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Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82) was an Italian soldier and patriot who led Italy's 19th-century Risorgimento or 'rebirth'.
In the early 1800s Italy was made up of a number of small states. Apart from the kingdom of Piedmont Sardinia and Rome (ruled by the pope), these states were ruled by a number of different foreign countries. An independence movement (known as the Risorgimento) began in the 1830s. In 1848 revolutions against foreign rule broke out in many Italian cities and states, but they were quickly defeated.
Count Cavour, the chief minister of the kingdom of Piedmont Sardinia, made an alliance with France in 1858, and together they defeated the Austrians in 1859. Most of northern Italy then joined with Piedmont Sardinia.
In 1860 rebellion broke out in southern Italy, which was part of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. A member of Giuseppe Mazzini's 'Young Italy' movement, Giuseppe Garibaldi had headed a revolutionary government in Rome in 1849. In 1860 he led 1000 red-shirted volunteers to expel the king of Naples, paving the way for the unification of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont. The Redshirts captured Sicily and Naples, and in 1861 the kingdom of Italy was declared; but in 1862 Garibaldi failed to capture Rome.
Two small areas were not included. Venice was still part of the Austrian empire, and Rome was ruled by the pope but occupied by France. Venice was given to Italy after Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War (1866). The French left Rome after their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, and the kingdom of Italy was complete.
To mark Garibaldi's visit to London in 1861, a British biscuit manufacturer created the Garibaldi - a flat, currant biscuit.
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