How did Italy become unified?
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Italy's unification, which was completed in 1870, was accomplished by the leadership of Camilo Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi. It was done with the help of foreign powers. Therefore, Italy became unified though Italian leadership and foreign help.
Cavour got the last push for Italian unification started in 1858 when he made a deal with France. Cavour's state, Piedmont in Northern Italy, would give France some of its territory in what is now France in return for French help in driving out the Austrians, who were in control of most of Italy. France did not completely fulfill its part of the bargain, but Italy was on its way to being unified.
In 1860, Garibaldi raised a volunteer army and began fighting for Italian unity. He conquered much of Southern Italy. At that point, Cavour's armies linked up with his and claimed most of what is now Italy, creating the country of Italy in 1861.
The unification was completed in 1870, this time with Prussian help. Prussia and Italy allied together in wars in 1866 and 1870, defeating Austria and France respectively. These wars ejected the Austrians and French from Italy and Italy was able to be completely united in 1870.
The French invasion of the Italian peninsula and subsequent conversion of the Italian states into republics sparked a sense of nationalism amongst the French. After the downfall of the Napoleon Empire, several of the Italian states were successfully reconstituted but others retained the conservative regimes. The idea of unification started in the 1920’s and secret societies that were anti-conservatism and pro-unification started revolutions. Even though groups such as “Young Italy” under Mazzini and the “red-shirts” under Garibaldi notably attempted to unify Italy, it was Cavour, the prime minister of Sardinia who succeeded at the push.
Cavour strategically allied with Britain and France for the Crimean war and the Franco-Austrian war. By doing so, he established a relationship with nations that had military strength which would come in handy later on.In fact, France was given Nice and Savoy as a token for the support it offered Italy. Cavour craftily instigated a war with Austria but with the help of France managed to emerge victorious. Finally, Italy allied with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 and took over Rome and the Papal States that were under the guard of France who was at this time engaged in a different war. Austria was defeated paving way for the completion of the unification of Italy.
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