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The Kingdom of Italy is a nation on Western and Southern Europe. It was originally a group of city-states, until a Duci of Tuscany unified Italy.
Until 1589, Italy was divided into several city-states, most notably the Lombard ones in the north of Italy, which were:
Most of the nations on the north spoke the Francolatino dialect of Italian, while the Tuscans talked the Toscano dialect (the standard Italian derives from Toscano). Tuscany quickly became the most notable region, mostly due to the many cultural and artistic developments of many Tuscan artists, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and to scientific improvement (Galileo Galilei lived in Pisa, for example). Tuscany was a fairly modernistic but still extremely religious, due to the fact that the leaders both patronized arts and science but mostly were part of some cardinal's or (most notably) pope's family (for example, Lorenzo "the Great" de'Medici (1449-1492) patronized most important Florentine artists and scientists, but one of his children became Pope Leo X). That he was a familiar of an earlier Pope and many cardinals (also because he defeated several enemies of the Papal States) was one of the main causes the Duchy of Florence became the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Cosimo de'Medici, on 1589 (his last year of life, which on this TL was prolonged 15 years), was able to convince the Lombard nations to join Tuscany. He proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy, with the capital on Florence.
His son, Francesco I de'Medici, was a despotic ruler, who left the Holy Roman Empire after forcing Austria to cede the Trentino region. Francesco also menaced the Papal States, who because of that and the fear of rebellion, had to move to Avignon and give the Italian territories to Italy.
The XVI Century ended with rising tensions between Spain and Italy, because Spain controlled the Two Sicilies and Sardinia, but Italy had laid claim to it.
Colonization (Part I)
Both Giovanni Caboto and Cristoforo Colombo had sailed to the west in service of European kings (Castile and England), discovering America and the land that would later become Nuova Terra, the only Italian foothold on North America. On 1595, the new Italian Navy sent colonists to America. After some months searching for a foothold, they arrived at a territory that, in name of Cristoforo Colombo, they called Colombia. However, they found several Spanish settlements there. However, because of them having a much more numerous settlement, they were able to expulse the Spanish settlement. That was considered a serious offense by the Spanish, which led to the Spanish-Italian Crisis and then the War of the Two Sicilies. On 1601, Patagonia (including OTL Chile and South Argentina) was colonized.
The War of the Two Sicilies
Spain declared war upon Italy the first of May, 1596. On the second, the Spanish started the May Offensive, in which twenty thousand Spanish troops marched towards Colombia and the north of Italy, taking Rome the seventh of May and Medellín (the Colombian regional capital) the tenth. However, the Italians mobilized and moved their army south. The fifth of June, Napoli was taken, while the tenth, Napoli was occupied. By the twentieth of June, all of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily and Sardinia were under Italian control. The first of July, the Italian Parliament and the Italian King ratified a peace treaty saying:
1) That all of the Two Sicilies, Sardinia and the rest of Colombia would be given to Italy
2) That 200,000 golden Lyres would be given to Italy in compensation for the war.
The treaty was signed by the Spanish on Palma de Mallorca the Third of May, which became the Italian national day, because it marks the end of Italian Unification.
Colonization (Part II)
The Italians arrived at Newfoundland (Terranova), making a treaty with the Scottish Empire, giving the Scots freedom of colonization on a Nova Scotia (OTL New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). The Scottish accepted, and Scottish-Italian relations started getting closer. Newfoundland was then renamed Terranova.
Italy had colonized a few towns in Tunis by 1590. However, after the War of the Two Sicilies, the Italian government stops colonizing any of America excepting for some Caribbean islands. That move would soon be regretted by the Italians. The Italian government continued colonizing parts of Africa rather quickly, going from a few occupation zones in Tunis (1595) to all of it and Libia (OTL Libya, 1604). By 1620, colonization of Sudan has started, while by 1635, the Italians have already subjugated most of the East African kingdoms on what would be the Federazione Africana Orientale (East African Federation).
During this era, Italy was known as the "Italian Empire". On the late-1600's, Italy had entered its maximum splendour.
