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History of Italy

From Academic Kids

History of Italy
Prehistoric Italy
Roman Period
Middle Ages
Renaissance
Italy under foreign domination
Monarchy and Mussolini
Italian Republic

Italy has shaped the cultural and social development of the whole Mediterranean area, deeply influencing European culture as well. Important cultures and civilizations have existed there since prehistoric times. After Magna Graecia, the Etruscan civilization and especially the Roman Republic and Empire that dominated this part of the world for many centuries, Italy was central to European philosophy, science and art during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Modern Italy became a nation-state belatedly — on March 17, 1861, when most of the states of the peninsula were united under king Victor Emmanuel II of the Savoy dynasty, which ruled over Piedmont. The architects of Italian unification were Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the Chief Minister of Victor Emmanuel, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, a general and national hero. Rome itself remained for a decade under the Papacy, and became part of the Kingdom of Italy only on September 20, 1870, the final date of Italian unification. The Vatican is now an independent enclave surrounded by Italy, as is San Marino.

The Fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini that took over in 1922 led to the alliance with Germany and other Axis Powers and ultimately Italy's defeat in World War II. On June 2, 1946, a referendum on the monarchy resulted in the establishment of the Italian republic, which led to the adoption of a new constitution on January 1, 1948.

Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Union, and hence joined the growing political and economic unification of Western Europe, including the introduction of the Euro in 1999.

The name Italy (Italia) is an ancient name for the country and people of Southern Italy. Its origin is unclear, but could mean "Land of Cattle Calves or Veal". Coins bearing the name Italia were minted by an alliance of Italic tribes (Sabines, Samnites, Umbrians and other) competing with Rome in the first century B.C. By the time of emperor Augustus approximately, current territory of Italy was included in Italia as the central unit of the Empire; Cisalpine Gaul, the Upper Po valley, for example was appended in 42 B.C. Ever since, "Italy" or "Italian" was the collective name for diverse states appearing on the peninsula and their overseas properties.

See also

ca:Histria d'Itlia de:Geschichte Italiens fr:Histoire de l'Italie it:Storia d'Italia he:היסטוריה של איטליה lt:Italijos istorija ja:イタリアの歴史 nl:Geschiedenis van Itali pt:Histria da Itlia sv:Italiens historia

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