The Italian nationalist movement is known as the "Risorgimento" (Resurgence) and resulted in unification. Italy was the source of the Renaissance which swept over Europe beginning in the 14th century. As a result of the Counter Reformation, however, Italy did not share in the Enligtenment that followed the Reformation. The Church effectively stifled scientific inquiry and other intelectual pursuirs. The country continued to be very traditional and the south virtually feudal. This began to change with the French Revolution when new poliical ideas and and modern concepts of nationalism were introduced to Italy. The great powers divided Italy following Napoleon's defeats in 1814-15 into the Papal States, Austrian duchies, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and several smaller principalities. . The Congress of Vienna sought to reinstate the conservative monrchial regime that had been almost overthrown by the French Revolution and Napoleon. The seeds of Italian national sentiment and the ideals of liberty had been sown in Italy as a result of the French invasion which brought with it the ideals of the French Revolution. Giuseppe Mazzini was a fervent Italian patriot who led the initial Italian national movement. He led the Liberal Movement and sought to create an Italian republic to govern a united Italy. It was to be te House of Savoy, however, that wouls succeed in unifying Italy. While conservative regimes were restored in Italy, Piedmont-Sardinia survived as a constitutional monarchy. King Victor Emanuel appointed Count Camillo di Cavour prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1852). Cavour was to play a major role in the unification. Under his leadership Italy would be unified under monarchial rule rather than the republic Mazzini so desired. Cavour was no revolutionary, he was, however, a swreud politican. Giuseppe Garibaldi was the nationlist military leader played a more flamboyant rtole and helped complete the unification of Italy.
Italy was the source of the Renaissance which swept over Europe beginning in the 14th century. As a result of the Counter Reformation, however, Italy did not share in either the Reformation or the Enligtenment--both modernizing influenes tht helped shape the modern West. The Church effectively stifeled scientific inquiry and other intelectual pursuits. The attack on Galilleo, the founder of modern science speaks eloquently to what happened in Italy. The country continued to be very traditional and the south virtually feudal into the modern era. There was no strong sence of Italian nationalism in sharp contrast to other major countries. Italy was not, however, imune from the Enlightenment and in the 18th century the strength of the Church and the Holy Inquisition was fading even before the French Revolution, in part affected by the new ideas ofvthe Enlightenment sweeping Europe.
The French Revolution had a enormous impact on Italy. The ideals of the French Revolution were powerful in themselves, but appear to have has less impact than the French armies which entered Italy. Most of the population was illiterate. The ideals of the Revolution helped to create a Liberal Movement in Italy. This Movement, at least at first, had limited impact. The fighting with the monarchial armies that tried to supress the Revolution soon spilled over into Italy, part of which was controlled by Austria which lead the monrchial armies. It was in Italy that Napoleon gained his first great military victories. The arrival of French troops as well as their behavior did have a profound impact. This was probably the most significant event in building of an Italian consciouness. The Liberal Movement also promoted nationlist thought. The Italian political and territorial picture, which at the end of the 18th century seemed to have stabilized, rapidly disintegrated in the face of Napoleon Bonaparte's first military campaign across thepeninsula so as to successfully attack the Austrian Empire on its southern flank. After the Peace ofParis (May 16, 1796) reached with the neighboring kingdom of Savoy, that of Campoformio (17October 1797) marked the end of the now enfeebled Republic of Venice. The latter wasexchanged with Austria for the Duchy of Milan, which went to form the Repubblica Transpadana(November 1796). With Napoleon's entry into Italy there came also the new ideasof liberty diffused from the French Revolution and these had animmediate effect. After the French occupation of the territoryof the Papal Legations in 1796, in August of the same year theducal government of Reggio (Emilia) was overthrown and inthe following December the Repubblica Cispadana wasproclaimed. This latter included the rest of Emilia and adoptedfor the first time a flag with the present-day white, red andgreen colors. On 29 June 1797 the two republics were joinedin the new Repubblica Cisalpina and towards the end of theyear the Repubblica Ligure was formed. At the beginning of1798 the rest of the Papal States were occupied and turnedinto the Repubblica Romana, while the pope had to seekrefuge in Tuscany. The next year (in January 1799) it was the turn of Naples, where a group of intellectuals and aristocrats formed the Repubblica Partenopea, while King Ferdinando IV had to flee to Sicily. A republican government was then also established in Tuscany. But the dream of liberty seemed of brief duration. The absence of Napoleon, on the Egyptian Campaign (1798-99), favored a coalition of the great European States allied withthe Russian czar and the English monarchy. Asquickly as it had arrived the French army wasforced to withdraw from the peninsula leaving theway open to the restoration that was to beparticularly violent at Naples (June 1799). TheSecond Italian Campaign began with theresounding victory of Marengo (June 14, 1800)and ended with the Peace of Luneville (February 9, 1801) whereby France regained control over Italy. The republican ideals having been replaced by Napoleon's dynastic aspirations, the Repubblica Italiana, direct heir of the Cisalpinawith the addition of the Venetian domain, was established on December 28, 1805 and then transformed into the Kingdom of Italy on March 31, 1805. The pope's authority over part of histerritories was re-established; the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was transformed into the Kingdom ofEtruria; the territories of Piombino, Lucca, Massa and Carrara were assigned as a duchy toNapoleon's sister Eloise; the Kingdom of Naples was given (March 30, 1806) his brother Joseph; and only Sardinia and Sicily remained for the Savoys and Bourbons. Successive events furtherreinforced Napoleon's control of Italy. His brother-in-law Murat ascended the throne of Naples;the Kingdom of Italy was expanded with the Trentino and Alto Adige (the latter fiercely defendedby Andreas Hofer); and Tuscany and the Papal States were incorporated in the new FrenchEmpire (Peace of Sch�nbrunn, October 14, 1810). But after a brief interlude, the failure ofNapoleon's Russian Campaign and his defeats at Leipzig (1813) and Waterloo (1815), as well asMurat's tragic end (October 1815), brought back to Italy the restoration of the old political andterritorial order under the terms of the Congress of Vienna (June 1815).
