Development of a Nation
How Italy became Italy,
and how the Italians became Italians.

Italians as a people, and the country of Italy as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Italian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.

Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Italy in 2008

Ancestral Background:

  1. Rome by 338 BC

    Natives of the Italian peninsula include Celts (descendants from
    ancient European inhabitants) in the northern portion, Etruscan
    (evidence of West Asian origin) and Italic peoples (also descendant
    from ancient European inhabitants) in the central portion. The south
    was primarily settled by early Greeks in Sicily and the southern tip
    of the peninsula. Corsica was also originally settled and dominated
    by Greeks. These peoples in their respective regions would serve as
    the primary ancestors to modern Italians.
  2. Rome. Roman Republic/Empire
    consolidates all of modern Italy, conquering most of peninsula by
    the early 3rd century BC.
  3. “Italia”. In 7 BC, Augustus Caesar
    declares that entire peninsula, and the region north of the
    peninsula (into the Alps) to be “Italia” (to be specific, part of
    the territory of Rome), thereby affording all of Italia special
    treatment, and defining the entire region as the homeland of the
    Roman Empire. Now, all Italic peoples are given full citizenship to
    Rome, forming an Italian identity that is expansive well beyond the
    traditional territory of Rome, but not reaching beyond the Italian
    Alps. Italia closely approximated modern Italy. This northern
    territory had a significant Celtic populace (although some genetic
    integration with Italic peoples from central Italy), but from this
    point forward, they would be Italic (Italian) first, with their
    Celtic identity fading away. Same with the Italics/Estruscans in the
    Central, and the largely Greek-descendant peoples of the south. This
    is the basis of the “Italian” nationality as we now know it.

  4. Peak of Roman Empire 117 AD
    Germanic Component. During the Germanic
    invasions, causing the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th
    century, large populations of Germanic invaders settled in Rome,
    especially to the north, and somewhat in the central. These Germanic
    invaders would also leave a genetic imprint on the modern Italian
    people. The Lombards (Germanic tribe) would settle throughout Italy
    in the 6th century. Germanic peoples would become
    Romanized, assimilating into the local “Italian” population, losing
    any Germanic sense of identity by the 11th century. The
    Byzantines would also conquer parts of central and southern Italy
    during the 5th and 6th centuries, leaving
    another layer of Greek genetic imprint, although very minor.
    Northern Italy primarily descended from mix of original Celts that
    dominated population until end of Western Roman Empire, and Lombards,
    who became the ruling class after the collapse of the Western
  5. North African. During the dark ages,
    southern Italy (and especially Sicily), Sardinia and Corsica would
    be invaded by Arabs from North Africa, adding another genetic
    component to Southern Italians. Normans (Norse) would also conquer
    parts of southern Italy, serving as yet another minor genetic
    contributor to the modern Italian.
  6. Eclectic Contributions. From the 12th
    through 19th centuries, Italy fell under Germanic (Holy
    Roman Empire), Spanish, Austrian and French (Angevin) rule, with
    minor genetic contributions from each.
  7. Summary. Italian genetic composition
    was largely finalized upon unification in 1860, as it would mark end
    of foreign rule in Italy. North Italy was primarily of
    Celtic+Lombard (Germanic) composition. Central Italy was primarily
    of native Italic+Germanic composition. In Southern Italy, there is
    more of a mix, with significant parts of Greek, Italic, Germanic
    (Lombard) and possibly Arab. Other peoples that intermixed with
    Italian people throughout history added only a trace to the genetic
    composition. Since unification, Italians have also intermixed with
    one another, somewhat reducing regional differentials.

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Development of Italian Language:

  1. Europe 600 AD
    Latin language is a branch of the Italic
    family of languages spoken in central Italy in ancient times (before
    the ascension of Rome before 700 BC), influenced by ancient
    Estruscans from West Asia. It became the language of the city-state
    of Rome, growing with Rome to become the official language
    throughout the Roman Empire, especially west of the Latin-Greek
    divide within the empire. Latin would serve as the basis for several
    “Romance” languages that branched off of it, including French,
    Spanish and Portuguese. Latin is a direct branch off from the
    genesis language of the European continent:

  2. Vulgar Latin evolves from Latin during the
    Middle Ages in Italy, differentiating the Latin-based language
    spoken in Italy from those spoken in France and Spain.
  3. Vulgar Latin took on several dialects among
    the various city-states throughout Italy. Upon unification in 1860,
    the various regions within Italy also unified the Italian language,
    which is the modern Italian language spoken today.