The Thirty Years War
The Thirty Years War was the result of twenty years of religious intolerance between the Roman Catholics of Italy and the Sunni Muslims of the Ottoman Empire. On 1639, the Ottoman Empire passed a new law dictating that every Christian on the Ottoman territory had to pay twice the original dhimmi tax to be protected as a dhimmi. The Italians condemned that, starting an anti-Ottoman policy so intolerant that the Italians funded the Greek Revolt of 1639. The Ottomans finally blamed Italy for the revolt,and declared war upon them. Although this is the generally accepted theory, records of it are unclear, and some historians claim by the fact that the Ottomans claimed Italian-controlled Tunis and Libya.
The Ottoman Empire asked their allies, France, to help them in the war. the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Spain attacked France, creating the Triple Entente (Italy, Poland-Lithuania, Spain). The joint Italo-Spanish army then attacked the French army at Andorra. Unfortunately, the Italo-Spanish army was misinformed, and the French army was much superior to what they thought it would be. The Battle of Andorra was the first important win for the French in the age.
On the Ottoman front, the Italians invaded Albania and Greece. By the second month of the war, Athens had been occupied, fortunately not being ransacked by the enemy troops. By the fifth month, the Ottomans were so weakened they couldn't stop the Italian army from besieging Istanbul. The Siege of Istanbul ended two months later, and the Italians ransacked the city. The Blue Mosque was burned, as was the Süleymaniye Mosque. However, most of the Greek cultural spots were spared (Hagia Sophia was the Greek building with greatest damage, with the Muslim symbols burned and most of the minarets destroyed), due to reasons that are still confusing to historians (although most of them think it was due to the fact that the war was partly or entirely for liberation of the Greeks). This acts were repeated on Cairo, occupied only a month after the war started. The Cairo Citadel practically disappeared, while the Al Ahzar University was burned, with many scripts saved but most of them destroyed. Damascus and Jerusalem were the only Muslim cities saved from similar destruction. The war ended on the Ottoman Empire by the tenth month of 1640 with Italy gaining Istria, Crete and Cyprus, the Ottomans losing all claims on Libya and Tunis, and Yugoslavia and Hungary liberated (some historians consider the war a loss due to this because the war was supposedly started for liberating Greece and Greece was not liberated). Some historians consider the Italians not liberating Greece to be the start of the next 370 years of insecurity and revolts on Greece and Bulgaria, probably the only cause that the Greeks and Bulgarians were not Islamized during the age.
On the west, things were not running so smoothly. France had forced the Holy Roman Empire to declare war upon the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and France annexed Switzerland itself. The Holy Roman Empire occupied Warsaw in a matter of weeks. Madrid resisted a little longer, but it too succumbed to France. However, the French navies were defeated in several great naval battles (most notably that of Ajaccio on Corsica) and it's armies could not pass through the well-defended Italian Alps. The Italian navy then started its own offensives, landing armies on the Balearics (1645) and Barcelona (1648). By January 1, 1649, the war frontier had gone back to the Pyrenees. Italy defeated large French armies at Bern and Monaco, occupying Poitiers on June 5, 1660 and besieging Paris on 1667. On 1669, the French signed a treaty with Italy, saying that:
- Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg would be annexed by France.
- In exchange, France would give the lands surrounding the Rhone and everything east of it to Italy.
The Thirty Years War had ended.
After the Thirty Years War, Italy had stopped colonizing on most of the world (Central and Eastern Africa, and Patagonia were colonized during the age, although more slowly). The ex-Spanish colonies won in the War of the Two Sicilies became of Italian ethnicity and culture. The cities grew on gigantic velocity, most notably:
- Florence on mainland Italy (500,000 inhabitants by 1699)
- Nuova Firenze on East Africa (200,000 inhabitants by 1695)
- Medellín on Colombia (200,000 inhabitants by 1697)
- Porto del Re on Guinea (150,000 inhabitants by 1695)
- Santiago de Chile on Patagonia (100,000 inhabitants on 1690)