Far away from the nationalist heroics of Italy's Risorgimento, Bronte experienced these transformations through a 40-year law-suit over the separation of private property from common land, and the redistribution of common land among the peasantry. Between 1820 and 1860, litigation between the Duchy and local community involved all sections of the town, and resulted in bitter hostility between the Duchy and Bronte's elite. This conflict over land and the personal hostility which it engendered became the driving force in local politics, out of which a few families did extremely well: after 1815 the commune of Bronte came under the political control of a few prominent landowning families. But this same situation produced competition within the community, producing a major feud between rival families that left everyone vulnerable to revolt from below.
Keywords: Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; Bourbon monarchy; common land; abolition of feudalism; local power in Sicily; latifondo; land reform; property disputes
Chapter. 9669 words.
Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)
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