Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - Historical Background - Molise and Camden Chronology

ITALY and AMERICA

History Outline somewhat focused on
the Region of Molise, Italy,
and the City of Camden, New Jersey

Preface to the Outline

I have not used the form of expression so-called as in "the period between the decline of Roman rule in western Europe and the 15th Century ascendance of the northern Italian city states (the so-called Middle Ages)" and "the Piemontese conquest of the Italian peninsula and Sicily (the so-called Unification of Italy)" and "the so-called Renaissance" and "the so-called Reformation" and "the so-called Counter-Reformation" and so on in this chronology. But that is not because those judgments about the meaning of events should not be questioned.

History (events that have happened) and historiography (the writing of history -- i.e. the recording and interpretation of facts) are not the same thing. And therefore "historical truth" is not an easy idea; it requires critical thought -- and skepticism.

The more distant an historical event the more doubtful the facts about it are, including whether or not it ever happened. And remember that truth is not the highest value for everyone: people have and will tell lies to further other ends which they regard as more important than the truth. There are propaganda wars in which "truth is the first casualty".

The author of this page is not an historian or even a serious student of history (Sometimes I may not know what I am talking about); I am not qualified to teach history to anyone. Also at times the selection of events for this chronology is eccentric, reflecting my own subject-matter interests.

Chronology: 753 B.C. - 1949 A.D.

753
B.C.
Traditional date for the beginning of Greek colonization of southern Italy. There are some Greek remains in Molise. The Iliad and the Odyssey may have been composed at around this time.
  This is also the traditional date for the founding of Rome as a monarchy.
509-
 49
B.C.
The establishment of the Roman Republic follows a revolt against Rome's last king, who has committed an iniuria ("injury") to a lady, the defense of women's honor being according to Herodotus the usual pretext for major events in the ancient world. The Roman Empire will follow the Republic when in 49 B.C. Julius Caesar takes an army across the Rubicon, the river border between Alpine Gaul and Roman Italy, an illegal act done in defiance of the Roman Senate which will be forced to recognize Julius as Rome's first emperor.
480-
322
B.C.
The Golden Age of Greece, that is, the time between the Greek naval and land victories at Salamis (480) and Plataea (479) that decisively established Greek independence from Persia, and the death of Alexander "the Great" of Macedonia.
  The Battle of Marathon, the first Greek defensive victory over Persia, took place in 490 B.C.
399
B.C.
The death of Socrates of Athens, known as "the father of philosophy", not because he was the first to seek the truth by the light of natural reason alone (Thales of Miletus was), but because his entire way of life was dedicated to finding the truth about how man should live his life -- by questioning himself and his companions in order to distinguish what they knew from what they only thought they knew (but did not). The Delphic precept "Know thyself" was understood by the Greeks to mean: know what manner of being man is so that you may live in accord with the excellence ("virtue") that is proper and unique to man. Socrates' answer is rational moral virtue. (The ancient Greeks invented philosophy -- there is no equivalent for the Greek word "philosophy" in any other language.)
386
B.C.
Plato opens the Academy in Athens. In 334 Aristotle will found the Lyceum, and his followers will be called "Peripatetics", perhaps because they walk while arguing philosophy. It would hardly be possible to overstate the influence these two philosophers will have on the development of Western Civilization.
338
B.C.
Athens is conquered by the "barbarian" Philip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great.
3rd
Cen-
tury
B.C.
Rome wins control of central Italy from the native Oscan-speaking peoples, among them Samnites and Frentani. Modern Molise lies within the Roman province of Samnium.
290
B.C.
The City of Naples falls to Rome. Naples was founded in the 6th Century B.C. by Greeks from nearby Cumae (the earliest Greek colony in Italy, ca. 750 B.C.) and the island of Ischia; it was named Neapolis ("new city") to distinguish it from an older, nearby, city of Parthenope.
  Greek remains the first language of Naples even during Roman times, although the original Greeks have long ago intermarried with the other peoples of Italy. In the centuries that follow the fall of the Roman Empire, invaders and marauders will force many of the descendents of former Greeks cities to move to higher areas inland.
280
B.C.
Rome founds a colony at Benevento and, after defeating King Pyrrus of Epirus and his elephants there, changes its name from Maleventum ("bad winds"). Benevento had been in the land of the Samnites.
[Southern Italy in 264 B.C. - Map and Description]
216
B.C.
Hannibal is in the region of Molise on his way to battle the Romans at ancient Cannae, Apulium (Puglia).
146
B.C.
In this year Rome conquers Carthage and Macedonia and classical Greece (Hellas). But, as the saying will go, "Rome conquered Greece, but then Greece conquered Rome", the Romans recognizing Greek culture (philosophy, art, science, literature) to be superior to their own. Roman genius lies in administration and architecture (building).
1
A.D.
The birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem, according to the Gospels and the calendar of the Catholic canon lawyer Dionysius Exiguus. (As with many ancient things this date is disputed, but the biblical scholar Albert Schweitzer thought it reasonable, given Jesus' age at the time of death.)
  In 1582 Pope Gregory VIII will institute the calendar named for him. This Gregorian Calendar remains the Catholic Christian calendar.
30-50
A.D.
Years between the death of Jesus of Nazareth, and the death at Rome of his disciple Peter when Peter is Bishop of Rome, i.e. the first pope of Catholic Christianity. In 49 A.D. the Apostle Paul takes part in the Council of Jerusalem that recognizes non-Jews as members of the Church. It is for a community of Hellenized Jews (who no longer know Hebrew) and Greeks and other peoples in Antioch, Syria, that the name "Christian" (from a Greek word used to translate the Hebrew word "Messiah") is coined, and these people are the first in history to be called "Christians".
70-85
A.D.
The years between which scholars believe that the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written.
130
A.D.
Death of the philosopher Epictetus, who taught Stoic ethics in Epirus, but was born in Hierapolis, Phyrgia, and had once been a slave in Rome.
325
A.D.
Council of Nicaea. Christianity is now the state religion of Rome, made so by Emperor Constantine (r. 324-337); however, this religion will not become Catholic until the reign of Theodosius (379-395).
337
A.D.
St. Martin of Tours cuts his military cloak in half with his sword to clothe a poor man in the snow. St. Hilary of Poitiers will give Martin some land on which to found the first monastic community (monastery) in Roman Gaul. As Bishop of Tours, Martin will create a parochial system to extend the Church beyond the cities (where most Catholics live) to the countryside of Gaul.
  When confronted by the devil, Martin does not rant and rave. He lies down on the floor and waits.
  A very popular saint during the Middle Ages, 143 villages in Italy are named after St. Martin (as are more than 500 in France). He is the origin of the surnames "Martino" and "Martone".
356
A.D.
St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, is sent into exile by Emperor Constantine for refusing to condemn St. Athanasius and the Council of Nicaea's understanding of the Trinity. While there St. Hilary writes his book On the Trinity, the beginning of which describes his conversion: "I was seeking a conception of God worthy of the author of all that is."
390
A.D.
Emperor Theodosius accepts the penance imposed on him by St. Ambrose, after in a moment of vengeance Theodosius has ordered the slaughter of an entire town. Milan is at this time the capital of the Western Roman Empire, and St. Ambrose is its bishop. The emperor's act recognizes the moral authority of the Church over the political authority of the State.
