Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 17: A Day Of Celebration For Italy!

Apparently there's a celebration this week. 
St. Patrick's day? Well, yes.
But there's more: Tomorrow, a major European country turns 150.
Fairly young for a European country.
And the name of the country might surprise you.
It's Italy.
Italy as a concept and as a country is remarkably young. 
This Thursday, it's time to celebrate the founding of Italy 150 years ago. That's the date  -- March 17, 1861 -- when Italy was technically unified as one nation, or as unified as Italy and Italians could ever be.
Giuseppe Garibaldi was the leader of the struggle for a united Italy. Garibaldi's dream of a united Italy motivated his successful expedition against the Austrian forces in the Alps in 1859. In 1860 he conquered Sicily and set up a provisional insular government.
Garibaldi then conquered Naples, which he then delivered to King Victor Emmanuel in 1861 and returned to his home on Caprera. With the annexation of Umbria and Marches from the papal government, a united Italy was finally established in 1861 with Victor Emmanuel as its king. The Italian kingdom was missing Rome, which was still a papal possession, and Venice, which was controlled by the Austrians.
Venice was added to Italy in 1866 after Prussia defeated Austria in the Seven Weeks' War, in which Italy sided with Prussia; Venice was its reward. Then, in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, Napoleon III withdrew his troops from Rome. With the city of Rome and the remaining Papal States left unprotected, Italian troops moved into Rome without opposition. Rome voted for union with Italy in October 1870 and, in July 1871, Rome became the capital of a united Italy.
Bravo, Italia!

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