Two Sicilies, kingdom of the

Two Sicilies, kingdom of the.

The name Two Sicilies was used in the Middle Ages to mean the kingdoms of Sicily and of Naples (see SicilySicily
, Ital. Sicilia, region (1991 pop. 4,966,386), 9,925 sq mi (25,706 sq km), S Italy, mainly situated on the island of Sicily, which is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and south, by the Ionian Sea on the east, and by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north, and
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 and Naples, kingdom ofNaples, kingdom of,
former state, occupying the Italian peninsula south of the former Papal States. It comprised roughly the present regions of Campania, Abruzzi, Molise, Basilicata, Apulia, and Calabria. Naples was the capital.

In the 11th and 12th cent.
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). Alfonso VAlfonso V
(Alfonso the Magnanimous), 1396–1458, king of Aragón and Sicily (1416–58) and of Naples (1443–58), count of Barcelona. He was the son of Ferdinand I, whom he succeeded in Aragón and Sicily.
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 of Aragón, who in 1442 reunited the two kingdoms under his rule, styled himself king of the Two Sicilies. Under his successors the kingdoms were again separate, but the title was revived during Spanish domination (1504–1713) of both kingdoms and after the accession (1759) of a cadet branch of the Spanish line of BourbonBourbon
, European royal family, originally of France; a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty (see Capetians). One branch of the Bourbons occupies the modern Spanish throne, and other branches ruled the Two Sicilies and Parma.
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 to Naples and Sicily. Ferdinand IV of Naples (Ferdinand III of Sicily) officially merged the two kingdoms in 1816 and called himself Ferdinand IFerdinand I,
1751–1825, king of the Two Sicilies (1816–25). He had previously been king of Naples (1759–99, 1799–1805, 1815–16) as Ferdinand IV and king of Sicily (1759–1816) as Ferdinand III.
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 of the Two Sicilies. Both the Sicilians, who thus lost their autonomy, and the pope, who saw his theoretical suzerainty over the two kingdoms ignored, protested the change. A popular uprising (1820) instigated by the CarbonariCarbonari
[Ital.,=charcoal burners], members of a secret society that flourished in Italy, Spain, and France early in the 19th cent. Possibly derived from Freemasonry, the society originated in the kingdom of Naples in the reign of Murat (1808–15) and drew its members from
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 forced Ferdinand to concede a constitution, but Austrian intervention (1821) after the Congress of LaibachLaibach, Congress of
, conference of European powers in 1821, held in what is now Ljubljana, Slovenia. The chief powers at the congress were Russia, Austria, Prussia, France, and Great Britain.
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 restored his absolute power. The reactionary regimes of his successors Francis IFrancis I,
1777–1830, king of the Two Sicilies (1825–30), son and successor of Ferdinand I. He continued the ruthless and reactionary policy of his father, and his court was notorious for waste and corruption. He was succeeded by his son Ferdinand II.
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, Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1810–59, king of the Two Sicilies (1830–59), son and successor of Francis I. Although initially he sought to improve the wretched conditions of his kingdom, he soon relapsed into the repressive policies of his predecessors and became an absolute despot.
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, and 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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 finally ended when Sicily and Naples fell to the forces of GaribaldiGaribaldi, Giuseppe
, 1807–82, Italian patriot and soldier, a leading figure in the Risorgimento. He remains perhaps the most popular of all Italian heroes of the Risorgimento, and a great revolutionary hero in the Western world.
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 in 1860. In 1861, Gaeta, Francis's last fortress, surrendered to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, and the Two Sicilies became part of the kingdom of Italy.


See studies by H. M. M. Acton (1956 and 1962); B. Croce, History of the Kingdom of Naples (tr. 1970).

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

Two Sicilies, Kingdom of the


a state that consisted of the island of Sicily and southern Italy, which was also sometimes called Sicily. The state, known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1504, existed through 1860, despite periods of foreign control and disunity. As a result of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), Sicily passed to the Duchy of Savoy in 1713 and the continental portion of the kingdom went to the Austrian Hapsburgs. In 1720, Savoy gave Sicily to Austria in exchange for Sardinia, and both parts of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies came under Hapsburg rule. In 1735 the Neapolitan Bourbons assumed rule of the kingdom. In January 1799 the Parthenopean Republic was proclaimed in the kingdom, but Bourbon rule was restored in June. The continental portion of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was captured by the French in 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars. On its territory the French created the Kingdom of Naples, a dependency of France that existed from 1806 to 1815. The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) restored the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and returned it to the Bourbons.

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was one of the most backward Italian states. In the 19th century semifeudal production relations prevailed in agriculture, and as late as 1860 industry was mostly limited to handicrafts and scattered manufacture. The extreme poverty of the masses led to a sociopolitical crisis that severely weakened the kingdom, especially beginning in the early 19th century. The kingdom suffered continual outbreaks of popular unrest, conspiracies, and uprisings, notably the bourgeois Neapolitan Revolution of 1820–21, which was suppressed by Austrian troops. Revolutionary outbreaks in the kingdom, particularly on the island of Sicily, were an important factor in the Revolution of 1848–49 in Italy. The War of Italian Liberation (1859) and the revolutionary outbreaks of 1859 in central Italy gave new impetus to the revolutionary movement in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In 1860, Garibaldi led an expedition into southern Italy, which resulted in the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty. As a result of a referendum of Oct. 21, 1860, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was eliminated, and its territory annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia. This was an important stage in the unification of Italy.

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