Italian Unification 1861


Map Code: Ax02487

The unification of Italy, also known as the Risorgimento, was a complex process that transformed Italy from a mosaic of independent states, kingdoms and foreign-controlled territories into a united Italian state. The movement for Italian unification emerged in the early 19th century, fuelled by a desire for political independence, cultural unity, and economic progress, and was championed by key figures such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, Count Camillo di Cavour, and Giuseppe Mazzini.The process of unification involved a series of political and military conflicts, alliances and negotiations. Cavour led the Kingdom of Sardinia, which played a crucial role in orchestrating the unification efforts, Garibaldi and his volunteer army, known as the Redshirts, successfully liberated southern regions from foreign control. In 1861, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed under the reign of Victor Emmanuel II, with temporary capital at Turin 1861–65 then Florence 1865–71, with Rome becoming the capital in 1871. The ‘Irredendists’ advocated the return of all Italian-speaking territories to the Italian homeland, and in 1919 Trentino, Trieste, and South Tyrol were finally added to Italy following World War I. The unification of Italy marked the end of foreign domination and paved the way for the establishment of a unified Italian identity. Additionally, it stimulated industrialisation, modernisation, and infrastructure development, setting the stage for Italy’s emergence as a significant European power.

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