  It is from St. Ambrose that Augustine learns to allegorize (i.e. regard as metaphor or literary form, or, as Augustine writes, "to understand in a spiritual, not a carnal, sense") the language of the Old Testament, a method that the Catholic Church will not much accept before Pope Pius XII's 1943 Encyclical Letter on the Promotion of Biblical Studies. It is also from St. Ambrose that Augustine learns to read silently and receives baptism into the Catholic Church.
396
A.D.
St. Augustine is made Bishop of Hippo, a city in the Roman province of Numidia (North Africa). Augustine lives during the age of the great Greek and Latin Fathers and early Doctors of Catholic Christianity.
410
A.D.
Visigoth migration through Italy. On 24 August, Rome, the capital of the civilized world, the thousand-year-old city which until now has been thought to be eternal, falls to Alaric's soldiers. Rome was "the city and the world" and the psychological impact of its fall on the people of this world is crippling. It will not be too long before sheep are grazing among its ruins. The city of Hippo will fall to the Vandals after Augustine's death.
  As the history of the Western Roman Empire comes to its end, the history of Europe begins. The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) will survive until 1453.
440
A.D.
Vandal migration northward through southern Italy. In 455 they sack the city of Rome.
452
A.D.
King Attila leads the Huns to the outskirts of the city of Mantua (Mantova) but is persuaded to spare the city and leave Italy by Pope Leo I "the Great" (d. 461) who meets Attila there with an embassy.
476
A.D.
Italy is by now almost all that remains of the Western Roman Empire, and, although it is still mostly under Roman administration, it is ruled by barbarians tied to Byzantium.
  These northern European peoples, however, are no longer savage barbarians: their centuries of living beside the Romans have been an education to them. They have developed a civilized life, with their own forms of government, and they are Christians (although not Catholics). But neither are they cultured Romans; they have remained war-like peoples, willing to ally themselves with the Asian Huns, a people for whom war is the only way of life they know.
480
A.D.
St. Benedict is born about this year in the village of Norcia in Umbria. He will leave his studies in Rome to live for three years as a monk in a mountain cave near the village of Subiaco (in the Province of Rome). His virtues will draw many disciples to him, and around 529 he will take some followers to Monte Cassino, build an abbey, and establish a Rule of Monastic Life founded on "silence, work, prayer, and a contrite heart", that will eventually be followed in forty thousand monasteries of the Western Church.
6th
Cen-
tury
A.D.
In honor of a Bishop of Verona, many Italians take the given name "Valente" (from the genitive or possessive case of the Latin Valens, i.e. Valentis, valere meaning to be strong, healthy; now capable, skilled). This will be the origin of the surname "Valente", which will become very common in both Italy and Portugal in the Middle Ages.
529
A.D.
Traditional date for the founding of the Catholic abbey at Montecassino.
  The Emperor Justinian closes the schools of philosophy and confiscates their property, forbidding any pagan to teach, even at Athens. After eleven centuries of history, Greek philosophy has come to an end.
555
A.D.
Emperor Justinian I (r. 527-565) has Italy reconquered for the Eastern Roman Empire (i.e. Byzantium) by defeating the Ostrogoths, who have ruled Italy since 493 AD.
[Longobard Italy - Map and Expanded Chronology]
568
A.D.
Lombard invasion of Italy begins. Byzantium has favored rule by large landowners, and by now municipal government has disappeared in Italy. The foundations of the castle at Tufara (CB) date from the Lombard period.
571
A.D.
Establishment of the large papal duchy of Benevento. The Lombards will divide their conquered lands into duchies, and the Lombard duke of Benevento will be an almost independent ruler. (The area of Molise will be ruled by the Duchy of Benevento; the area of Abruzzo will be ruled by the Duchy of Spoleto.)
732
A.D.
Battle of Poitiers, France. Charles Martel stops the Moslem Moors advance into Europe.
8th
Cen-
tury
A.D.
In the conflict between the Byzantine emperor who wants to abolish the "worship of images", and the Lombard king who wants to end Byzantium's rule in Italy and to put down Italian revolts against the iconoclasts, the Italians side with the bishop of Rome (now called "pope"). The pope excommunicates the iconoclasts (731) and calls on the king of the Catholic Franks, Pepin "the Short", to save Rome from the Lombards (who although Christians are not Catholics).
774
A.D.
Pepin and later his son Charlemagne invade Italy and the Lombard Kingdom becomes the Frankish Kingdom of Italy. The Franks and Lombards follow their own laws; the Italians continue to use Roman law.
  The dukes of Benevento call themselves princes of the Lombards; they are sometimes loyal to the Franks, sometimes to Byzantium.
774-
961
A.D.
The Carolingian period (named for Pepin's father Charles Martel). Imperial authority disintegrates: feudalism reaches its fullest development in Italy: local lords are masters of their own territories.
  Normans from France gradually gain power in southern Italy; they take part in local quarrels between Lombard princes and the people of Puglia and the Byzantine governors. Expeditions sent against the Normans by the Holy Roman emperors (the first of whom was Charlemagne) are defeated.
947
A.D.
Magyar raids through the Principality of Benevento into Puglia.
969
A.D.
Benevento is made the see of an archbishop, and remains so. (Gambatesa (CB) will be a parish in its diocese.)
11th-12th
Century
A.D.
Romanesque Period. A good amount of art from this time exists in Molise.
[Norman Conquest of Italy - Map and Expanded Chronology]
1016
A.D.
The Normans establish a new Kingdom of Naples and drive the Moslem Saracens from Benevento.
1084
A.D.
Blessed Giovanni, called "the Eremite" (San Giovanni Eremita da Tufara), is born at Tufara, Molise. In 1104 he will decide to give all that he has to the poor, and to go into the wooded mountains of nearby Baselice (BN) in order to live a hermit's life of prayer and self-denial.
1130
A.D.
The Norman Count Roger II unites his domains on both sides of the Strait of Messina and is crowned king of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (i.e. of the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples -- i.e. southern Italy), under the suzerainty of the pope.
  The Normans dominate southern Italy, end Byzantium's rule in Puglia (and drive the Moslem Saracens from Sicily).
1156
A.D.
Many are drawn by Giovanni of Tufara's example, and with him they establish a community life of sorts. In this year they begin the construction of a monastery in the Mazocca woods of Foiano (BN). They help the outcast and oppressed of feudal society through prayer and direct aid.
1170
A.D.
Death of Giovanni of Tufara on 14 November.
1182
A.D.
Birth of San Francesco d'Assisi (d. 1226). St. Francis will be made the patron saint of Italy.
1194
A.D.
Though militarily unsuccessful against the Norman kings, Frederick I (Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy, called Barbarossa, r. 1155-1190) of Swabia makes a matrimonial alliance through which his son becomes king of the Two Sicilies.
  Manfredonia is a port of debarkation during the Crusades.
1215
A.D.
Birth of Pietro da Morrone, later Pope St. Peter Celestine V (r. 1294), in the district of Isernia.
1221
A.D.
On 28 August Giovanni Eremita da Tufara is beatified in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul at Tufara, the church at which he had once been sacristan. His day in 24 June.
