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MotM 1: The Italian Campaign of 1853-54 by nanwe01 MotM 1: The Italian Campaign of 1853-54 by nanwe01
In 1848 the oppressed nations of Europe rose up against the reactionary internationalist order of Metternich and the nobles and privileged ones. In Italy where the population held liberal and “even” democratic very much since the Napoleonic era, the Concert of Europe had imposed an Austrian-dominated order in which many petty kings and dukes ruled autocratically, their thrones safely guarded by the pervasive and effective threat of Austrian intervention and safeguarding of the status quo. Prior to the revolutions and the Risorgimento, Italy was divided into eight states, one of them, the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia little more than a puppet of the Habsburg rulers in Vienna.

But the 1848 Revolutions changed all that. 1848 was probably the last time that Western Europe would suffer a crisis of the pre-capitalistic economic order: a bad harvest resulting in widespread hunger. At the same time a capitalistic crisis took place. The worst of both worlds had combined and menaced the livelihood of the European proletariat, whom inflamed by their poverty and their repressive environment finally rose against the establishment.

Events spread quickly from Paris, where the Orleans monarchs were deposed just 18 years after being crowned after another Parisian revolution. It took place in February. By March, Italy, Austria and Germany were already undergoing revolts and social upheaval. Soon, many rulers would grant moderate constitutions, such as the Statuto Albertino in Sardinia. But that was not enough as the desire for a united Italy was too strong.

The unification began, as things usually do, in Milano, where on March 19th, the population rose against the Austrian rule and requested help from King Charles Albert of Sardinia, known for his liberal sympathies. He would declare war on Austria on the 23rd, crossing the Ticino. After a string of defeats, the large army of the Austrians fortified their positions in their stronghold, the quadrilatero, a series of forts in the area formed by the four cities of Verona, Legnano, Mantua and Peschiera. There they waited for Charles Albert to approach.

Meanwhile further south, the population rose against the liberal-turned-reactionary Pope Pius XI, who fled Rome to the safety of the Neapolitan fortress of Gaeta. Meanwhile, a republic was declared in Rome, the Repubblica Romana, a radical (ie. Democratic) regime governed by a triumvirate, the base for future republican governments in Italy.

And even further south, in the island of Sicily, the population rose against the Neapolitan king, Ferdinand II and establishing their own rule under the pretext of the restoration of traditional rights. But Sicily, largely agrarian and without proper defence mechanisms to defend themselves and having just expelled the Neapolitans from Messina at a high price approached Ferdinand, the second son of the Savoyard king Charles Albert to be their king. He accepted and soon he would reach Salerno, the capital of the new Savoyard kingdom.

After he was given faulty information, the Savoyard army marched to the quadrilatero, where after several weeks of siege, they were defeated in the battle of Custoza, forcing the Savoyards to sign an armistice with Austria, but it was not to be for too long.

By 1849, as the situation in Hungary was so bad that some forces from the Austrian army had to be sent from the quadrilatero to defend Vienna and join other forces, the reduced Austrian army was therefore an easy prey for the now bigger, if not as professional, new army of Charles Albert, which thanks to the support of several thousand Italian volunteers would win a very narrow conflict.

However, the Austrian troops were able to retreat more or less in an orderly manner and were able to regroup in Venetia, where, the St. Mark Republic survived, although not for long as thanks to the reinforcements from Slav troops and some Hungarians (the revolt there had been handled for now) Venice would fall.

In Rome, the treacherous Emperor-President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte attacked the Republic, although thanks to the vigour of Garibaldi and his troops, they would be repelled, although at a great cost. The Sicilian new state also seemed to be slowly growing in strength, although their conflict with Naples would not be over until 1850, when Britain brokered an uneasy peace.

In September 1849, Charles Albert would sign a treaty with Austria marking the border of the Northern Italian Kingdom (the union of Sardinia and Lombardy) in the Adige, that way giving the kingdom access to the Adriatic Sea and controlling the quadrilatero for strategic purposes. Charles Albert would frm that moment onward be called the ‘Shield of Italy’ as his was the only Italian state to border Austria and hence it fell upon him the task of defending Italy from future attacks.

In November, hundreds of delegates from the Savoyard kingdom, the Tuscan Republic, the Roman Republic and from Sicily (although as observers) met in Rome to discuss the formation of the Italian Confederation. The Confederation was structured following a loose federal model, with the central state having very limited powers, even in military matters while headed by two consuls.

