Uploaded by lau.rebolledo


Before the Napoleonic era the thought of a united Italy scarcely existed, and
patriotism meant adherence to Sardinia, Naples, or some other of the many
kingdoms and duchies.
The period of French invasion and occupation was important in many ways. It
introduced revolutionary ideas about government and society, resulting in an
overthrow of the old established ruling orders and the destruction of the last
vestiges of feudalism. The ideals of freedom and equality were very influential.
Also of consequence, the concept of nationalism was introduced, thus sowing
the seeds of Italian nationalism throughout most parts of the northern and central
Italian peninsula.
With the downfall of Napoleon in 1814 and the redistribution of territory by
the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), most of the Italian states were reconstituted:
the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (often referred to as Sardinia),
the Grand Duchy of Tuscany,
the Duchy of Parma,
the Duchy of Modena,
the Papal States,
the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (fused together from the old Kingdom of Naples
and Kingdom of Sicily), and
the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, which had been incorporated into the
Habsburg state.
Only the Papal States and the Savoy kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont remained
independent, outside the Austrian system designed and imposed on Italy by the
Austrian foreign minister von Metternich.
The origins of the Italian Risorgimento (the movement for the liberation and
unification of Italy 1750–1870), the great national “resurgence” of the 19th
century, date to this period, insofar as the period gave rise to political groups that
affirmed the right of the Italian people to a government suited to their desires and
traditions, as well as to the growth of a sense of nationalism.
At this time, many nationalistic secret societies such as the Carbonari were
formed with the aim of driving out the Austrians and promote Italian nationalism.
Giuseppe Mazzini, a member of the Carbonari, organised the Young Italy
Movement in 1831 to create a unified Italian republic.
The revolutions of 1848 ignited nationalist sentiment throughout the Italian
peninsula. There were widespread uprisings in several Italian cities that year,
mostly by the professional classes (such as doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers) as
well as students. Lombardy-Venetia and Milan tried to rise up against Austrian
rule. Although the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia sent troops to aid the revolt, it
was crushed by the Austrians and by 1849 the old regimes were once again in
place. Yet, the idea of the Risorgimento continued to gain adherents after 1848.
The final push for Italian unification came in 1859, led by the Kingdom of
Piedmont-Sardinia (then the wealthiest and most liberal of the Italian states), and
orchestrated by Piedmont-Sardinia’s Prime Minister, Count Camillo di Cavour.
Victor Emmanuel of Piedmont-Sardinia wanted Piedmont-Sardinia to be a model
for the unification of Italy. To do so, he started many public works, projects, and
political reforms. Piedmont-Sardinia was soon recognized as an emerging power.
The next step for Piedmont-Sardinia 's conquest was to get Austria out of the
Italian Peninsula.
1. The Franco-Austrian War of 1859 was the agent that began the physical
process of Italian unification. In 1858, Sardinia and Napoleon III secretly
plotted a plan of attack against Austria. The following year, Sardinia put its
plan into action and provoked Austria into declaring war on Sardinia. By
Sardinia's encouraging nationalist revolts in Austrian-held territories in
Italy, Austria was provoked into the war. Following the battles of Magenta
and Solferino, France drove Austria out of Lombardy, but Austria still held
onto Venetia. At this point, France dropped out of the war, fearing a unified
Italy might be a threat, as well as realising that Austrian strength would
eventually crush them. This ended the war, with Austria keeping Venetia.
By the end of the year Lombardy was added to the holdings of PiedmontSardinia while Piedmont-Sardinia ceded Savoy and Nice to France
2. The northern Italian states held elections in 1859 and 1860 and voted to
join the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, a major step towards unification.
3. Giuseppi Garibaldi, a prestigious politician and military leader, was
instrumental in bringing the southern Italian states into the unification
process. In 1860, Garibaldi cobbled together an army (referred to as the
“Thousand Red Shirts”) to march into the southern part of the peninsula.
He was a nationalist and wanted to create and Italian Republic. Landing
first in Sicily and then moving onwards into Naples, Garibaldi and his men
overthrew the Bourbon monarch and turned over the southern territories
to Victor Emmanuel II, King of Piedmont-Sardinia.
4. In early 1861 a national parliament convened and proclaimed the Kingdom
of Italy, with Victor Emmanuel II as its king. At this point, there were only
two major territories outside of the parameters of the new Kingdom of Italy:
Rome and Venetia.
5. In 1866 Italy joined Prussia in a campaign against Austria (the 1866
Austro-Prussian War) and thus won Venetia.
6. In 1870, taking advantage of the fact that France (the country responsible
at the time for guarding the Papal States) was distracted by involvement
in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), the Italian army entered Rome.
That year, Rome and the Papal States were incorporated into Italy and the
Risorgimento completed.