|About the Book|
“Sardinia’s Declaration of War on Austria (1859)” was a speech made by Prime Minister Cavour of the Italian Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia against Austria. This declaration marked the beginning of the Second Italian War of Independence, also known asMore“Sardinia’s Declaration of War on Austria (1859)” was a speech made by Prime Minister Cavour of the Italian Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia against Austria. This declaration marked the beginning of the Second Italian War of Independence, also known as the Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War and the Italian War of 1859. This war was fought between Austria on one hand, and an alliance of the Second French Empire, and Piedmont-Sardinia, on the other.The 1859 war was part of the decades-long process of Italian unification (called the Risorgimento in Italian). Italy had been politically disunited since the fall of the ancient Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic kingdom in the 6th century A.D. Most of Italy was briefly reunited under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte of France. French conquest stimulated Italian nationalist hopes for a united Italian state. But after the fall of Napoleon, the Austrian statesman Metternich presided over the restoration of the old, pre-revolutionary order in Europe. Many of the old, divided, Italian states and principalities were restored, and north-central and north-east Italy was annexed by Austria.Italian nationalists formed secret societies, aiming to overthrow local rulers and unite the Italy. There were a series of nationalist revolts across Italy in 1820-21, 1830, and 1848-49. During the last series of revolts, the king of northern Italian kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia took on the leadership of the Italian unification movement by declaring war on Austria in the First Italian War of Independence (1848-49). But the weaker Sardinian state was defeated.After that defeat, Camillo Benso, the count of Cavour, often known as Cavour, became Prime Minister to the new Sardinian king, Victor Emmanuel II. Victor Emmanuel II was an Italian nationalist who wanted unification, and Cavour was a skilled statesman. Cavour successfully engineered an alliance against Austria with France’s Napoleon III. This resulted in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, which led to the defeat of Austria. As a result, Austria ceded Lombardy in north-central Italy, to Piedmont-Sardinia.Over the next few decades the rest of Italy was unified under Piedmont-Sardinia’s leadership. The Sardinians and Italian nationalist leader Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered the southern Italian kingdom of Naples in 1861. The Third Italian War of Independence in 1866 led to the acquisition of Venetia from Austria by Italy. The city of Rome, which the Italians saw as their natural capital, remained under the rule of the Pope, who was under the protection of a French garrison. But during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) the French were forced to withdraw their soldiers from Rome. This allowed the Italians to take control of Rome and make it the capital of the kingdom of Italy, ending the unification process.