In this timeline Sicily unites Italy, establishes Naples as its capital and becomes a major colonial power.
Point of Convergence
In this timeline the War of the Quadruple alliance never occurs, thus allowing King Victor Amadeus to retain control of Sicily to build his power and military might.
As a reward for his service in the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 Victor Amadeus II is installed as King of Sicily, ruling from Palermo. However, King Victor has designs on the mainland and the islands of Sardinia and Corsica and began training and preparing a Sicilian army and navy. On April 2, 1720 12,000 Sicilian troops landed in Calabria, Southern Italy and began marching towards Naples, at the same time a Sicilian fleet of one-hundred ten ships was sailing towards Naples to help take the city. On the march Sicilian troops urged the peasants to rise up and liberate Naples from Hapsburg rule adding another twenty-thousand peasant soldiers to their numbers.
The army reached Naples on April 21, and discovered the fleet had already begun a siege several days earlier, the troops began an artillery bombardment and the city surrendered. King Victor was praised as a hero for reuniting the traditional territory of the Kingdom of Sicily and moved his court to Naples. Three years later King Victor began another campaign to conquer Corsica which was held by Genoa and dispatched 20,000 troops and 250 warships to claim Genoa. When the force arrived the outnumbered and poorly trained Genoese surrendered, the Republic of Genoa was forced to accept the annexation because of Naples' greater power.
On September 3, 1730 the aging King Victor abdicated and passed the throne on to his heir Charles Emmanuel III, he gave his son the mission of finishing the unification of Italy. On October 23, 1733 King Charles marched on Milan and took it without heavy losses, the fall of Milan added the region of Lombardy to the Neapolitan Kingdom. Charles Emmanuel sided with the Austrians and the English in the War of Austrian Succession and defeated a large force of Franco-Spanish troops. Before the war's end Charles Emmanuel invaded and captured the enemy city of Genoa, effectively annexing the Republic of Genoa. Following the end of the war Charles Emmanuel was awarded the Provinces of Nice and Savoy for his participation.
On June 21, 1750 King Charles Emmanuel declared the annexation of all remaining Italian states, even the Papal states, while met with some resistance at first once he demonstrated his strength and qualities as a leader all of Italy accepted him as their King. In 1756 Charles Emmanuel allied with the British in the Seven Years War after being promised the French colonies in the Caribbean, namely Hispaniola. Italy seized Monaco from France but its contribution was its navy when it proved decisive in defeating France in the Caribbean and on the war's conclusion took ownership of Hispaniola.
Kingdom of Italy
On September 3, 1773 King Charles Emmanuel I of Italy died, leaving the throne to his son Victor Emmanuel. On the outbreak of the American Revolution Victor Emmanuel, like the French, secretly supported the Americans until the Battle of Saratoga when he decided to openly send supplies and troops to aid the Americans. When the French Revolution broke out in 1789 Victor Emmanuel declined joining the First Coalition claiming that his people were happy with his rule and unlikely to revolt.
After the death of Victor Emmanuel I and the short and unremarkable rule of Charles Emmanuel II Victor Emmanuel of Italy took the throne. Victor Emmanuel I was notable for successfully resisting Napoleons invasions using Italy's Geography and superior navy to hold back the French. Upon the defeat of Napoleon the Congress of Vienna did not affect Italy as Napoleon had never conquered the country.
The first factories in Italy opened in Milan, Monaco and Florence. When the Industrial Revolution came to Italy it created a national divide between North and South. The North was traditionally wealthier and more urbanized than the south and the Industrial Revolution made the situation worse. However industrial development was limited by Italy's limited coal reserves, only when hydroelectricity was discovered was real progress made.
Africa (1831-1885)The Industrial Revolution drove Italy along with many other European nations to establish or expand their overseas empires. The first and most obvious target was Africa, it was large, wealthy and the natives were primitive and divided and Italy held the advantage of position. Italy set its sights on Ottoman controlled territories in Africa (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Eretria) The Italians launched a full scale invasion on August 12, 1831 and despite initial setbacks and miscommunication all Ottoman territories in Egypt fell by 1835. Following the fall of Ottoman Africa, Italy began to expand into the interior but was challenged by the French and the British. The Italians greatest resistance came from Mahdist rebels in Sudan in 1881, the eight year rebellion caused heavy casualties on both sides but was ultimately crushed by the superior Italian forces. At the Berlin Conference Italy vigorously defended its territorial holdings instead claiming independent African lands be divided. Following the Berlin Conference Italy ceased its African Expansions instead focusing on Asia.
Asia (1885-1891)On October 9, 1885 Italian Prime Minister Agostino Depretis purchased the British colony of Sri Lanka, a large island of the coast of India. The island would serve as a base for an Italian invasion of British Singapore, which was the first battle of Anglo-Italian War. The war raged for six years with a bloody stalemate throughout the entire war, the Italians tried eight times to capture Singapore, finally succeeding on March 5, 1891. The fall of Singapore broke Britain's spirit and the Treaty of Cairo was signed, Britain formally ceded Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak and Brunei. Immediately following the treaty Italy invaded Siam to the north of Singapore, Siam had remained the only Asian civilization unconquered. The Italians met stiff resistance but when a second force landed in the north the ruling kingdom surrendered to Italy.
Italian Irredentism is a movement that urged Italy to conquer and annex all lands with large populations of ethnic Italians, primarily Tyrol. In July, 1893 ethnic Italians in Austria-Hungary began to revolt, Austria-Hungary met this revolt with unimaginable cruelty, thousands of Italians were murdered and arrested. Italians were outraged and demanded Italy seek justice for this atrocity, On November 18, 1893 Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi announced Italy's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary starting what would be known as "The Tyrol Crisis".