italy unification, map, unification of italy
[italy unification map]
risorgimento, italian unification map

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Italian Unification Map
Italy as formed during the Risorgimento

Across several centuries a succession of Dukes from the dynastic House of Savoy had been able to achieve a greater territorial sway and diplomatic importance, most notably as a reward for successful participation in coalitions contesting key dynastic successions in western Europe, eventually becoming recognised as being Kings of Sardinia.

The extent of the Kingdom of Sardinia as at 1859 is indicated on this map its principal territories being the island of Sardinia, together with the mainland provinces of Piedmont (chief city - Turin), Savoy, Nice and Genoa.

Also shown on this map are the outlines of several historic dynastic states, the Venetian Republic, and the territories long under Papal sovereignty, that were to be variously annexed, incorporated, gained by diplomatic transfer, or acquired as a Kingdom of Italy, which had the historic city of Rome as its capital, gradually grew into being between 1859 and 1870.

Nice and Savoy were lost to the Sardinian Kingdom as a part of the price of securing the assistance of the French ruler Napoleon III in gaining the immensely rich province of Lombardy in 1859. The Sardinian Kingdom subsequently restyled itself as having become a "North Italian Kingdom" and, after further extensive incorporations of territory in 1860, an actual Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed.

The "Italian" nationalism that was offering support to the dynastic House of Savoy in integrating what it was seen as "Italian" territory was keen to see the historic city of Rome brought into "Italia" - as its capital - whilst the Papacy was resolutely determined to retain its very longstanding sovereign and territorial independence.
The resulting "Roman Question" was dramatically answered in 1870 when the French power, that had been protecting Papal Rome against the aspirant Italian Unification - Risorgimento process, was abruptly withdrawn to participate in that pressing situation arising from the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in more northerly parts of Europe allowing the Kingdom of Italy to forcibly seize control. A plebiscite was subsequently held in which the inhabitants of the territories so acquired endorsed their incorporation into the Italian Kingdom.
The then, and later Popes, witheld their assent to this seizure of Rome until Lateran Agreements of 1929 recognised the Vatican City as being an independent state under Papal Sovereignty.

A fairly informative consideration of the history of the Italian Unification - Risorgimento chain of events, and the influential personalities and the socio-political forces involved, is available by following our ' Italian Unification. Cavour, Garibaldi and the Making of Italy ' link (available further down this page):-

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The preparation of these pages was influenced to some degree by a particular "Philosophy of History" as suggested by this quote from the famous Essay "History" by Ralph Waldo Emerson:-
There is one mind common to all individual men...
Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay "History"
Italian Unification - Cavour, Garibaldi and
the Unification of Risorgimento Italy
Otto von Bismarck &
The wars of German unification
Italian unification map
Risorgimento Italy
Map of German unification
1 The European Revolutions of 1848 begin
A broad outline of the background to the onset of the turmoils and a consideration of some of the early events.

2 The French Revolution of 1848
A particular focus on France - as the influential Austrian minister Prince Metternich, who sought to encourage the re-establishment of "Order" in the wake of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic turmoils of 1789-1815, said:-"When France sneezes Europe catches a cold".

3 The Revolution of 1848 in the German Lands and central Europe
"Germany" had a movement for a single parliament in 1848 and many central European would-be "nations" attempted to assert a distinct existence separate from the dynastic sovereignties they had been living under.

4 The "Italian" Revolution of 1848
A "liberal" Papacy after 1846 helps allow the embers of an "Italian" national aspiration to rekindle across the Italian Peninsula.

5 The Monarchs recover power 1848-1849
Some instances of social and political extremism allow previously pro-reform conservative elements to support the return of traditional authority. Louis Napoleon, (who later became the Emperor Napoleon III), attains to power in France offering social stability at home but ultimately follows policies productive of dramatic change in the wider European structure of states and their sovereignty.
Emerson's "Transcendental" approach to History
The Vienna Declaration
Framework Convention on National minorities