- Umberto I of Italy
Infobox Italian Royalty|monarch
name =Umberto I
title =King of Italy
January 9, 1878- July 29, 1900
predecessor =Victor Emmanuel II
successor =Victor Emmanuel III
Margherita of Savoy
issue =Victor Emmanuel III
royal house =
House of Savoy
royal anthem =
father =Victor Emmanuel II
Maria Adelaide of Austria
date of birth =
14 March, 1844
place of birth =
Turin, Kingdom of Savoy
date of death =death date and age|1900|7|29|1844|3|13
place of death =
Monza, Kingdom of Italy
place of burial =Pantheon,
Rome, Kingdom of Italy|
Umberto I, King of Italy or Humbert I of Italy ("Umberto Ranieri Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio di Savoy"), English: "Humbert Ranier Charles Emmanuel John Mary Ferdinand Eugene of Savoy" (
14 March, 1844– 29 July, 1900) was the King of Italyfrom 9 January 1878until his death. He was deeply loathed in left-wing circles, especially among anarchists, because of his hard-line conservatism and support of the Bava-Beccaris massacrein Milan. He was killed by anarchist Gaetano Brescitwo years after the incident.
The son of Vittorio Emanuele II and Archduchess Maria Adelaide of Austria, Umberto was born in
Turin, which was then capital of the kingdom of Sardinia, on March 14, 1844. His education was entrusted to, amongst others, Massimo Taparelli, marquis d'Azeglioand 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 Solferinoin 1859, and in 1866 commanded the XVI Division at the Villafranca battle that followed the Italian defeat at Custoza.
21 April, 1868Umberto married his first cousin, Margherita Teresa Giovanna, Princess of Savoy. Their only son was Victor Emmanuel, prince of Naples; later Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.
Ascending the throne on the death of his father (
January 9, 1878), Umberto adopted the title "Umberto I of Italy" rather than "Umberto IV" (of Savoy), and consented that the remains of his father should be interred at Romein the Pantheon, rather than the royal mausoleumof Basilica of Superga.
First assassination attempt
While on a tour of the kingdom, accompanied by Premier
Benedetto Cairoli, he was attacked by an anarchist, Giovanni Passannante, during a parade in Naples on November 17, 1878. The King warded off the blow with his sabre, but Cairoli, in attempting to defend him, was severely wounded in the thigh. The would-be assassin was condemned to death, even though the law only allowed the death penalty if the King was killed. The King commuted the sentence to one of penal servitudefor life, which was served in conditions in a cell only 1.4 meters high, without sanitation and with 18 kilograms of chains. Passanante would later die in a psychiatric institution, after torturehad driven him insane [Salvatore Merlino, «L'Italia così com'è», 1891 in "Al caffè", by Errico Malatesta, 1922] . The incident upset the health of Queen Margherita for several yearsFact|date=July 2008.
Alliances and colonialism
In foreign policy Umberto I approved the Triple Alliance with
Austria-Hungaryand Germany, repeatedly visiting Viennaand Berlin. Many in Italy, however, viewed with hostility an alliance with their former Austrian enemies, who were still occupying areas claimed by Italy.
Umberto was also favorably disposed towards the policy of colonial expansion inaugurated in 1885 by the occupation of
Massawain Eritrea. Italy expanded into Somalia in the 1880s as well. Umberto I was suspected of aspiring to a vast empire in north-east Africa, a suspicion which tended somewhat to diminish his popularity after the disastrous Battle of Adowain Ethiopiaon 1 March 1896.
In the summer of 1900, Italian forces were part of the
Eight-Nation Alliancewhich participated in the Boxer Rebellionin Imperial China. Through the Boxer Protocol, signed after Umberto's death, the Kingdom of Italy gained a concession territory in Tientsin.
The reign of Umberto I was a time of social upheaval, though it was later claimed to have been a tranquil "belle époque". Social tensions mounted as a consequence of the relatively recent occupation of the kingdom of the two Sicilies, the spread of socialist ideas, public hostility to the
colonialistplans of the various governments, especially Crispi's, and the numerous crackdowns on civil liberties. The protesters included the young Benito Mussolini, then a member of the socialist party.
