Explain the various stages of Italian unification.
Political Fragmentation of Italy Italy had a long history of political fragmentation. Italy was divided into seven states during the middle of the nineteenth century.
Of these seven states only Sardinia-Piedmont was ruled by an Italian princely house. At that time North of Italy was under Austrian Habsburg, the centre was ruled by Pope and the Southern regions were ruled by the Bourbon kings of Spain.
Role of Mazzini:
During 1830s, Giuseppe Mazzini had tried to unite Italy. He formed the secret society called young Italy.
But both the uprising in 1831 and 1848 failed. Even the ruling elites also wanted a unified Italy which would offer economic development and political dominance.
Role of Cavour:
The unification of Italy was a result of many wars. Chief Minister Cavour made a tactful diplomatic alliance with France, and Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859.
Role of Garibaldi:
A large number of armed volunteers under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the unification movement.
In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies succeeded to drive out the Spanish rulers with the help of local people. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed as king of United Italy.