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Formation of Nations (All European Nations)

Italy/Italians: Development of a Nation
How Italy became Italy, and how the Italians became Italians.

ItalyHow Italians as a people, and the country of Italy as a nation-state, evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral bloodlines, the Italian language, borders, culture, and even how they received their name.

Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Italy in 2008


Italian Ancestral Background:

  1. Rome by 338 BCNatives. Natives of the Italian peninsula include Celts (descendants from ancient European inhabitants) in the northern portion, Etruscan (evidence of West Asian origin) and Italic peoples (also descendant from ancient European inhabitants) in the central portion. The south was primarily settled by early Greeks in Sicily and the southern tip of the peninsula. Corsica was also originally settled and dominated by Greeks. These peoples in their respective regions would serve as the primary ancestors to modern Italians.
  2. Rome. Roman Republic/Empire consolidates all of modern Italy, conquering most of peninsula by the early 3rd century BC.
  3. "Italia". In 7 BC, Augustus Caesar declares that entire peninsula, and the region north of the peninsula (into the Alps) to be “Italia” (to be specific, part of the territory of Rome), thereby affording all of Italia special treatment, and defining the entire region as the homeland of the Roman Empire. Now, all Italic peoples are given full citizenship to Rome, forming an Italian identity that is expansive well beyond the traditional territory of Rome, but not reaching beyond the Italian Alps. Italia closely approximated modern Italy. This northern territory had a significant Celtic populace (although some genetic integration with Italic peoples from central Italy), but from this point forward, they would be Italic (Italian) first, with their Celtic identity fading away. Same with the Italics/Estruscans in the Central, and the largely Greek-descendant peoples of the south. This is the basis of the "Italian" nationality as we now know it.
  4. Peak of Roman Empire 117 ADGermanic Component. During the Germanic invasions, causing the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, large populations of Germanic invaders settled in Rome, especially to the north, and somewhat in the central. These Germanic invaders would also leave a genetic imprint on the modern Italian people. The Lombards (Germanic tribe) would settle throughout Italy in the 6th century. Germanic peoples would become Romanized, assimilating into the local “Italian” population, losing any Germanic sense of identity by the 11th century. The Byzantines would also conquer parts of central and southern Italy during the 5th and 6th centuries, leaving another layer of Greek genetic imprint, although very minor. Northern Italy primarily descended from mix of original Celts that dominated population until end of Western Roman Empire, and Lombards, who became the ruling class after the collapse of the Western Empire.
  5. North African. During the dark ages, southern Italy (and especially Sicily), Sardinia and Corsica would be invaded by Arabs from North Africa, adding another genetic component to Southern Italians. Normans (Norse) would also conquer parts of southern Italy, serving as yet another minor genetic contributor to the modern Italian.
  6. Eclectic Contributions. From the 12th through 19th centuries, Italy fell under Germanic (Holy Roman Empire), Spanish, Austrian and French (Angevin) rule, with minor genetic contributions from each.
  7. Summary. Italian genetic composition was largely finalized upon unification in 1860, as it would mark end of foreign rule in Italy. North Italy was primarily of Celtic+Lombard (Germanic) composition. Central Italy was primarily of native Italic+Germanic composition. In Southern Italy, there is more of a mix, with significant parts of Greek, Italic, Germanic (Lombard) and possibly Arab. Other peoples that intermixed with Italian people throughout history added only a trace to the genetic composition. Since unification, Italians have also intermixed with one another, somewhat reducing regional differentials.

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Development of Italian Language:

  1. Europe 600 ADLatin language is a branch of the Italic family of languages spoken in central Italy in ancient times (before the ascension of Rome before 700 BC), influenced by ancient Estruscans from West Asia. It became the language of the city-state of Rome, growing with Rome to become the official language throughout the Roman Empire, especially west of the Latin-Greek divide within the empire. Latin would serve as the basis for several "Romance" languages that branched off of it, including French, Spanish and Portuguese. Latin is a direct branch off from the genesis language of the European continent: Proto-Indo-European.
  2. Vulgar Latin evolves from Latin during the Middle Ages in Italy, differentiating the Latin-based language spoken in Italy from those spoken in France and Spain.
  3. Vulgar Latin took on several dialects among the various city-states throughout Italy. Upon unification in 1860, the various regions within Italy also unified the Italian language, which is the modern Italian language spoken today.

