Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

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Victor Emmanuel II (Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso; 14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was the King of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia from 1849 to 1861. On 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria).

Contents

Biography

Victor Emmanuel was born the eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Austria. His father was King of Sardinia. He lived for some years of his youth in Florence and showed an early interest in politics, the military, and sports. In 1842 he married his cousin Adelaide of Austria. He was styled as the Duke of Savoy prior to becoming King of Sardinia.

He took part in the First Italian War of Independence under his father, fighting in the front line at the battles of Pastrengo, Santa Lucia, Goito and Custoza.

He became King of Piedmont in 1849 when his father had abdicated the throne after a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians at Novara. Victor Emmanuel was immediately able to obtain a rather favorable armistice at Vignale by the Austrian commander, Radetzky. The treaty, however, was not ratified by the Piedmontese chamber, and Vittorio Emmanuele retaliated by firing Prime Minister Claudio Gabriele de Launay, replacing him with Massimo D'Azeglio. After new elections, the peace with Austria was accepted by the new Chamber of Deputies. In 1849 he also fiercely suppressed the revolt in Genoa, defining the rebels as a "vile and infected race of canailles".

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