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Conquests of Frankish Empire
Formation of Italian Borders:

  1. The
    Italian peninsula serves as natural borders. Despite the fact that
    the inhabitants were widely diversified (Celts, Greeks, Asians,
    indigenous), the peninsula became the basis for a nation-state.
  2. The city-state of Rome is established in the 8th
    century BC, expanding slowly in its immediate vicinity, gathering
    steam by the 4th century BC and early 3rd
    century, as it now controls most of the peninsula. First
    consolidated rule on peninsula, very early predecessor of concept of
    “nation” based on peninsula.
  3. In 88 BC, the concept of “Italia” is expanded
    to cover all of the peninsula, except Galla Cisalpina province
    (modern Northern Italy). This is designated as the preferential
    territory (homeland) of the Roman Empire.
  4. In 7 BC, Augustus Caesar declares that entire
    peninsula, and the region north of the peninsula (into the Alps) to
    be “Italia” (to be specific, part of the territory of Rome),
    affording all of Italia

    Central Realm
    special treatment, and defining the entire
    region as the homeland of the Roman Empire. Now, all Italic peoples
    are given full citizenship to Rome, forming an Italian identity that
    is expansive well beyond the traditional territory of Rome, but not
    reaching beyond the Italian Alps. Italia closely approximated modern
  5. In the 5th century, Italy is
    invaded by Germanic tribes, causing collapse of Western Roman
    Empire, and the beginning of Germanic rule.
  6. Byzantine (Greek continuation of the Roman
    Empire) drives out the ruling Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths in 6th
    century, but manages to only control limited areas in Italy. Italy
    becomes largely tribal in nature, with little consolidated rule. It
    transforms into a collection of small villages and spread out rural
    regions. Later in 6th
    the Germanic Lombards migrate into Italy, establishing rule where
    Byzantine influence is weak. Byzantine primarily controls Rome and
    parts of Southern Italy, with Lombard controlling most of North and
    Central Italy.
  7. Late 7th & early 8th
    century, coastal cities in northeast Italy begin to band together to
    form the Medieval State of Venice, to protect against outside rule
    from all sides (Lombard, Hunnic, Byzantine). Republic of Venice
    formed in 803.

  8. Holy Roman Empire expansion
    751 – Lombards drive Byzantines out of
    Rome/Central Italy.
  9. 8th century, pope invites the
    Franks to conquer Italy in exchange for guaranteeing independence of
    the Papal States (centered around Rome, ruled by the pope). Lombards
    are pushed south, where they gain control of Southern Italy. The
    Papal States rule Central Italy, while the Frankish Empire rules
    Northern Italy.
  10. Muslim Arabs from North Africa conquer and
    rule Sicily from 827 to 1053. They also
    and rule Corsica, Sardinia and parts of southern Italy until 915.
  11. At the end of the 9th century, when
    the Frankish Empire divides for the last time, the Carolingian line
    of Kings establish Medieval Kingdom of Italy (closely corresponds to
    modern northern Italy down to Papal States, minus the Republic of
    Venice). Northern Italy was then conquered by Otto I of Germany,
    becoming part of the Kingdom of Germany in 951. The Kingdom of
    Germany becomes the Holy Roman Empire in 953. Corsica, Sardinia
    remain largely independent.

  12. Kingdom of Spain
    In the 11th century, the Normans
    were invited by the Lombards to drive Byzantine out of Southern
    Italy, which they were successful in achieving, before taking over
    the regions for themselves. The Normans proceeded to gain complete control over Sicily in 1091.
  13. In 1127, all of Norman Southern Italy (south
    of Papal States, Spoleto) consolidated
    under a single monarch (Roger
  14. By 1100, prominent cities in Northern Italy
    began to revolt against the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), siding with Papal authority in
    controversies between the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire. North
    Italy earned independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1167. This includes all of Northern Italy except Venice and
    the Papal
    States. They form the Lombardy
    League, a collection of affiliated yet independent city-states in
    Northern Italy.

  15. Italy
    1189 – Southern Italy is returned to Holy
    Roman Empire due to a succession crisis among the Normans.
  16. 1282 – Sicily successfully rebelled against
    French (Angevins) rule, with help from Aragon (Spanish kingdom), separating Sicily
    from the mainland, with the mainland becoming known as the Kingdom of Naples. Sicily
    an independent kingdom ruled by relatives of King of Aragon,
    became friendly with Aragon. The Republic of Genoa in northwest
    Italy conquered Corsica, which had long
    been independent or semi-independent.
  17. 1296 – Corsica conquered by Aragon.
  18. 1409 – Crown of Aragon annexes Sicily and
  19. 1434 – Corsica is returned to Republic of Genoa
  20. 1442 – Kingdom Aragon (in Spain) conquers Kingdom of Naples. All
    of Aragonese Italy (Sicily, Naples) becomes part of the Spanish Crown in
    1469, when Aragon and Castile unite to form
    the Kingdom of Spain.
  21. Lombardy cities in Northern Italy remain independent until
    conquered by the Austria Habsburgs in 1525. Austria rules Northern Italy
    (as far down as the
    Papal States). By coming under Austrian rule, Northern Italy is now
    part of the Holy Roman Empire again.
  22. In 1556, Northern Italy is assigned to Spanish
    Habsburg rule when Charles V divides Habsburg possessions between
    his brother (who retains Austria) and his son (who rules over Spain, Italy, Netherlands,
    and colonial possessions).

