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By the mid-19th century, a rising movement in support of Italian nationalism and Italian independence from foreign control lead to a period of revolutionary political upheaval known as the Risorgimento, which sought to bring about a rebirth of Italian cultural and economic prominence by liberating and consolidating the Italian peninsula and insular Italy into an independent and unified nation-state. After various unsuccessful attempts, the Italian Wars of Independence, the Expedition of the Thousand and the capture of Rome resulted in the eventual unification of the country, now a great power after centuries of foreign domination and political division. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the new Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialized, especially in the so-called Industrial Triangle of Milan, Turin and Genoa in the North, and soon acquired a colonial empire. However, the southern areas of the country remained largely excluded from industrialization, fuelling a large and influential diaspora.
Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading the way to the rise of a Fascist dictatorship in 1922. Their subsequent participation in the Second World War as co-belligerents of the Allied Powers led to the destruction of much of northern Italy and the death of several million Italians, but led Italy to become one of the biggest victors of the conflict. After the end of the war, Italy was rechristened the Italian Empire and became a superpower that was at the forefront of the Cold War. For much of the 20th century, Italy and its allies in the Fascist International espoused a third-way ideology, free from influence of both the Eastern Bloc and the Western Powers. Near the end of the Cold War, the Italian Empire once again became the Kingdom of Italy after the transition to democracy.
Italy has the second largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest economy in the world. It has a very high level of human development and enjoys the highest life expectancy in Europe. Italy plays a large role in global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs as it still regarded as a world power and retains a large amount of influence over its former empire and former fascist nations. Italy is a founding and leading member of the Mediterranean Union, the G7/G8, G20, and more. Italy shares land borders with France, Switzerland, South Germany, Slovenia, the Moesian Federation, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece in Europe, while Italy's African territories border French Algeria, Niger, Chad, Egypt, Darfur, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.