Umberto I of Italy

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Umberto I or Humbert I (Italian: Umberto Ranieri Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio di Savoia, English: Humbert Ranier Charles Emmanuel John Mary Ferdinand Eugene of Savoy; 14 March 1844 – 29 July 1900), nicknamed the Good (in Italian il Buono), was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his death. He was deeply loathed in far-left circles, especially among anarchists, because of his conservatism and support of the Bava-Beccaris massacre in Milan. He was killed by anarchist Gaetano Bresci two years after the incident.

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Youth

The son of Victor Emmanuel II and Archduchess Adelaide of Austria, Umberto was born in Turin, which was then capital of the kingdom of Sardinia, on 14 March 1844. His education was entrusted to, amongst others, Massimo Taparelli, marquis d'Azeglio and Pasquale Stanislao Mancini.

From March 1858 he had a military career in the Sardinian army, beginning with the rank of captain. Umberto took part in the Italian Wars of Independence: he was present at the battle of Solferino in 1859, and in 1866 commanded the XVI Division at the Villafranca battle that followed the Italian defeat at Custoza.

Because of the upheaval the Savoys caused to a number of other royal houses (all the Italian ones, and those related closely with them, such as the Bourbons of Spain and France) in 1859-60, only a minority of royal families the 1860s were willing to establish relations with the newly-founded Italian royal family. It proved difficult to find any royal bride for either of the sons of king Victor Emmanuel II. (His younger son Amedeo, Umberto's brother, married ultimately a Piedmontese subject, princess Vittoria of Cisterna). Their conflict with the papacy did not help these matters. Not many eligible catholic royal brides were easily available for young Umberto.

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