Chapter

The Dream

Lucy Riall

in Under the Volcano

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199646494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744815 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646494.003.0004
The Dream

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Bronte was part of a broader process of British expansion into the Mediterranean in the early 19th century. Between 1806 and 1814, the British army occupied Sicily and the island came under British rule. Given the Napoleonic blockade in mainland Europe, Sicily assumed a real commercial importance and British money, and British merchants poured into the island. British rule and investment in Sicily is generally seen in a positive light, but in truth the island attracted its share of dishonest or desperate characters. Some of them found their way to Bronte, where they proceeded to create havoc of a personal and economic kind. Isolated in a remote corner of a remote region, the Duchy's agents became emotionally entangled with the community of Bronte and affected by the ‘prejudices’ and ‘jealousy’ of this town. Others met with hostility from the local community. In 1820, a revolution rocked the town, and one Duchy employee was forced to flee for his life. Symbolic of British supremacy in the post-revolutionary world, Bronte in fact demonstrated how fragile was the British grasp on power.

Keywords: Lord William Bentinck; Bourbon monarchy; 1812 Sicilian constitution; Restoration; Marsala; William Nelson; Abraham Gibbs; 1820 revolutions; Palermo; British Empire; Mediterranean

Chapter.  11122 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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