Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

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Regno delle Due Sicilie
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816) .svg
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, svg
Official language Italian
Capital Palermo (1816-1817),

Naples (1817–1861)

Head of state , also head of government King
Ferdinand I (1816–1825)
Franz I (1825–1830)
Ferdinand II (1830–1859)
Franz II (1859–1860)
area 111,900 (1860) km²
population 8,703,000 (1860)
Population density 77.8 inhabitants per km²
independence 1816 to 1861
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Template: Infobox State / Maintenance / NAME-GERMAN

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ( Italian Regno delle Due Sicilie ) was a state in southern Italy . It was established on December 8, 1816 by constitutional union of two previously only in personal union affiliated kingdoms , both of the term "historical reasons Kingdom of Sicily " contributed, as they in a papal bull of Pope Clement IV. From the year 1265 as the Kingdom of Sicily on both sides of the lighthouse of Messina ( Latin Regnum Siciliae citra et ultra Pharum ).

The otherworldly Kingdom of Sicily ("Regno di Sicilia ulteriore") comprised the island of Sicily with the capital Palermo , while the thisworldly Kingdom of Sicily ("Regno di Sicilia citeriore") comprised the southern Italian mainland with the capital Naples , this being "Mainland Sicily" for better distinction it is also called the Kingdom of Naples .

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies thus encompassed all of southern Italy and until the unification of Italy was the largest of the Italian states, but also the poorest economically. The form of government since 1816 was that of absolute monarchy ; only on January 29, 1848, the kingdom received a constitution .

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies existed until 1860, when it was conquered by militants led by Giuseppe Garibaldi and united with the newly created Kingdom of Italy . The last King Franz II capitulated on February 13, 1861.


High and late Middle Ages

From 1061 Norman warriors conquered the island of Sicily, which had been ruled by the Saracens since 827 . The conqueror Roger I became Count of Sicily and Calabria . His son Roger II inherited the Duchy of Apulia . In 1131 it became the Kingdom of Sicily. Through further conquests, Roger II was able to extend his rule over all of southern Italy to the Papal States.

Palazzo Reale in Palermo, built by Roger II (1st half of the 12th century)

The previously Norman Kingdom of Sicily fell in 1194 to the Hohenstaufen Henry VI. , who married Constance of Sicily in 1186 , the daughter of the Norman king Roger II of Sicily and aunt and heiress of the last Norman king Wilhelm II. Rival rival kings from the Norman ruling family were finally eliminated by military force.

When in 1197 Heinrich VI. Surprisingly died at the age of 32, Konstanze took over the rule of the Sicilian kingdom as regent for her son. As Frederick II , he was elected German king in 1196 at the age of two, but was no longer recognized as such after the death of his father. In 1212, at the instigation of the Pope ( Innocent III ), he was finally crowned German king, initially as an anti-king to Otto IV , and in 1220 as emperor. However, Frederick II (Frederick I of Sicily) rarely stayed on German soil, but ruled his empire from southern Italy. In contrast to the (Lombard) Kingdom of Italy north of the Papal States, the Kingdom of Sicily never became part of the Holy Roman Empire .

Castel Nuovo in Naples, built from 1279

As a result of the worsening conflict between the Staufer dynasty and the papacy, the French Prince Charles of Anjou was lifted to the Sicilian throne by Pope Clement IV in 1265 . Charles came to power in 1266 through his victory over the Staufer King Manfred , who initially administered Sicily as regent for his underage and absent nephew Konradin , but then accepted the royal dignity himself. As the last Staufer to claim and fight for the Sicilian throne, Konradin was captured in 1268 and executed by his opponent in Naples. Unlike in Naples, which was the focus of the Anjou rule, the French rule in Sicily was eliminated after a few years by the popular uprising of 1282 (" Sicilian Vespers "), which instead was given to Peter III. von Aragon , a son-in-law of the Hohenstaufen king Manfred, was also made king of the island. The old Norman-Staufer kingdom had since been divided into the Aragonese kingdom of Sicily and the kingdom of Naples ruled by the Anjou - despite mutual claims to rule . In the Peace of Caltabellotta 1302 , the Aragonese King Frederick II of Sicily and the Angevin King Charles II of Naples recognized the rule of each other, although the ancient name "Trinacria" was chosen for the island, while the title "King of Sicily ”remained connected with the Neapolitan rule, with which there were now two kingdoms called Sicily.

