Illyrian Provinces

Illyrian Provinces

Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Provinces illyriennes"
conventional_long_name = Illyrian Provinces
common_name = Imperial Province
status =
empire = France
status_text = Crownland of the Austrian Empire and later Austria-Hungary
continent = Europe
region = Balkans
country =
era =
event_start = Treaty of Schönbrunn
year_start = 1809
date_start =
event_end =
year_end = 1816
date_end =
p1 = Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
flag_p1 = Flag of the Regno Italico 1805.pngp2 = Republic of Dubrovnik
flag_p2 = Flag of the Republic of Dubrovnik.gif
s1 = Kingdom of Illyria
flag_s1 = Wappen Königreich Illyrien.pngs2 = Kingdom of Dalmatia
flag_s2 = Flag of Dalmatia.svg
s3 = Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg)
flag_s3 = CoA of Croatia (Habsburg Monarchy).png

image_map_caption =
common_languages =
government_type =
capital = Ljubljana
religion =
currency =
stat_year1 =
stat_pop1 =
stat_area1 =
The Illyrian Provinces ( _fr. Provinces illyriennes, _sl. Ilirske province, _hr. Ilirske pokrajne, _it. Province Illiriche) were lands on the north and east coasts of the Adriatic Sea which were nominally part of France during the last years of Napoleon. The name was used to refer to the "South Slavic Provinces" within the Napoleonic Empire and is a relabeling of the region which was formerly Illyria in antiquity.


The Illyrian Provinces were created by the Treaty of Schönbrunn in 1809 when the Austrian Empire ceded the territories of Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia southwest of the river Sava, Gorizia and Gradisca, and Trieste to the French Empire after the Austrian defeat at the Battle of Wagram. These territories lying north and east of the Adriatic Sea were amalgamated with Dalmatia into the Illyrian Provinces, technically part of France, the capital of which was established at Ljubljana (Laibach), in modern Slovenia. The territory of the Republic of Ragusa, 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 8 October 1809, and held his post until January 1811. On 9 April the same year, Henri-Gratien Bertrand was appointed, who held this post until February 1812, when, on 21 February, 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 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 22 October 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 6 December 1813. At Dubrovnik an insurrection expelled the French and a provisional Ragusan administration was established, hoping for the restoration of the Republic. It was occupied by Austrian troops on 20 September 1813. The Gulf of Kotor and its 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 11 June. The British withdrew from the occupied Dalmatian islands in July 1815, following the Battle of Waterloo.

Administrative divisions

The provinces initially consisted of seven provinces: Carinthia (capital Lienz), Istria (Trieste), Carniola (Ljubljana), Civil Croatia (Karlovac), Military Croatia (Senj), Dalmatia (Zadar), and the Ragusa 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. A French decree emancipated the Jews; in effect the decree abolished a Habsburg regulation which had forbidden Jews to settle within Carniola.

Culture and education

At Karlovac, the headquarters of the Croatian military, a special French-language military school was established in 1811. There were 25 gymnasia in the Illyrian provinces. Proclamations were published in the provinces' official journal, _fr. "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 Slovene language. Between 1811 and 1813, the French author Charles Nodier worked in Ljubljana as the editor of the journal.


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 had already been placed under Hungarian administration in 1822.

ee also

*Septinsular Republic


*cite book|author=Bundy, Frank J.|title=The Administration of the Illyrian Provinces of the French Empire, 1809-1813|publisher=Taylor & Francis|year=1988|id=ISBN 0-8240-8032-7

External links

* []

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