xxxxxAs we have seen, it was not until 1860 (Va), with the unity of north and south, that Italy was able to establish its independence. In March 1861 Victor Emmanuel II, king of Piedmont-
THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY 1870 (Vb)
Victor Emmanuel II: by the Italian painter Tranquillo Cremona (1837-
xxxxxIt was in 1859 (Va), as we have seen, that Sardinia-
xxxxxFive years later Venetia was incorporated into the Italian state by the settlement which concluded the Austro-
xxxxxFollowing the decisive defeat of the French at the Battle of Sedan at the beginning of September, Victor Emmanuel seized the opportunity to get rid of the last vestige of the Papal States. However, Pope Pius IX (1792-
xxxxxIn May 1871, in an attempt to establish a working relationship between Church and State, the government promulgated the Law of Guarantees. In brief, this guaranteed the pope’s occupation of the Vatican (where Pope Pius had taken refuge), guaranteed him full liberty in his religious and diplomatic functions, afforded him sovereign status, and provided the papacy with a substantial annual income. But Pope Pius would have none of it. He argued that a law passed by the Italian Parliament could be as easily abrogated as passed. Furthermore, he remained totally opposed to the occupation of his sovereign territory, Rome and all the former Papal States.
xxxxxAs a result, he and his successors chose to become "prisoners of the Vatican" and, for the next 47 years, they prohibited Roman Catholics from taking part in the Italian government. It was not until 1929, close on sixty years later, that this stand off -
xxxxxIncidentally, in July 1870, the day before the outbreak of the Franco-
xxxxx...... VictorxEmmanuel never took the title of King of Italy. To the disappointment and annoyance of many, he retained his earlier title Victor Emmanuel II, acquired in 1849. Nevertheless he was known by the Italians as “Father of the Fatherland”. At his death in 1878 he was succeeded by his son Umberto I. A staunch conservative, he was assassinated in 1900 following a troubled reign. ……
xxxxx…… The new kingdom of Italy faced many problems over the next fifty years or more. The Pope refused to recognise the Italian state, there was a great deal of lawlessness throughout the country, and the economy was weak. Faced with debt and the lack of industry to create wealth, there was a series of liberal coalitions, each unable to form a clear cut majority in the interests of decisive government.