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Conquests of Frankish EmpireFormation of Italian Borders:

  1. The Italian peninsula serves as natural borders. Despite the fact that the inhabitants were widely diversified (Celts, Greeks, Asians, indigenous), the peninsula became the basis for a nation-state.
  2. The city-state of Rome is established in the 8th century BC, expanding slowly in its immediate vicinity, gathering steam by the 4th century BC and early 3rd century, as it now controls most of the peninsula. First consolidated rule on peninsula, very early predecessor of concept of “nation” based on peninsula.
  3. In 88 BC, the concept of “Italia” is expanded to cover all of the peninsula, except Galla Cisalpina province (modern Northern Italy). This is designated as the preferential territory (homeland) of the Roman Empire.
  4. In 7 BC, Augustus Caesar declares that entire peninsula, and the region north of the peninsula (into the Alps) to be “Italia” (to be specific, part of the territory of Rome), thereby affording all of Italia Central Realmspecial treatment, and defining the entire region as the homeland of the Roman Empire. Now, all Italic peoples are given full citizenship to Rome, forming an Italian identity that is expansive well beyond the traditional territory of Rome, but not reaching beyond the Italian Alps. Italia closely approximated modern Italy.
  5. In the 5th century, Italy is invaded by Germanic tribes, causing collapse of Western Roman Empire, and the beginning of Germanic rule.
  6. Byzantine (Greek continuation of the Roman Empire) drives out the ruling Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths in 6th century, but manages to only control limited areas in Italy. Italy becomes largely tribal in nature, with little consolidated rule. It transforms into a collection of small villages and spread out rural regions. Later in 6th century, the Germanic Lombards migrate into Italy, establishing rule where Byzantine influence is weak. Byzantine primarily controls Rome and parts of Southern Italy, with Lombard controlling most of North and Central Italy.
  7. Late 7th & early 8th century, coastal cities in northeast Italy begin to band together to form the Medieval State of Venice, to protect against outside rule from all sides (Lombard, Hunnic, Byzantine). Republic of Venice formed in 803.
  8. Holy Roman Empire expansion751 – Lombards drive Byzantines out of Rome/Central Italy.
  9. 8th century, pope invites the Franks to conquer Italy in exchange for guaranteeing independence of the Papal States (centered around Rome, ruled by the pope). Lombards are pushed south, where they gain control of Southern Italy. The Papal States rule Central Italy, while the Frankish Empire rules Northern Italy.
  10. Muslim Arabs from North Africa conquer and rule Sicily from 827 to 1053. They also conquer and rule Corsica, Sardinia and parts of southern Italy until 915.
  11. At the end of the 9th century, when the Frankish Empire divides for the last time, the Carolingian line of Kings establish Medieval Kingdom of Italy (closely corresponds to modern northern Italy down to Papal States, minus the Republic of Venice). Northern Italy was then conquered by Otto I of Germany, becoming part of the Kingdom of Germany in 951. The Kingdom of Germany becomes the Holy Roman Empire in 953. Corsica, Sardinia remain largely independent.
  12. Kingdom of SpainIn the 11th century, the Normans were invited by the Lombards to drive Byzantine out of Southern Italy, which they were successful in achieving, before taking over the regions for themselves. The Normans proceeded to gain complete control over Sicily in 1091.
  13. In 1127, all of Norman Southern Italy (south of Papal States, Spoleto) consolidated under a single monarch (Roger II).
  14. By 1100, prominent cities in Northern Italy began to revolt against the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), siding with Papal authority in controversies between the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire. North Italy earned independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1167. This includes all of Northern Italy except Venice and the Papal States. They form the Lombardy League, a collection of affiliated yet independent city-states in Northern Italy.
  15. Italy1189 – Southern Italy is returned to Holy Roman Empire due to a succession crisis among the Normans.
  16. 1282 - Sicily successfully rebelled against French (Angevins) rule, with help from Aragon (Spanish kingdom), separating Sicily from the mainland, with the mainland becoming known as the Kingdom of Naples. Sicily an independent kingdom ruled by relatives of King of Aragon, became friendly with Aragon. The Republic of Genoa in northwest Italy conquered Corsica, which had long been independent or semi-independent.
  17. 1296 – Corsica conquered by Aragon.
  18. 1409 – Crown of Aragon annexes Sicily and Sardinia.
  19. 1434 – Corsica is returned to Republic of Genoa control.
  20. 1442 – Kingdom Aragon (in Spain) conquers Kingdom of Naples. All of Aragonese Italy (Sicily, Naples) becomes part of the Spanish Crown in 1469, when Aragon and Castile unite to form the Kingdom of Spain.
  21. Lombardy cities in Northern Italy remain independent until conquered by the Austria Habsburgs in 1525. Austria rules Northern Italy (as far down as the Papal States). By coming under Austrian rule, Northern Italy is now part of the Holy Roman Empire again.
  22. In 1556, Northern Italy is assigned to Spanish Habsburg rule when Charles V divides Habsburg possessions between his brother (who retains Austria) and his son (who rules over Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and colonial possessions).
  23. Europe 1816 - Aftermath of Napoleonic WarsAs part of the War of Spanish Succession, Austria takes Northern Italy and Kingdom of Naples from Spain in 1706, and then Sicily in 1720.
  24. In 1733, as part of the War of Polish Succession, Spain retakes Naples and Sicily from Austria. Spain cedes Sardinia to Savoy, creating the new Kingdom of Sardinia.
  25. 1764 - France purchases Corsica from the Republic of Genoa, which has been part of France ever since.
  26. The Napoleonic Wars redraws the Italian map. France conquers Northern Italy from Austria + Kingdom of Sardinia in 1796, the Republic of Genoa (ending Genoa) in 1796, Venice in 1797 (splitting it from Austria), and the Papal States in 1798 (reorganizing it as the Roman Republic). Northern Italy was recontituted as the Kingdom of Italy under France in 1805. Naples & Sicily were then conquered in 1806.
  27. End of Napoleonic Wars – Papal States were restored (1814); Austria gains possession of Northern Italy (Kingdom of Italy – Lombardy, Venetia, Tuscany) in 1815; Kingdom of Sardinia (northwestern Italy) is restored in 1816, adding the former Republic of Genoa; the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (Southern Italy) is restored to Spain in 1816.
  28. Italian Wars of Independence begin in 1830, initially unsuccessful. They escalate again in 1848, with the independent Roman Republic replacing the Papal States.
  29. In 1859, France aided Italy against Austria, in exchange for the territory Savoy and Nice, setting the permanent southeastern border of France. The Austrians were defeated in northwestern Italy, resulting in the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in the region, encompassing Northern/Central Italy, including Tuscany and part of the Papal States.
  30. In Second Italian War of Independence beginning in 1860, the Italians drive the Spanish out of Italy for good. Now Italy consisted of Piedmont-Sardinia, the Papal States in Central Italy, Venetia (still under Austrian control) and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. Italian revolutionaries would then land at Naples, gaining supporters upon their arrival. The revolutionaries would proceed to defeat the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, adding it to Sardinia. This left only Rome, surrounding papal states and Venetia as separate from a unified Italy (under the Piedmont-Sardinian crown). A constitutional monarchy was established.
  31. 1866 – Venetia (a historical region centered around Venice) was conquered by unified Italy, bringing it into the fold. It was ceded by Prussia as part a Prussia-Italian alliance against Austria in the Austro-Prussia War in 1866.
  32. Unification of Italy1870 - The Italian army marches on Rome, to add it to the unified Italy. The pope had continued to hold out against the idea of a unified Italy, especially since it would lead to the end of papal rule of Rome and surrounding areas. Rome is taken after a brief skirmish. Modern borders of Italy were now established. - The World's Largest Maps Store!


