Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia, 1814-1860

In 1814, the King of Sardinia was restored to his Duchy of Savoy-Piemont; he moved back to his capital of Turin. The Vienna Congress allocated the Genoan (formerly Ligurian) Republic to Piemont, as the Duchy of Genoa. In 1820 a liberal-nationalist group formed, headed by the Count Santa-Rosa, demanding the King to make concessions, which he refused. A secret organization aiming to subvert the Ancien Regime, the Carbonari, formed. In 1821 King Vittorio Emanuele I. abdicated when faced with a liberal revolution. He was sicceeded by his brother Charles-Felix, who, far from sympathizing with the liberals, appointed Santa-Rosa minister of war. Briefly a liberal constitution (the Spanish constitution of 1812) was introduced. Austrian chancellor Metternich regarded liberal reforms in any state in Italy as endangering Austrian rule in Lombardo-Venetia; he dispatched troops to Piemont. The Piemontese were incapable of stopping the Austrians; Santa-Rosa fled the country (he was to die while fighting for Greek independence). The liberal constitution was cancelled; King Charles Felix gave in to Austrian pressure; he died in 1831.
In Piemont, Italian national consciousness spread. Authors like Alfieri, Viassolo Federici, Alberto Nota, Silvio Pellico (1789-1834), historians Charles Botta (1766-1837; Histoire d'Italie depuis 1789 jusqu'en 1814, published 1824) and Cesare Cesare Cantu contributed hereto.
In 1831, King Charles Felix died without children; Charles Albert of the sideline Savoy-Carignan succeeded him (1831-1849). He chose as his motto :L'Italia fara da se. While Charles Felix, since 1821 had been subservient to Austria, Charles Albert took an independent stand. Among the reforms he implemented were the establishment of a Council of State, the reconstitution of provincial councils, the revision of civilian and criminal law codes, the reorganization of the army, the promotion of industry, agriculture and sciences, and the abolition of feudalism on Sardinia. A liberal king ruling absolute and labelled romantic, he was not without critics. Guiseppe Mazzini, the founder of Young Italy, propagated the formation of a unified Italian republic, with a liberal constitution.
In 1847 the island parliament of Sardinia renounced its autonomous status, and a unified Sardinian-Piemontese parliament was formed which met in Turin. In 1848 Savoy-Piemont passed a liberal constitution. Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia fought the Austrians in an attempt to liberate Milan 1848/49 (the First War of Italian Independence); in the Battle of Novara, the Austrians were victorious. Charles Albert resigned on the day of the Battle of Novara (March 23rd 1849) and died shortly afterwards; he was succeeded by Victor Emmanuel II.
The Jesuits were expelled, church and state separated, church property confiscated; the archbishops of Turin and Sassari, resisting to state policy, were incarcerated.
French-speaking Savoy proper rejected the idea of the Risorgimento.
In 1857 the road over the Mount Cenis was opened.
Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia developed into a modern liberal state; a laissez-faire policy was pursued. Under prime minister Count Camillo Cavour, Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia joined France and Britain in the Crimean War (1853-1856).
Cavour concluded a secret alliance with France (Napoleon III.); in 1859 war broke out with Austria. French troops defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Solferino; the Austrians ceded Lombardy to France, which ceded it to Piemont, in exchange for Savoy and Nizza; provisional governments took control in Modena, Parma, Tuscany and the Romagna; in 1860 these territories were annexed by Piemont-Sardinia. Italian unification was underway.

Piedmont, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition
The History of Sardinia, from
Charles A. Venturi, History of Europe 1856-1865, chronological list of events in intenational affairs, detailed, from Societe d'Europe, scroll down for Sardinia
Biography of Carlo Botta, from HistoryData
DOCUMENTS For documents on the history of Savoy / Piemont / Sardinia, click here
List of Kings of Sardinia since 1760, from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
W. Gracie, General Gazetteer 1823 : Sardinia
Online Catalogus of Italian Stamps : Sardegna
Medal : Visit of King Victor Emmanuel II. to London, 1855, from Medal Web, Collection Benjamin Weiss
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Savoy-Piemont, from History Book Reviews

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000; last revised on March 27th 2006

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