When Franz Joseph I died prematurely because of his assassination in 1855 the Austria-Hungarian Empire fell apart leaving the Grand Duchy of Milan, which was formerly part of the Austrian territory, free and uncontrolled. Milan set up the Grand Duchy a few years after the collapse of the Austrian Empire.
Milan established the Grand Duchy in 1858 with its first grand-duke, Isidoro. Isidoro represented the peasants of Milan. He was born as an Italian instead of an Austrian or French and to the people of Milan he represented a small unification. He represented a sense of nationalism to Italians in the Italian Peninsula.