(redirected from Republic of Lombardy)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(lŏm`bərdē), Ital. Lombardia, region (1991 pop. 8,856,069), c.9,200 sq mi (23,830 sq km), N Italy, bordering on Switzerland in the north. MilanMilan
, Ital. Milano, Lat. Mediolanum, city (1991 pop. 1,369,231), capital of Lombardy and of Milan prov., N Italy, at the heart of the Po basin. Because of its strategic position in the Lombard plain, at the intersection of several major transportation routes, it
..... Click the link for more information.
 is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, Sondrio, and Varese (named for their capitals).

Land and Economy

Lombardy has Alpine peaks and glaciers in the north, several picturesque lakes, and upland pastures that slope to the rich, irrigated Po valley in the south. The ValtellinaValtellina
, Alpine valley of the upper Adda River, c.75 mi (120 km) long, in Lombardy, N Italy, extending from Lake Como to the Stelvio Pass. The main towns are Sondrio and Tirano. The valley is a fertile agricultural region, known for its wine.
..... Click the link for more information.
 valley is in the northeast. Rice, cereals, forage, flax, and sugar beets are the main crops of Lombardy, and the mulberry is extensively cultivated for use in sericulture. Milan is the chief commercial, industrial, and financial center in Italy, and Lombardy is the country's leading industrial region. Manufactures include textiles, clothing, iron and steel, machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, furniture, and wine. There are universities at Milan and Pavia.


The Lombard plain, located in the central part of Lombardy at the confluence of several Alpine passes, has for centuries been a much coveted and frequently invaded area, and it has been a battlefield in many wars. First inhabited by a Gallic people, the region became (3d cent. B.C.) part of the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul. It suffered heavily during the barbarian invasions that took place toward the end of the Roman Empire. In A.D. 569 the region was made the center of the kingdom of the LombardsLombards
, ancient Germanic people. By the 1st cent. A.D. the Lombards were settled along the lower Elbe. After obscure migrations they were allowed (547) by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to settle in Pannonia and Noricum (modern Hungary and E Austria).
..... Click the link for more information.
, for whom it was named. Lombardy was united in 774 with the empire of CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
..... Click the link for more information.

After a period of confusion (10th cent.), power gradually passed (11th cent.) from feudal lords to autonomous communes, and a general economic revival occurred. Trade between N Europe and the E Mediterranean was largely carried on via the Po valley, and Lombard merchants and bankers did business throughout Europe. In the 12th cent. several cities united in the Lombard LeagueLombard League,
an alliance formed in 1167 among the communes of Lombardy to resist Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I when he attempted to assert his imperial authority in Lombardy. Previously the communes had been divided, some favoring the emperor and others favoring the pope.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in order to defy Emperor Frederick I, who wanted to assert his authority over the communes, and defeated him at Legnano (1176). The 13th cent. was marked by struggles between Guelphs (pro-papal) and Ghibellines (pro-imperial), which resulted in wars among cities and rivalries between families within cities. In the 11th–12th cent. there was a characteristic Lombard Romanesque architecture, and during the Renaissance Lombardy had a flourishing school of painting whose leading figures were Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Except for MantuaMantua
, Ital. Mantova, city (1991 pop. 53,065), capital of Mantova prov., Lombardy, N Italy, bordered on three sides by lakes formed by the Mincio River. It is an agricultural, industrial, and tourist center.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (ruled by the GonzagaGonzaga
, Italian princely house that ruled Mantua (1328–1708), Montferrat (1536–1708), and Guastalla (1539–1746). The family name is derived from the castle of Gonzaga, a village near Mantua.
..... Click the link for more information.
 family), Lombardy fell (14th–15th cent.) under the sway of the ViscontiVisconti
, Italian family that ruled Milan from the 13th cent. until 1447. In the 12th cent. members of the family received the title of viscount, from which the name is derived.
..... Click the link for more information.
 family and the SforzaSforza
, Italian family that ruled the duchy of Milan from 1450 to 1535. Rising from peasant origins, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics.
..... Click the link for more information.
 dukes of Milan. However, Bergamo and Brescia (1428) and Cremona (1529) were lost to Venice and the Valtellina valley was taken by the Grisons (1512). After the end (mid-16th cent.) of the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
..... Click the link for more information.
, the rest of Lombardy followed the fortunes of Milan. Spanish rule (1535–1713) was followed by that of Austria (1713–96) and of France (1796–1814). The Lombardo-Venetian kingdom was established under Austrian rule in 1815. Lombardy briefly ousted the Austrians in 1848–49; in 1859 they were permanently removed and the kingdom was dissolved.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an administrative region in northern Italy. It includes nine provinces: Bergamo, Brescia, Varese, Cremona, Como, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, and Sondrio. Area, 23,800 sq km. Population, 8.4 million (1970). Milan is the chief city.

The northern part of the region contains the Lombard Alps (elevation, to 4,049 m in the Bernina massif) and the Pre-Alps; the remaining region consists of the Po Basin. The main river artery is the navigable Po River. (Its tributaries, including the Ticino, Adda, and Oglio, are rich in hydroelectric resources.) Among the large lakes are Garda, Maggiore, and Como.

Lombardy is Italy’s most developed economic region. It accounts for one-fifth of the industrial enterprises and nearly one-third of the labor force in Italian industry. Its hub is the Milan industrial region, which has well-developed machine building (radio-electronic, electrical engineering, and power equipment; machine tools; instruments; automobiles; airplanes), metallurgy (one-third of the steel produced in the country), chemicals (mineral fertilizers, dyes, synthetic rubber, plastics), and textile, garment, and food industries. Lombardy is the country’s main agricultural region, with most of the agricultural production concentrated in large capitalist farms. Of the productive land area (about 2 million hectares), arable land constitutes 49.1 percent, meadows and pastures 20.4 percent, orchards and vine-yards 2.3 percent, and forests 24.8 percent. The main crops are corn (1.2 million tons in 1970), wheat (968,000 tons), and rice (279,000 tons). There are significant plantings of feed crops, and truck farming is also important. Dairy livestock raising is the main branch of animal husbandry (1.9 million cattle).


The ancient name of Lombardy is Insubria, from the Celtic tribe of the Insubres. In the second century B.Cl, Lombardy was conquered by Rome. From the fifth to the seventh century A.D. it was subjected to attacks by the Ostrogoths, Byzantium, and the Lombards (after whom the region was named). In the eighth century Lombardy became part of the Carolingian Empire, and in the tenth century of the Holy Roman Empire. Self-administering communes flourished from the 11th to the 13th century; however, tyrannical regimes were established in the cities of Lombardy in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 16th century Lombardy came under the power of the Spanish, and in the beginning of the 18th century, under the dominion of the Austrian Hapsburgs. During the period of Napoleonic rule in Italy, Lombardy was part of the Cisalpine Republic from 1797 and then from 1802 part of the Italian Republic, which was converted in 1805 into the Kingdom of Italy. From 1815 to 1859 it was in the Austrian-controlled Kingdom of Lombardy and Venice. When the unified Italian state was formed in 1859, Lombardy became part of it. During World War II (1939-45) Lombardy was the strongest center of the Resistance in Italy. After the war it became Italy’s leading center of the workers’ and democratic movement.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a region of N central Italy, bordering on the Alps: dominated by prosperous lordships and city-states during the Middle Ages; later ruled by Spain and then by Austria before becoming part of Italy in 1859; intensively cultivated and in parts highly industrialized. Pop.: 9 108 645 (2003 est.). Area: 23 804 sq. km (9284 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005