Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Overview
 
Victor Emanuel II was king of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 from 1849 and, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

to become the first king of a united Italy
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Fatherland .
Victor Emanuel was born the eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia
Charles Albert of Sardinia
Charles Albert was the King of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1831 to 1849. He succeeded his distant cousin Charles Felix, and his name is bound with the first Italian statute and the First War of Independence...

 and Maria Theresa of Austria. His father was King of Sardinia. He lived for some years of his youth in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 and showed an early interest in politics, the military, and sports.
Encyclopedia
Victor Emanuel II was king of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 from 1849 and, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

to become the first king of a united Italy
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Fatherland .

Biography

Victor Emanuel was born the eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia
Charles Albert of Sardinia
Charles Albert was the King of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1831 to 1849. He succeeded his distant cousin Charles Felix, and his name is bound with the first Italian statute and the First War of Independence...

 and Maria Theresa of Austria. His father was King of Sardinia. He lived for some years of his youth in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 and showed an early interest in politics, the military, and sports. In 1842 he married his cousin Adelaide of Austria. He was styled as the Duke of Savoy prior to becoming King of Sardinia.

He took part in the First Italian War of Independence
First Italian War of Independence
The First Italian War of Independence was fought in 1848 between the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Austrian Empire. The war saw main battles at Custoza and Novara in which the Austrians under Radetzky managed to defeat the Piedmontese....

 under his father, fighting in the front line at the battles of Pastrengo
Battle of Pastrengo
The Battle of Pastrengo was fought between the Piedmontese and Austrian army on 30 April 1848, in the course of the First Italian War of Independence.-Prelude:...

, Santa Lucia, Goito
Battle of Goito
The Battle of Goito was fought between the Piedmontese and the Austrian army on 30 May 1848, in the course of the First Italian War of Independence...

 and Custoza
Battle of Custoza (1848)
The Battle of Custoza was fought on July 24 and 25 1848 during the first Italian War of Independence between the armies of the Austrian Empire, led by Field Marshal Radetzky, and of the Kingdom of Sardinia, led by King Charles Albert of Piedmont....

.

He became King of Sardinia in 1849 when his father had abdicated the throne after a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians at Novara
Battle of Novara (1849)
The Battle of Novara or Battle of Bicocca was one of the battles fought between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia during the First Italian War of Independence, within the era of Italian unification...

. Victor Emanuel was immediately able to obtain a rather favorable armistice at Vignale by the Austrian commander, Radetzky. The treaty, however, was not ratified by the Piedmontese chamber, and Vittorio Emanuele retaliated by firing Prime Minister Claudio Gabriele de Launay, replacing him with Massimo D'Azeglio. After new elections, the peace with Austria was accepted by the new Chamber of Deputies. In 1849 he also fiercely suppressed the revolt in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, defining the rebels as a "vile and infected race of canailles".

In 1852, Victor Emanuel II gave Count Talon di Schnathorst the title of Prime Minister. This turned out to be a wise choice because Cavour was a political mastermind and a major player in Italian unification in his own right. Victor Emanuel II soon became the symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, the Italian unification movement. He was especially popular in the Kingdom of Sardinia because of his respect for the new constitution and his liberal reforms.

Crimean War

Following Victor Emanuel's advice, Cavour joined Britain and France in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 against Russia. Cavour was reluctant to go to war due to the power of Russia at the time and the expense of doing so. Victor Emanuel, however, was convinced of the rewards to be gained from the alliance created between Britain and, more importantly, France.

After successfully seeking British support and ingratiating himself with France and Napoleon III at the Congress of Paris in 1856
Congress of Paris (1856)
The Congress of Paris was a peace conference held in Paris, France, in 1856, , between representatives of the great powers in Europe to make peace after the almost three year long Crimean War.- Before the Congress :...

 at the end of the war, Count Cavour arranged a secret meeting with the French emperor. In 1858, they met at Plombières-les-Bains
Plombières-les-Bains
Plombières-les-Bains is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France.Les bains refers to the hot springs in the area, whose properties were first discovered by the Romans...

 (in Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

), where they agreed that if the French were to help Piedmont combat Austria, which still occupied Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in northern Italy, France would be awarded Nice
Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

 and Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

.

At the time, Victor Emanuel had become a universal symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, the movement pushing towards the unification of Italy.