  Frederick II (b. 1194), who had been King of Sicily under the title "Frederick I" (r. 1198-1250), becomes Holy Roman Emperor. He has been King of Germany since 1212.
1224
A.D.
The University of Naples is founded. Tommaso d'Aquino (Thomas Aquinas), who is born about this same year at Roccasecca (in Lazio), will study here after studying with the monks at Montecassino (Monte Cassino).
1265
A.D.
Birth of Dante Alighieri (d. 1321). About a year later Giotto di Bondone (d. 1337) is born.
1266
A.D.
Charles of Anjou is crowned king of the Two Sicilies. The popes, fearing German designs on their power, call upon the French House of Anjou. The last Swabian king of the Two Sicilies is killed at Benevento.
  (The Sicilians, however, suffer under the French and call on the King of Aragon, who will becomes king of Sicily after the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. In 1409 Sicily becomes part of Spain.)
1298
A.D.
The Book of Marco Polo of Venice (1254-1324) tells about his travels to Asia. There will be notes made by Christopher Columbus of Genoa on more than 70 pages of his copy of this book, and it will be westwards to the "Cathay" of Marco Polo that Columbus sets sail.
1309-
1343
A.D.
Reign of Robert (called "the Wise") of Anjou, King of the Kingdom of Naples, from whom Riccardo di Gambatesa receives many titles and fiefs. (The Comune of Gambatesa in Molise received its name from the Gambatesa family. The origin of the family name is unknown.)
15th-
16th
Cen-
tury
A.D.
The Italian Renaissance (Rinascimento or "Rebirth"): the age of Leon Battista Alberti, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Ghiberti, Ghirlandaio, Giorgione, Fra Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Masaccio, Michelozzo, Perugino, Pollaiuolo, Jacopo della Quercia, Giuliano da Sangallo, Signorelli, Uccello, Verrocchio, Giovanni Bellini, Bramante, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Palladio, Raffaello, Antonio Giamberti da Sangallo, Andrea del Sarto, Tintoretto, Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), Paolo Veronese, Carlo Dolci, among others. None of these artists was from southern Italy, and none of them worked there. However, their disciples did, and a fair amount of art from this period exists in Molise, as for example in the Castle of Gambatesa.
  The fief of Tufara is sold to the Gambatesa family in the early years of the 15th Century. They hold it until 1465, when their political fortunes result in Tufara passing to Ferrante I of Aragon.
1443
A.D.
The Kingdom of Naples has remained under the Angevins (i.e. House of Anjou) until Alfonso V of Aragon reunites the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily in this year.
1447
A.D.
The Customshouse of the Tratturo ("sheep trail") in Puglia (Dogana della Mena delle pecore in Puglia) is established, by royal decree from Aragon, for the purpose of better taxing the annual sheep and cattle migration (transhumance) from the highlands of Abruzzo through Molise to the plains of Puglia.
1484
A.D.
The fief of Gambatesa passes from the descendents of Riccardo di Gambatesa to Andrea Di Capua, Duke of Termoli.
1492
A.D.
The navigator Christopher Columbus of Genoa, sailing for Spain, sails west to go East, and in this way begins the European discovery of the Americas. Columbus also envisions going East by sailing north over the Pole (as the Italian airship Norge will do in 1926).
  But Columbus believes himself to be on the outskirts of Asia (and, indeed, given what Columbus believes to be the earth's circumference, there is no space for a Western Hemisphere on Columbus' globe). And when in 1500 Pedro Cabral goes ashore at Brazil, he sees it only as one more land off the coast of Africa, like the Canary Islands and Madeira. It could be said, therefore, that the Americas will not be discovered until they are conceived to be what Amerigo Vespucci will call them -- a New World.
  Some time before 480 B.C. the Carthaginian navigator Himilco had sailed as far north as Brittany, if not beyond. Exploration to the south began in 490 B.C. when Hanno of Carthage led a fleet of ships through the Strait of Gibraltar and sailed 2,500 miles south along the coast of Africa, well beyond the islands classical cartographers marked as the western and southern limits of the world. The Canary Islands, through which they drew the first meridian on their maps, lie about 800 miles southwest of Gibraltar. The islands were known to the Romans as the Insulae fortunatae, the "fortunate" being the happy dead who dwelled there; the name "Canary" Islands comes from the many wild dogs once found there, the Latin for "dog" being canis. (The little songbird called "canary" is named after its wild ancestors from the islands.)
  Not until 1434 did explorers again sail farther south than the Canary Islands (or, the mainland's Cape Bojador, to be exact), when Gil Eanes was sent there by Prince Henry "the Navigator" (d. 1460) of Portugal.
  In May 1488 a Portuguese expedition led by Bartolomeu Dias reached the "Cape of Storms" (or, Good Hope), the southwest tip of the African continent. A decade later India will finally be reached, by Vasco da Gama in 1498. In 1513 Portuguese sailors will land in "Cathay" (China), and by 1543 the first Europeans will arrive in the land Marco Polo (ca. 1271-1295) had called "Zipangu" (Japan).
  The Portuguese always sail east to go East, but in 1521 Columbus's dream of sailing west to go East will finally be realized by Fernão de Magalhães (Magellan), a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain.
1494
A.D.
France invades Italy from the north and Spain invades from the south. Rome and Florence are sacked by Spain.
1497
A.D.
Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), sailing for England, discovers the coast of North America.
1504
A.D.
When France and Spain fight over the Kingdom of Naples, the result is that the Kingdom becomes part of the Spanish Empire and is ruled by Spanish viceroys. The welfare of southern Italy henceforth is to come after that of Spain.
  Spain preserves local administrations and institutions. However, decision-making passes from local (feudal) rulers to the central ("absolute") ruler, the Spanish monarch. Under this regime the economic and cultural life of southern Italy begin a decline from which they do not begin to recover until the Napoleonic conquest.
1517
A.D.
The Augustinian priest, doctor of theology and professor Martin Luther affixes his 95 theses to the door at Wittenberg, marking the beginning of the (Lutheran) Reformation.
1532
A.D.
The number of hearths or households (fuochi) counted in Gambatesa this year is 322. The census is taken to assess the tax that must be paid by the owner of the fief.
1555
A.D.
The Peace of Augsburg, whereby it is agreed that each prince shall have the power to decide the religion (either Lutheran or Catholic) of the people he rules over.
1524
A.D.
Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing for France, discovers the coast of New Jersey.
1543
A.D.
The treatise On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs by the Catholic cathedral canon (Frauenburg, E. Prussia) Nicolaus Copernicus is published, by a Lutheran in Nuremberg, dedicated by its author to Pope Paul III.
  This will be the age of the great astronomer-mathematicians: Copernicus (1473-1543), Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Isaac Newton will be born in 1642.
1545-
1563
A.D.
The Roman Catholic response to the Protestant revolution, the Counter Reformation, is codified at the Council of Trent.
  The keeping of parish registers to record baptisms, marriages, and deaths begins.
1545
A.D.
The number of households counted in Gambatesa this year is 322.
1561
A.D.
The number of households counted in Gambatesa this year is 361.
1571
A.D.
