Italian Wars of Unification (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: The liberation of the Italian peninsula from foreign rule and its organization into a national state. Result: Political unification of the Italian peninsula in the kingdom of Italy.
When Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Italy in 1796, his army brought with it at point of bayonet the ideals of the French Revolution, thus simultaneously awakening political liberalism in the peninsula and imbuing a hatred of foreign domination. The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), charting the shape of post-Napoleonic Europe, reconstituted the Italian peninsula much the way it had been at the end of the previous century, so that it was divided into nine states (Piedmont, Modena, Parma, Lucca, Tuscany, the Papal States, Naples, San Marino, and Monaco) and two Austrian provinces (Lombardy and Venetia). Most of these states were politically reactionary, and the politics of the peninsula were controlled by Austria from its northern provinces. It was not long before a number of Italians began to develop powerful political rationales for overthrowing or liberalizing the governments of Italy and a strong “Italy-for-the-Italians” sentiment arose to promote the idea of a unified national state. In the decades of the 1820’s and 1830’s, uprisings against the governments of various of the Italian states were easily put down by the authorities. Gradually, some nationalists came to believe that the unification...
(The entire section is 1914 words.)
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