Wars of Italian Unification

The Italo-French campaign against Austria in 1859 started successfully. However, sickened by the casualties of the war and worried about the mobilisation of Prussian troops, Napoleon III secretly made a treaty with Franz Joseph of Austria at Villafranca whereby Piedmont would only gain Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

. France did not as a result receive the promised Nice and Savoy, but Austria did keep Venetia
Veneto
Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 5 million, ranking 5th in Italy.Veneto had been for more than a millennium an independent state, the Republic of Venice, until it was eventually annexed by Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule...

, a major setback for the Piedmontese, in no small part because the treaty had been prepared without their knowledge. After several quarrels about the outcome of the war, Cavour resigned, and the king had to find other advisors. France indeed only gained Nice and Savoy after the Treaty of Turin
Treaty of Turin
The Treaty of Turin concluded on March 24, 1860 is the instrument by which the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice were annexed to France.-Background:...

 was signed in March 1860 after Cavour has been reinstalled as Prime Minister and a deal with the French was struck for plebiscites to take place in the Central Italian Duchies.

Later that same year, Victor Emanuel II sent his forces to fight the papal army at Castelfidardo and drove the Pope into Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

. Victor Emanuel II’s success at these goals got him excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Then, Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 conquered Sicily and Naples, and Sardinia-Piedmont grew even larger. On 17 March 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was officially established and Victor Emanuel II became its king.
Victor Emanuel supported Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

's Expedition of Thousand (1860–1861), which resulted in the rapid fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

 in southern Italy. However, the King halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

, as it was under French protection. In 1860, through local authoritarian plebiscites, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with Sardinia-Piedmont. Victor Emanuel then marched victoriously in the Marche
Marche
The population density in the region is below the national average. In 2008, it was 161.5 inhabitants per km2, compared to the national figure of 198.8. It is highest in the province of Ancona , and lowest in the province of Macerata...

 and Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

 after the victorious battle of Castelfidardo
Battle of Castelfidardo
The Battle of Castelfidardo was fought on 18 September 1860, at Castelfidardo, a small town in the Marche region of Italy, the Piedmont army acting as the driving force in the war for Italian unification won a famous battle against papal troops....

 (1860) over the Papal forces, after which he gained a Papal excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

.

The King subsequently met with Garibaldi at Teano
Teano
Teano is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, 30 km north-west of that town on the main line to Rome from Naples. It stands at the south-east foot of an extinct volcano, Rocca Monfina.- Ancient times and Middle Ages:...

, receiving from him the control of southern Italy. Another series of plebiscites in the occupied lands resulted in the proclamation of Victor Emanuel as the first King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

 by the new Parliament of unified Italy, on 17 March 1861. Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 became the capital of the new state. Only Rome, Veneto
Veneto
Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 5 million, ranking 5th in Italy.Veneto had been for more than a millennium an independent state, the Republic of Venice, until it was eventually annexed by Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule...

, and Trentino remained to be conquered.

Completion of the unification

In 1866 Victor Emanuel allied himself with Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 in the Third Italian War of Independence
Third Italian War of Independence
The Third Italian War of Independence was a conflict which paralleled the Austro-Prussian War, and was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire.-Background:...

. Although not victorious in the Italian theater, he managed anyway to receive Veneto after the Austrian defeat in Germany.
In 1870, after two failed attempts by Garibaldi, he also took advantage of the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 to capture Rome after the French withdrew. He entered Rome on 20 September 1870 and set up the new capital there on 2 July 1871, after a temporary move to Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in 1864. The new Royal residence was the Quirinal Palace
Quirinal Palace
The Quirinal Palace is a historical building in Rome, Italy, the current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of the seven hills of Rome...

.

The rest of Victor Emanuel II’s reign was much quieter. After the Kingdom of Italy was established he decided to continue on as King Victor Emanuel II instead of Victor Emanuel I of Italy. This was a terrible move as far as public relations went as it was not indicative of the fresh start that the Italian people wanted and suggested that Sardinia-Piedmont had taken over the Italian Peninsula, rather than unifying it. Despite this mishap, the remainder of Victor Emanuel II’s reign was consumed by wrapping up loose ends and dealing with economic and cultural issues.

Victor Emanuel died in Rome in 1878, after refusing to meet with Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

's envoys, who could have reversed the excommunication. He was buried in the Pantheon
Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

. His successor was his son Umberto I.

