Carinthian duchy with the March of Carniola in 1335 and the County of Tyrol in 1363, the remaining Gorizia lands of Lienz were a thorn in their side, separating the dynasty's "hereditary lands". Venice had conquered the former Patriarchate territories in Friuli, which were incorporated into the Domini di Terraferma by 1434. The Council of Ten strived for the adjacent "inner county" lands around Gorizia up to the Venetian Stato da Màr territories in Istria. Due to the pressure, the Gorizia counts took their residence at Bruck Castle in Lienz.

In 1429 the county was reunited under the single rule of Count Henry VI. His son, the last count Leonhard, died in 1500 and despite claims raised by Venice, according to a contract of inheritance and the active support of the Gorizia governor Virgil von Graben[2] the county fell to the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I.


Inner and Outer Gorizia territories (in white), late 15th century

While the Lienz area was administered with the Tyrolean crown land, the "inner county" of Gorizia remained an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Inner Austrian Archdukes as part of the Austrian Circle, governed by a capitano. Its territory included the Isonzo Valley down to Aquileia, the area of Cormons and Duino, and the former Venetian fortress of Gradisca, which was conquered by Imperial troops in 1511. Monfalcone formed a Venetian exclave in the county from 1420 to 1797. In 1647 Emperor Ferdinand III separated the "Principality of Gradisca" from Gorizia for his courtier Johann Anton von Eggenberg, until in 1747 both were again merged to form the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, a crown land of the Habsburg monarchy.


Houses of Eppenstein and Siegharding

House of Gorizia

Ruler Born Reign Death Ruling part Consort Notes
Engelbert I ? 1090-1122 1122 County of Gorizia Unknown Also Count Palatine of Bavaria.
Meinhard I ? 1122-1142 1142 County of Gorizia Hildegard
no children

Elisabeth of Schwarzenberg
Four children
Brother of the predecessor.
Henry II ? 1142-1150 1150 County of Gorizia Unknown Left no children. The county goes to his younger brother.
Engelbert II ? 1150-1191 1 April 1191 County of Gorizia Adelaide of Scheyern-Dachau-Valley
three children
Brother of the predecessor. Also titular Margrave of Istria from 1188
Engelbert III ? 1191-1220 1220 County of Gorizia Matilda of Pisino
no children

Matilda of Andechs
one child
Left a child who later succeeded his brother Meinhard II.
Meinhard II the Elder 1160 1220-1231 1231 County of Gorizia Kunigunde of Peilstein
no children

no children

A daughter of Henry I, Count of Tyrol
no children
Brother of the predecessor. Also Vogt of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Left no children and was succeeded by his nephew
Meinhard III & I 1200 1231-1253 22 July 1258 County of Gorizia Adelaide of Tyrol
four children
Son of Engelbert III, inherited Gorizia from his uncle. Through his marriage he also inherited the County of Tyrol.
1253-1258 Gorizia and Tyrol
Albert I 1240 1258-1271 1 April 1304 Gorizia and Tyrol Euphemia of Glogow
three children

Euphemia of Ortenburg
no children
Co-ruled with his brother Meinhard until 1271, when they divided their lands and he kept Gorizia.
1271-1304 County of Gorizia
Meinhard IV & II 1238 1258-1271 1 November 1295 Gorizia and Tyrol Elisabeth of Bavaria
6 October 1259
six children
Co-ruled with his brother Albert until 1271. He kept Tyrol, and in 1286 was enfeoffed with the Duchy of Carinthia and the adjacent March of Carniola.


Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola
Albert II ? 1271-1286

24 April 1292 Tyrol

Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola
Agnes of Hohenberg-Rotenburg
one child
Eldest son and co-ruler of Meinhard IV/II.
Henry I & VI[Note 1] 1265 1295-1335 2 April 1335 Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola Anna of Bohemia
no children

Adelaide of Brunswick-Lüneburg
two children

Beatrice of Savoy
no children
Sons of Meinhard IV/II, ruled jointly. In 1307, Henry was elected King of Bohemia, but was deposed in 1310.
Otto I & III[Note 2] 1265 1295-1335 25 May 1310 Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola Euphemia of Legnica
four children
Louis 1265 1295-1305 1305 Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola Unmarried
Henry III 1266 1304-1323 24 April 1323 County of Gorizia Beatrice da Camino
one child

Beatrice of Lower Bavaria
one child
Meinhard V c.1300 c.1314-1320? c.1320 County of Gorizia Unmarried Probably co-ruled with his father
Albert II ? 1323-1325 1327 County of Gorizia Elisabeth of Hesse
at least one child

Euphemia of Mätsch
at least two children

five more children, by Elisabeth or Euphemia
Despite being a regent, he is counted as a rightful ruler. Co-ruled as regent for John Henry IV.
(John) Henry IV 1322 1323/25-1338 17 March 1338 County of Gorizia Anna of Austria
no children
Son of Henry III. Died childless, and was succeeded by his cousins, sons of his uncle Albert II.
Margaret 1318 1335-1363 3 October 1369 Tyrol, Carinthia and Carniola John Henry of Luxembourg
no children

Louis V, Duke of Bavaria
two children
In 1363, she abdicated from her domains, which were absorbed by the Habsburgs.
Meinhard VI ? 1338-1365

c.May 1385 County of Gorizia

Princely County of Gorizia
Catherine of Pfannberg
at least one child

Utehild of Mätsch
at least two children

three more children, by Catherine or Utehild
Sons of Albert II, ruled jointly. At his death, Albert bequested his vast Istrian and Carniolan possessions to the Habsburg duke Rudolf IV of Austria. The remaining lands were kept by Meinhard VI, ascended as a Prince by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Albert III Before 1308 1338-1365

1374 County of Gorizia

Princely County of Gorizia
no children

Catherine of Celje
no children
Henry V ? 1338-1362 1362 County of Gorizia Gigliola da Carrara
no children
Henry VI 22 June 1376 1385-1454 18 March 1454 Princely County of Gorizia Elisabeth of Celje
31 January 1400
two children

Katalin Garai
three children
Sons of Meinhard VI, ruled jointly.
(John) Meinhard VII 1378 1385-1430 22 May 1430 Princely County of Gorizia Magdalena of Bavaria-Landshut
no children

Agnes of Pettau-Wurmberg
no children
John II 1438 1454-1462 22 May 1462 Princely County of Gorizia Unmarried Sons of Henry VI, ruled jointly.
Leonard 1440 1454-1500 12 April 1500 Princely County of Gorizia Hieronyma of Ilok
no children

Paola Gonzaga
no children

Line extinct, county inherited by the Habsburg king Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria.

See also


  1. ^ VI as duke of Carinthia.
  2. ^ III as duke of Carinthia.


  1. ^ Štih, Peter (1994). Goriški grofje ter njihovi ministeriali in militi v Istri in na Kranjskem [The Counts of Gorizia and Their Ministerials and Milites] (in Slovenian). Znanstveni inštitut Filozofske fakultete Ljubljana [Institute of Science, Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana]. p. 11. ISBN 86-7207-052-6.
  2. ^ Erich Zöllner: Geschichte Österreichs: von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. p 159