Kingdom of Sardinia

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Kingdom of Sardinia, in 1839: Mainland Piedmont, with Savoia upper left (pink) and Nizza (Nice) lower left (brown) both now French, and Sardinia in the inset.

The Kingdom of Sardinia is the former kingdom of the Savoy dynasty in northwestern Italy which realized the risorgimento by unifying nearly all the peninsula under its crown in the 1860s.


[edit] Early history

The first "King of Sardinia" was the judge Barisone II of Arborea in 1164. Frederick Barbarossa, who invested him as such, was forced to reverse this decision and regrant Sardinia to the archdiocese of Pisa the next year. The traditional giudicati of Sardinia, which were independent realms each presided over by its "judge", having come under the control either of Genoa or Pisa, the Kingdom came into being in 1297, when Pope Boniface VIII, intervening between the Houses of Anjou and Aragon, established on paper a "regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae" that would be a fief of the Papacy. Then the Pope offered his newly-invented fief to the Catalan Jaume II the Just, king of the Crown of Aragon (a confederation made up of the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, and the County of Catalonia), promising him papal support should he wish to conquer Pisan Sardinia in exchange for Sicily.

In 1323 Jaume II formed an alliance with the giudice of Arborea and, following a military campaign which lasted a year or so, occupied the Pisan territories of Cagliari and Gallura along with the city of Sassari, claiming the territory as the "Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica". In 1353 Aragon made war on Arborea, then fought with its leader Eleanor of Arborea, but did not reduce the last of the autochthonous giudicati until 1410.

The Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica retained its separate character as part of the Crown of Aragon and was not merely incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragon. At the time of his struggles with Arborea, Pere IV of Aragon granted an autonomous legislature to the Kingdom, which had one of Europe's most advanced legal traditions. The Kingdom was governed in the king's name by a viceroy.

When in 1409 Martí the younger, king of Sicily and heir to Aragon, defeated the last Sardinian giudicato but then died in Cagliari of malaria, without issue, Sardinia passed with the Crown of Aragon to a united Spain. Corsica, which had never been conquered, was dropped from the formal title.

In 1720 the kingdom of Sicily was exchanged for that of Sardinia, and the House of Savoy was enabled to call itself royal, as Kings of Sardinia. Although its name was the Kingdom of Sardinia, the main part of the 18th- and 19th-century territories of the House of Savoy was in Savoy and Piedmont, with a capital at Turin.

In 1743 the kingdom was combined with Piedmont as the Kingdom of Sardinia. When in 1796 Napoleon conquered the kingdom along with the rest of Northern Italy, the king, Charles Emmanuel IV fled to Sardinia.

Coat of arms of Sardinia c. 1730.
Image:Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg
The flag of the Kingdom of Sardinia, from 1848. It was the Italian tricolour, with the coat of arms of the House of Savoy.

[edit] Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sardinia developed into the national arms of Italy.

[edit] Restoration and Risorgimento

In 1814 the kingdom was restored and enlarged with the addition of the former Republic of Genoa, now a duchy, and it served as a buffer state against France.

In the reaction after Napoleon, the country was ruled by conservative monarchs: Victor Emmanuel I and Charles Felix, who fought at the head of a contingent of his own troops at the Battle of Trocadero, which set the reactionary Ferdinand VII on the Spanish throne. In 1831 Carlo Felice was succeeded by the more moderate conservative Charles Albert. The Kingdom of Sardinia industrialized from 1830 onward. A constitution, the Statuto Albertino was enacted in the year of revolutions, 1848, under liberal pressure, and under the same pressure war was declared on Austria. After initial success the war took a turn for the worse and the Kingdom of Sardinia lost.

Like all of Italy, the Kingdom of Sardinia was troubled with political instability, under alternating governments. After a very short and disastrous second war with Austria, Charles Albert abdicated on March 23, 1849, in favour of his son Vittorio Emanuele II. In 1850 a liberal ministry under Count Camillo Benso di Cavour was installed, and the Kingdom of Sardinia became the engine driving the Italian Unification. The Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont) took part in the Crimean War, allied with Turkey, Britain and France, and fighting against Russia.

In 1859 France sided with the Kingdom of Sardinia in a war against Austria, the Austro-Sardinian War. Napoleon III didn't keep his promises to Cavour to fight until all of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia had been conquered. Following the bloody battles of Magenta and Solferino, both Sardinian/French victories, Napoleon thought the war too costly to continue and made a separate peace behind Cavour's back in which only Lombardy would be ceded. Due to the Austrian government's refusal to cede any lands to the Kingdom of Sardinia, they agreed to cede Lombardy to Napoleon who in turn then ceded the territory to the Kingdom of Sardinia to avoid 'embarrassing' the defeated Austrians. Because he had reneged on his pre-war promises to Cavour, Napoleon allowed the Kingdom of Sardinia to retain possession of Savoy and Nice.

Image:Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg
The Bandiera di Stato (State's Flag) of the Kingdom of Sardinia.

On March 5 1860 Parma, Tuscany, Modena and Romagna voted in referenda to join the Kingdom of Sardinia. This alarmed Napoleon who feared a strong Savoyard state on his southeastern border and he insisted that if the Kingdom of Sardinia were to keep the new acquisitions they would have to cede Savoy and Nice to France. This was done after dubious referenda showed around 90% majorities in both areas in favour of joining France. In 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi started his campaign to conquer southern Italy in the name of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He quickly toppled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and marched to Gaeta. Cavour was actually the most satisfied with the unification while Garibaldi wanted to conquer Rome. Garibaldi was too revolutionary for the king and his prime minister. On March 17, 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed thus ending the Kingdom of Sardinia as a separate kingdom. Piedmont would become the most dominant and wealthiest region in Italy and the capital of Piedmont, Turin, would remain the Italian capital until 1865 when the capital was moved to Florence. The House of Savoy would rule Italy until 1946 when a republic was proclaimed.

[edit] External links

de:Königreich Piemont-Sardinien es:Piamonte-Cerdeña fr:Royaume de Sardaigne ko:사르데냐 왕국 it:Regno di Sardegna nl:Koninkrijk Sardinië ja:サルデーニャ王国 no:Kongedømmet Sardinia ro:Regatul Sardiniei ru:Сардинское королевство sc:Rennu de Sardinna sk:Sardínske kráľovstvo sl:Kraljevina Sardinija fi:Sardinian kuningaskunta zh:薩丁尼亞王國

Kingdom of Sardinia

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