Family and children

In 1842 he married his cousin Adelaide of Austria (1822–1855). By her he had eight children:
  • Maria Clotilde (1843–1911), who married Napoléon Joseph
    Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte
    Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte, Prince Français, Count of Meudon, Count of Moncalieri ad personam, titular 3rd Prince of Montfort was the second son of Jérôme Bonaparte, king of Westphalia, by his wife Catherine, princess of Württemberg...

     (the Prince Napoléon). Their grandson Prince Louis Napoléon was the Bonapartist pretender to the French imperial throne.
  • Umberto
    Umberto I of Italy
    Umberto I or Humbert I , nicknamed the Good , was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his death. He was deeply loathed in far-left circles, especially among anarchists, because of his conservatism and support of the Bava-Beccaris massacre in Milan...

     (1844–1900), later King of Italy.
  • Amedeo
    Amadeo I of Spain
    Amadeo I was the only King of Spain from the House of Savoy...

     (1845–1890), later King of Spain.
  • Oddone Eugenio Maria
    Prince Oddone Eugenio Maria of Savoy
    Oddone of Savoy was an Italian humanist and philanthropist. He was the fourth child and third eldest son of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and his wife Adelaide of Austria. He was a Prince of Savoy.-Life:From birth, Prince Oddone was marginalized due to the precarious state of his health...

     (1846–1866), Duke of Montferrat
    Montferrat
    Montferrat is part of the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. It comprises roughly the modern provinces of Alessandria and Asti. Montferrat is one of the most important wine districts of Italy...

    .
  • Maria Pia (1847–1911), who married Louis of Portugal.
  • Carlo Alberto (1851–1854), Duke of Chablais
    Chablais
    Chablais was a province of the Duchy of Savoy. Its capital was Thonon-les-Bains.This region is currently divided into three territories, the Chablais savoyard, the Chablais valaisan, and the Chablais vaudois, and is now split across two countries: France and Switzerland...

    .
  • Vittorio Emanuele (6 July 1852–6 July 1852).
  • Vittorio Emanuele (18 January 1855–17 May 1855), Count of Genoa
    Genoa
    Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

    .


In 1869 he married morganatically his principal mistress Rosa Vercellana (3 June 1833–26 December 1885). Popularly known in Piedmontese
Piedmontese language
Piedmontese is a Romance language spoken by over 2 million people in Piedmont, northwest Italy. It is geographically and linguistically included in the Northern Italian group . It is part of the wider western group of Romance languages, including French, Occitan, and Catalan.Many European and...

 as “Bela Rosin”, she was born a commoner but made Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda in 1858. Their offspring were:
  • Vittoria Guerrieri (2 December 1848-1905), married three times and had issue.
  • Emanuele Alberto Guerrieri (16 March 1851-1894), Count of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda, married and had issue.


In addition to his morganatic second wife, Victor Emanuel II had several other mistresses:

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione
Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione
Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione , better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat who achieved notoriety as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France...

, who when as the mistress of Napoleon III pleaded the case for Italian unification.

—Laura Bon at Stupinigi, who bore him two children:
  • Stillborn son (1852).
  • Emanuela Maria Alberta Vittoria di Roverbella (6 September 1853-1880/1890).


—Virginia Rho at Turin, mother of two children:
  • Vittorio di Rho (1861-Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

    , 10 October 1913). He became a notable photographer.
  • Maria Pia di Rho (25 February 1866-Vienna
    Vienna
    Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

    , 19 April 1947).


—Unknown Mistress at Mondovì
Mondovì
Mondovì is a town and comune of Piedmont, northern Italy, located c. 80 km from Turin....

, mother of:
  • Donato Etna (15 June 1858- Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

    , 11 December 1938). He became a much decorated soldier.


—Baroness Vittoria Duplessis, who bore him:
  • A daughter, perhaps named Savoiarda. She died as an infant.

Ancestry



See also

  • Unification of Italy
  • Italian Wars of Independence
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi
    Giuseppe Garibaldi
    Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

  • Giuseppe Mazzini
    Giuseppe Mazzini
    Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

  • Count Cavour
  • September Convention
    September Convention
    The September Convention was a treaty, signed on 15 September 1864, between the Italian government and Napoleon III, under which:* Napoleon III agreed to withdraw all French troops from Rome within two years....

  • Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II

External links


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