A Year of European Revolutions

The Sicilian Uprising of January 12th, 1848 was the first of several European revolutions. 

Ruggero Settimo

'No state in Europe is in a worse condition than ours, not excepting even the Turks,’ wrote the revolutionary, Luigi Settembrini in 1847. ‘. . . In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, in the country which is said to be the garden of Europe, the people die of hunger, are in a state worse than beasts, the only law is caprice’.

In 1848, a number of states across Western Europe exploded spontaneously into revolution. Years of economic slump and post-French Revolutionary suppression lay behind these outbursts, along with opposition to the established authorities, and the rise of nationalism, liberalism and socialism. The uprising in Palermo, capital of the island of Sicily, was the first of these and was especially significant for Italy as it marked the start of a long train of events culminating in unification and Garibaldi’s conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1860.

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