During the colonial wars in Africa, large demonstrations over the rising price of bread were held in Italy and on
May 7, 1898the city of Milanwas put under military control by General Fiorenzo Bava-Beccaris, who ordered the use of cannonon the demonstrators; as a result, about 100 people were killed according to the authorities (some claim the death toll was about 350); about a thousand were wounded. King Umberto sent a telegram to congratulate Bava-Beccaris on the restoration of order and later decorated him with the medal of Great Official of Savoy Military Order, greatly outraging a large part of the public opinion.
To a certain extent his popularity was enhanced by the firmness of his attitude towards the Vatican, as exemplified in his telegram declaring Rome "untouchable" (
20 September, 1886), and affirming the permanence of the Italian possession of the "Eternal City".
Umberto I was attacked again, by an unemployed ironsmith,
Pietro Acciarito, who tried to stab him near Rome on 22 April, 1897.
Finally, he was murdered with four revolver shots by the Italo-American anarchist
Gaetano Bresciin Monza, on the evening of 29 July, 1900. Bresci claimed he wanted to avenge the people killed during the Bava-Beccaris massacre. Official propagandaof the day gave the assassinated King the nickname "the Good".
He was buried in the Pantheon in Rome, by the side of his father Victor Emmanuel II, on
9 August, 1900. He was the last Savoy to be buried there, as his son and successor Victor Emmanuel IIIdied in exile.
A newspaper report of Bresci's attack was carried and frequently read by the American anarchist
Leon Czolgosz; Czolgosz used the assassination of Umberto I as his inspiration to murder U. S. President William McKinleyin September, 1901 under the banner of Anarchism.
Titles as King of Italy
From 1860 to 1946, the following titles were used by the
King of Italy:
Umberto the First,
by the Grace of God, King of Italy, King of Sardinia, Cyprus, Jerusalem, Armenia, Duke of Savoy, countof Maurienne, Marquis (of the Holy Roman Empire) in Italy; prince of Piedmont, Carignano, Oneglia, Poirino, Trino; Prince and Perpetual vicarof the Holy Roman Empire; prince of Carmagnola, Montmellian with Arbin and Francin, prince bailliff of the Duchy of Aosta, Princeof Chieri, Dronero, Crescentino, Riva di Chieri e Banna, Busca, Bene, Brà, Duke of Genoa, Montferrat, Aosta, Duke of Chablais, Genevois, Duke of Piacenza, Marquisof Saluzzo(Saluces), Ivrea, Susa, del Maro, Oristano, Cesana, Savona, Tarantasia, Borgomanero e Cureggio, Caselle, Rivoli, Pianezza, Govone, Salussola, Racconigi con Tegerone, Migliabruna e Motturone, Cavallermaggiore, Marene, Modane e Lanslebourg, Livorno Ferraris, Santhià Agliè, Centallo e Demonte, Desana, Ghemme, Vigone, Count of Barge, Villafranca, Ginevra, Nizza, Tenda, Romont, Asti, Alessandria, del Goceano, Novara, Tortona, Bobbio, Soissons, Sant'Antioco, Pollenzo, Roccabruna, Tricerro, Bairo, Ozegna, delle Apertole, Baronof Vaud e del Faucigni, Lordof Vercelli, Pinerolo, della Lomellina, della Valle Sesia, del marchesato di Ceva, Overlord of Monaco, Roccabruna and 11/12th of Menton, Noble patrician of Venice, patrician of Ferrara.
*"Remember to be a king all you need to know is how to sign your name, read a newspaper and mount a horse".
style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
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1= 1. Umberto I of Italy
Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Adelaide, Queen of Sardinia
Charles Albert of Sardinia
Maria Theresa of Austria and Tuscany
Archduke Rainer of Austria
Princess Elisabeth of Savoy-Carignano
Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, 6th Prince of Carignano
Princess Maria Christina of Saxony
Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Luisa of the Two Sicilies
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
13= 13. Infanta Maria Louisa of Spain
Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, 6th Prince of Carignano
Princess Maria Christina of Saxony
Marie François Sadi Carnot
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
* [http://www.chivalricorders.org/royalty/gotha/italygen.htm External link: Genealogy of recent members of the House of Savoy]
s-ttl|title=King of Italy
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