Vienna, Congress of
- So far as Italy was concerned, the Congress of Vienna (November 1814 to June 1815) represented an attempt by the great powers, especially Austria, to restore absolutism in the Italian peninsula. The Trentino, South Tyrol, and Venezia Giulia were all reabsorbed into the Austrian empire; Lombardy-Venetia became an Austrian colony ruled, from January 1816, by an Austrian viceroy applying Austrian law. The Duchies of Modena, Parma, and Lucca, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, were allowed nominal independence but were ruled by individuals related by ties of marriage to the Austrian court. Elsewhere in Italy, absolutism was reinforced by the restoration of the pre-Napoleonic order. The Papal States, comprising the modern regions of Emilia-Romagna, the Marche, Umbria, and Latium, were re-created, and, in southern Italy, Klemens von Metternich insisted upon the return of the Bourbon Ferdinand IV of Naples, whose authority was also extended over Sicily, thereby creating in December 1816 the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The only part of Italy where Austria’s writ did not run was thus the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, but this, too, was an absolute monarchy, ruled over by King Victor Emmanuel I. The return of absolutism did not go unchallenged. In July 1820, the people of Naples, led by a large part of the armed forces, rebelled and imposed on Ferdinand a constitutional monarchy modeled on the Spanish Constitution of 1812. Seizing the opportunity to declare independence, the city of Palermo also rose in revolt, and a bloody civil war began in Sicily between supporters and opponents of unification with Naples. At the conference of Troppau in October 1820, the Holy Alliance powers (Austria, Russia, and Prussia) warned that they would intervene to protect the principle of absolute monarchy, and in March 1821 Austrian troops restored Ferdinand to power. Violent repression of the carboneria, intricately organized sects of liberal revolutionaries, followed. The revolts in southern Italy were a prelude to similar unrest in Piedmont-Sardinia. On 10 March 1821, the carbonari seized Turin, proclaimed a constitutional monarchy, and declared Victor Emmanuel I the king of all Italy—thereby effectively declaring war on Austria. Rather than concede a constitutional monarchy, Victor Emmanuel handed power to Prince Charles Albert who, as regent, agreed to the constitutional monarchy but refused to make war on Austria. On 23 March, reneging on his word, Charles Albert fled to join the loyalist forces of Victor Emmanuel’s brother, Charles Felice, who with massive Austrian support crushed the constitutionalists at the battle of Novara at the beginning of April. On 19 April 1821, Victor Emmanuel abdicated, allowing Charles Felice to ascend to the throne. The restoration of absolutism in Italy was confirmed by the Congress of Verona (October–December 1822).
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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Vienna, Congress of — … Useful english dictionary
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