Battle of Lepanto: sea victory over the Moslem Turks. The next year Pope St. Pius V orders an annual commemoration, Our Lady of Victory (7 October).
1583
A.D.
Prior to this date Ferrante Di Capua Jr, Duke of Termoli, sells the fief of Gambatesa to Francesco Lombardo, landowner from Troia, Puglia.
1595
A.D.
The number of households counted in Gambatesa this year is 346.
1599
A.D.
Saint Robert Bellarmine (Roberto Bellarmino) is made cardinal by Pope Clement VIII. In Rome's slums he is known as Il Padre de' Poveri, "the priest of the poor". It is impossible to keep wall hangings and curtains in the cardinal's residence: Bellarmine has them taken down and made into clothing for the poor. "The walls won't catch cold," he says.
  In 1616 (seventeen years before Galileo's condemnation for publishing his Dialog Concerning the Two Chief World Systems), when Robert Bellarmine is 74 years old, he will be given the task by Pope Paul V of informing Galileo of the decision by the theologians of the Holy Office that "the opinion that the sun is the center of the universe and immovable and that the earth moves" cannot be "held, taught, or defended in any way," but can only be discussed as an hypothesis. Galileo will accept this decision, and this will be the end of Cardinal Bellarmine's involvement.
  Robert Bellarmine will be declared a saint in 1930; Galileo, however, will have to wait until 1992 to receive a Vatican apology for its 1633 condemnation of him.
1618-
1648
A.D.
The Thirty-Years War between northern German Protestant rulers and southern German Catholic rulers, a war prolonged by the territorial greed of the rulers of Sweden and France. Common people die of starvation in the Rhineland, corpses found with grass in their mouths.
1648
A.D.
The number of households counted in Gambatesa this year is 291.
1650
A.D.
King Charles I of England, grateful to find refuge on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands from the republican revolution, grants George Carteret, monarchist seaman and the island's commander, an island off Virginia "to be called New Jersey". This is the origin of the state's name; however, the name will not actually be applied to any American territory until 1664, and then the territory's owners will be Sir George Carteret and the monarchist soldier John, Lord Berkeley, and the territory will be, not an island, but the land now called New Jersey.
  From the beginning New Jersey is to be divided in half, to the north East Jersey, to the south West Jersey. Colonization of southern New Jersey will be slow: the land of the future "Garden State" is not the best for farming and most immigrants will move west to Pennsylvania and beyond.
  West Jersey is to be strongly influenced by its Quaker colonists. East Jersey, and eventually also West Jersey, will be dominated by Anglicans, men of the established Church of England, the very Church whose domination the Quakers had fled England to escape. Freedom of religion will be extended to all except "Papists".
1656
A.D.
The plaque kills 300,000 people in Naples (but because of better sanitation, only 14,000 in Rome). Over two-thirds of the people of Gambatesa die: the population declines from 291 households in 1648 to barely 70 in 1669.
1669
A.D.
The number of households counted in Gambatesa this year is 70.
[Camden, New Jersey - Map and Expanded Chronology]
1681
A.D.
William Cooper, a Quaker, settles at the tip of a peninsula on the Delaware River which he names Pyne Poynte ("pine point"). Cooper runs a ferry from there to Philadelphia, and this gives the future City of Camden its earliest name: Cooper's Ferry. Settlement of the point, mostly by Quakers, is slow.
  Quakers also settle New Jersey's towns of Salem (1675), Gloucester City, and Burlington, on the Delaware River.
1690
A.D.
Birth of Francesco, son of Giacomo, IACOVELLI at Gambatesa, the first of Giovanni VALENTE's family in Gambatesa for whom there is a date. Francesco IACOVELLI will die in 1753.
17th-
18th
Cen-
tury
A.D.
Italy gives birth to classical music. The age of Corelli, Vivaldi, Frescobaldi, Scarlatti, Geminiani, Pergolesi, Monteverdi, and so many others. The common terms used in music, allegro, adagio, piano, forte, vivace, da capo, and so on, are Italian words. And southern Italy shares in this, in the city of Naples, where Haydn will study, and Mozart remember as a boy hearing music while overlooking the Bay of Naples and a young girl there, "I still remember her long eyelashes and the way she smiled."
18th
Cen-
tury
A.D.
The Enlightenment (Aufklärung) in northern Europe. Represented by John Locke (1632-1704) in England, Voltaire (1694-1778) in France, Kant (1724-1804) in Germany, and many, many other champions of freedom of speech and conscience, international law, universal peace, the rights of man and social progress.
1714
A.D.
The Kingdom of Naples passes to Austria (as does Sicily six years later).
1734
A.D.
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies is reconstituted as an independent state under a branch of the Spanish Bourbons.
  Charles V (r. 1734-1759) is followed by his son Ferdinando I (r. 1759-1806; 1815-1825) as King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
1740
A.D.
Frederick the Great of Prussia abolishes torture in his realm. The Hapsburg ruler of the duchy of Tuscany, Grand Duke Leopold I (r. 1765-1790), called "Leopold of Tuscany", will abolish torture and the death penalty in his realm.
1748
A.D.
Year for the arrival of the VALENTE family in Gambatesa with Domenico VALENTE, his wife Barbara CONTE and their two children, Pasquale (1736-1793) and Anna, from "San Marco de' Goti" (i.e. San Marco dei Cavoti). Pasquale will marry Francesco IACOVELLI's daughter Ermenegilda (1736-1812). Anna (1737-1797) will marry Ermenegilda's brother Nunzio IACOVELLI (1726-1795). All the VALENTE of Gambatesa are descended from these two children of Domenico VALENTE.
  About this year Angela di MAURO of Gambatesa marries Francesco ALTIERI whose parents were from Santa Croce del Sannio (BN).
1769
A.D.
About this year Saveria CIOCCA of Riccia (CB) marries Nicola BURRATTI of Gambatesa.
  Also circa 1769 Saveria CURIALE of Gambatesa marries Domenico PORCARO whose grandparents were from Roccabascerana in Campania.
1773
A.D.
William Cooper's descendent Jacob Cooper lays out a town at Pyne Point and names it for the 1st Earl of Camden (who opposes taxation of the American colonists without their representation in Parliament).
  About this year Saverio FARINACCIO of Gildone (CB) marries Maria ALTIERI of Gambatesa.
1776
A.D.
The American Declaration of Independence declares that "all men are created equal", that king and peasant are not conditions of nature but only conditions of society. And that government has its mandate, not from divine right, but from the consent of the governed. And therefore that revolt against non-consensual government is not contrary to the natural order or to the will of God. This declaration is the foundation of republican-democratic government.
  Slavery and racial inequality are of course contrary to the Declaration's principle that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with liberty, but many generations will pass before the Declaration's words become deeds in America, although they will at last become deeds in 1863 and 1964.
1787
A.D.
On 18 December New Jersey ratifies the United States Federal Constitution. Article I, Section 9 of that Constitution states: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept any ... Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State." Article I, Section 10 adds: "No State shall ... grant any Title of Nobility."
1789
A.D.
The French Revolution. The ideas behind it will come to Italy with Napoleon's soldiers.
1793
A.D.
Saverio FARINACCIO falls to his death from an oak tree on 17 November at 5 PM at "a place called la surienza" within the territory of Gambatesa.
