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keskiviikko 24. toukokuuta 2017

Italy, Cool Facts #181

<= 180. Romania                                                                                                   182. San Marino =>

1. City States of Italy 

How the Italian peninsula fragmented into several independent city states before it was unified again in 1871 ? 

Division of Rome 395
The Roman Empire split into the East and West Roman Empires in 395. The East Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453, but the West Roman Empire was dissolved in 476 under the pressure of barbarian invasions

Division of Rome

Ostrogothic Kingdom 493-553
The Ostrogothic Kingdom was established in 493 after the last West Roman Emperor was deposed in 476. The Ostrogoths ruled the whole Italian peninsula and also parts of modern-day France and Serbia at its greatest extent. In 553 the Ostrogothic Kingdom fell after the Byzantine attack. 

Ostrogothic Kingdom at its greatest extent

Kingdom of Lombards 568-774
In 568 the Lombards conquered most of Italy and their kingdom was at its greatest extent in 749-756. The Byzantines ruled the remaining areas in present-day area, which weren't ruled by the LombardsIn 774 the Franks conquered the kingdom. The Lombards started the end of political unity of the Italian peninsula. After the dissolution of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, Italy wasn't unified as one political entity before 1871.

Kingdom of the Lombards

After fragmentation of Italian peninsula
The Lombard Kingdom was absorbed into the Frankish Empire by Charlemagne. The Franks also helped to establish the Papal States in central Italy. Until 13th century the politics of the region were dominated by the relations between the Holy Roman Emperors and the Papacy. The power struggle between the Empire and the Holy See and the territorial fragmentation was a chaotic era, when Italian  towns saw the rise of the medieval commune. 

Italy part of the Frankish Kingdom

Rise of the city states
In 1176 the Lombard League defeated the German emperor at the Battle of Legnano, thus ensuring independence for most of the cities in northern and central Italy. Many of the Italian city states became very powerful like Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi. The renaissance started in Italy in the 1300s-1400s. Arts and science flourished while the attempts of trying to establish a unified state under the Pope or the Holy Roman Emperor failed. The city states were too independent and powerful. The Medici family ruled Florence, the Sforza family ruled Milan, the Farnese family ruled Parma and the Este family ruled Modena. The powerful families didn't want to compromise their power. 

Italy in the 1300s
Italian maritime republics

2. Italian Wars 1494-1559

- A series of conflicts in Italy between 1494-1559 
- The war started after Charles VIII of France invaded Italy after claiming the throne of Naples 
- France also claimed Milan and ruled it in 1499-1512, 1515-1522 and 1524-1525 
- The dynastic disputes rapidly spread to include most of the major states of Western Europe 
- The war ended in 1559, when Spain captured Milan and Naples 
- After 1559 Spanish Habsburgs ruled most of the Italian city-states 


Republic of Venice
Duchy of Milan 
Kingdom of Naples
Papal States 
Republic of Florence
Duchy of Ferrara 
Holy Roman Empire 
Ottoman Empire 
Old Swiss Confederacy 

Italy in 1494
Italy in 1559

3. Habsburg Rule in Italy 

Italy like many other European country has been ruled by the Habsburg dynasty.

Spanish Habsburgs 
In 1559 most of the Italian city-states lost their independence and came under Spanish Habsburg rule. In 1629-1631 plague killed about 14% of Italy's population.

Austrian Habsburgs 
In 1713 Austrian Habsburgs started ruling parts of Italy.

1713-1797 Duchy of Milan
1713-1735 Kingdom of Naples
1713-1720 Kingdom of Sardinia
1720-1735 Kingdom of Sicily
1735-1748 Duchy of Parma
1765-1801 and 1814-1859 Tuscany
1797-1805 Venetia
1814-1847 Duchy of Parma
1814-1859 Duchy of Modena
1814-1859 Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia

Habsburg territories in 1700

The process of unifying Italy began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and in 1871 it was completed when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

1815 Congress of Vienna
Italy was restored to its previous ruler Austria, which had lost control of Italian territories during the French Revolution to France.

1820-1848 Revolutions 
The 1820 revolution began in Sicily and Naples against the Two Sicilies.
The 1830 revolutions in Italy and in other European countries.
Revolutions of 1848 in the Italian peninsula and Sicily.

1848-1849 First Italian War of Independence
Kingdom of Sardinia against Austria, which ended in Austrian victory.

