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Talking History: The Italian Unification

Oct 22, 2016

1860 was a bad year to be a cartographer - or maybe a good year, depending on how you look at it. In 1859 there had been seven states in Italy: the Kingdom of Piedmont, the Austrian-controlled Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Modena, the Papal States, and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. But, after the Second War of Italian Independence, which pitted France and Piedmont against Austria, we saw that number shrink to four, as Tuscany, Modena, and Parma all disappeared into the Kingdom of Piedmont, which also absorbed the Lombardy half of Lombardy-Venetia, and the northeastern parts of the Papal States, called the Legations. Just as the ink was drying on the revised maps, Garibaldi set sail to Sicily with just over 1,000 men in an event that has moved into the realm of mythology in Italian history - akin perhaps to Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware in American history.