1795
A.D.
About this year Fedele PITETTI of Guardiagrele (CH) marries Maria Giovanna CONCA of Pietracatella (CB). Their daughter Serafina PUDETTI will be born in Gambatesa in 1820 and will marry Donato VALENTE.
  The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 2,400.
1799
A.D.
The Parthenopean Republic is proclaimed at Naples (Parthenope was Naples' ancient name); the Republic lasts from 24 January to 13 June. Ferdinando I flees to Sicily, but is returned to power by an army hastily raised in Calabria and backed by the British navy. Bloody reprisals are taken against the republicans.
1805
A.D.
Lorenzo da Ponte, exiled from Europe, writer of the libretti for Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Così fan tutte (1790), runs a dry goods store in Elizabeth, New Jersey. From 1826-1837 he holds the chair in Italian at Columbia University.
1806
A.D.
Ferdinando I is driven from Naples by Napoleon's army led by Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph rules the Kingdom of Naples until 1808 when he is succeeded by Joachim Murat. (Sicily, because of the British navy, continues to be ruled by Ferdinando I.) The administration of government remains almost entirely in Italian hands.
  Italy's system of Regione (Region), Provincia (Province), Comune (Municipality/Township), and Frazione (Village administered by a nearby comune) is established.
  With the Napoleonic regime comes the legal end of feudalism. However, although peasants are now liberated from their feudal obligations, they also lose their feudal rights. Conscription and taxes increase under the French; and while French law is more enlightened, it is also more strictly enforced than former laws were. The law says that peasants can now own land, but few actually acquire it, and most of those who do soon lose it.
  The population of the Italian peninsula at this time is about 18 million.
[Map of the Provinces of Central Southern Italy]
1809
A.D.
Introduction of Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths in southern Italy, following the Code Napoléon. The Comune of Gambatesa is recorded as being in the Province of Molise.
1811
A.D.
Angela SACCONE of Volturino (FG) marries Nicola VALENTE of Gambatesa.
1815
A.D.
Restoration of the king of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies following the Congress of Vienna. With the fall of the Napoleonic Empire, Ferdinando I returns to Naples. By the restoration of entails and primogeniture the landed aristocracy regains some of its feudal privileges.
  Civil Registration continues, but is de-secularized: civil marriage is discontinued.
1820
A.D.
July revolution led by the Carbonari in the Neapolitan kingdom forces Ferdinando I to accept a national parliament under a democratic constitution. However, Metternich, opponent of all reform based on democracy or nationality, sends the army of the Austrian Empire to restore Ferdinando's absolute rule. This army retakes Naples in March 1821 and remains there for six years.
1825-
1827
A.D.
Publication of Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi ("The Betrothed"), a work of the romantic movement in literature. When fifteen years later Manzoni alters the language of his book from his native Lombard dialect of Italian to the Tuscan dialect of Italian, he establishes the Tuscan dialect as the language of literate Italians. (The people of Molise speak their own Molisano dialect of Italian.)
1825
A.D.
Francesco I succeeds his father Ferdinando I as king of the Two Sicilies.
1828
A.D.
The City of Camden, New Jersey, is incorporated (receives a city charter). It will be reincorporated in 1871 under a revised charter.
1830
A.D.
Ferdinando II succeeds his father Francesco I. (An anti-Bourbon revolt takes place in Sicily in 1848, but Ferdinando reconquers the island in 1849 with bombardments that earn him the name King Bomba.)
1832
A.D.
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 classless republic: "Our problem is, above all things, a problem of national education", i.e. of persuading the peoples of the peninsula and islands of Italy to regard themselves as a single nation ("Italy") and a single nationality ("Italian").
1833
A.D.
Felicia BOCCAMAZZO of Tufara marries Bartolomeo CONTENTO of Gambatesa.
1835
A.D.
The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 2,903.
1844
A.D.
The City of Camden becomes the seat of the County of Camden, New Jersey.
1846
A.D.
Francesco Maria d'ALESANDRO (b. 1819) signs the civil register of births when his son Giuseppantonio's birth is recorded on 29 July, making him the first of Nunziata DiRENZO's family in Gambatesa known to be able to write his name.
1850-
1851
A.D.
Giuseppe Garibaldi (b. 1807 at Nice), exiled from the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, works as a candlemaker in a factory on Staten Island, New York.
1859
A.D.
Francesco II succeeds his father Ferdinando II and becomes the last king of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
[Map of the Unification of Italy]
1860
A.D.
Garibaldi's Thousand cross from Sicily to the Kingdom of Naples on 19 August, and on 1 October 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 (whose prime minister Cavour has ceded Nice and Savoy to France to win its 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 1,621 of 1,848 villages have no roads. But the paternalistic Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had kept the national debt and taxes low; it had kept food cheap; and it had 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. 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" (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.
1861
A.D.
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.
  President Abraham Lincoln offers Garibaldi a command in the American Civil War, but Garibaldi, willing but wounded from trying to capture Rome, must decline the offer.
  Civil registration is re-secularized. The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 2,947.
1863
A.D.
President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. However, the northern states have no reason to be smug about their opposition to slavery: there are still slaves in the northern state of New Jersey at this time. And black slavery is very unlike European serfdom: the serfs who were our Valente ancestors until 1806 had mothers and fathers -- i.e. they had family names and their baptisms, marriages and deaths were recorded in the parish register; and they could not be sold off the land they were born on. Whereas America's black slaves are treated as livestock: animals do not have last names, parents, spouses, children or native lands, and no Christian church registers the vital statistics of soulless life. Some 9 million Africans died at sea during their forced voyage to the Americans on slave ships. Such are the consequences of the compromise of 1776.
1861-
1865
A.D.
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.
  Piemontese anti-clerical laws are extended to southern Italy. The clergy, the only friends of the poor, where the poor have any friends (The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has always been opposed to education for the peasants; it has told them that their station in life is the will of God, as is the power of their earthly lords, when those lords serve the interests of the Church's hierarchy), are persecuted. Sixty-six bishops are arrested for refusing to submit to the new government, and thirteen thousand ecclesiastical bodies are suppressed.
1865
A.D.
Legislation places the responsibility for providing primary education and local roads on the villages of Italy. But in the South the whole agricultural population is illiterate, and there are no teachers or school buildings, and the poor village taxpayers have no money. The wages of Italian workers are almost the lowest in Europe, and the taxes on their food are the highest.
  Since the Kingdom of Italy's taxes are based on consumption rather than on income or property, the class which benefits most from the new social order also contributes the least in taxes.
1866
A.D.
Parliament orders the houses dissolved and the goods confiscated of almost all religious orders and congregations: twenty-five thousand ecclesiastical bodies are suppressed. To justify this, the state takes over the educational and charitable works of the Church, but parliament will spend less money on actual relief than the Church did.
  In this year Antonio Valente (born 1842 in Gambatesa) serves in the 13th Infantry Regiment (regular Army) in the campaign to end Austrian rule over the Italian region of Venetia. Antonio is the older brother of Francesco Valente (Luca Valente's father) and of Nicola Valente (Giovanni Valente's father) at the Masseria Valente and at the house in Via San Nicola, Gambatesa.