Etymology (How Name Received):

Italia Comes from the word Latin, which was applied to the people and languages of the Italian peninsula during ancient times. It is believed that the word “Latin” was borrowed from a Greek term meaning “land of young cattle”.


Italian Culture:

Cultural development runs deep in Italy. It was the epicenter of the world during the long-enduring glory days of the Roman Empire, giving rise to Catholicism, architectural, artistic, and technical advancements.

Italy was at the forefront once again during the Renaissance, producing some of history's most renowned artists and thinkers, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and da Vinci.


Italy in 2008:

Economy: World’s seventh largest economy, and Europe’s fourth largest, but lags behind other super economies in growth. This is due to high tax burden, and the underdeveloped southern portion of the country, which has high unemployment, and relies heavily on welfare. The northern and southern halves had historically been separated after the demise of the Roman Empire, under separate foreign rule. During the centuries of foreign rule, the north was developed far better than the south, due to the fact that it was primarily controlled by nearby German/Holy Roman Empire/Austrian regimes, while the south was neglected by its far-off foreign masters. As a result, the north held much more wealth upon unification in 1861, than its counterparts to the south, a situation that has yet to be equalized.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: 90% Roman Catholic (about 1/3 practicing), other 10% is largely Protestant (or Other Christian), about 1.5% Muslim; For Europe, highly religious, due to dominant influence of Catholicism throughout history, including recent history, as the Church keeps its HQ in Italy (Rome). Only recently removed from status as official state religion, for which it received preferential treatment and government funding. Survey: 74% believe in God, 16% some other form of intelligent design, 6% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: 95% Italian, 1% Romanian (post WWII immigration for employment opportunities), 1% Arab (North African from across Mediterranean Sea).
Foreign Policy: Has supported UN missions, by contributing troops to Africa and Afghanistan. Withdrew troops in Iraq.
Population: 58,145,321 (2008)

Formation of Nations (All European Nations)


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