Giuseppe Garibaldi

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Giuseppe Garibaldi
BirthplaceNice, First French Empire

Garibaldi, Giuseppe

(gărĭbôl`dē, Ital. jo͞ozĕp`pā gärēbäl`dē), 1807–82, Italian patriot and soldier, a leading figure in the RisorgimentoRisorgimento
[Ital.,=resurgence], in 19th-century Italian history, period of cultural nationalism and of political activism, leading to unification of Italy. Roots of the Risorgimento
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. He remains perhaps the most popular of all Italian heroes of the Risorgimento, and a great revolutionary hero in the Western world.

In South America

Garibaldi was born at Nice and as a youth entered the Sardinian navy. Under the influence of MazziniMazzini, Giuseppe
, 1805–72, Italian patriot and revolutionist, an outstanding figure of the Risorgimento. His youth was spent in literary and philosophical studies. He early joined the Carbonari, was imprisoned briefly, and went into exile.
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 he became involved in an unsuccessful republican plot and fled (1835) to South America. There he gained his first experience in guerrilla warfare. He served (1836–42) the state of Rio Grande do Sul in its rebellion against Brazil and fought (1842–46) in the Uruguayan civil war, winning fame for his heroism. In Brazil he met Anita Ribeiro da Silva, whom he married in 1842.

European Campaigns

When revolution swept over Europe in 1848, Garibaldi found a new theater of action. Though a convinced republican, he joined the forces of King Charles Albert of Sardinia in the war against Austria. After the Sardinian defeat he went to Rome (1849) and, at the head of some improvised forces, fought brilliantly for Mazzini's short-lived Roman republic against the superior French forces intervening for Pope Pius IX. During his spectacular retreat across central Italy, his wife died. He was refused asylum by the king of Sardinia and went to the United States.

Garibaldi resumed his seafaring life, but in 1854 he returned to Italy and soon bought part of the island of Caprera, N of Sardinia. By then he had renounced the dream of an Italian republic and gave his support to CavourCavour, Camillo Benso, conte di
, 1810–61, Italian statesman, premier (1852–59, 1860–61) of the Kingdom of Sardinia. The active force behind King Victor Emmanuel II, he was responsible more than any other man for the unification of Italy under the house of
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, publicly declaring that the monarchy as represented by Victor Emmanuel IIVictor Emmanuel II,
1820–78, king of Sardinia (1849–61) and first king of united Italy (1861–78). He fought in the war of 1848–49 against Austrian rule in Lombardy-Venetia and ascended the throne when his father, Charles Albert, abdicated after the defeat
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 should be the basis of Italian unity. Garibaldi's popularity won many of Mazzini's republican followers to the monarchist cause. Garibaldi took part in the war of 1859 against Austria. After the Treaty of Villafranca di VeronaVillafranca di Verona
, town (1991 pop. 27,036), Venetia, NE Italy. In 1859, Napoleon III and Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria met there after the Austrian defeats at Magenta and Solferino and signed a preliminary peace treaty, which was formalized the same year by the Treaty
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 he violently attacked Cavour and denounced the cession of Savoy and his native Nice to France.

In 1860, with Victor Emmanuel's connivance, Garibaldi embarked on the crowning enterprise of his life—the conquest of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. With 1,000 volunteers, the Red Shirts, he landed (May, 1860) in Sicily, which had rebelled against Francis IIFrancis II,
1836–94, last king of the Two Sicilies (1859–61), son and successor of Ferdinand II. A weak ruler, he let his ministers follow his father's reactionary policy.
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, king of the Two Sicilies, and conquered the island in a spectacularly daring campaign. He then crossed to the mainland, took Naples, and won a decisive battle on the Volturno River. Mazzini wanted to make liberated S Italy a republic, and the populace acclaimed Garibaldi as ruler, but Garibaldi himself remained loyal to Victor Emmanuel. After meeting the king at Teano, near Naples, he relinquished his conquests to Sardinia and retired to Caprera. Shortly afterward (1861) Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed king of a united Italy.

Only part of the Papal StatesPapal States,
Ital. Lo Stato della Chiesa, from 754 to 1870 an independent territory under the temporal rule of the popes, also called the States of the Church and the Pontifical States. The territory varied in size at different times; in 1859 it included c.
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, including Rome, remained outside the new kingdom. In 1862, Garibaldi led a volunteer corps against Rome, but the king, fearing international intervention, sent an Italian army that defeated Garibaldi at Aspromonte. Garibaldi was given a pardon.

