Unification of Italy 1859–70


Map Code: Ax01354

As with Germany, Italian nationalism was incubated under Napoleonic rule. The Carbonari, an aristocratic secret society, spread insurrection with foreign aid, while Mazzini’s Young Italy movement was grassroots and republican. Rebellions in 1848 were quickly snuffed out, but in 1859 the kingdom of Sardinia annexed Lombardy from the Austrians after helping the French defeat them at Solferino. Then Giuseppe Garibaldi landed with a thousand volunteers in Sicily (1860). After defeating its unpopular king at Calatafimi and Milazzo, Garibaldi swept triumphally up the peninsula, acclaimed as a liberator, his army snowballing with volunteers. Meanwhile, his ally the kingdom of Sardinia defeated papal forces at Castelifidardo, joining Garibaldi on the papal borders. Then stalemate: Napoleon III of France safeguarded the papacy, and Rome. Helping Prussia against Austria (1866), the new kingdom of Italy was enabled to annex Venetia. The ultimate prize, Rome, fell to Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel with Prussia’s defeat of Napoleon III in 1870.

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