  23. Europe 1816 - Aftermath of Napoleonic Wars
    As part of the War of Spanish Succession, Austria takes
    Northern Italy and Kingdom of Naples from Spain in 1706, and then Sicily in
  24. In 1733, as part of the War of Polish Succession, Spain retakes
    Naples and Sicily from Austria. Spain cedes Sardinia to Savoy,
    creating the new Kingdom of Sardinia.
  25. 1764 – France purchases Corsica from
    the Republic of
    Genoa, which has been part of France ever since.
  26. The Napoleonic Wars redraws the Italian map. France conquers
    Northern Italy from Austria + Kingdom of Sardinia in 1796, the Republic of
    Genoa (ending Genoa) in 1796, Venice in 1797 (splitting it from Austria),
    and the Papal
    States in 1798 (reorganizing it as the Roman Republic). Northern Italy
    was recontituted as the Kingdom of Italy under France in 1805. Naples & Sicily
    were then conquered in 1806.
  27. End of Napoleonic Wars – Papal States were restored
    (1814); Austria gains possession of Northern Italy (Kingdom of Italy
    – Lombardy, Venetia, Tuscany) in 1815; Kingdom of Sardinia
    (northwestern Italy) is restored in 1816,
    adding the former Republic of Genoa; the Kingdom of Two Sicilies
    (Southern Italy) is restored to Spain
    in 1816.
  28. Italian Wars of Independence begin in 1830,
    initially unsuccessful. They escalate again in 1848, with the independent Roman
    Republic replacing the Papal States.
  29. In 1859, France aided Italy against Austria, in
    exchange for the territory Savoy and Nice, setting the permanent
    southeastern border of France. The Austrians were defeated in
    northwestern Italy, resulting in the Kingdom
    of Piedmont-Sardinia in the region, encompassing Northern/Central Italy,
    Tuscany and part of the Papal States.
  30. In Second Italian War of Independence
    beginning in 1860,
    the Italians drive the Spanish out of Italy for good. Now Italy consisted of
    Piedmont-Sardinia, the Papal States in Central Italy, Venetia (still
    under Austrian control) and the Kingdom of
    Two Sicilies. Italian revolutionaries would then land at Naples, gaining supporters upon their arrival.
    The revolutionaries would proceed to defeat
    the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, adding it to Sardinia. This left only Rome,
    papal states and Venetia as separate from a unified Italy (under the
    Piedmont-Sardinian crown). A constitutional monarchy was established.
  31. 1866 – Venetia (a historical region centered around Venice)
    was conquered by unified Italy, bringing it into the fold. It was ceded by
    Prussia as part a Prussia-Italian alliance against Austria in the Austro-Prussia War in 1866.

  32. Unification of Italy
    1870 – The Italian army marches on Rome, to add
    it to the unified Italy. The pope had continued to hold out
    against the idea of a unified Italy, especially since it would lead
    to the end of papal rule of Rome and surrounding areas. Rome is taken after a brief
    skirmish. Modern borders of Italy were now established. – The World’s Largest Maps Store!

Etymology (How Name

Italia Comes from the word Latin, which was applied to the
people and languages of the Italian peninsula during ancient times. It
is believed that the word “Latin” was borrowed from a Greek term meaning
“land of young cattle”.

Italian Culture:

Cultural development runs deep in Italy. It was the epicenter of the
world during the long-enduring glory days of the Roman Empire, giving
rise to Catholicism, architectural, artistic, and technical

Italy was at the forefront once again during the Renaissance,
producing some of history’s most renowned artists and thinkers,
including Michelangelo, Galileo, and da Vinci.

Italy in 2008:

World’s seventh
largest economy, and Europe’s fourth largest, but lags behind other
super economies in growth. This is due to high tax burden, and the
underdeveloped southern portion of the country, which has high
unemployment, and relies heavily on welfare. The northern and southern
halves had historically been separated after the demise of the Roman
Empire, under separate foreign rule. During the centuries of foreign
rule, the north was developed far better than the south, due to the fact
that it was primarily controlled by nearby German/Holy Roman
Empire/Austrian regimes, while the south was neglected by its far-off
foreign masters. As a result, the north held much more wealth upon
unification in 1861, than its counterparts to the south, a situation
that has yet to be equalized.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: 90% Roman Catholic (about 1/3 practicing), other 10% is
largely Protestant (or Other Christian), about 1.5% Muslim; For Europe,
highly religious, due to dominant influence of Catholicism throughout
history, including recent history, as the Church keeps its HQ in Italy
(Rome). Only recently removed from status as official state religion,
for which it received preferential treatment and government funding.
Survey: 74% believe in God, 16% some other form of intelligent design,
6% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: 95% Italian, 1% Romanian (post WWII immigration for
employment opportunities), 1% Arab (North African from across
Mediterranean Sea).
Foreign Policy: Has supported UN missions, by contributing troops
to Africa and Afghanistan. Withdrew troops in Iraq.
Population: 58,145,321 (2008)

Formation of Nations (All European Nations)

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