(Guiseppe Garibaldi)


Widely considered an Italian national hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi was a freedom fighter whose small army won a great many seemingly impossible battles. Surrounded always by his dedicated troops, Garibaldi was essential in bringing about the unification of Italy.

Garibaldi first became involved in Italian affairs while mooring in Russia as a coastal trader. While at an inn in Taganrog, he met a member of the secret movement La Giovine Italia (“Young Italy”), which worked toward the country’s unification. Garibaldi joined the society and served under Guiseppe Mazzini, but after participating in a failed rebellion, he was sentenced to death and fled to Marseilles. He was exiled to South America, where he joined the gaucho rebels in their fight to form a separate Republic in newly independent Brazil. Traveling next to Uruguay, he took command of the country’s naval fleet and brought them to victory in several battles while learning guerilla tactics from the natives.

The dedicated men of his army—known as "red shirts" because of their colored shirts, cloaks, and sombreros—accompanied Garibaldi on his return to Italy during the revolutions of 1848, and they participated in the First Italian War of Independence against Austria. When Pope Pius IX fled the Vatican City, Garibaldi’s troops defended Rome from the French armies attempting to reinstate papal rule. Following a truce, Garibaldi was again forced in exile until 1854, when he sailed once more to Italy to lead his famous army in a second war against Austria. He seized both Sicily and Naples but was defeated by the Neapolitan army and forced to hand over his southern territories to the Piedmontese, a much larger but more cautious ally, to preserve Italian unity. He met and rode into Naples with Italian king Victor Emmanuel II before retiring to Caprera, refusing award for his services.

Garibaldi still did not completely remove himself from the limelight, and, troubled by the French garrison stationed in Rome, he aroused a volunteer army to fight back against the opposition. Although he believed himself to be backed by the Italian government, Victor Emmanuel strongly disapproved of his taking action, and the king dispatched a second army to defeat the first. Garibaldi was wounded and taken prisoner. After healing, he fought once more against Austria, this time in the Austro Prussian War, before switching his allegiances to France during the Franco Prussian War. Confined to bed with arthritis, Garibaldi passed away at the age of 75, while gazing out onto the sea.

Key events during the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi:

Born in Nice
Became a member of the secret society La Giovine Italia that fought for Italian unification
Was sentenced to death, fled to Marseilles before sailing to Brazil
Moved to Uruguay and married Ana Ribiero da Silva
Took command of the Uruguayan fleet
Returned to Italy during revolutions of 1848 but was again forced into exile
Returned to Italy for Second Italian War of Independence
Met with Victor Emmanuel II
Offered his services to President Lincoln during U.S. Civil War
Led expedition against Rome but was injured by opposing Italian army
Fought in Austro-Prussian War
Fought in Franco-Prussian War on the side of the French

Book Links
Garibaldi and his Red Shirts  by  F. J. Snell

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Garibaldi  in  Famous Men of Modern Times  by  John H. Haaren
Garibaldi and Italian Unity  in  Nations of Europe and the Great War  by  Charles Morris
Garibaldi's Sicilian Campaign  in  Brave Men and Brave Deeds  by  M. B. Synge
Awakening of Italy  in  Growth of the British Empire  by  M. B. Synge
Palermo  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood

Image Links

Garibaldi and his son
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

Garibaldi Welcoming Victor Emmanuel II. as King of Italy
 in Greatest Nations - Germany

The Unveiling of the Garibaldi Statue in 1895
 in Greatest Nations - Germany
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
 in Back Matter
Meeting of Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi
Meeting of Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi
 in Back Matter

The Meeting of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

Garibaldi at the head of his South American troops.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

The Charge up the Corsini Hill.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

Viva l'Italia!'
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

The entry into Como
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

The Assault of the barricade at Porta Termini.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

The Chief of the telegraph department before Peard.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

Building of the Pontoon bridge by the British legion.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

The Burning of the gate.
 in Garibaldi and his Red-shirts

Short Biography
Victor Emmanuel II Became first king of a United Italy after Garibaldi handed over control of Naples. Previously Savoyard King of Sardinia.
Napoleon III Nephew of Napoleon, elected emperor of France after revolution of 1848. Deposed after disastrous Franco-Prussian War.
Kaiser William I First Kaiser of a United German Empire. With Bismarck as Chancellor, defeated Austria and France.
Helmuth von Moltke Military mastermind of the Austro-Prussian, and Franco-Prussian Wars.