1869
A.D.
Parliament introduces a tax on the grinding of wheat and corn -- the "grist tax" (macinato) -- a tax aimed at the poor (who eat mostly bread). Riots follow, and newspaper editors and county priests are arrested for morally supporting them.
  Since so much government revenue is raised from the grist tax, when it is abolished ten years later, the result is a huge budget deficit.
1870
A.D.
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.
1872
A.D.
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.
1874
A.D.
Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem appears, written on the death of Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873).
1876
A.D.
The birth of Marianna BRICCA of Jelsi in the city of Campobasso. Marianna will be Nunziata DiRenzo's godmother.
1877
A.D.
The Italian Parliament makes elementary education free and compulsory for children aged between six and nine. But this law, which the Catholic Church opposes as a "threat to order and society", is locally administered and widely ignored.
  When in 1903 Nunziata DiRenzo attends school in Gambatesa, she goes for 3 years, but must wash her teacher's clothing.
  (In 1911 half the population of Italy is still illiterate, the number being higher in the south; in 1931 the national figure is 20 per cent -- although it is 48 per cent in Calabria. Even in 1961 almost a quarter of Italians do not finish elementary school.)
1878
A.D.
Death of Vittorio Emanuele II (from malaria). He is succeeded by his son Umberto I, whose wife is Margherita of Savoy. Umberto will be assassinated in 1900.
  Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-1878) is followed by Pope Leo XIII.
1880-
1920
A.D.
Years when the most Italians emigrate. Beginning with the agricultural depression of the 1880s, most of the emigrants are southern Italians. In 1898 more immigrants to the United States come from Italy than from any other country.
  A total of two-and-one-half million Italians will pass through Ellis Island.
  In 1921 and 1924 the U.S. Congress sets quotas effectively ending immigration from Italy.
1881
A.D.
The third Italian national census shows that for every thousand inhabitants of the Kingdom, only 59 are peasant landowners, only 46 sharecroppers; the majority are agricultural day laborers (bracciali / braccianti), fortunate if they are employed half the year. (The number of those owning land declines between the 1861 and 1901 censuses.) In Naples, Italy's largest city, two-thirds of the people do not know whether they will have work from one day to the next, let alone bread.
  The 1881 census counted 7,191 monks and friars and 28,172 nuns. (Despite laws prohibiting it, the 1901 census found the number of monks and friars increased by 601 and the number of nuns by 12,079).
  The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 3,078.
1882
A.D.
Legislation grants new voting rights. All men 21 years old (down from 25), paying 19 lire per year in taxes (down from 40), and able to read and write -- are given the vote. This increases the number of eligible voters to 2 million (up from the previous 500,000), making the electorate 7 per cent of the adult population (up from 2 per cent). But the new law favors the cities over the countryside, northern Italy over southern, and makes it easy for parliament to go on ignoring the brutal conditions of the agricultural south.
  Publication in book form of Le avventure di Pinocchio, Storia di un burattino ("The Adventures of Pinocchio: the Story of a Puppet") by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890).
1887
A.D.
Birth of Giovanni VALENTE (d. 11 December 1969) on 7 December at 9 AM at Via Sannicola No. 14, Gambatesa.
  The Italian government begins a tariff war with France (this goes on until 1891) which results in higher grain prices and so hunger and disease for the peasants and a flood of emigration overseas.
1888
A.D.
So fearful is parliament of an emerging "class war" that in April, ignoring the constitution, it revokes the right to free association. The government sees "socialist plots" rather than economic desperation in all rebellion, and authorizes industrialists and landowners to call on the army to suppress striking workers.
1889
A.D.
The Kingdom of Italy colonizes (Italian) Somaliland.
  New law imposes harsher penalties on clergy who criticize the government from the pulpit.
1890
A.D.
The Kingdom of Italy establishes a colony on the Red Sea called "Eritrea". (But in 1895 the kingdom's attempt to conquer the whole of Ethiopia ends in defeat. It will try again under Mussolini.)
1891
A.D.
The people of Gambatesa revolt against the local authorities because of the imposition of a new tax: the focàtico. This is a tax on every hearth (fuoco) -- i.e. household in the village.
  Pope Leo XIII issues the encyclical Rerum novarum, calling it just that wealth be more equally distributed and that workers form unions.
  In order to save money, the government says, the Italian national census that should have been taken this year is canceled. The next census, the fourth, will be in 1901.
1892
A.D.
First production, at Milan, of the opera I pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo (b. 1858 at Naples).
  The U.S. Congress designates the 12th day of October, the day in 1492 when Columbus landed in the New World, "Columbus Day", on the 400th anniversary of the event. The U.S. government will choose to ignore the 500th anniversary.
1896
A.D.
Guglielmo Marconi is granted, by Britain, his first patent for a wireless telegraph.
1897
A.D.
Birth of Nunziata DiRENZO (d. 11 May 1983) on 14 April at 8 AM at Via Serrone No. 39, Gambatesa.
  The Campbell Soup Company begins marketing condensed soups from the plant it opened in the City of Camden in 1869.
1899
A.D.
In June the king's prime minister announces that he will rule by royal decrees, ignoring parliament. But in February 1900 the high court of appeal rules this illegal. The prime minister resigns, but the precedent for parliamentary dictatorship is set.
  An English lightship stationed off the coast of Dover becomes the first to use Marconi's wireless with Morse code to signal to shore for help.
1900
A.D.
Assassination of King Umberto I (r. from 1878) by an Italian emigrant, sent by a group of Italian anarchists in Paterson, New Jersey, to avenge the slaughter by the army of at least eighty poor people who were begging around a convent in Milan. The general who had turned cannon and grapeshot on these unarmed people had been decorated by the king.
  Umberto, whose tomb with his wife Margherita (1851-1926) is in the Pantheon in Rome, is succeeded by his son Vittorio Emanuele III.
1901
A.D.
Marconi makes the first wireless transmission from Europe to North America (Cornwall, England to Newfoundland, Canada).
  The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 3,416.
1903
A.D.
Pope Leo XIII is succeeded by Pope (declared saint in 1953) Pius X (r. until 1914).
1904
A.D.
In January Theodor Herzl approaches Victor Emmanuel III in Rome: would the Italian government allow Herzl's Political Zionists to establish a secular, exclusionist state in Tripoli when the Kingdom of Italy takes the Turkish colony of Tripoli? The king's response: Ma è ancora casa di altri ("But it's already the home of other people"). Britain's foreign secretary Balfour will have no such scruples, beyond mouth honor, about Palestine.
1904-
1920
A.D.
Enrico Caruso (b. 1873 at Naples) is recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, which was founded in 1894. (The company will be taken over by the Radio Corporation of America -- "RCA" -- in 1929.)
1908-
1909
A.D.
Giovanni Valente, age twenty, would serve this year (or eighteen months) as a conscript in the Italian Army ("national service") as an infantryman, but it seems he served for only a short while in place of his younger brother Salvatore, who was a professional soldier.
1910
A.D.
Northern and Central Italy, with 73 per cent of the nation's wealth, pay 68 per cent of the nation's taxes. But Southern Italy with 27 per cent of the nation's wealth pays 32 per cent of the taxes. The peasant huts of southern hill villages are taxed as if they were urban dwellings, while northern farm houses are charged a lower rural rate.
