Pages of History

Joseph Ressa

Italy's Unification and the Thousand's Ventures

Italy, period of Emperor Cesare Augusto



At the close of the 18th century, Italy was divided in 9 independent states whose origin went back to the middle ages. They were: kingdom of Piedmont, Republic of Genoa, Duchy of Parma, Duchy of Modena, Republic of Venice, Republic of Lucca, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Vatican state, and the kingdom of Two Sicilies known also as the kingdom of Naples.

Napoleon Invasion changed all that. Secular states with traditions going back hundreds of years were occupied and brutally suppressed, including the Vatican States. He gave Naples to J. Murat, married to one of his sisters and Lucca to Elisa, another sister. The rest became the kingdom of Italy, himself crowned king.

At the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Savoy dynasty was re-established in Piedmont, enlarged with the territory of the republic of Genoa. The Two Sicilies and the Bourbon dynasty re-established. Lombardy and Venice under the domination of Austria. Tuscany became a Grand Duchy with the Lorena dynasty while The ancient republic of Lucca, dating from the middle ages was assigned to a bourbon branch as a duchy.

In 1848 over Europe and Italy as well, erupted popular rises to united the country. All failed, with the exception of Piedmont annecting Lombardy with the help of France. Cavour, prime minister of Piedmont and his king Victor Emanuel 2nd made a secret agreement with Napoleon the 3rd to conquer by force of arms the rest of Italy, except the Vatican and the Savoy dynasty as the kings. Allied with France they fought Austria, the peace treaty assigned the region of Lombardy to Piedmont, who agreed to give the region of Savoy and the city of Nice with a coastal strip to France in exchange.

That was the geography and political situation of Italy in 1860. Cavour was prime minister of king Victor Emanuel 2nd of Piedmont, Garibaldi was an adventurer who got himself  involved with all revolutions in the south American continent, who called by the Savoy king agreed to promote and lead a revolution against the Bourbon monarchy in Naples. The king Francis the 2nd was 23 years old surrounded by incapables men, ambitious and treacherous.

Peter Rossi

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