Kingdom of Italy

Kingdom of Italy

Regno d'Italia
Motto: FERT
Anthem: Marcia Reale d'Ordinanza
"Royal March of Ordinance"
Kingdom of Italy in 1936
Kingdom of Italy in 1936
Maximum extent of the Italian Empire
Maximum extent of the Italian Empire
Common languagesItalian
Roman Catholicism
• 1861–1878
Victor Emmanuel II
• 1878–1900
Umberto I
• 1900–1946
Victor Emmanuel III
• 1946
Umberto II
Prime Minister 
• 1861
Count of Cavour (first)
• 1922–1943
Benito Mussolini
(Il Duce from 1925)
• 1945–1946
Alcide De Gasperi (last)[a]
Chamber of Deputies
17 March 1861
31 October 1922
25 July 1943
2 June 1946
1861 (Italy proper)[1]250,320 km2 (96,650 sq mi)
1936 (Italy proper)[1]310,190 km2 (119,770 sq mi)
1938 (including colonies)[2]3,798,000 km2 (1,466,000 sq mi)
• 1861 (Italy proper)[1]
• 1936 (Italy proper)[1]
CurrencyLira (₤)
ISO 3166 codeIT
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia
Papal States
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Free State of Fiume
Italian Republic
Free Territory of Trieste
  1. ^ While the Kingdom of Italy ended in 1946, de Gasperi continued as Prime Minister until 1953.

The Kingdom of Italy (Italian: Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when a constitutional referendum led civil discontent to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

Italy declared war on Austria in alliance with Prussia in 1866 and received the region of Veneto following their victory. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, thereby ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882, following strong disagreements with France about the respective colonial expansions. However, even if relations with Berlin became very friendly, the alliance with Vienna remained purely formal as the Italians were keen to acquire Trentino and Trieste, corners of Austria-Hungary populated by Italians. So in 1915, Italy accepted the British invitation to join the Allied Powers, as the western powers promised territorial compensation (at the expense of Austria-Hungary) for participation that was more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality. Victory in the war gave Italy a permanent seat in the Council of the League of Nations.

"Fascist Italy" is the era of National Fascist Party government from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as head of government. The fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed the political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne (1996), "[the] Fascist government passed through several relatively distinct phases". The first phase (1923–1925) was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". Then came the second phase, "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper, from 1925 to 1929". The third phase, with less activism, was 1929 to 1934. The fourth phase, 1935–1940, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy: war against Ethiopia, which was launched from Eritrea and Italian Somaliland;[3] confrontations with the League of Nations, leading to sanctions; growing economic autarky; and the signing of the Pact of Steel. The war itself (1940–1943) was the fifth phase with its disasters and defeats, while the rump Salò Government under German control was the final stage (1943–1945).[4]

Italy was an important member of the Axis powers in World War II, until it signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943, after ousting Mussolini and shutting down the Fascist Party in areas (south of Rome) controlled by the Allied invaders. The remnant fascist state in northern Italy that continued fighting against the Allies was a puppet state of Germany, the Italian Social Republic, still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists. The post-armistice period saw the rise of the Italian Resistance, opposers of the Italian Fascism and the occupying German forces, which joined the Allies and led to the liberation of the country. Shortly after the war, civil discontent led to the constitutional referendum of 1946 on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the Italian Republic, the present-day Italian state.



Map of the Kingdom of Italy at its greatest extent in 1943

The Kingdom of Italy claimed all of the territory which covers present-day Italy and even more. The development of the Kingdom's territory progressed under Italian re-unification until 1870. The state for a long period of time did not include Trieste or Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, which were annexed in 1919 and remain Italian territories today. The Triple Entente promised to grant to Italy – if the state joined the Allies in World War I – several territories including former Austrian Littoral, western parts of former Duchy of Carniola, Northern Dalmazia and notably Zara, Sebenico and most of the Dalmatian islands (except Krk and Rab), according to the secret London Pact of 1915.[5]

After the compromise was nullified under pressure of President Woodrow Wilson with the Treaty of Versailles, Italian claims on Northern Dalmazia were voided. During World War II, the Kingdom gained additional territory: it gained Corsica, Nizza and Savoia from France after its surrender in 1940, territory in Slovenia and Dalmazia from Yugoslavia after its breakup in 1941 and Monaco in 1942. After World War II, the borders of present-day Italy were founded and the Kingdom abandoned its land claims.[6]

The Italian Empire also gained territory until the end of World War II through colonies, protectorates, military occupations and puppet states. These included Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Libya, Ethiopia (occupied by Italy from 1936 to 1941), Albania, British Somaliland, Greece (occupied in World War II), Tunisia, Croatia (Italian and German client state in World War II), Kosovo (occupied in World War II), Montenegro (occupied in World War II) and a 46-hectare concession from China in Tianjin (see Italian concession in Tianjin).[7]


The Kingdom of Italy was theoretically a constitutional monarchy. Executive power belonged to the monarch, as executed through appointed ministers. Two chambers of parliament restricted the monarch's power—an appointive Senate and an elective Chamber of Deputies. The kingdom's constitution was the Statuto Albertino, the former governing document of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In theory, ministers were solely responsible to the king. However, in practice it was impossible for an Italian government to stay in office without the support of Parliament.

Members of the Chamber of Deputies were elected by plurality voting system elections in uninominal districts. A candidate needed the support of 50% of those voting and of 25% of all enrolled voters to be elected on the first round of balloting. If not all seats were filled on the first ballot, a runoff was held shortly afterwards for the remaining vacancies.

After a brief multinominal experimentation in 1882, proportional representation into large, regional, multi-seat electoral constituencies was introduced after World War I. Socialists became the major party, but they were unable to form a government in a parliament split into three different factions, with Christian populists and classical liberals. Elections took place in 1919, 1921 and 1924: in this last occasion, Mussolini abolished the proportional representation replacing it with a block voting system on national bases, which gave to the Fascist Party the absolute majority of the Chamber seats.

Between 1925 and 1943, Italy was quasi-de jure Fascist dictatorship, as the constitution formally remained in effect without alteration by the Fascists, though the monarchy also formally accepted Fascist policies and Fascist institutions. Changes in politics occurred, consisting of the establishment of the Grand Council of Fascism as a government body in 1928, which took control of the government system, as well as the Chamber of Deputies being replaced with the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations as of 1939.


The monarchs of the House of Savoy who led Italy were:

Military structure

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Königreich Italien
aragonés: Reino d'Italia
azərbaycanca: İtaliya Krallığı
български: Кралство Италия
Esperanto: Itala Reĝlando
Kiswahili: Ufalme wa Italia
македонски: Кралство Италија
norsk nynorsk: Kongedømet Italia
sicilianu: Regnu d'Italia
slovenščina: Kraljevina Italija
српски / srpski: Краљевина Италија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kraljevina Italija
Tiếng Việt: Vương quốc Ý