Biography of the Count of Cavour, political architect of Italian unification

Biography of the Count of Cavour, political architect of Italian unification

Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, was the most important political figure of the 19th century Italian unification. He is the one who put in motion the machinery necessary for Piedmont to achieve the annexation of the Italian states and thus fulfill the dream of forming the kingdom of Italy.

The politician was born on August 10, 1810 in Turin in the bosom of an aristocratic family. In his youth, he first studied at the Military Academy and became an engineer officer, but ended up leaving it because he did not like it. He chose to travel through Europe, where he got up close to all the innovations that were being made in a large number of fields. He had a great interest in knowing everything, so to learn more about economic development he visited highly industrialized countries such as France and England. It was at this time in his life that Cavour became acquainted with liberal ideas and took little time to commune with them.

At just 22 years of age, he was appointed mayor of the town of Grinzane. He held that position for 17 years, which caused the town to change its name to “Grinzane cavour"As a sign of appreciation. In 1847, Cavour founded the newspaper "Il Risorgimento”, a medium liberal cut moderate which led him to participate in political life.

A year after the newspaper's birth, in June 1848, he was elected deputy to the parliament of Turin. However, he could not keep his seat and in the January 1849 elections he lost it. This circumstance made him work harder and he managed to get it back in March, never to abandon it again.

In 1850, Massimo D’Azeglio He elected him as part of his cabinet after a passionate speech in which Cavour positively valued the Siccardi laws, legislation that wanted to eradicate the feudal remains that still existed in the kingdom. His first position was that of Minister of Agriculture, Commerce and the Navy, but he would finish it in 1851 with the obtaining of control of the finance portfolio, which implied total control of the economic life of Piedmont. An alliance with the leader of the left, Cristiano Rattazzo, achieved that in November 1852 Cavour was promoted to the position of President of the Council of Ministers.

From his new position, he based his government on three points. On the one hand, the renewal of the sardinian state from a liberal perspective, becoming even anticlerical. On the other hand, spread the unitary ideal in Italy to create that spirit of unity necessary for the unification process. And finally, carried out the development of a military and diplomatic device with which he was able to fight against the Habsburgs.

Apart from these issues, he strengthened the economic and industrial development of the kingdom of Sardinia, building highways, railways and large-scale public works. In addition, it revitalized the agriculture of Piedmont, favored the creation of a steel industry and the improvement of the textile world.

In foreign policy, he is remembered as a skilled politician. He knew that to create an Italian state he had to have the support of the European powers, so he started a campaign to improve relations. The first step was to help France and England in the Crimean War of 1854. The victory was a great leap for Piedmont, since they were able to participate in the peace negotiations as allies of the great powers.

At Congress of Paris 1856 he raised the Italian question and got French troops to intervene in Italy against the Austrians. But when, after Solferino, the French stopped and signed the Villafranca armistice on July 11, 1858, which also meant the return of Lombardy to Piedmont, Cavour felt attacked and resigned. Two years later he returned to power and gave his tacit agreement to the unitary uprisings that caused most of the Italian states to join the kingdom of Piedmont, which on March 14, 1861 would adopt the name "Kingdom of Italy."

However, Cavour could not fully enjoy his work, since on June 6, 1861 he died from an outbreak of malaria.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

Video: Dante and Italian Unification