Describe the process by which Italy was said to be unified between 1860 and 1871

The kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861 however Venetia was still under Austrian rule and Rome was guarded buy French troops. Therefore unification remained incomplete as the Italians would not consider it unified until it was unified geographically, which could then lead to unity nationally. It was because of these views events occurred in 1861 and 1871 allo9wingt this desire to be accomplished. Final unification started when Italy received Venetia as a result of the Prussian war with Austria consequently they only needed Rome. This they achieved through many different attempts. The first was when Garibaldi tried to lead a campaign in 1862 to free Rome however this failed twice because of the Franco – Prussian war that French troops withdrew from Rome as a result of the pope willing to become part of a new unified Italy with Rome as the capital.

There was also political unification as the piedmontese constituencies wee spread across Italy therefore leading to cultural unification which lead to the Brigands civil war in the south.

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The Italian saw Rome as the capital and this was the reason why it caused the biggest problem. The main reason for it being the capital was because it had significant historical basis, representing the past greatness especially with the Roman Empire. Garibaldi who was most encouraged by the Prime Minster Rattazzi and the king led his expedition in March 1862 with 2-3000 volunteers from Sicily. However garibaldi was prevented from progressing into the mainland by the piedmontese army following from the king and the Prime Minister. They believed that they had to stop this in order to prevent any diplomatic relations. Therefore the piedmontese army stopped garibaldi at Aspromonte leading to great humiliations for both parties concerned especially Garibaldi who was shot an imprisoned for a short time.

Two years later in 1861 the Prime Minister Minghetti persuaded Napoleon to evacuate his troops, over the two year period agreed at the September Convention. This was established on the understanding that the capital of Italy would move from Turin to Rome to Florence instead. This gave napoleon the impression that the leaders were no longer concerned with obtaining Rome, which is why it was not considered the capital.

Although Rome was the greatest concern to Italy it was Venetia they received first. The fact that Venetia was part of Italy was because Bismarck, the Minister President of Prussia who wanted to have a war with Austria, as they were both power rivals. He offered Italy Venetia in return for support. This was agreed and a treaty was signed on 8 April 1866. Similar offer was made from Austria on conditions that Italians should remain neutral during the war; this however was never agreed because the Italians didn’t trust the Austrians enough.

The coming war was very humiliating for the Italians as the Austrians managed to defeat the Italians both on land and sea. At the second battle of Custozza 24 June they were beaten here a small scale defeat was followed by humiliation. Then at 20 July at the battle of Lissa a smaller Austrian fleet defeated a larger Italian one. Never the less the Prussian army did better as they smashed the Austrians at the battle of Koniggrats in July, consequently Venetia was handed back to Italy in October via Napoleon III. The Venetians themselves were not eager to join Italy not even a city that had risen during the war supporting Italy. A very few volunteered to help Garibaldi in his attempt to free the state.

Italy was still not complete as Rome was missing. This lasted until 1866 when French troops left following the September convention. Ratazzi had another opportunity for which he encouraged Garibaldi to try and take over the city. A volunteer force was raised of 4000 and set out to march on Rome in the autumn of 1867.

Ratazzi claimed they were not involved with Garibaldi which was why French troops returned immediately to defend the Papal States. On 3rd of September a much stronger Franco-Papal force of 9000 soldiers very easily defeated Garibaldi forces. This was once again another poor attempt by Rattazzi to take control of Rome and he used Garibaldi effectively and then resulted in blaming him for not gaining control of Rome.

Rome was relying greatly on Prussian assistance like Venetia as well as being an embarrassing episode for the Italians. When war broke out in July 1817 between France and Prussia the government of Florence was financially too week to progress into Rome therefore thy declared neutrality. In August Neapolitan was forced to withdraw his troops from the papal states as they wee require back in France to defend it from Prussian defeat. Even though Napoleon had left the Italians they still did not make any movement towards Rome.

Action was only taken to gain Rome after the battle of Sedan, it lead to the French’s defeat and their empire collapsing. Yet there was still another obstacle to final unification, which was the Pope who refused to negotiate. This was the reason why 50,000 Italian troops crossed the border into the Patrimony of St Peter on 11 September. The pope was out numbered as he had only 15,000 troops. Nevertheless he did surrender when the walls of Rome had been breeched on 20 September to prevent any bloodshed.

Victor Emmanuel entered Rome in 7 December and declared it the new capital. However there were still problems as the pope refused to recognise the Italian Kingdom and ha also believed himself to be the prisoner of the Vatican. It was also within the Vatican he was granted diplomacy and spiritual independence. In 1929 reconciliation was reached between the church and the government of Italy.

By 1871 Italy had been finally united geographically as a whole however there was a very little sense of national unity d’Azeglio said “Italy is made, now we must make Italians” even though many Italians had fought together firstly against piedmont in 1859 and then for Naples ant the pope in 1860. There was no sense of belonging, only 2.5% spoke Italian. There was also fierce of economic divide between the north and south which even exists today.

Originally Cavour believed each state should be self sufficient however he soon established that the south was very week and needed help. The start of the American civil war also provide an insight to what could actually happen if they didn’t work together as a united Italy.

However there was little that could be done as even before his death the south slipping to civil war this imposed an immense threat on the new kingdom. It was the Brigands war (1860-1866) which was a very savage civil in both Sicily and Naples. More that 100,000 Italian soldiers were attached to this war it is also believed that more had died fighting in the war than all the fighting in 1848-9 and 1859-61 combined. There were many categories of people involved the peasants rebelled against the loss of land, economic hardship caused by increase in taxation and free trade. There were also supporters of the old regime in favour of the Bourbons and the church. Also involved were genuine brigands, disbanded soldiers and deserting conscripts.

This was an effective opportunity used by the new state to extend their control over the south. Many thousands were killed, mass execution and the state also had no intention law and order as each time more troops were bought in even so the state was unable to establish control over the south.

As piedmont was the state that conquered Italy this meant that the other states followed institutions from piedmont. Therefore as the new kingdom progressed very quickly it allowed piedmont to gain control easily and for new kingdom to be considered as an extended piedmont. As the state was firstly divided this meant ideas of a united Italy were never really shared or discussed and piedmont had one main objective to make sure Italy did not fall apart.

Prior to Cavour’s death the piedmontese constitution had been applied to the whole of Italy therefore only 2% of the population had the vote as a result of the ineffective parties emerged who never really overcame any problems. There were also no attempts made from the ruling elite to control the opposition of the peasants. Furthermore they believed that all other state governments were to week, only leaving piedmont as the strong central government.

The main reason why there was never a sense of national unity was because of the fact piedmonts were never really considered Italian especially since customs and culture of the Neapolitans and Sicilians were so different. There was also the effect piedmontese law on other states. Piedmonts religious laws separated the state from the church this caused a great deal of problems as the pope issued a degree forbidding Catholics to take part in the states politics. There were also economic hard shipped experienced by the south, as there was free trade, which was in place to protect industry. Even the state army was mostly incorporated of napoleon troops rather than garibaldis. Everything was the decision of the central state only including education foreign and diplomatic services.

Now that Italy had been united and all the states were combined this lead to an increase in taxes to allow for Italy total cost to be met. The increased taxes were used to pay for debts that Italy had accumulated largely because of piedmonts modernisation, as well as military expenditure which doubled because of the civil war. Grist tax was also reintroduced which devastating effects on the poor as they now had had to pay on the grinding of wheat.

This lead to there being hatred which was established for piedmont this meant that there would be no sense of wanting unity for Italy. However there was never really opposition against this and piedmont continued to be the central state. However the divide between the north and south continued so there were and not still nationally unified.