1859 Second Italian War of Independence
Sardinia annexed Lombardy from Austria. France gained Savoy and Nice from Sardinia.

1860-1861 Expedition of the Thousand
A corps of thousand volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in in Sicily to conquer the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, ruled by the Bourbons. The expedition was a success, the Kingdom of Two Sicilies collapse. Sicily, Southern Italy, Marche and Umbria were ceded to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The Papal States were reduced to Latium.

1861 Kingdom of Italy
The Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861 by King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, who became the King of Italy.

1866 Third Italian War of Independence
Kingdom of Italy fought against Kingdom of Austria. The war ended in Italian victory and Austria ceded Venetia to France, which in turn gave it to Italy. 

1870 Capture of Rome
Kingdom of Italy defeated the Papal States. Rome and Latium were then annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. Rome became the capital of Italy and the Italian unification was finally complete. 

Italy's three founding fathers
Italian Unification

5. Italian Colonial Empire 


After 1871 when Italy was united there was a belief that Italy deserved its own overseas empire. However Italy had arrived late to the colonial race and its international power was relatively weak to other European powers. Italy had to depend on the approval of Britain, France and Germany in its empire-building.

List of Italian territories

1882 Assab on the Red Sea became Italy's first overseas territory, later it became the Italian Eritrea
1889-1936 Italian Somaliland 
1890-1936 Italian Eritrea 
1901-1947 Italian concessions in Tianjin, China 
1911-1943 Italian Libya 
1912-1943 Italian Islands of the Aegean, these twelve Dodecanese islands were ceded to Greece 
1917-1920 Italian protectorate over Albania 
1936-1941 Italian East Africa, merger of Italian Somaliland, Italian Eritrea and newly conquered Ethiopia 
1939-1943 Albanian Kingdom was a protectorate and dependency of Italy 


Italy lost all of her overseas colonial possessions after World War II by the Treaty of Peace with Italy. Italy had been in the losing side of the war. 

Kingdom of Italy (green), colonies of Italy in 1939 (light green), territories occupied in WWII (grey)


753BC Rome, a settlement near the Tiber river was established
395 Rome split into two parts, East and West Roman Empires
476 West Roman Empire was dissolved under the pressure of the barbarian invasions
572 Lombards conquered Italy, was fragmented into several small states
1176 The Lombard League defeated the German emperor at the Battle of Legnano, thus ensuring independence for most of the cities in northern and central Italy
1348 Black death killed up to a third of the population
1454 Peace of Lodi 
1494-1559 Italian Wars 
1559 Most of the city-states lost their independence and came under Spanish Habsburg rule
1629-1631 Plague killed about 14% of Italy's population
1713 Austrian Habsburgs started ruling Italy
1814 Congress of Vienna restored Italy to its previous ruler Austria, which had lost control of Italian territories during the French Revolution
1848 An unsuccesful war was declared on Austria in the year when liberal revolutions swept through Europe
1859 The Kingdom of Sardinia attacked the Austrian Empire in the Second Italian War of Independence liberating Lombardy with the aid of France
1860-1861 Giuseppe Garibaldi led the drive for unification of Naples and Sicily
1861 North and South Italy were united as the Kingdom of Italy
1866 Third Italian War of Independence, Italy won Venetia from Austria
1870 Italy took over the Papal States 
1889 Italy conquered Somaliland
1890 Italy conquered Eritrea 
1915 Italy left the Axis powers and joined the Allies in World War II
1922 Italy remained a monarchy but the Fascists took over power with Benito Mussolini as the authoritarian leader
1935 Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and withdrew from the League of Nations
1939 Italy annexed Albania
1943 Allied invasion of Sicily led to the collapse of Fascist regime and the fall of Mussolini
1945 Mussolini attempted to escape, but was captured and executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans
1946 Italy abolished monarchy and became a republic after a referendum
1947 Julian March was lost to Yugoslavia, the Free Territory of Trieste was divided and all Italian colonial possessions were lost
1949 Italy became a Nato member
1957 Italy was a founding member in EEC which in 1993 became EU
1978 Assassination of Christian democrat Aldo Moro
1980 Bologna railway station massacre, where 85 people died
1994 Silvio Berlusconi became the Prime Minister
2008-2013 Recession in Italy for 42 months
2011 Berlusconi was forced to resign because of the economic crisis among other problems
2015 Italy took over half a million refugees during the European migrant crisis 


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