History of Italy during foreign domination and the unification

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

This is the history of Italy during foreign domination and the unification.

Contents

Foreign domination (16th-18th centuries)

At the beginning of the 16th century the staes of Italian peninsula began to suffer the effects of an economic crisis due to the move of the main trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Since Italy was not unified politically, most of the small and weak Italian states were defeated by foreign powers (mainly Spain); some of them (e.g. Milan and Naples) were annexed, others (e.g. Venice and Florence) were reduced to a lesser role. The papacy lost much of its importance both because of military defeats and of Protestant Reformation, which deeply weakened the catholic church.

In order to prevent the further expansion of Protestantism, the church endorsed the wars of the emperor Charles V (who was also king of Spain) and his successors, and started the so-called Counter-Reformation, with which it established a strict control over intellectual life in catholic countries. Soon, French and Spanish rivalries would present themselves in the Italian peninsula

In 1494 Charles VIII of France invaded Italy unopposed. Charles entered Naples on [[February 22, 1495 and was crowned on May 12. In November his armies entered Florence while a revolution had expelled Piero de Medici. In 1495, Ferdinand II of Naples, son of Alfonso II starts the Spanish acquisition of Naples with the help of a Ventian fleet and troops under the command of Gonzalo de C�rdoba.


In 1798 France declared war on the Kingdom of Naples


Treaties that affected Italian states

Battles


The Italian unification (1796-1861)

Main article: Italian unification

At the end of the 18th century, Italy was almost in the same political conditions as in the 16th century; the main differences were that Austria had replaced Spain as the dominant foreign power, and that the dukes of Savoy (a mountainous region between Italy and France) had become kings of Sardinia by increasing their Italian possessions, which now included Sardinia and the north-western region of Piedmont. This situation was shaken in 1796, when French armies led by Napoleon invaded Italy; even if the states they created (e.g., Cisalpine Republic) were just satellites of France, they sparked a nationalist movement. The Cisalpine Republic was converted into the Italian Republic in 1802, under the presidency of Napoleon.

The Congress of Vienna (1814) restored a situation close to that of 1795, dividing Italy between Austria (in the north-east and Lombardy), the kingdom of Sardinia, the kingdom of the two Sicilies (in the south and in Sicily), and Tuscany, the Papal States and other minor states in the centre.

At the beginning the new state did not include Rome (under papal rule until 1870) and the north-eastern provinces around Venice (most of which were annexed in 1866, after a new war with Austria).

References

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