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Campania (kämpäˈnyä), region, 5,249 sq mi (13,595 sq km), central Italy, extending from the Apennines W to the Tyrrhenian Sea and from the Garigliano River S to the Gulf of Policastro. It includes the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida. Naples is the capital of Campania, which is divided into Benevento, Caserta, Naples, and Salerno provs. (named for their capitals).
The central coast of the region is mostly high and rocky, with volcanic ridges and the crater of Vesuvius. The northern and southern coastal areas are fertile plains, famous since ancient times for their agricultural output. The interior of Campania is mountainous. The area had significant out-migration in the late 19th and early 20th cent., particularly to the United States. Overpopulation continues to be a problem, as the per capita income is far below the Italian average.
The region's farm products include grapes, citrus fruit, olives, apricots, grain, and vegetables. Industry is mostly clustered along the shore of the Bay of Naples; manufactures include textiles, shoes, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, refined petroleum, metal goods, wine, and processed food. There is also a thriving tourist industry.
Various Italic tribes, Greek colonists, Etruscans, and Samnites lived in the region before it was conquered (4th–2d cent. B.C.) by Rome. In Roman times the term Campania referred mainly to Naples and its surrounding area. After the fall of Rome, the Goths and the Byzantines occupied the region; it later became part of the Lombard duchy of Benevento (except Naples and Amalfi, which were independent republics). In the 11th cent. the Normans conquered Campania, and in the 12th cent. it became part of the kingdom of Sicily. Naples soon rose to prominence, and after the Sicilian Vespers revolt (1282) it was made the capital of a separate kingdom. For the later history of Campania, see Naples, kingdom of and Two Sicilies, kingdom of the. In World War II there was heavy fighting around Naples after the Allied landing (Sept., 1943) at Salerno.
an administrative region in southern Italy, with an area of 13, 600 sq km and a population of 5.2 million (1970). It comprises the provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Naples, and Salerno, and its capital is Naples, a leading Italian port.
The coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea is strongly indented. The Apennine mountain system extends through the entire region. There is much volcanic and seismic activity (the active volcano Vesuvius). The climate is Mediterranean on the coast (with an annual precipitation of more than 650 mm) and colder in the mountains, with snowfall in winter. The soil on the volcanic rock is fertile.
Campania is the most economically developed region of southern Italy. Nearly 36 percent of the economically active population is engaged in agriculture. Early vegetables and fruit, including citrus fruit, are grown on the coastal plains, and wheat and corn are the principal crops in other areas. Campania produces 98 percent of Italy’s hemp, a third of its tomato and tobacco harvests, and a fourth of its potato crop. On the hillsides are vineyards and olive groves. Animal husbandry is of secondary importance, with sheep raising predominating (452, 000 head in 1970).
The chief industries (employing more than a third of the labor force) are metallurgy, shipbuilding, the production of railroad equipment, electrical engineering, radio electronics, oil refining, cement production, and armaments. There are also large flour mills, macaroni factories, and canneries. The region accounts for nearly a twentieth of the national output of electric power (in 1970, 5 billion kW-hr, primarily by steam power plants). Industry is concentrated along the coast of the Bay of Naples, where the industrial enterprises of Naples and nearby towns form the only large industrial complex in southern Italy (Greater Naples), with which the district of Caserta (radio electronics) is closely connected.
The region has a well-developed tourist industry. Its seaside resorts, such as Sorrento, Pozzuoli, Capri, and Ischia, are widely known.
At the beginning of the first millennium B.C., Campania was inhabited by Osean tribes. From the eighth century B.C., Cumae and other Greek colonies were established here. The region was conquered by the Etruscans in the sixth century B.C., by the Samnites after the mid-fifth century B.C., and by the Romans after the mid-fourth century B.C. As a result of the administrative reforms of Augustus (27 B.C.), Campania formed a single district with Latium and Picenum. One of the region’s important centers was the city of Capua. Campania’s importance in antiquity resulted from its advantageous geographic position, its fertile land, and its important trade routes (Via Appia, Via Latina). Picturesque coasts and the presence of curative springs made it a favorite country retreat of the Roman aristocracy; the luxurious villas in Baiae (modern Baia), Puteoli (Pozzuoli), and Nuceria (Nocera Inferiore) were especially renowned. In the Middle Ages the name Campania largely went out of use. During the 12th and 13th centuries its territory became at first a part of the Kingdom of Sicily and later of the Kingdom of Naples; from 1504 to 1860 it was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The name Campania reappeared with the creation of a united Italy.