Assess The Significance Of Garibaldi's Contribution To Italian Unification

1012 words - 5 pages

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice, and, although he was a born a French citizen, he regarded himself as Italian. Despite the pressure placed upon him to enter the Church, he joined the Merchant Navy where a chance meeting with Mazzini altered the entire course of his life.One of Mazzini's greatest disciples was Garibaldi, who was inspired with nationalist fervour and patriotic enthusiasm. He quickly converted to share Mazzini's aim of a united Italy, but only an Italy united as a republic. A revolutionary plot in 1833 in Piedmont was introduced to cause mutiny in the army but it failed and Garibaldi was sentenced to death. Execution could not be carried out as Garibaldi left the coun ...view middle of the document...

February 1849 saw the establishment of the Roman Republic. The Republic itself was short-lived; only lasted four months. Garibaldi played a role in resisting the Catholic countries assisting the Pope however, the defenders were greatly outnumbered by the powers helping the Pope and the fall of Rome was inevitable. After the fall of the Republic, Garibaldi made an appeal for new recruits to "fight the war against the stranger". Although he offered no provisions or promises, almost 5000 men were recruited. Despite this, on their journey to Venetia, 3500 were lost. Garibaldi escaped to Genoa where he was arrested and released on the condition that he leave Italy at once. Upon his release, he travelled to North America where he stayed until 1854.When he returned, Garibaldi's significance is clearly visible. A revolt which began in 1860 in Sicily came to the attention of Garibaldi and he set sail for Sicily almost immediately. His unexpected conquests in Sicily and Naples precipitated the unification of most of Italy.When he reached Sicily, Garibaldi was a welcome fighter. His weak army of 1200 now reaching 3000 took Palermo forcing the garrison to return to Naples making Sicily his. In September 1860 Naples fell leaving Garibaldi as Dictator over the Kingdom of Naples. Cavour feared that Garibaldi would not stop and would attempt to take Rome so he advised Victor Emmanuel to take Rome first. When the two forces met, Garibaldi proclaimed Victor Emmanuel the first "King of Italy" Plebiscites held in the newly acquired land showed immense support for annexation by Piedmont.In 1861, Garibaldi's aim of a united Italy came into being; however, it did not include Rome or Venetia. By way of unification under control of Piedmont, the Piedmontese constitution and legal system were extended over the whole country. Though Rome remained to be occupied by Fran...

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