Trentino and Alto Adige


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Trentino and Alto Adige is Number 33 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study is about the districts of Trentino and Alto Adige, both of which were part of the mountainous Süd-Tirol region of Austria. The 1910 Austrian census put the population of Trentino at 376,917, of whom 360,847 were Italians, 13,450 Germans, and 2,260 persons of other nationality. Some of those counted as Italians were Ladins, speakers of the Ladin language, which is closely related to Romansch, one of the four official languages of Switzerland. In Alto Adige, the total population of 239,939 was comprised of 215,796 Germans, 22,500 Italians and Ladins, and 1,643 persons of other nationality. The study covers physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. It stresses the “strategical aspect of the Trentino question,” describing Trentino as “a great wedge thrust down into the north of Italy, a perpetual menace impending over the rich plains of Lombardy and Venetia. By its possession, Austria can strike at the most wealthy, the most vital, parts of Italy….” After World War I, both districts were transferred to Italy. Today they make up the autonomous Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino-Südtirol).

Last updated: March 24, 2015