A brief "reunification" took place from Sicily when in 1442 the Aragonese-Sicilian King Alfonso V also brought the Kingdom of Naples under his rule. With Alfons' death, this southern Italian personal union dissolved again, as the Aragonese heir to the throne John II (1458 - 1479) was only recognized in Sicily, but not in Naples, where Ferdinand (Ferrante, 1458 - 1494) , an illegitimate son of Alfons V., in 1458 seized the rule. His descendants, however, lost Naples in 1495 first to the French King Charles VIII , who claimed old Anjou throne rights for himself, and at the end of the wars it triggered in 1501/04 to King Ferdinand V of Aragon and Sicily (1479 - 1516).

Early modern age

Through the dynastic connection of the Habsburgs with the houses of Aragon and Castile in 1494 , Naples and Sicily also fell to Charles V in 1516 .

With the extinction of the Spanish Habsburgs in 1700, Naples and Sicily got caught up in the turmoil of the War of the Spanish Succession . After the initial rule of the Bourbons now ruling Spain , central Italy was occupied by Austria in 1707/08 , whose Habsburg line also laid claim to the kingdom.

The peace treaties of 1713/14 ( Utrecht / Rastatt ) left the Kingdom of Naples with Austria , but assigned the Kingdom of Sicily to Viktor Amadeus of Savoy , who, however, exchanged this with the Habsburgs for Sardinia in 1720. Since then, people have spoken of the “Kingdom of the Two Sicilies” or “Naples-Sicilies”. Sicily was ruled by Austria until 1737.

In the War of the Polish Succession , the Austrians were harassed here by Spanish troops, who based the claims of the Duke of Parma and Spanish Infante Charles on Naples and Sicily and won at Bitonto in 1734 .

Infant Karl of the House of Bourbon ruled both Sicilies from 1735 to 1759 when he became King of Spain. He was the first king of Naples and Sicily to personally live and rule there for over 230 years. The center of power was or remained Naples , which was splendidly expanded by the new Bourbon kings, while Sicily retained a secondary and semi-colonial status. North of Naples was Karl in Caserta to build a Baroque planned city begin and foresaw the seat of government in the Palace of Caserta to install. With enlightened, especially against the influence of the Catholic Church -related reforms attempted Karl, raise the relatively weak state again.

When this assertive monarch became king of Spain in 1759, he had to cede his previous kingdom to his younger son Ferdinand IV , who founded the branch line Bourbon-Sicily , since this crown was not allowed to be unified according to international treaties with Naples-Sicily . This was connected to the Austrian Habsburgs through the marriage of Ferdinand IV and Maria Karolina of Austria , a daughter of Empress Maria Theresa , on May 12, 1768. Initially dominated by the double influence of the great powers Spain and Austria, Naples-Sicily - especially in the course of the French Revolutionary Wars from 1792 - became increasingly dependent on the naval power Great Britain in order to defend itself against the new European supremacy France .

French Revolutionary Period

In 1799, the Bourbon rule in the partial kingdom of Naples was ended by revolutionary French troops who established the Parthenopean Republic there together with southern Italian supporters of the revolution . The king, who fled to his Sicilian capital Palermo under British protection, was brought back to power in Naples by the early withdrawal of the French and a bloody anti-revolutionary uprising of the rural population under the leadership of Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo . Numerous local revolutionaries were then executed. The cruel anti-revolutionary furor of the Sicilian Bourbons - namely the Habsburg Queen Maria Carolina  - was reflected in a colportage around 1900 in the Puccini opera Tosca in the form of the villainous Bourbon police chief Baron Scarpia.

In 1806 the French Emperor Napoleon I conquered Naples for the second time. The Bonapartid Kingdom of Naples was established in close dependence on France, initially under the rule of Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte , who moved to Spain, which had also been conquered in 1808, then under Napoleon's brother-in-law Joachim Murat , who continued to change sides in Naples after Napoleon's first fall in 1814 could hold, however in 1815 - now on the side of the returned, but decisively defeated Napoleon at Waterloo - lost his empire and a little later his life.

Bourbon restoration and conflict with Habsburg

Street fight of the 4th Swiss Regiment in Naples, May 15, 1848

In the meantime, under the protection of the British fleet, the bourbon Ferdinand had maintained his partial kingdom of Sicily, but had to grant a constitution and a modern parliament there in 1812 due to growing demands of the nobility for domestic political participation and massive British pressure. After the repossession of Naples in 1815, the Bourbon king did everything in the context of a general European reaction policy under the leadership of Austria and Russia to reverse these forced liberal concessions. When he with international approval Naples and Sicily in 1816 to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ( Regno delle Due Sicilie had) united and henceforth called King Ferdinand I. Two Sicilies, with this political unification especially the abolition of the autonomous Sicilian Constitution and there he Parliament for Target. Until the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860, the affairs of government were led by a succession of 17 prime ministers .

