Italian unification, “il Risorgimento,” or “The Resurgence” was the political and social movement that aggregated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century. For the sake of brevity and personal interest I’m only going to be discussing the military achievements that led to such a successful “Risorgimento! ” Most scholars agree that the years, 1815-1871, are the years in which “il Risorgimento” occured. From the Napoleonic wars through the numerous insurrections and ultimately the three wars for independence until 1871; the war history of “il Risorgimento” is an amazing story of its own.
Before the Congress of Vienna, the division of the once mighty Roman Empire into a system of city-states was when a new chance for unification arose until one day The Italian Empire was born. The system of city-states didn’t uphold for long once modern nation-states formed and began to war for power. The small Italian city-states and the Papal States began to war over the old lands of the Western Roman Empire until Napoleon came and took over briefly. The Napoleonic Wars then raged from about 1803 until 1815 when Napoleon was finally expelled from Italy.
Once again a new opportunity for unity appeared and even more conflicts arose as the struggle to be an independent unified country continued. There were three major conflicts that occurred from about the late 1840’s to 1870. The First Italian War of Independence in 1848, The Franco-Austrian War from 1859, which was the second war of unification, and The Austro-Prussian War, which was the final and third War of Italian Unification in 1866. After the final war the French withdrew their troops from the Papal States and Rome was finally vulnerable for the taking.
On September 20, after a three hour cannonade had breached the Aurelian Walls at Porta Pia; Rome was eventually annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and the country was unified. “Il Risorgimento” was a great military achievement for Italy and couldn’t have succeeded without its head military advisors. The most renowned military leader of “il Risorgimento” is Giuseppe Garibaldi known as one of Italy’s “fathers of the fatherland”. Garibaldi himself personally commanded and fought in many military campaigns that eventually led to the formation of unified Italy.
Garibaldi was also a true patriot and generally tried to act on behalf of a legitimate power for his countries benefit as opposed to strictly his own. Without the military prowess of Garibaldi the Kingdom of Italy possibly would have never been created. These significant battles that occurred during “il Risorgimento” united Italy for a greater good and kept Italia ruled by Italians the way it should be. A country that is divided is a country sure to fail. Through great expense and military achievement “il Risorgimento” or the Italian unification was a great success and a new kingdom was born.