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Unification Of The Italian Nation - Sept. 20, 1870 - Capture of Rome

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Author Topic: Unification Of The Italian Nation - Sept. 20, 1870 - Capture of Rome  (Read 331 times)
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« on: September 19, 2008, 11:27:44 pm »


                                                                Capture of Rome

The Capture of Rome (September 20, 1870) was the final event of the long process known as unification of
Italy, which led to the unification of the Italian peninsula under the House of Savoy in the 19th century.

During the Second Italian War of Independence, much of the Papal States had been conquered by the Pied-
montese Army, and the new unified Kingdom of Italy was created in March 1861, when the first Italian Parlia-
ment met in Turin. On 27 March 1861, the Parliament declared Rome the Capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

However, the Italian government could not take its seat in Rome because of the French garrison maintained
there by Napoleon III of France, which propped up Pope Pius IX.

In July 1870, the Franco-Prussian War began. In early August, Napoleon III recalled his garrison from Rome. Widespread public demonstrations demanded that the Italian government take Rome. The Italian government
took no direct action until the collapse of Napoleon at the battle of Sedan. King Victor Emmanuel II sent Count Ponza di San Martino to Pius IX with a personal letter offering a face-saving proposal that would have allowed
the peaceful entry of the Italian Army into Rome, under the guise of protecting the pope.

According to Raffaele De Cesare:

The Pope’s reception of San Martino [10 September 1870] was unfriendly. Pius IX allowed violent outbursts to escape him. Throwing the King’s letter upon the table he exclaimed, "Fine loyalty! You are all a set of vipers, of whited sepulchres, and wanting in faith." He was perhaps alluding to other letters received from the King. After, growing calmer, he exclaimed: "I am no prophet, nor son of a prophet, but I tell you, you will never enter Rome!"
San Martino was so mortified that he left the next day.[1]

The Italian army, commanded by General Raffaele Cadorna, crossed the papal frontier on 11 September and advanced slowly toward Rome, hoping that a peaceful entry could be negotiated.

The Papal garrisons had retreated from Orvieto, Viterbo, Alatri, Frosinone and other strongholds in the Lazio,
Pius IX himself being convinced of the inevitability of a surrender[2]. When the Italian Army approached the
Aurelian Walls that defended the city, the papal force was commanded by General Kanzler, and was composed
of the Swiss Guards and a few "zouaves"--volunteers from France, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and other countries--for a total of 14,000 men against the c. 50,000 Italians.

The Italian army reached the Aurelian Walls on 19 September and placed Rome under a state of siege. The intransigent Pius IX decided that the surrender of the city would be granted only after his troops had put up
a token resistance, enough to make it plain that the take-over was not freely accepted.

On 20 September, after a cannonade of three hours had breached the Aurelian Walls at Porta Pia, the Bersaglieri entered Rome. 49 Italian soldiers and 19 papal Zouaves died.

Rome and the region of Lazio were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy after a plebiscite.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 05:44:47 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2008, 11:37:40 pm »


Again, according to Raffaele De Cesare:

The Roman question was the stone tied to Napoleon's feet — that dragged him into the abyss.

He never forgot, even in August 1870, a month before Sedan, that he was a sovereign of a Catholic country,
that he had been made emperor, and was supported by the votes of the conservatives and the influence of
the clergy; and that it was his supreme duty not to abandon the pontiff.

For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations.  Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted, nor, being reconstituted, would have endured.

The Leonine City, including the Vatican, seat of the Pope, was occupied on September 21. The Italian govern-
ment had intended to let the Pope keep the Leonine City, but the Pope would not agree to give up his claims
to a broader territory (see prisoner in the Vatican and Roman Question).

According to the tradition, the first member of the Italian army to enter the breach at Porta Pia was a dog,
called Pio IX in disdain of the Pope. It carried a cart with some Protestant Bibles.

The Via Pia, the road departing from Porta Pia, was rechristened Via XX Settembre (September 20 St.).

Subsequently, in numerous Italian cities the same name was given to the main road leading to the local

Writer Edmondo De Amicis took part in the capture of Rome as an officer in the Italian army.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 05:55:24 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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