History of Italy

Italy is a country at the south of Europe. It has great cultural influence upon the Mediterranean countries. Before the 1st century B.C. only the southern tip of the peninsula was only known as Italy. But eventually the entire peninsula at south of the Alps came to known as Italy when entire region came under the control of the single power of Rome on 1st B.C.

Today Italy plays a very crucial role in the political and economic scenario of the world. It is one of the greatest powers of the world and a revered member of the G-8 nations. Italy also plays a significant role in describing the culture and tradition of the European counties.

The importance of Italy can�t also be denied in the map of world tourism. Every year it attracts thousands of tourists, who come here to soak into its great culture and history. It is therefore become a matter of interest to known the past of this great nation to understand the country better. Here is therefore history of Italy for the enthusiastic readers who would be interested in knowing the nation before paying it a visit.

The formation of a great country


The Greeks had settled down at the southern part of the Italian Peninsula in the seventh and eighth centuries B.C. when the Romans and Etruscans inhabited the middle and the northern part of the peninsula.

The history of Italy underwent many changes and it was not until the 3rd century B.C. when the neighboring islands came under the Roman control by the 3rd century B.C and the entire peninsula unified under the Roman Republic. By the 1st century, the Roman Empire was undoubtedly the most influential power in the Mediterranean. However, it didn�t last long and eventually after the Roman Empire had succumbed the region underwent through several foreign invasions. It further became the battleground for the province leaders who constantly fought amongst themselves over territories and successions.

Italy also played a significant role as the centre of Christian world. The Pope of Rome is the most powerful person in Christianity and hence there were conflict of interest between the Pope and the Holy Emperors of Rome. The Pope used to control the central Italy and there were often skirmishes between the Pope and the Emperor both of whom claimed Italy as their domain.

Evolution of Italy during the 20th century


Italy joined the World War I for several reasons, one being the economics. It allied with the Germany, Austria-Hungary and entered the war in 1915. At the post war settlement, Italy earned some of the former Austrian territories along with the northeast frontier.

In 1922 The Fascist Party of Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy. He sided with Germany and entered the World War II on 1940. He along with the Germany declared war against Britain and France which marked the beginning of another World War. The Axis force of Germany, Italy, and Japan then declared war on USA and Soviet. It wasn�t until 1943 during the foreign invasion on Sicily, Benito Mussolini remain the supreme power in Italy. He was then removed by the king and Marshal Pietro Badoglio was appointed in his post.

Under the peace treaty of 1947 slight adjustments were made in the boundaries of Italy. The area around the city of Trieste, which was then annexed from Italy and remained as a free territory under the control of U.S.-U.K. forces and Yugoslav forces was partially given back to Italy during 1954.

In the peace treaty Italy agreed to relinquish all its foreign territories as well as some Mediterranean islands. This more or less describes the current geographical territories of the country.

The Lateran Pacts of 1929 described the rights and power of the Roman Pope. Under this pact Vatican was recognized as the sovereign and independent country under the rule of the Pope.

The cultural significance of Italy


Italy has a significant cultural importance over the history Europe. One may argue that the greatest contribution of Italy in defining the history of world is probably �Renaissance�. Hence, renaissance deserves a special mention in the history of Italy.

After the dark Medieval age the European Renaissance begun in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is during this time that Europe awoke to a new dawn of- literature, arts, painting and science.

During this time great many talents were born in Italy who brought radical changes in the ways and thinking of medieval era. Some of the great men who had influenced the changes were-
  1. Petrarch, Tasso, Ariosto in poetry
  2. Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Castiglione in prose
  3. da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angelico and Michelangelo in painting, architecture and sculpture.
During the renaissance there was an urge to return to the golden period of Greek and Roman civilizations. The scholars of that time started reinventing and redefining the great literatures and scientific ideologies of the bygone period. There was an overwhelming effort to defy the ruling of the Church and free arts, literatures and science from the control of Church.

The bed for the renaissance or �the great awakening� was prepared during the successive attacks of barbarian tribes over Italy. During the time the church lost its political dominance and also there was an amalgamation of different cultures with existing Italian culture. The experts are of the opinion that Italy was able to take the leading role in bringing in changes to Europe because of its favorable political and climatic situation and commercial prosperity, but most importantly because of its linguistic advantage. Italians were familiar to Latin, which formed the base for renaissance.

The history of modern Italy


After the WW-II and failure of Fascism, Italian nation emerged from the disaster during 1945 and 1948. In the popular election of 1946 monarchy was abolished and the ruling of public was established. Since then Italy has been ruled by the multi-party parliamentary system.

Despite political unrest the development works weren�t disrupted and Italy continued to grow to become one of the most important political influences in the modern world. Today it is a member of G8, the association eight most influential countries in the world.

Italy still exerts a very strong cultural and traditional influence over the European countries. Many of the eminent composers, architects, fashion designers, painters and filmmakers are of Italian origin and they are continuing to contribute to the western culture.

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