The great powers divided Italy following Napoleon's defeats in 1814-15 into the Papal States, Austrian duchies, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Congress of Vienna sought to reinstate the conservative monrchial regime that had been almost overthrown by the French Revolution and Napoleon. The Kingdom of Sardinia recovered Piedmont, Nice, and Savoy and acquired Genoa. The Papacy was restored as the temporal rulers of central Italy. The other important Italian state was the Kingdom of Sicily (Sicily and the southern half of the Italian peninsula). Small Italian principalities included the duchies of Tuscany, Parma, and Modena. In each of these states, the reining monarchs were members of various branches of the House of Habsburgs, the ruling family of Austria itself. The impotance of the Hapsburgs in defending Catholic Europe during the Reformation and French Revolution meant that the familu was very influential with the pope as well. Thus the Hapsburgs dominted most of Italy. Habsburg interests in Italy and the Papacy's control of central Italy would price to be the two principal barriers to Italian unification.
The principal Italian state was the Kingdom of Sardinia which was also called Piedmont-Sardinia. Piedmont began as a smll miedval principality on the French frontier. Gradually Piedmont expanded and ven before the French Revolution was widely seen as the most advanced state in Italy. Piedmont-Sardinia included Sardinia and the region referred to as Piedmont in northwestern Italy.
The Savoy dynasty ruled Savoy and Piedmont (northern Italy) from the 11th century, Sicily (1713-20), Sardinia (1720-1861), and after 1861 a unified Italy (until 1946). The dynasty was founded by an 11th century count who held lands in Savoy and Piedmont. Through successful marriage policies and diplomacy his successors expanded their holdings in France, Switzerland, and Italy. Amadeus VIII acquired a ducal title (1416). Savoy lost its Swiss possessions and the French King Francis I seized the rest of the duchy (1536). Duke Emmanuel Philibert arranged for the restoration of his duchy (1559) and made Turin in northern Italy his capital. His grandson Victor Ameadeus II became king of Sicily for his role in the War of the Spanish Succession (1713). Sicily was exchanged (1720) with Spain for Sardinia, and the state became known as the kingdom of Sardinia. Victor Emmanuel I (1759-1824), King of Sardinia (1802-21), received Sardinia's mainland Italian territories in the restoration following Napoleon's fall (1814-15). His reactionary rule led to a popular uprising, and he was forced to abdicate. Charles Albert of the cadet line of Savoy-Carignano became king (1831). He committed Sardinia in the Risorgimento, and his son, Victor Emmanuel II, became (1861) King of Italy. Victor Emmanuel II's son, Humbert I (r.1878-1900), was assassinated. Humbert's son and successor, Victor Emmanuel III, abdicated after World War II. His son, Humbert II, reigned briefly (1946) before Italy became a republic.
Giuseppe Mazzini was a fervent Italian patriot who led the initial Italian national movement. He led the Liberal Movement and sought to create an Italian republic to govern a united Italy. Mazzini became the key figure in the Risorgimento even though he was forced into exile (1831). He lived primarily in London, but his books and articles inspired revolutinary forces in Itly. Mazzini's weitings were a major factor in reforms introduced in the Papal States, Lucca, Tuscany, and the Kingdom of Sardinia (1846 and 1847). Rather than quiet revolutionary demands, they encouraged revolutionary forces to actually try to seize political control.
