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Map of the 19th Century Unification of Italy under Piemontese Rule, showing the Route taken by Garibaldi's soldiers

Map and chronology ...

Map of the Unification of Italy, 19 KB

Map Source: "The Kingdom of Sardinia" drawn by Berit Lie. Map 90 in Historical Atlas of the World (Edinburgh, 1970; original edition: Oslo, 1962), adapted by RWA for the Internet.

Chronology of the Unification of Italy

[Note: for an overview of the political organization of the southern part of the Italian peninsula prior to Unification, see this short Summary Outline of the History of Southern Italy.]

Giuseppe Mazzini (b. 1805 at Genoa) founds "Young Italy" (giovane Italia), a society to make propaganda for the unification of the Italian nation as a democratic and class-free republic: "Our problem is, above all things, a problem of national education", that is, of persuading the peoples of the peninsula and the islands of Italy to regard themselves as a single nation.
Giuseppe Garibaldi (b. 1807 at Nice), exiled from the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (Piemonte-Sardegna), works as a candlemaker in a factory on Staten Island, New York.
Francesco II succeeds his father Ferdinando II and becomes the last king of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Garibaldi's Thousand cross from Sicily to the Kingdom of Naples on 19 August, and on October 1st overthrow Bourbon rule at the Battle of the Volturno, fought near Caserta. But the republican Garibaldi then surrenders southern Italy to the king of Piedmont-Sardinia. (The king's prime minister Cavour has ceded Nice and Savoy to France to win France's support for Piedmont-Sardinia's annexation of central Italy.)

At this time in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies there are only a hundred miles of railroad (There are no railroad tunnels), and 1621 of its 1848 villages have no roads. But the paternalistic Kingdom of the Two Sicilies has kept the national debt and taxes low; it has kept food cheap; and it has protected industry from foreign competition. These practices are to be reversed by the new regime; and the Piemontese will soon be more hated than Napoleon or the Bourbons ever were.

Before 1860 "Italy" had been the name of a peninsula: the patriotism of the Italians (like that of the classical Greeks) had been directed toward a single town, not a country; the people of Italy had not shared a common language, nor had most even known what the word "Italy" meant.

Italy is a geographical expression. (Prince Metternich)

Nine-tenths of Italians had been peasants, in the South forced to live in mountain villages by malaria and brigands, to walk miles to the fields and back every day, to be unemployed for many months of the year, and to go hungry.

To speak of an Italian people was to speak of a mass of illiterates brutalized by poverty and superstition. (Ignazio Silone)

In the decades that follow 1861 nothing changes for the peasants, except that their taxes go higher and, at a certain level, they have new masters. A political revolution has united most of the Italian peninsula, but no social revolution has freed the peasants from the tyranny of landlords and the corruption of municipal administrators.

On 17 March 1861 Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Piedmont-Sardinia, is proclaimed King of Italy "by grace of God and the will of the people". Italy is to be a constitutional monarchy, but the king and the constitution are Piemontese.

The population of Italy, excluding Papal Rome and Venetia (ruled by Austria until 1866), is 22 million, of whom 8 million live in the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and of whom 17 million are illiterate.

Of the Kingdom of Italy's 22 million inhabitants one-half million are eligible to vote, and of that one-half million only 300,000 actually do vote.

Of Italian workers, 8 million are engaged in agriculture, and of the 3 million engaged in crafts and manufacture, most are women working part-time at home. In June Count Camillo di Cavour (b. 1810 at Turin), former prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia, first prime minister of the Kingdom of Italy, and the principal statesman behind the Risorgimento, the Unification (or, annexation to Piedmont-Sardinia) of Italy, dies.

Although a plebiscite claims to show 99 per cent approval by the people of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies for their annexation by Piedmont-Sardinia, half the army of the new Kingdom of Italy is needed to suppress rebellions there. More people die in this "civil war" than in all the other wars of the Risorgimento combined.
Giovanni Valente's uncle Antonio Valente (born 1842 in Gambatesa, Molise) serves in the 13th Infantry Regiment (regular Army) in the campaign to overthrow Austrian rule over Venetia.
Rome is made capital of the Kingdom of Italy, being annexed from papal rule after its French garrison is drawn away to the Franco-Prussian War.

The annexation of Rome, added to that of Venetia (from 1866), brings the population of the Kingdom of Italy to twenty-seven million, 220 thousand of whom live in Rome.

Mazzini, faithful republican to the end, dies at Pisa on 10 March, illegally on Italian soil, an outlaw according to the Piemontese for attempting insurrection against the king.

[Continue with the History Outline - Italy and America.]

Source Notes: "To speak of an Italian people ..." is from The Living thoughts of Mazzini, presented by Ignazio Silone, tr. Arthur Livingstone (New York: 1939). Prince Metternich's words -- Italien ist ein geographischer Begriff -- are quoted and translated as the, as it were, verbal frontispiece of Bruce Marshall's The Divided Lady (1960). Matters of fact for the year 1860 forward are mostly based on Denis Mack Smith's Italy: A Modern History (Ann Arbor: 1969).

The Italian word Risorgimento may be translated "resurgence", "renewal" or "revival". Looked at from that point of view, a unified Italian peninsula and islands would be a revival of something that had not died when ancient Rome fell. However, the Piemontese re-unification of Italy resembled the original Roman unification of Italy: it was a conquering of diverse peoples; it was an act of conquest.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/garibald.html
Last revised: 13 February 2006 : 2006-02-13 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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