..Rome declines during the period 180-192AD as it is burned and sacked. Attacks from all sides by the Goths, the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths and the Vandals, force the last Emperor, Constantine (in 330AD) to move his capitol and Christianity (as he had become a Christian), first to Ravenna (to the East) and then to Byzantium in Asia, renaming it Constantinople. It was the stronghold of the Eastern Rite Christian religion. Seemingly like Rome in its splendor as many artifacts had been brought there, it continued in its peacefulness until the Turkish Mongols from the Steppes of Asia descended upon them in 1453. These Moslems killed every Christian they could find and anyone else who refused to become one of them. They, at the end massacred 15,000,000 Armenian Christian people, and although it is written history, they continue to deny this original Holocaust until today. This was the period of the Middle Ages that spanned from 476 to 1492, that represented zero in the well-being or advancement of civilization.
Geographical “Italy” had become, from Rome – Abruzzi northward, with the exception of Lazio (Rome), Umbria, Toscana, Emilia Romagna, and Le Marche became under the jurisdiction of the Popes and became known as the Papal States. While the present Liguria (Genoa), Piemonte, the Alto Adige, Lombardia, Val d’Aosta, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Veneto were no more than a series of provinces, with different languages and diverse traditions. Some of them were claimed to be French, German, Hungarian, etc. At that time there was no central government that controlled them. South of the Rome – Abruzzo line, things were quite different.
As a result of the conquest of the southern part of the Italian peninsula by Robert Giuscard from Normandy in the 11th century, Robert rapidly sewing up treaties between the provinces of Campania (Naples), Calabria, Apulia (Bari), Abruzzo -Molise and Basilicata, thereby uniting them, offered his brother Roger, who was in Calabria at the time, the opportunity to take over Sicily and Malta.
In 1060, Roger, whose name was Italianized, gathered the title of Count and thus became Conte Ruggero. It took until 1091 to secure the entire island and after Ruggero’s death in 1130 his son Ruggero ll was crowned King of Sicily. From this time, the prosperity and well being of the Kingdom of Sicily flourished. In time Ruggero II and his wife gave birth to a girl (Costanza) who eventually married Henry VI, son of Frederick I of Swabia (a Bavarian). Their son became Federico II, the most popular King of Sicily uniting both sides of the Straits of Messina and all of provinces of Malta, Sicily and southern Italy. Federico II was very progressive. He organized “La Scuola Siciliana” creating a singular tongue for all of the peoples south of Rome-Abruzzo. In addition, King Federico ll was a falconer, studying not only birds of wing but animals from Africa and therefore created a series of natural habitats in Sicily, Calabria and Abruzzo, those now national parks that still exist today. Education was his foremost dream, and so he built one of the first universities in Italy.
On June 5, 1224 he ordered the University of Naples built. Today, it is still used and is home to 100,000+ students according to the census taken in 2006. The other Universities built during the period of King Federico ll were the Universities of Salerno, Palermo and Catania. King Federico ll died in 1250 leaving a prosperous and happy Kingdom, heavily involved with sea trade. Having several deep water ports that supplied foreign ships with all that the island produced. Oranges, figs, nuts, sugar cane, grapes, wine, vinegar, olive oil, etc. Sicily had become wealthy and therefore much sought as quite a prize for any foreigners to grab, but their worst enemy were the Popes. They did not like King Federico ll because he steadfastly refused to send Sicilian subjects to join the Crusaders to try to convince the Moslems to convert to Christianity…and the Popes acted after Federico’s passing to give the power of the Sicilian Kingdom over to first the French, then the Spanish, then the Bourbons who in 1735 transferred the capitol of the Kingdom from Palermo to Naples. The riots that followed eventually split the Kingdom of Sicily in two, becoming the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples. The French revolution in 1789, led to the Sicilian uprisings in 1848 and before long, all of Europe was aflame with cries of freedom.
Now comes Giuseppe Garibaldi, leaving the port of Genoa on May 5, 1860 with 1,000 men and landing at Marsala, Sicily on May 11th. Disembarking quietly and making their way inland, without the Bourbons knowledge. Along the way to Salemi, the first major town, advance soldiers on horseback had alerted the townsmen that Garibaldi had landed. The enthusiastic Sicilians, dreaming of freedom joined the original 1,000 men who had landed and went on to Calatafimi where the first major battle was fought. Too late for the surprised Bourbons as Garibaldi surged on with his growing force to Alcamo, Partinico, Parco, Piana dei Greci, Marineo, and by the time he approached Palermo he had thousands of farmers and their children bearing any type of weapon to fight the enemy, surging into Palermo on the 27th of May. The battle for Palermo was fierce, and his Sergeant (named Nino Bixio) shouted to Garibaldi, “we are going to die here”, shouting back Garibaldi said “either this will be our last day on earth or we will form the new Italy”. Fighting eastward, they arrived in Messina on July 24th and crossed the Straits of Messina with no less than 30,000 soldiers, invading Calabria and routing the Bourbons all the way up to the southern border of Teano, near Rome where the new King Vittorio Emanuele halted them, it was October 26, 1860.
Why was Garibaldi stopped here at Teano, which happened to be at the northern frontier of the border of the Sicilian Kingdom with Rome? Garibaldi’s victory had brought the spoils of the war right into the hands of this new French King who hailed from the powerful province of Savoy who controlled the troops of Piemonte (members of the Northern League) and who he wanted to control the “New Italy”!
Garibaldi agreed to halt his advance northward because he did not want to risk a war with France. However, Garibaldi immensely disliked the Piemontese because their Prime Minister Camillo Benso di Cavour had given Garibaldi’s hometown called Nizza (Nice) to France and it has remained that way since. Besides, the flag of the New Italy had replaced the original French colors of Blue, white and Red to Green, White and Red with one exception, it had emblazoned in its center the emblem of the French House of Savoy (Casa di Savoia), who had proclaimed themselves the new ruling class of Italy. They also brought with them all of the northern provinces and Sardinia (Sardegna) with the 20 regions of the “New” Italy as of 1861 as follows;
• Piemonte as lands of the House of Savoy (French) since 1046.
• Val d’ Aosta lands of the House of Savoy (French).
• Lombardia, formerly of the Napoleonic Empire (French).
• Alto Adige, formerly Hungarian (now part of the Northern League).
• Veneto (Venice), Napoleon seized it in 1805 (French).
• Friuli-Venezia Giulia, formerly Hungarian (now in the Northern League)
• Liguria (Genoa), The Ligurian Republic annexed by the French.
• Emilia Romagna, Formerly of the Papal States, a French Protectorate.
• Toscana, formerly Austrian, became a French Protectorate
• Umbria, formerly of the Papal States, became a French Protectorate
• Le Marche, same as Umbria
• Lazio (Rome), same as Le Marche
• Sardegna, as an island belonging to the House of Savoy (French).
The regions that Garibaldi brought to the “New” Italy in 1861:
• Abruzzo Origin: Sicilian Kingdom
• Campania (Naples)
• Puglia (Bari)
• Basilicata (formerly called Lucania)
In 1860 after Garibaldi’s meeting with the new Monarch of the House of Savoy (a French Republic with a wealthy ruling class, called in Italian La Casa Savoia) who had garnered the Italian mainland’s provinces, started out by denying any of Garibaldi’s promises to the peoples of the former Sicilian Kingdom to induce them to follow him in his fight for Italian unification….and history shows that the peoples of the great Sicilian Kingdom were impoverished to the point were most had to emigrate from these once rich lands to start over!