But the new Italy, lacking Venetia and Naples was too small and many liberals, radicals and proto-socialists in these states felt that it was not enough. Indeed, for them the Italian Confederation, despite its internal troubles was the liberal and democratic alternative to the autocratic rule of the Austrians in Venice and the Bourbons in Naples. Therefore the situation was not stable and indeed, as the Austrian Empire was on the brink of collapse by 1852.

Then in 1853 the conflict erupted in Venice when a group of naval dockworkers carrying red and Italian flags while in strike were shot by the local garrison, mostly manned by Hungarian and Slavic troops, widely hated in the city and killing 6 men and injuring another fifteen.

This was the spark. In a matter of hours, as the message spread through the city and the adjacent countryside, the population took whatever arms and wearing tricolour cockades, people marched singing Italian songs towards the city’s government buildings and particularly the garrisons, where the few Italian troops switched sides and joined the mob.

The city’s government, unwilling to fight, gave in to the Italian city councillors and a new Venetian Republic was created, knowing that, even in weakness, the Austrians were still a force to be reckoned, the Venetians asked for help from their fellow Italians and Charles Albert decided to intervene, feeling the opportunity to increase his importance and that of his domains within Italy.

Soon, the Italian forces, organized into three armies, the [I]Legio I Sapaudiana[/I] and the [I]Legio II Toscana[/I] and the [I]Legio III Romana[/I], although the Legio II and III cooperate closely and worked as a single force marched eastwards and northwards towards Venice, where the uprising had already spread to the Italian port of Fiume and where the Italian minorities in Istria had already risen up, to the displeasure of the local German nobility and the Slavic peasantry or in the snowy regions of the Italian Tyrol.

The nationalist agitation spread south to Naples, where Ferdinand responded the only way he knew, by crushing opposition. Indeed, as a result of the upheaval, he decided to invade the Roman Republic, also due to the influence of the Pope from Gaeta, who desired to return to Rome. And although he was successful, the invasion would cause his eventual downfall.

In the weeks following the crossing of the Adige in June 1853, the Austrian troops were defeated by the Italians time after time and indeed, they advanced quickly towards Trent and to liberate the sieged city of Trieste. But these quick advances were not enough, and indeed by November as the campaign halted due to the freezing winter, large areas of Venice and Friuli were still controlled by the Austrians, who were being helped by the local Slavic peasants, who feared the possibility of an Italian state imposing its language and culture upon them.

In the northern front, the North Italians and Toscan and Venetian volunteers fought against the Austrians until the treaty of Prague was signed later on 1854, in which, as a result of the massive Second Hungarian Independence War and the invasion from Germany, the empire disbanded. Tyrol, however, would belong to Germany, rather than Italy, creating a room for future conflict between the two liberal states of Germany and Italy.

Meanwhile, in southern Italy, the "Garibaldian" troops, recruited throughout the Confederation and quickly trained by Garibaldi and his troops of revolutionaries. The invasion was quick and the legionnaires were split into two bodies, the first, would siege Gaeta and drive the Pope out, which failed. While the main army marched towards Naples, a task in which they were successful, however even after taking the city, Ferdinand did not surrender and indeed, Garibaldi pursued him until the climax in the battle of Taranto, in which, the Savoyard troops of Vittorio Emmanuele joined with Garibaldi's to finally defeat the reactionary king. And yet, for a time, most of the Neapolitan countryside remained loyal to the vacant Bourbon throne. Naples would, thanks to the influence of Vittorio Emmanuele become the second monarchy (as Sicily would not join until later that decade) in the Confederation, and liberal Louis, Count of Aquila and younger brother of Ferdinand II, would become the new King of Naples.
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:icondanp2002:
DanP2002 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Too bad they were never able to unite the peninsula.
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:iconyuryfurryfury:
YuryFurryfury Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2016  Professional Writer
My homland
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:iconermocrate1:
Ermocrate1 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016
Naples and Sicily were re-unied in 1816 in the new kingdom of the two Sicilies.
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016
I know. Here they split as a result of the 1848 Revolution. It's in the last paragraph.
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:iconermocrate1:
Ermocrate1 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016
Ah well. It makes sense so.
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:iconrogueleader1000:
RogueLeader1000 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014
So, Germany is more liberal in this world? Who's leading it? Is it still an Empire? I assume Germany annexed the rest of Austria, along with Tyrol. Did they also get other German areas as well, like German areas in Bohemia (Moravia, Sudetenland, the Bohemian Forest), the Burgenland, Ödenburg, and Pressburg?
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:iconkraut007:
Kraut007 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
Thatīs a great detailed and realistic AU scenario, with an authentic looking map.
Ideas how nations are divived into patricular cultural or historic areas are quite intersting to me.

