Victor Emmanuel II

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Victor 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 AlbertCharles Albert,
1798–1849, king of Sardinia (1831–49, see Savoy, house of). Because he had not been entirely unsympathetic to the revolutionary movement of 1821 in Sardinia, Charles Albert developed an ambiguous political reputation prior to acceding to the throne in
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, abdicated after the defeat at Novara. With the skillful collaboration of 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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, whom he appointed premier in 1852, he became the symbol and the central figure of 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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, the movement for Italian unification. Popular in Sardinia because of his liberal reforms and his respect for the constitution, he increased Sardinian prestige abroad by engaging in the Crimean War as an ally of France, Britain, and Turkey. In conjunction with Napoleon III of France, with whom Cavour had formed an alliance, he fought against Austria in the Italian War of 1859. After the battle of Solferino, France signed a separate armistice with Austria at 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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; Victor Emmanuel was not consulted, but the terms were ratified in the Treaty of Zürich. When, in 1860, Tuscany, Romagna, Parma, and Modena voted for union with Sardinia (contrary to the treaty terms), Victor Emmanuel and Cavour secured French consent to their incorporation in exchange for the cession of Savoy and Nice. He favored the expedition (1860) 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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 into the kingdom of the Two SiciliesTwo Sicilies, kingdom of the.
The name Two Sicilies was used in the Middle Ages to mean the kingdoms of Sicily and of Naples (see Sicily and Naples, kingdom of). Alfonso V of Aragón, who in 1442 reunited the two kingdoms under his rule, styled himself king of the Two
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 and joined forces with Garibaldi after crossing the Papal States and defeating the papal army at Castelfidardo. Plebiscites in Naples and Sicily and in the Marches and Umbria (two provinces of the Papal States) favored union with Sardinia, and in 1861 the kingdom of Italy was proclaimed with Victor Emmanuel as king. The capital was transferred from Turin to Florence in 1865. Siding (1866) with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian WarAustro-Prussian War
or Seven Weeks War,
June 15–Aug. 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, seconded by Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and several smaller German states.
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, Victor Emmanuel was awarded Venetia in the peace settlement. The remaining Papal States were protected by the troops of Napoleon III, but when he fell in 1870, Italian troops seized the Papal States, and Rome was made (1871) the capital of Italy. Pope Pius IX and his successors protested, and the so-called Roman Question remained a serious problem until the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The remainder of Victor Emmanuel's reign was spent in the consolidation of the new kingdom. His son Humbert I succeeded him.


See biography by C. S. Forester (1927) and works of D. M. Smith.

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Victor Emmanuel II

1820--78, king of Sardinia-Piedmont (1849--78) and first king of Italy from 1861
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Piedmont, became through the battles of Giuseppe Garibaldi (Berindei, 1984: 82), Giuseppe Mazzini (Berindei, 1985: 313-323; Delureanu, 2006: 43) and the politics of King Victor Emmanuel II and the prime minister Camillo Benso di Cavour in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy, which had Lombardy, Venice, Trieste, Trento, all occupied by Austria, while the center was controlled by the Papal States, a religious-political entity whose integrity has been defended by the troops of Napoleon III.
It was Garibaldi who made Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont the ruler of a united Italy, while the king stood ever ready to disavow him.
Garibaldi bristles at not only the French and Austrians ("I could see Austrian soldiers walking around with their usual insolent air of being the masters"), but also the leading figures of the period--the idealistic Mazzini, the realpolitiking Cavour (who ceded Garibaldi's hometown of Nice to France), and the parsimonious King Victor Emmanuel II. Garibaldi's anticlericalism could also be vicious.
This agreement settled a dispute dating back to the 19th century when the Papal States, some 17,218 square miles of land across the middle of the country, and eventually the city of Rome, were seized by the troops of Victor Emmanuel II. As the boot-shaped land moved toward national unification, the Papal States stood in the way of the Italian version of Manifest Destiny.
She was a distant cousin of Camillo Cavour, the minister of King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia and Piedmont.
Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, in whose reign the nation had been united, died on January 9, 1878, and was succeeded by his son, Umberto I (1844-1900).
She once bought six horses for King Victor Emmanuel II and brought them from Ireland over the Alps to Italy.
The Papal States, which grew out of a nucleus of land grants in the 4th century and eventually spread over vast areas of Italy, were finally absorbed in 1870 by Victor Emmanuel II. The Lateran Treaty of 1929, however, granted the popes full sovereignty over Vatican City, an enclave in the heart of Rome.
| Europe was Victor Emmanuel II the king from 1861 to 1878?
In the 18th century it came under the rule of the King of Sicily and was only reunited with France in 1860 under the Treaty of Turin signed by Napoleon III and King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia.
An architect who was exploring the underground passages of the monument to King Victor Emmanuel II found the secret tunnel by chance two decades ago.
The Sardinian king, Charles Albert (1798-1849), abdicated and was succeeded by his son, who reigned as Victor Emmanuel II (1820-1878).