Italian unification

  • Cavour unites Italy

    While nationalism destroyed empires, it also built nations. Italy was one of the
    countries to form from the territory of crumbling empires. Between 1815 and 1848, fewer and fewer Italians were content to live under foreign rulers.
  • Cavour leads Italian unification

    Cavour Leads Italian Unification Italian nationalists looked for leadership from
    the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, the largest and most powerful of the Italian states.
    The kingdom had adopted a liberal constitution in 1848. So, to the liberal Italian
    middle classes, unification under Piedmont-Sardinia seemed a good plan.
  • Garibaldi brings unity

    As Cavour
    was uniting northern Italy, he secretly
    started helping nationalist rebels in
    southern Italy. In May 1860, a small
    army of Italian nationalists led by a
    bold and visionary soldier, Giuseppe
    Garibaldi (GAR•uh• BAWL•dee),
    captured Sicily.
  • Internal debate for Cavour

    The administrative structure and tax codes of the old Kingdom of Sardinia were extended to apply to the entire nation. Cavour felt that, for the moment, it was best to present a unified nation to the rest of Europe. Debate and factionalism might have destroyed the unity that he had worked so hard to achieve. Internal debate, he felt, could come later. This decision caused a rift between the northern and southern regions of Italy, as the south resented the dominance of leaders from the north.
  • Garibaldi's forces

    From Sicily, Garibaldi and his
    forces crossed to the Italian mainland
    and marched north. Eventually,
    Garibaldi agreed to unite the southern
    areas he had conquered with
    the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia.
  • The big war

    When France declared war on Prussia in 1870, occupying French troops abandoned Rome. This left the pope undefended, and the Italian army immediately marched in to complete the unification process. Rome, once the center and apex of Classical civilization, had enormous symbolic importance to the Italians, and it was immediately named the new Italian capital city.