The seeds of Italian national sentiment and the ideals of liberty had been sown in Italy as a result of the French invasion which brought with it the ideals of the French Revolution. The First Napoleonic Campaign was a major event in generating a feeling of national identity and unity whuch were aroused by the establishment of first republican structures and then the Kingdom of Italy. These, united to the administrative and judicial reforms extended from France into Italy (especially the introduction of the Code Napol�on), began totake root despite the restoration. Support came from the intellectual and middle-classes in all theItalian States and from numerous patriotic associations, often working in secret (as the `Young Italy', of Giuseppe Mazzini) but profoundly influencing society.
Revolutions swept Europe in 1848 and Italy was no exception. The demand for freer and more democratic institutions, the frequency of episodes of insurrection stretching from Piedmont to Sicily but above all the concession of the Spanish constitution forced the Italian rulers (from Carlo-Alberto to Leopoldo II and from Ferdinando II to Pius IX) to follow suit also during 1848. The first revolution in Italy occured in Sicily which was dorced to adopt a constitution which was amajor Liberal objective. Mext a revolution broke out in Rome, forceing Pope Pius IX to flee. Mazzini retuened from exile to parrticipate in the revolution. A republic was proclaimed in Rome. Similar events occurred in Tuscany, Sicily and Venice. At this point King Charles Albert of Sardinia Encouraged by the uprisings of Milan and Venice, joined the revolution. This is sometimes called the First War for Italian Independence. He mobilized the army of Piedmont-Sardinia. The army moved into Lombardy to join revolutionaries there trying to drive out the Austrians. A victory there probably would have lead to a united Italian state. Volunteers from various parts of Italy and the regular armies of the Papacy and Naples joined the fight. The Piedmontese were, however, adversely affected when the Papacy and Naples withdrew from the alliance. The Austrians managed to defeat Charles-Albert's army. As a result the king had to addicate. Victor Emmanuel II succeeded him in 1849. Giuseppe Garibaldi emerged as a forceful revolutionary figure in Rome, but the French intervened and restored Rome to papal rule (1849). French and Austrian troops also intervened to reinstate the monsrchs who had been deposed and those rulers revoked the constitutions conceded the previous year.
While conservative regimes were restored in Italy, Piedmont-Sardinia survived as a constitutional monarchy. King Victor Emanuel appointed Count Camillo di Cavour prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1852). Cavour was to play a major role in the unification. Under his leadership Italy would be unified under monarchial rule rather than the republic Mazzini so desired. Cavour was no revolutionary, he was, however, a swreud politican.
Cavour conspired with Napoleon III to secretly orcestrate a war with Austria. This is sometimes called the Second War for Italian Independence. Sardinia-Piedmont did not have the military strength to take on Austria, but Francedid, especially supported by Piedmont-Ssardinia. Prussian prime minister Bismarck played a key back stage role. Cavour provoked the Austrians who sent an ultimatum demanding that the Piedmontese disarm. Cavour rejected the Austrian demanfs. The Austrians declared war and attacked. As was arranged beforehand, the French then declared war in Austria. The French and Piedmontese defeated the Austrians at Magenta and Solferino. As a result, the Austrians were forced to ceed Lombardy with the important city of Milan to Napoleon. Napoleon then transferred Lombardy to Victor Emmanuel II. The Italians held referendums, a novel approach to teritorial questions 1859-60). The population of the former Austrian territories voted overwealingly to join the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. This only left Venice in Austrian hands.
This was more than Napoleon had anticipated. The cration of a powerful new nation state on France's southrn border was not seen as in the country's best interest. Cavour managed toasage Napoleon's concerns by ceeding Savoy and Nice (1860). This in essence fixed the modern boundary between Italy and Spain.
The unification of northern Italy after the Franco-Austrian War meant that Italian nationalists next fixed on Rome and the Papal States. Here the situation was complicated. French troops had defeated the
Ronan Republic (1849). The pope requested they remain. Cavour did not want to challenge the French who had a much larger army. The French force, however, only defended Rome, not the Papal states surrounding Rome.
Giuseppe Garibaldi was the nationlist military leader that helped complete the unification of Italy. Few people have led a more colorful life. He was born in Nice (1807). He was a convert to Mazzini's republican movement (1833). He failed to seize a naval vessel and was sentenced to dath (1834).
He fled to South America and lived there for the next 12 years. It was here that he got his military exHe fought in military actions involved in a revolt in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and a civil war in Uruguay. After South Aerica, Garibaldi wbt to the Unird States (1848). This was before widespread Italiam immigration. He settled in Staten Island and became am American citizen. With the outbreak of revolution in Europe, Garibaldi returned to Europe (1848). He organized a volunteer unit to serve with King Charles Albert's forced in the fighting against Austria in Lombardy. He then moved south to defend the Republic estanlished by Nazzini and his allies in Rome (1849). French forces proved to much for the Republican forces. He negotiated a settlemet and the French allowed Garabldi and 5,000 followers to leave the city. Many of his men were subsequently killed or captured by the Austrians.
