Windic March

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This article is about the medieval region in present-day south-eastern Slovenia. For the historic Wendic March region in present-day north-east Slovenia and west Hungary, see Slovene March (Kingdom of Hungary)
"Map of the Duchy of Carniola, Windic March and Istria", by Johann Homann (1663-1724), after Johann Weikhard von Valvasor (1641-1693): Lower Carniola and Windic March in green

The Windic March (German: Windische Mark; Slovene: Slovenska marka or Slovenska krajina) was a medieval frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly corresponding to the Lower Carniola (Dolenjska) region in present-day Slovenia.

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Etymology[edit]

Derived from the name Wends (Wenden) for Western Slavs settling in the Germania Slavica contact zone, the medieval German term windisch referred to the Slovene language; not to be confused with Wendische, the historic German term for the Sorbian-speaking population in Lusatia. Furthermore the medieval geographic term "windisches Land" referred to the Croatian region of Slavonia exclusively.[1]

In the 6th and 7th century the term Windische was used by Bavarian settlers to refer to the Slavic population in the East Alpine principality of Carantania, called Veneti in Latin sources after the ancient Adriatic Veneti tribes.

History[edit]

A Frankish marcha Winedorum is first documented in the 631 Fredegar Chronicle, it probably refers to the Principality of Carantania, which then was ruled within Samo's realm. The territory of the Windic march was contained within the larger March of Carniola in Carolingian times, but under King Otto I of Germany from about 960 on it was separated from Upper Carniola (Gorenjska) and integrated into the March of Savinja (or Soune). In 976 it was attached to the newly founded Duchy of Carinthia.

After Margrave William of Soune had been killed by the deposed Carinthian duke Adalbero in 1036, the Windic march was separated from Carinthia and reattached to the newly established March of Carniola, which was thereafter sometimes called "Carniola and the Windic March". In 1077 King Henry IV of Germany put Carniola and the Windic March under the direction of the Patriarch of Aquileia. From 1127 to 1131 the margavial territory was further expanded in several campaigns by the Counts of Weichselburg (or Weichselberg, modern Višnja Gora) against Croatia in the union with Hungary. Backed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, they conquered the territory around Metlika up to the Kolpa River in the southeast, the later White Carniola (Bela krajina) region.

Until 1209 the Counts of Weichselburg held extended possessions in the Windic March. Through a marriage to the last heiress Sophia of Weichselburg, the Counts of Andechs, then at the peak of their power as Margraves of Istria and Dukes of Merania came to dominate the territory. It was part of the dowry of Agnes of Merania, sister of Duke Otto I of Andechs-Merania, upon her marriage with the Frederick II of Babenberg, son of Duke Leopold VI of Austria, in 1229. Frederick II thereafter called himself a dominus Carniole (Lord of Carniola) and succeeded his father as Duke of Austria and Styria in the following year.

In 1248 the title was picked up by Duke Ulrich III of Carinthia, who had married Agnes of Merania after Frederick's death in 1246. When Duke Ulrich died in 1269, King Ottokar II of Bohemia occupied and unified Carniola, the Windic March, the valley of the Savinja, and the Slovenj Gradec as "the march" of his vast kingdom extending from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic. After 1282, despite King Rudolf I's grant to his sons, Carniola and the Windic march were united thereafter under the control of the Meinhardiner duke Meinhard of Carinthia. After 1374 and the death of the Tyrolean branch of the Meinhardiner dynasty, the Windic March finally fell to the House of Habsburg, but it was no longer a separate political division by then.

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References[edit]

Coordinates: 45°48′7.2″N 14°49′53.55″E / 45.802000°N 14.8315417°E / 45.802000; 14.8315417