Italian Unification

Garibaldi's Expedition against Naples

Also referred to as part of the Second Italian War of Independence, as the Expedition of the Thousand, as the Italo-Sicilian War 1860-1861

A.) The Diplomatic Pre-History of the War

The FRANCO-AUSTRIAN WAR of 1859 had gained Lombardy for Piedmont-Sardinia, which also gained most of northern-central Italy - in violation of the TREATY OF VILLAFRANCA - by the annexion of principalities where the princes had been expelled by revolutionaries and plebiscites had approved the annexion by Piemont-Sardinia : Modena, Parma, Tuscany thus had been added to Piemont-Sardinia.
There were three major obstacles to the completion of Italian unification : VENICE, still Austrian; the core territory of the PAPAL STATE and the KINGDOM OF THE TWO SICILIES, covering the southern half of the peninsula and the island of Sicily. Against the branch of the DYNASTY OF BOURBON-PARMA ruling Sicily, Italien maverick GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI assembled a force of 1,000 REDSHIRTS, volunteer patriot fighters.

B.) The Military Course of Events

A rebellion in Palermo broke out in April 1860, but was quickly suppressed by Neapolitan forces.
In May Garibaldi's expedition departed from ports in Liguria; the expedition landed at MARSALA on Sicily on May 11th 1860, declaring himself DICTATOR ruling in the name of VITTORIO EMMANUELE; the provisoric government was headed by FRANCESCO CRISPI, who later would become Italy's prime minister. Garibaldi won the BATTLE OF CALATAFIMI (May 15th), took PALERMO (May 27th), won the BATTLE OF MILAZZO (May 27th). Within 3 months he took control of the island.
While the newly enthroned King FRANCESCO II. of the both Sicilies (residing in Naples) offered a constitution and other concessions and European diplomacy was negotiating the situation, Garibaldi landed on the mainland opposite Messina on August 19th and entered Naples on September 7th. King Francesco II. fled to GAETA; the Bourbon forces were degfeated on October first near Volturno (Oct. 26) where Garibaldi already commanded a force of 20,000; Gaeta, the last stronghold loyal to the Bourbon cause fell in February 1861.

C.) The Handshake of Teano; the Legacy of the War

Garibaldi's success (Gaeta had not yet fallen) caused King Vittorio Emmanuele to act, in communication with French Emperor Napoleon III., as it was to be feared that Garibaldi would continue with occupying the PAPAL STATE. Piemontese troops occupied the Marches, while French troops occupied Rome and Latium, to forestall any actions by Garibaldi.
On October 26th 1861 Garibaldi met King Vittorio Emmanuele; Garibaldi resigned his dictatorship and handed the administration over to the King and his cabinet. Garibaldi, with a chest of spaghetti, retired to Sardinia. The former Kingdom of Sicily was integrated into the Kingdom of Italy, a unitarian state (approved by a plebiscite in November 1860, even before the Handshake of Teano took place).
Garibaldi was a republican, opposed to the more aristocratic Cavour administration; in 1862 Garibaldi founded the SOCIETY FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF ITALY; he returned to Sicily gathering volunteers, but was defeated by royal forces in the BATTLE OF ASPROMONTE.
What was the Kingdom of two Sicilies was to become the MEZZOGIORNO; the free market policy ruined domestic industries and increased rural poverty, which caused banditry. Politicians in the republic came to depend on the big landowners of the south, a development which made land reform in the south impossible. Politically united, the economic disparity between south and north was a lasting structure of Italian politics for a century to come and beyond.

Charles A. Venturi, History of Europe 1856-1865, chronological list of events in intenational affairs, detailed, from Societe d'Europe, scroll down for Austria, France, Sardinia
The expedition of the Thousand, from Armed Conflict Events Data
Biography of Garibaldi, by Jeff Matthews; another one from the Pirandello Museum
Latin American Warfare and Garibaldi's Tactics, by Ciro Paoletti, despite the title on Gatibaldi's many military adventures in and outside of the Americas, 1998 paper
DOCUMENTS Images from Bilddatenbank 2000 Jahre Chronik : Handshake of Teano, Garibaldi outside Capua
Garibaldi, Report on the conquest of Naples, from Internet Modern History Sourcebook; also from Modern Italy
Giuseppe Garibaldi's Proclamation for the Liberation of Sicily. 1860, posted by Michael Share, Univ. of Hong Kong
Garibaldi addresses his soldiers, speech 1860, from The History Place
List of the volunteers, 1090 in number, who participated in Garibaldi's 1860 expedition, from Pubblinet Switzerland, in Italian
A cheque cashed in by Garibaldi in 1860, from Royal Bank of Scotland
Commemorative plate showing Garibaldi at Milazzo, from The Anthony P. Campanella Collection of Giuseppe Garibaldi at Univ. of South Carolina
44o Bulletino di Napoli e Roma, from The Anthony P. Campanella Collection of Giuseppe Garibaldi at Univ. of South Carolina
Stereoview Photographs featuring the damage inflicted on Palermo by Garibaldi's siege, 1860, posted by Ray Norman
10 Swedish-language newspaper articles on Garibaldi and his Sicily expedition, Oct. 1859 to Nov. 1860, from Illustrerad Tidning, Stockholm, posted by the Nationalism Project at Univ. Stockholm
Unificacion de Italia 1860-1861. from Uniformes Militares del Mundo, in Spanish; has uniform of Garibaldista

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 19th 2004

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