In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 he commanded a volunteer unit, and in 1867 he was defeated by French and papal forces at Mentana while attempting once again to capture Rome. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 he commanded a group of French and Italian volunteers and won a battle near Dijon (1871). Garibaldi was elected to the Italian parliament in 1874, but his political career was undistinguished.


See his autobiography (tr. 1889); biography by D. Mack Smith (1956, repr. 1969); biography by D. M. Smith (1956); G. M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic (1907, repr. 1971), Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909, repr. 1948), and Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911, repr. 1948); D. M. Smith, Cavour and Garibaldi, 1860 (1954); L. Riall, Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero (2007).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Garibaldi, Giuseppe


Born July 4, 1807, in Nice; died June 2, 1882, in Caprera. Italian national hero, general, one of the leaders of the revolutionary-democratic wing in the national liberation movement struggling “from below” for the unification of Italy.

A native of Nice, the son of a sailor, Garibaldi from early youth led an independent life as a ship’s boy. He joined the liberation movement in 1833. In 1834 he participated in the Savoy expedition of the Mazzinists. Sentenced to death in absentia, he emigrated to South America, where for more than ten years he fought for the independence of the republics of Rio Grande and Uruguay. At the beginning of the Revolution of 1848-49 he returned to Italy, his native land. In the Austro-Italian war of 1848–49, he was at the head of a force of volunteers organized by himself. Garibaldi was one of the leading figures of the Roman Republic (proclaimed on Feb. 9, 1849, at his proposal), as well as the organizer of the defense of Rome. After the fall of the republic, he and 4,000 others completed a heroic march to come to the aid of revolutionary Venice. Repeatedly eluding the ring of three enemy armies, he made his way to Piedmont but was arrested and banished by the government. He was in exile from 1848 to 1854.

During the Austro-Italo-French War of 1859, he was again at the head of volunteers—the Alpine Rifle Corps—and led them victoriously through Lombardy. In 1860, during the Italian Revolution (1859-60), he commanded the revolutionary force called the Thousand and went to the aid of the liberation uprising on the island of Sicily. The revolutionary dictatorship established by Garibaldi on the island introduced a series of changes to help the peasants. Garibaldi’s expedition, together with the popular uprisings as well as the support of Garibaldi’s campaigns by the peasantry, led to the liberation of all of southern Italy from the Bourbon power. This was the greatest undertaking of the masses in the struggle for the unification of a country through revolutionary means.

In an attempt to incorporate still-separate Rome and Venice into the Italian state, Garibaldi launched two armed attacks to liberate Rome (in 1862 and in 1867). In 1866, leading a force of volunteers, Garibaldi participated in the Austro-Italian War of 1866, as a result of which Venice became part of Italy. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, Garibaldi offered his services to the republican government of France. He commanded the Vosges army, Avhich inflicted a number of serious defeats on the Prussian army.

A genuine internationalist, Garibaldi enthusiastically sympathized with the national liberation movements of the Hungarians, Poles, and Greeks. He welcomed the Paris communards and was a supporter of the First International.

A great practical revolutionary worker, Garibaldi was close to the people. From early youth he was imbued with republican ideals. However, Garibaldi did not have a clear-cut political program. In his eyes, the basic aim of his life was the liberation and unification of Italy in its “struggle against tyranny.” Devoting his entire energy to the attainment of this goal, he sometimes made concessions to the monarchy. (Thus, during the Revolution of 1859-60, seeking to make use of the Sardinian kingdom for the unification of Italy, he led the expedition of the Thousand under the slogan “Italy and Victor Emmanuel.”) Garibaldi’s inconsistency and the weakness of the Italian republicans in general, who concluded a temporary union with the Savoy dynasty as well as with the liberals and who did not know how to keep the initiative in their own hands, gave the liberal-monarchical circles the opportunity to make use of the fruits of Garibaldi’s revolutionary victories.

Italy was unified as a monarchical state. Garibaldi’s selfless struggle for freedom won him the love not only of the Italian people but of the peoples of the entire world. His example had an enormous influence on the liberation movements of many countries. The Italian people hold the revolutionary traditions of Garibaldi in high esteem. Thus, the Italian antifascists fighting in Spain in 1936-38 against the Spanish fascist mutineers and the Italo-German interventionists named their unit the Garibaldi Battalion. During the national liberation war of the Italian people (1943-45), the first partisan detachments also took the name of Garibaldi (Garibaldi Brigades).


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