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Italian unification

political and social movement that consolidated different Italian states into a single state

Italian unification (Italian: Unità d'Italia), also known as the Risorgimento (meaning "the Resurgence"), refers to the Italian movement for independence. The movement truly began in 1848, when there were many revolts occurring throughout Italy after Metternich lost his office of Austrian Chancellor. The movement for independence succeeded in 1859 through the efforts of Count Cavour, the Piedmontese prime minister, as well as Giuseppe Garibaldi - an Italian national hero, who united the South. That allowed king Victor Emmanuel to become the first king of Italy.

Italian unification
Map showing the unification of Italy, 1829–1871
Native name Unità d'Italia
Also known asRisorgimento
  • Italy unified
  • Rome became the capital of Italy



Italy used to be many different, smaller countries. Between 1815–1871 Italy started to form these smaller states and became one country, the Kingdom of Italy, led by Victor Emmanuel. Since 1848, nationalism and patriotism became popular in Europe. Many people wanted the smaller countries with similar culture, language, or ethnicity to join together.

Napoléon's defeatEdit

Napoléon Bonaparte invaded Italy in 1796 and later controlled it. When he was defeated in 1815, in the battle of Waterloo, it became possible for the now free states to join together.

Sardinia's conquestEdit

Victor Emmanuel II and Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, main figures in the Italian unification.

Victor Emmanuel of Piedmont-Sardinia saw a great vision of a unified Italy. He wanted Piedmont-Sardinia to be a model for the unification of Italy. To do so, he started many public works, projects, and political reforms. Piedmont-Sardinia was soon recognized as an emerging power. The next step for Piedmont-Sardinia 's conquest was to get Austria out of the Italian Peninsula. With the Crimean War breaking out between France and Britain on one side, and Russia on the other, Piedmont-Sardinia saw a chance to earn some respect and make a name for itself. Britain and France proved victorious, and Sardinia was able to attend the peace conference. As a result of this, Piedmont-Sardinia gained the support of Napoléon III.

War with AustriaEdit

In 1858, Sardinia and France secretly plotted a plan of attack against Austria. The following year, Sardinia put its plan into action and provoked Austria into declaring war on Sardinia. By Sardinia's encouraging nationalist revolts in Austrian-held territories in Italy, Austria was provoked into the war. Following the battles of Magenta and Solferino, France drove Austria out of Lombardy, but Austria still held onto Venetia. At this point, France dropped out of the war, fearing a unified Italy might be a threat, as well as realising that Austrian Strength would eventually crush them. This ended the war, with Austria keeping Venetia.

Unification completeEdit

Meanwhile, the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi led a nationalist uprising, combining the states and territories into a full Republic. As Sardinia ended the war, Garibaldi gave most of the provinces to Sardinia. In March 1861, a parliament of all of Italy except Rome and Venetia, agreed on unifying Italy with Victor Emmanuel as its first king.

Franco-Prussian WarEdit

Because of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the France sent their armies away from Rome. So the Pope could not have any power and the Rome finally became the capital of Italy.

Related pagesEdit

Other websitesEdit

  • The Risorgimento: A Time for Reunification
  • Women of the Risorgimento
  • Garibaldi & The Risorgimento
  • Cavour and the Unification of Italy
  • Arcaini, G.B. (6 March 2005). "The Italian Unification". History of Italy. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  • Arcaini, G.B. (30 November 2003). "Italy's Unity". History of Italy. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  • In the sign of the tricolour: Italians and Hungarians in the Risorgimento