Francesco Crispi

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Crispi, Francesco

 

Born Oct. 4, 1818, in Ribera, Sicily; died Aug. 11, 1901, in Naples. Italian statesman and lawyer.

During the Risorgimento, Crispi participated in the revolution of 1848–49 and was a comrade in arms of Garibaldi in the expedition of “the Thousand.” After the unification of Italy he became a zealous supporter of the monarchy. In the 1880’s he was one of the leaders of the so-called left, a parliamentary group of the Italian bourgeoisie.

As prime minister (1887–91 and 1893–96), Crispi followed a severe antidemocratic course in his domestic policies—the reactionary 1889 law on public security, the bloody reprisals against insurgent peasants in Sicily and workers in Massa-Carrara in 1893–94, and the ban on the Socialist Party in 1894–95, for example. His foreign policy was marked by the strengthening of Italy’s ties with the other members of the Triple Alliance of 1882 and expansion into Africa, where the colonies in Somalia (1889) and Eritrea (1890) were begun; however, the failure of the at-tempt at conquest in Ethiopia (1896) and the “iron first” policy within Italy drove him out of politics.

V. S. BONDARCHUK