Giuseppe Garibaldi

Italian general and politician

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Biography


Garibaldi’s family was one of fishermen and coastal traders, and for more than 10 years he himself was a sailor. By 1833–34, when he served in the navy of the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. Garibaldi, in 1834, took part in a mutiny intended to provoke a republican revolution in Piedmont, but the plot failed; he escaped to France and in his absence was condemned to death by a Genoese court. From 1836 to 1848, Garibaldi lived in South America as an exile, and these years of turmoil and revolution in that continent strongly influenced his career. In April 1848 Garibaldi led 60 members of his Italian Legion back to Italy to fight for the Risorgimento or resurrection, of Italy in the war of independence against the Austrians. He first offered to fight for Pope Pius IX, then—when his offer was refused—for Charles Albert, the king of Piedmont-Sardinia.In September 1859, after peace had returned to northern Italy, Garibaldi transferred his attention to central Italy, where a revolutionary government had been established in Florence. In May 1860 Garibaldi set out on the greatest venture of his life, the conquest of Sicily and Naples. Sailing from near Genoa on May 6 with about 1,000 men , and at the end of May he captured Palermo.he proclaimed himself “Dictator of the Two Sicilies” .With 30,000 men under his command, he then fought the biggest battle of his career, on the Volturno River north of Naples. After his victory, he held plebiscites in Sicily and Naples, which allowed him to hand over the whole of southern Italy to King Victor Emmanuel. In 1861 a new kingdom of Italy came into existence, but from the start it found Garibaldi virtually in opposition. Many people regarded him as an embarrassment. He opposed Cavour in parliament and accused the government of shabby treatment of the volunteer soldiers who had conquered half the country and given it to the king. Moreover, he condemned the inefficient administration of the provinces that he had conquered and for which he felt especially responsible. Garibaldi led one final campaign in 1870–71, when he assisted the French Republic against Prussia.

Quotes

''I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely with his lips, follow me.''

"Give me the ready hand, rather than the ready tongue."

He is considered, with Camillo Cavour, Victor Emmanuel II and Giuseppe Mazzini, as one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland".