Alpine federal state of Austria, bounded to the north by Bavaria, to the west by Lake Constance, the Rhine, and Liechtenstein, to the east by north Tirol, and to the south by Switzerland; area 2,601 sq km/1,004 sq mi; population (2001 est) 351,600. Its capital is Bregenz.
Physical The state is marked by three different terrains: the low-lying plains south of Lake Constance and the Rhine and Ill, the rolling hills of the Bregenzer Forest, and the mountainous peaks of the Silvretta Alps (highest peak Mount Buin at 3,312 m/10,866 ft). The region is drained by the Ill and Bregenzer rivers.
Economy The most industrialized province of Austria, Vorarlberg produces textiles, metal products, pharmaceuticals, clocks and watches, and lace and embroidery. Forestry, stock raising, dairy farming, and fruit growing are the main agricultural occupations. Hydroelectric stations dot the Bregenzer and Ill rivers, producing much of Austria's supply, along with exporting power to Germany and the Benelux countries. Tourism is increasingly important to its economy.
History Vorarlberg was part of the Roman province of Rhaetia and was ruled by the counts of Montfort during the Middle Ages. The Habsburg Empire acquired parts of it during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. It became a crown land in 1523, administered by the Tirol until it became an independent Austrian province in 1918. Strong cultural ties to the Swiss led the people of Vorarlberg to vote for unification with Switzerland after World War I; however, Switzerland and the Allies both opposed unification and vetoed the move.