  According to the U.S. Federal Census, although the average national earnings in the U.S. for this year is $666, immigrant men from Italy are paid less than $400. African-American men earn less than the national average but more than Italian immigrants, which shows how Italians are regarded in an America where Black Americans are treated as if they were less than human (beings).
1911
A.D.
In September the Kingdom of Italy declares its intention to take the Turkish colony of Tripoli for itself, and in November claims its annexation. But Italy's war to conquer Libya's native peoples goes on for decades.
  Giovanni Valente emigrates from Gambatesa to America. He sails from Naples on 22 November 1911 on the SS Ancona and arrives at the Port of Philadelphia on 9 December, a voyage of 18 days.
  (Emigration from the Region of Abruzzo & Molise to parts elsewhere for the year 1905, as an example, was about 50,000 men and 10,000 women. The population of this region in 1936 was one-and-one-half million, of which 60,000 would be four per cent or one out of every twenty-five people.)
  The number of people counted as living in Gambatesa this year is 3,689.
1912
A.D.
In May the Kingdom of Italy conquers the island of Rhodes.
  Legislation grants "universal suffrage": all men who have served in the military or are over 30 years old -- regardless of whether they can read and write -- are given the vote. This increases the electorate from 3 million to 8 million.
1913
A.D.
Over one-half million Italians leave Italy in the first six months of this year.
  Nunziata DiRenzo emigrates from Gambatesa to America. She sails from Naples on 8 July 1913 on the SS Ancona and arrives at the Port of New York (Ellis Island) on 21 July, a voyage of 14 days.
1914
A.D.
The result of emigration is that five to six million Italians now live outside Italy, as compared to the thirty-five million living inside. That is 14 to 17 per cent, or at least one out of every seven. These emigrants send more money to their families in Italy than Italy earns in tourism.
  On September 12th Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo are married at the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the City of Camden.
1915
A.D.
Antonio Salandra (b. 1853), the prime minister the king has chosen, ignoring the wishes of parliament and the people of Italy, declares war against Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915.
  Pope Benedict XV will condemn this war as "useless carnage" (una inutile strage).
1917
A.D.
Italy establishes a line on the Piave River in November and finally ends the Austro-German advance southward. Salvatore VALENTE (1889-1960) serves on the Piave.
1918
A.D.
Austria-Hungary accepts truce on 4 November.
  Giovanni Valente makes his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States on 10 December.
1919
A.D.
Mussolini's "blackshirts" with their castor oil and rubber cudgels introduce Italy to "Fascism" (gangsterism), the only consistent aim of which is to substitute the will of the "strong leader" (il Duce) for the rule of law and democracy. So great is their fear of "socialism" (i.e. workers' rights and land reform) that Italy's ruling classes encourage Fascism's use of violence and intimidation to impose their will; the Fascist squadre will grow out of the armed bands privately employed against farm workers by the propertied class. Fascist illegality becomes commonplace, and the government does nothing to stop it.
  The democratic socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti will tell parliament in January 1921: "The government and local authorities are assisting unmoved at the overthrow of law and order.... [The state] has renounced its duty of guaranteeing the same law for everyone."
  Proportional representation is introduced for the November parliamentary elections: candidates for the Chamber of Deputies, parliament's lower house (of which the prime minister is leader; the ineffectual upper house, Senate, is unelected), are now determined at a party caucus; and deputies are elected, not as individuals, but as members of a party's list of candidates, their number depending on the proportion of the total votes their party receives.
1920
A.D.
The Liberal Prime Minister Giolitti withdraws the Italian army from Albania, where it has been fighting a colonial war and losing a hundred soldiers a day to malaria since 1914.
  About 350,000 Italians enter the United States this year.
1921
A.D.
In both the 1913 and 1919 parliamentary elections not a single Fascist candidate had been elected. But in this year's May elections, Prime Minister Giolitti includes Fascist candidates on his party's electoral list; this will give Fascism its first representatives in parliament. Giolitti believes he can neutralize the Fascists by taking them into his party (just as he has done with other parties in the past). But, like Hindenburg later, Giolitti has given respectability to an evil force he will be unable to control. In Italy's last free election until after WWII the Fascists gain 35 out of the total of 535 seats in the Chamber of Deputies; Mussolini is to represent Milan.
  The 6th Italian national census finds that three-fifths of Italy's employed are working in agriculture (although in 1931 less than half will be). Between 1926 and 1934 these farm laborers will see their wages fall under Fascism by 50-70 per cent.
  The United States Congress establishes immigration quotas: Italy is limited to about 40,000 per year.
  The 6th Italian national census records 3,572 residents of Gambatesa.
1922
A.D.
Giovanni Valente makes his Petition for Naturalization on 10 January and is granted citizenship on 25 April. Because this occurs before the Act of 22 September 1922, his wife Nunziata DiRenzo automatically becomes a U.S. citizen with him.
  Mussolini is invited to become prime minister by King Vittorio Emanuele III. This invitation is followed by the unopposed Fascist "march on Rome" (October 29-30).
  Pope Benedict XV is succeeded by Pope Pius XI (r. until 1939)
1924
A.D.
In the April parliamentary election there is the usual Fascist intimidation of the press, beatings and killings (reign of terror). Mussolini is minister of the interior and his blackshirts are stationed in the polling places, and the Fascist coalition wins 65 per cent of the vote. Nonetheless, two and one-half million votes are cast for non-Fascist parties.
  In June socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti is murdered. Led by Giovanni Amendola (himself soon to be murdered) most of the opposition deputies -- Christian Democrats and Socialists alike -- abandon the Chamber in protest ("the Aventine Secession").
  Though violence towards political opponents and electoral fraud are nothing new to Italy's democracy -- Cavour and his successors have all used them -- the Kingdom has so far escaped outright dictatorship. Fascism's complete intolerance of all opposition is something new. One of its copybook maxims will be: "Nothing against the State, nothing outside the State."
  The United States Congress establishes new immigration quotas: Italy is now limited to about 4,000 per year.
  Publication of Pascal D'Angelo's book Son of Italy in which he tells the story of life in his village and of his coming to America to be "a pick and shovel man" (bracciante, or, "laborer") and finally a self-educated poet. Pasquale was from Introdacqua, L'Aquila, Abruzzo, 4.5 km [2.8 miles] southwest of the ancient walled city of Sulmona, at an altitude of 642 meters [2,106 feet].
1925
A.D.
In January Mussolini accepts responsibility for the murder of Giacomo Matteotti, but the Chamber of Deputies declines to impeach him. Mussolini then outlaws all independent political parties and orders that all press opposition to his regime be forcibly silenced. His dictatorship lasts until 1943 and is recorded in the over 100,000 laws he imposes on Italy by decree.
1926
A.D.
Opening of the Delaware River Bridge (renamed "Benjamin Franklin Bridge" in 1955) linking the City of Camden with the City of Philadelphia.
  Umberto Nobile (b. 1885 at Lauro, Avellino), flying for Norway, pilots the first airship ever to fly over the North Pole (12 May), his Italian designed and built N.1, Norge. The dirigible leaves Spitzbergen, Norway on 11 May and lands at Teller, Alaska on 14 May, making a nonstop flight of 3,180 miles. The flight begins at Ciampino airfield, Rome, on 10 April and covers a total of 7,800 miles.