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:iconfapor:
Fapor Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013

It's rare to see such detailed alternative history scenarios, congratulations.


Even though I do not agree on some uchronic developments of your italian unification history, I have to say that the whole scenario has its plausibility not usually easy to find in such complex reconstructions. 


And congratulations for the excellent use of the Italian language on the map, it does not seem google translated from Dutch.

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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013
Thanks! Well, to be honest, some aspects are fishy no doubt, but because the map came first and then the scenario, but I did try to make it good out of my limited knowledge of Italian political history (improving though, but more on the Prima Repubblica than anything else).

Ma io sono espagnolo dunque l'italiano non č tropo difficile e anche ho studiato italiano nella scuola. Ma ho recivuto aiuta per una buona traduzzione del testo. Ho pensanto anche in fare una mappa della situazione politica nel anno 2012 in questa (questo?) "timeline".
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:iconfapor:
Fapor Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013
Then I'm looking forward to see your "2012 map"! 
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013
Well, I made the basic one, without politics. I'm sure you've seen it (Italian Confederation today).

I'll do that one, when university gives me a break.
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
This looks VERY impressive!
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
Thanks a lot!
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
Sure thing! :)
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:iconsoaringaven:
SoaringAven Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey there, sorry to bother you, may I ask, what texture do you use to underlay your map and give it that "old feel"? Thanks for your time :)
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
None. It's just a colour. It's RGBA d8c090ff if you wanted to use it.
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:iconsoaringaven:
SoaringAven Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much :) I will DEFINITELY keep that in mind :) One more thing, do you use it as a layer underneath the whole thing or just for the sea?
Also, how do you  choose your colours? I never seem to know where to use what colour and I always use colours that are too bright :S
Thanks for taking your time with me ^^;
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013
Oh I forgot to answer. Sorry :( . I usually create a layer that is just the sea, simply the blue color then I simply draw over it by adding the new layer that serves as basis for the land. Then once I'm finished, I add an extra layer in which I add a new contour of the landmass over everything to define the coast, with the exception of cities.

And, about colours? No idea, I usually just pick the ones used in whichever map I used as basis and tweaked until I like them. I don't really follow any particular guidelines. Sorry if I can't help you anymore.
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:iconsoaringaven:
SoaringAven Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No matter, still useful advice ;) Thanks! :D
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:iconklausvonkueste:
KlausVonKueste Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
The South-western border of Veneto is the Mincio-Po rivers and Garda lakes
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Hidden by Owner
:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Looking at my notes for the scenario, the Savoyards in peace treaty of Innsbruck (1850) fixed the border with Austria in the Adige river
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:iconklausvonkueste:
KlausVonKueste Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
[link] this is a map of Kingdom of Lombary-Venetia [link] 1815-1866
Mantova and Brescia are cities of Lombardia (western part), Verona that you place on western side (Milan) is in "Venetian" side... The border was Always on the river Mincio and Garda lake
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love it so far - good style and colour choices. :)
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013
Thanks! I was not absolutely sure since the main independence movement are the Italian nationalist in Austrian Venice and in Naples. But I do believe it fits. I still need to change some stuff.

Any advice on how to add military movement and symbols for sieges and battles that still look as taken from a 19th century mapŋ?
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:iconkurarun:
Kurarun Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not sure about that. A crossed sabres symbol is pretty common for battles, but I'm not so sure about sieges. Maybe you could make little start symbols that look like Vauban-style star forts from above? :)

Movement should probably be dotted lines or lines with arrows at the end - simple, but informative.
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:iconsapiento:
Sapiento Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
The thick border contour effect for France, Switzerland and the Ottoman Empire should go beyond the visible border of the map, following the real shape of these countries.
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
Thanks for the advice. Will change that.
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:iconsapiento:
Sapiento Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No problem.
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:iconnanwe01:
nanwe01 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Sapiento, a question, do you think it'd be better if the rivers were outlined in blue rather than black?
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:iconsapiento:
Sapiento Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Give it a try. I can't say without seeing it.
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