The Italian unification process of the 19th century

The Italian unification process of the 19th century

The Italian unification process It can be divided into four phases of action that would cover from 1859 to 1870. Although it is true that some territories would not be recovered until 1919, it should be noted that it was the first nation to achieve its independence and territorial unity in the 19th century Europe.

The first phase corresponded to the incorporation of Lombardy and the duchies of Parma, Modena, Tuscany and Lucca to the house of Savoy. These annexations occurred because of the Piedmont War that began in April 1859. Austria declared the kingdom of Piedmont after several provocations by the Italians. The Habsburgs did not know that the insulars had France as an ally. The battles of Magenta and Solferino They were the only armed conflicts that there was and that ended with a Franco-Italian victory.

Napoleon iii He refused to take the war to the Papal States, due to internal pressure from French Catholics who threatened to withdraw his support. So signed together with Víctor Manuel II and the Austrians the peace of Villafranca, in which the territory of Lombardy came under Piedmontese control but not Veneto. The treaty was signed behind the back of the Earl of Cavour, which caused him to leave the executive.

On the other hand, the insurrections in the Italian duchies of Parma and Modena, ended up leading to the celebration of individual plebiscites to decide the annexation to Piedmont. These consultations were also held in Lucca and Tuscany. The result of all of them was favorable to Piedmont, so the kingdom increased considerably in size and relevance.

The Piedmontese stateDue to the agreement that he reached with France to combat Austria, he ceded Nice and Savoy to the Gallic government. This was not frowned upon by the Italian patriots, so the second phase of unification was launched. Garibaldi, extremely upset by the loss of Nice and Savoy, he decided to initiate a direct intervention in both territories. His action defied the orders of Victor Emmanuel II and Cavour, who had returned to government in 1860. Instead of heading to Nice, however, he changed his mind and headed to Sicily, where hatred of the Neapolitans had sparked a popular uprising.

Piedmont refused to give aid to Garibaldi, who marched on Sicily with the Thousand Red Shirts and became its governor, at the same time that he refused to hand over control to Victor Emmanuel II. From his new position, the Sicilian dictator occupied Calabria and, against Cavour, Napoleon III and the English government, defeated the Neapolitan troops and proclaimed himself dictator of Napoleon's kingdom. Cavour ordered the Piedmont attack on Naples, before passing through the Papal States. The result was that Garibaldi ceded and united his territories with those of Victor Emmanuel, who proclaimed himself King of Italy in 1861 in Turin.

However, the unification did not end here, but they continued advancing towards the third phase: the incorporation of the Veneto. Taking advantage of the fact that the Prussians wanted to end Austrian hegemony, the Italians allied with them in the Seven Weeks War. Although Victor Emmanuel's troops succumbed to Austrian power at the Second Battle of Custozza and lost the fleet at Lissa, the Prussians were victorious at Sadowa. This allowed the Veneto to join the new kingdom of Italy in 1866.

The fourth and final phase of the unification process it was the annexation of the Papal States in 1870. After the French defeat at Sedan, the Gauls withdrew all their troops from foreign territories. This affected the detachment they had in the Papal States, leaving the way for Viíctor Manuel II to occupy Rome. The "law of guarantees" left the pope only the territory of the Vatican and some small territories for ecclesiastical use.

Until here came the Italian unification, which was the first to be held in Europe in the 19th century. However, it should be noted that Italy would not recover South Tyrol (Alto Adige and Trentino) until the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire in 1919.

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

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