Viva l’Italia

Lucy Riall

in Under the Volcano

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199646494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744815 | DOI:
Viva l’Italia

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This chapter offers a new interpretation of the revolt at Bronte and its repression. In early August 1860, the peasants of Bronte rebelled over the refusal of the town council to implement the land reforms promised by Garibaldi's new government. A large mob took control of the town and rampaged through the streets, looting and burning municipal buildings, record offices and private houses. In all, sixteen landowners were dragged out of their homes, tortured and brutally murdered in what one historian has called an ‘orgy of terror’. After two attempts by local militias to halt the violence were thrown back by the crowd, the fighting was halted by the arrival in the town of Nino Bixio, the most trusted general in Garibaldi's army. Bixio organised summary trials that resulted in the execution of five of the leaders, while hundreds more were rounded up and sent to Catania for trial.

Keywords: 1860; Nino Bixio; Giuseppe Garibaldi; British policy on Italian unification; Italian unification; law and order; land reform; peasant revolt

Chapter.  10648 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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