He again returned to Italy (1854). He settled on Caprera, an island northeast of Sardinia. He had been a devoted suppoter of Mazzini and his republican ideal, but came to see that the Pidmont-Sadinia monarchy and the new king Victor Emanuel offered the best of Italian unification. Garibaldi's popularity helped gin the support of many Italians for Victor Emanuel. Garibaldi fought the Austrians in the Alps during the Frabco-Austrian War (1859).
Garibaldi's role in the Franco-Austrian War was limited. His major achievement was in the southern Italy. Southern Italy was the Kingdom of the Two Naples. In the celebrated 'expedition of the Thousand' he gained control of Sicily, establishing a provisional government (1860). Garibaldi then moved to the mainland and took Naples. The King of Naples fled into exile. Francis II abdicated (1861) at which time the Kingdom of Naples became part of the Kingdom of Italy under King Victor Emanuel. Garibaldi presented both Sicily and Naples to
King Victor Emanuel (1861). Garibaldi then returned to Caprera. Italy is one of the major European countries in terms of population, but was not unified until relative late (1860s). The North (Piedmont) absorbed the southern Kingdom of Naples, a Bourbon monarchy, after a short and relatively bloodless war. Piedmontese primeminister Camillo Cavour is often seen as the architect of Italian unification. He achieved unification in part by bribeing southern generals. Cavour is said to have remarked, : "Gentlemen, if we had done for ourselves what we have done for Italy, what great scoundrels we should be." Unified Italy was a relatively poor country. At a time when national wealth was still significantly impacted by agriculture, the relatively poor agricultural land in many areas of Italy were unable to support the large Italian population. Southern Italy in particular was virtualy feudal. Northern Italy, in part because of the Austrian influence was more modern with a degree of industrialization. While the south was relatively easy to take, it was not so easy to hold and govern.
Almost immediately, a guerrilla movement took root among the Sicilian peasantry. The southern rebels had two main grievances. First the new unified Italian Government imposed higher taxes than the old government. The new government seized and sold church lands, a long held liberal position. This meant that the only source of social welfare available in the countryside was ended. Piedmont oficials charged that the peasant rebels were just 'brigands'. Resistance in the south proved a challenge. Officers of the Naples Kingdom who had not changed sides joined the rebels. The Piedmont Government now based un Rome had to impose martial law over the entire South, and deploy 100,000 troops to supress the rebels. A savage repression ensud. The Piedmont forces were authorized to execute familie of the suspected rebels. Military tribunals sentenced nearly 10,000 southern rebels to death (1860s). Battle deaths are unknown. This would be a factor in the massive Italian emigration, especially from Sicily, to the United States and South America. Some 1 million Italians, mostly southerbers, would sail from the port of Naples for a new home.
King Victor Emanuel proclaimed a new Italian kingdom, uniting the north with the southern provinces conqured by Garanaldi (1861). The King also anned Umbria and Marches from the former Papal States. Rome was not part of the new Kingdom as it was still occupied by French troops. And Venice was still under Austrian control. The final pieces of Italy were added as the result of major conflicts to the north.
The Church opposed unification in part because, the Papacy until unification was an important polutical power, controlling a substantial portion of central Italy around Rome. There were, however, many important voices promting unifiction. The most imprtant was Giuseppe Mazzini, but there were many others. One of the most eloquent was the great opera composer Guissepi Verdi. He was a huge proponent for Italian Unification. He was named as an honorary Senator after the unification. His famous chorus piece from the opera Nabucco (1841), 'Va Pensiero' became the unofficial Italian National anthem. An opera about Baybalonian King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco) and the Jews seems a strange place to find an Italian patriotic song, but such was the power of Verdi's composition which was the turning point in his career.
The Austro-Prussian War (1859) had in part been orcestrated by German Premier Bismarck as part of his plan to unify Germany. The first step was to weaken and defeat Austria. Following the Congress of Vienna, the major question in Germany was unification and both Prussia and Austria vied as to who would unify the Germans. When war finally came between Prussia and Austria, the new Italian Kingdom sided with Prussia. The War lasted 7 weeks. Prussia rewarded Italy with Venice.
Napoleon III was concerned over the empending unification of Germany after Prussia's defeat of Austria (1866). France was a country which could have prevented German unification by siding with the Austrians. Bismarck had made than unlikely byhelping to engineer a war betwwen France and Austria (1859). Next he manuvered Napoleon into declaring war. This brought many German states in support of Prussi. The result was the overwealming defeat of the French. this time Italy did not entr the War, but the French withdrew their troops from Rome. Victor-Emanuel then annexedRome and the remaining Papal States. Italian troops entered Rome. Again there was a referendum. Rome voted to join Italy (October 1870). Rome became the capital of a the united Italian kingdom. For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy was unified.
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