Italy in 1843

As a result of this forced state unification, which was also anti-constitutional and reactionary, the spirit of resistance and separatism in Sicily was subsequently rekindled. When there was a military coup in Naples in 1820, which forced Ferdinand to grant a constitution for the entire state of the two Sicilies, which was removed again in 1821 by an internationally approved Austrian military intervention, Sicily did not join the Neapolitan liberals, but fought for it the restoration of his statehood and his own constitution of 1812, which - along with the uncompromising attitude of the Neapolitan leaders - contributed significantly to the failure of both revolutions. Something similar was repeated in 1848: initially an uprising initiated by Francesco Crispi in Palermo forced the Sicilian King Ferdinand II to grant a constitution for his entire state in order to avoid something similar in Naples, but another revolutionary escalation in Sicily, which declared itself completely independent and declared the Bourbons deposed, enabled the king, first in Naples and then in Sicily, to bring about a brutal military suppression of all opposition. Because of the ruthless bombardment of Palermo by Neapolitan warships, Ferdinand II received the dirty name "Re Bomba" (King Cannonball). His regime has since been accused of tyranny among European liberals. In the decisive crisis of 1859/61 this led to Sicily being isolated from the Italian unity movement in terms of foreign policy.

In July 1831 a volcanic island appeared in the Gulf of Sicily , which was named after the King of Naples Ferdinandea and which threatened to become a bone of contention between the kingdom and England . Before serious clashes broke out, however, the island disappeared again under the surface of the sea as a result of the surf of the Mediterranean Sea .

Flag from 1848 to 1849

First, in 1859, the course of the Franco-Sardinian-Austrian war eliminated the previous Austrian rule in Upper and Central Italy , which in 1860 led to the annexation of all previous Italian states (except for a smaller papal state and Sicily) to the Kingdom of Sardinia . In this crisis, which completely smashed the reactionary status quo in Italy , which was once again restored by Austria in 1849 , the southern Italian kingdom of the two Sicilies remained neutral under the young King Francis II , without realizing that at most a rapid adjustment to the liberal-national tendencies statehood might still have saved. The last Bourbon refused offers from the now overpowering Sardinia to join the emerging constitutional-liberal monarchy Italy , domestic political concessions came too late, remained half-hearted and, given the unreliability of his ancestors, found hardly any trust.


Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, 1860 to 1861
Francis II, the last king of the two Sicilies

When a group set up in Sardinia, the Train of a Thousand , under the leadership of the revolutionary Garibaldi first landed in Sicily in 1860, after whose “liberation” then marched into Naples, the Bourbon regime collapsed. Francis II withdrew with the remnants of his army to the fortress Gaeta (see General Felix von Schumacher , the defender of Gaeta). In order not to leave the conquest of Italy to the “left” revolutionaries, the King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II , declared war on the Sicilian monarchy, which ended in February 1861 with the surrender of Gaeta.

The last king of the two Sicilies withdrew into Roman exile , and his previous kingdom joined the new Italy through controlled plebiscites . Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa later described this revolutionary upheaval in the novel Il Gattopardo (“If we want everything to stay as it is, everything has to change”), which was made into a film in 1963 under the title The Leopard .

It is often unknown that the Italian army waged a war of subjugation against the so-called " brigands " such as Carmine Crocco and Damiano Vellucci in the following years . This partisan war was waged with extreme cruelty on both sides. The majority of the brigands opposed the much more present modern nation-state. However, they can only be described to a limited extent as forces loyal to the Bourbon family, which, like the Ruffo movement around 1800, aimed at re-establishing the Ancien Régime. However, it is true that the Bourbon monarchy in the two Sicilies relied less on the nobility or the upper urban bourgeoisie, but primarily on the military and police and, if necessary, on a lower class who was prepared to use violence. The backwardness of the country was evident in 1861 with a literacy rate of 10 to 15%, while in the north only about half were illiterate .

See also


  • Pietro Colletta, John A. Davis: The history of the kingdom of Naples. From the accession of Charles of Bourbon to the death of Ferdinand I. 2 volumes, Tauris, London 2009, ISBN 978-1-84511-881-5 .
  • John A. Davis: Naples and Napoleon. Southern Italy and the European revolutions (1780-1860). Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006, ISBN 0-19-820755-7 .
  • Girolamo Imbruglia: Naples in the Eighteenth Century. The Birth and Death of a Nation State. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007, ISBN 978-0-521-03815-7 .
  • Jörg Reimann: Naples and Sicily 1450 to 1650. Politics, economy, population and culture. Kovac, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-8300-1886-X .

Web links

Commons : Kingdom of the Two Sicilies  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Erbe (Ed.): The early modern times. Basic history course. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 3-17-018973-5 , p. 205.
  2. ^ Heinrich August Winkler : History of the West. From the beginnings in antiquity to the 20th century. Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-61565-8 , p. 724.