Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Vittorio Emanuele II
King of Italy
prev. King of Sardinia
VictorEmmanuel2.jpg
King of Sardinia
Reign23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861
PredecessorCharles Albert
King of Italy (more...)
Reign17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878
SuccessorUmberto I
ConsortAdelaide of Austria
Rosa Vercellana
Issue
Maria Clotilde, Princess Napoléon
Umberto I of Italy
Amadeo I of Spain
Oddone, Duke of Montferrat
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal
Full name
Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso di Savoia
HouseHouse of Savoy
FatherCharles Albert
MotherMaria Theresa of Austria
Born16 March 1820
Palazzo Carignano, Turin, Kingdom of Sardinia
Died9 January 1878(1878-01-09) (aged 57)
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
BurialPantheon, Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Signature
ReligionRoman Catholicism
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Vittorio Emanuele II
King of Italy
prev. King of Sardinia
VictorEmmanuel2.jpg
King of Sardinia
Reign23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861
PredecessorCharles Albert
King of Italy (more...)
Reign17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878
SuccessorUmberto I
ConsortAdelaide of Austria
Rosa Vercellana
Issue
Maria Clotilde, Princess Napoléon
Umberto I of Italy
Amadeo I of Spain
Oddone, Duke of Montferrat
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal
Full name
Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso di Savoia
HouseHouse of Savoy
FatherCharles Albert
MotherMaria Theresa of Austria
Born16 March 1820
Palazzo Carignano, Turin, Kingdom of Sardinia
Died9 January 1878(1878-01-09) (aged 57)
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
BurialPantheon, Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Signature
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Victor Emanuel II (Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso; 14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was king of Sardinia from 1849 until, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Homeland (Italian: Padre della Patria).

Biography[edit]

Victor Emanuel II in 1849

Victor Emanuel was born the eldest son of Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano and Maria Theresa of Austria. His father succeeded a distant cousin as King of Sardinia in 1831. He lived for some years of his youth in Florence 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 under his father, fighting in the front line at the battles of Pastrengo, Santa Lucia, Goito and Custoza.

He became King of Sardinia in 1849 when his father had abdicated the throne after a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians at Novara. 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, defining the rebels as a "vile and infected race of canailles". In 1852, he appointed Count Camillo Benso of Cavour Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia. This turned out to be a wise choice as 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.

Brooklyn Museum - Caricature of King Victor Emanuel II - Thomas Nast - overall

Crimean War[edit]

Victor Emanuel reviews the troops for the Crimean War

Following Victor Emanuel's advice, Cavour joined Britain and France in the Crimean War 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 at the end of the war, Count Cavour arranged a secret meeting with the French emperor. In 1858, they met at Plombières-les-Bains (in Lorraine), where they agreed that if the French were to help Piedmont combat Austria, which still occupied the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in northern Italy, France would be awarded Nice and Savoy.

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[edit]

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. France did not as a result receive the promised Nice and Savoy, but Austria did keep Venetia, 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 was signed in March 1860, after Cavour had 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. Victor Emanuel II’s success at these goals got him excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Then, Giuseppe Garibaldi 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 meets Giuseppe Garibaldi in Teano

Victor Emanuel supported Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of Thousand (1860–1861), which resulted in the rapid fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. However, the King halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the Papal States, as it was under French protection. In 1860, through local plebiscites, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with Sardinia-Piedmont. Victor Emanuel then marched victoriously in the Marche and Umbria after the victorious battle of Castelfidardo (1860) over the Papal forces, after which he gained a Papal excommunication.

The King subsequently met with Garibaldi at Teano, 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 by the new Parliament of unified Italy, on 17 March 1861. He did not renumber himself after assuming the new royal title, however. Turin became the capital of the new state. Only Rome, Veneto, and Trentino remained to be conquered.

Completion of the unification[edit]

In 1866 Victor Emanuel allied himself with Prussia in the Third Italian War of Independence. Although not victorious in the Italian theater, he managed anyway to receive Veneto after the Austrian defeat in Germany.

Tomb of Victor Emanuel II at the Pantheon

In 1870, after two failed attempts by Garibaldi, he also took advantage of the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War 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 in 1864. The new Royal residence was the Quirinal Palace.

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's envoys, who could have reversed the excommunication. He was buried in the Pantheon. His successor was his son Umberto I.

Family and children[edit]

Portrait of Victor Emanuel II
Giulio Monteverdi: Monument to Victor Emanuel II – Rovigo

In 1842 he married his first cousin once removed (by Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor) Adelaide of Austria (1822–1855). By her he had eight children:[1]

In 1869 he married morganatically his principal mistress Rosa Vercellana (3 June 1833 – 26 December 1885). Popularly known in Piedmontese as "Bela Rosin", she was born a commoner but made Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda in 1858. Their offspring were:

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

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione, who when as the mistress of Napoleon III pleaded the case for Italian unification.

—Laura Bon at Stupinigi, who bore him two children:

—Virginia Rho at Turin, mother of two children:

—Unknown Mistress at Mondovì, mother of:

—Baroness Vittoria Duplessis, who bore him:

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genealogical data from the Savoia page of the Genealogie delle famiglie nobili italiane website.

Sources[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press 

External links[edit]

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Born: 14 March 1820 Died: 9 January 1878
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles Albert
King of Sardinia
23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861
Kingdom of Sardinia renamed
as Kingdom of Italy
Vacant
Title last held by
Napoleon I
King of Italy
17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878
Succeeded by
Humbert I