  With his five Italian crew, Nobile visits Italian communities in many U.S. cities, including Philadelphia (17 July 1926).
1927
A.D.
There are now over nine million Italians living outside Italy; three-and-one-half million live in the United States, with one-and-one-half million each in Argentina and Brazil. There are one-hundred-thousand Italians living in Philadelphia (as in Buenos Aires). Rather than "emigrants" Mussolini calls them "Italians abroad" -- a symptom, he prefers to say, of Italy's vitality rather than of its poverty.
1928
A.D.
Umberto Nobile, flying an airship for the city of Milan, returns to arctic exploration; at the North Pole (25 May) he drops a large oak Cross entrusted to him by Pope Pius XI onto the pack ice. But Nobile's airship N.2, Italia, crashes while returning to Spitzbergen. Rescue of that part of the crew that is stranded with the gondola is made possible by the wireless telegraph specially made for this expedition by the Marconi Company. Roald Amundsen (South Pole, 14 December 1911), who had been an explorer on the Norge in 1926, will disappear while searching for the rest of the crew, which the wind has carried away with the ship's air bags, never to be found.
1929
A.D.
On 11 February Pope Pius XI ends the estrangement between the Kingdom of Italy and the Papacy, caused by the Kingdom's annexation of the Papal States (States of the Church) in 1860 and of Rome in 1870, by signing a Concordat (Lateran Treaty). The Kingdom recognizes Vatican City as a sovereign state.
1931
A.D.
The 7th Italian national census records 3,241 residents of Gambatesa. The population of Italy is now 42 million, double that of 1861. Italian births out-number deaths by 11 per 1000.
  (In the 74 years from 1836-1910 in Gambatesa there were a total of 8810 births and 7726 deaths -- i.e. for each 1000 deaths there were 1140 births.)
1933
A.D.
Publication of Ignazio Silone's Fontamara (rev. 1953), followed by his Bread and Wine in 1936 (rev. 1955) and The Seed Beneath the Snow in 1941, novels set in Abruzzo's Province of l'Aquila, written in Switzerland where Silone is hiding from Italy's Fascist government.
1935
A.D.
On 14 August President Roosevelt (F.D.R.) signs the Social Security Act into law.
1935-
1936
A.D.
Fascist Italy invades Abyssinia (Ethiopia), the only part of Africa as yet uncolonized, and adds it to the rest of the Italian Empire of sand. Wedding rings are surrendered to provide money for the war.
  The story is told, but not verified, that Maria Vittoria d'ALESSANDRO (1874-1955) is the first Camden Italian to donate her ring, and that her photograph appears in a newspaper. It is not impossible: she came to America in 1922, and had never learned to read or write.
  In 1936 the 8th Italian national census records 3,241 residents of Gambatesa.
1936-
1939
A.D.
When Mussolini's expeditionary force of black-shirted militiamen does not do well in the Spanish Civil War, he engages 70,000 regular soldiers there. 5,000 Italian anti-Fascists fight for the anti-nationalist side.
1940
A.D.
The family of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo moves from 337 Berkley Street to 520 Mickle Street (City of Camden).
1941
A.D.
In his Message to Congress of 6 January, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaks of "four essential freedoms" to which all human beings have the right: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. For the defense of these freedoms a terrible war must be fought. But in America, beginning in the 1980s, the third freedom will be forgotten by the U.S. government. And twenty years later the other three freedoms will be under threat from that same government.
1941-
1943
A.D.
The Kingdom of Italy and the United States of America are at war with one another from 11 December 1941 to 3 September 1943.
  Joseph Anthony Valente (1923-1968), the third son of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo, takes part in the Rome-Arno campaign with the U.S. Army. Joseph, who is mentally retarded, works as a cook and receives an honorable discharge with good conduct after the war.
  When Mussolini's government falls, many Italian soldiers desert -- i.e. go back to their villages. Like the Russian peasants in WW1, they simply turn their backs on the war and go home. It is not in any case clear which army they would be trusted to fight in or which conqueror of Italy they should fight against -- or to what end. Foreign invaders are once again warring for sovereignty over the Italian peninsula and islands with no regard for the Italian people.
  There is no Italian national census taken in 1941. The last was in 1936; the next will be in 1951.
1943
A.D.
Publication of Signora Ava (tr. as Seeds in the Wind) by Francesco Jovine (b. 1902 at Guardialfiera, Campobasso), a novel describing the end of Bourbon rule and the coming of Piemontese rule to Molise. His later novel translated as The Estate in Abruzzi (1950) describes life in Molise under Fascism.
  Gambatesa is freed from German Army occupation by the Carleton and York Regiment of the Canadian Army on 7-8 October; 12 Canadians are killed and 16 are wounded. Canadian Army officials refer to this not as the "Liberation" but as the "Capture" of Gambatesa, which shows their true attitude toward Italy.
  Do "the Allies" come as liberators or as conquerors? The memoirs of the U.S. Army general and future U.S. president in charge of European operations reveal that it is as the latter, as does the license that will be given to French colonial soldiers near Rome in 1944 to rape Italian women, which they will do without regard to the women's ages.
1945
A.D.
On 29 April the German forces in Italy sign the terms of surrender: all fighting in Italy is to cease on 2 May 1945.
  On 7 May a representative of the German High Command signs the act of unconditional surrender, although 8 May is called "Victory in Europe" or "VE" day.
1946
A.D.
Italy becomes a republic on 2 June, following a referendum on the monarchy; the vote is 12 million to 10 million, but 76 per cent of the Neapolitan vote is in favor of the monarchy.
  Publication of The Way Out by the South African writer Uys Krige, describing the help given him by humble Abruzzesi as he evaded the Germans while escaping from the Province of l'Aquila to Campobasso in 1943.
1947
A.D.
A Constituent Assembly is elected to choose a new constitution for the Republic of Italy. Woman are allowed to vote for the first time.
  The United States' Department of War is renamed the Department of Defense, although it will soon exist as much for war-making as for self-defense. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is published two years later: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
1948
A.D.
A new constitution for Italy is approved. The Senate is now to be elected rather than appointed. The country is to be divided into 19 regions (with Molise becoming the 20th in 1963). The 1929 concordat with the Vatican is to be renewed.
  In the April parliamentary elections the socialists and communists combine for 31 per cent of the popular vote, but the Christian Democrats behind Alcide de Gasperi win 48 per cent of the vote and 53 per cent of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The Liberal party receives only 6 per cent of the vote, thereby showing that -- given the opportunity to vote -- the people of Italy do not want the plutodemocracy and anticlericalism which were forced on them by the leaders of the Risorgimento. However, the one party majority does not last long and soon ineffectual coalition government returns to Italy.
1949
A.D.
Pope Pius XII excommunicates all communists and forbids Catholics to vote for them; he declares socialism to be irreconcilable with Christianity. Pope John XXIII will reverse these positions.
  On 4 April Italy becomes a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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Last revised: 2 April 2005 : 2005-04-02 and 11 March 2019 : 2019-03-11 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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