Napoleon 's Reign Over Italy

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Italy, as it is known today, has been in existence for less than one hundred fifty years. For several centuries, Italy had been made up of separate states often ruled by foreign powers. In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded and conquered the Italian peninsula. After falling under French rule, the peninsula was divided into three parts: several northern states, which were annexed to France, the Kingdom of Italy, of which Napoleon declared himself king in 1805, and the Kingdom of Naples in the south. Napoleon and the French brought new ideas about society and governing with them. They also brought the concepts of freedom and nationalism with them, which might have sparked Italy’s later attempts to achieve unity. Napoleon’s reign over Italy crumbled with his defeat in 1814. Shortly after, parts of Italy were distributed amongst other European countries, particularly Austria, and returned to former rulers by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Many people were unhappy with the actions of the Congress and secret societies started to grow to oppose these rulers and promote the idea of a united Italy. One of the secret societies set up in opposition to foreign rulers was called the Carbonari. This nationalistic, revolutionary group started in Naples and spread northward. In 1820 they carried out a successful revolution in Naples which forced King Ferdinand I to set up a new constitution and parliament, but it was soon squashed by the Austrians. All their future uprisings failed, and in

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