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The Republic of Lombardy (Italian: Republico Lombardo) was an Italian state that existed between 1872 and 1944, when it was forcibly annexed by France along with its neighbor Veneto. The Republic was formed out of the collapse of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Veneto in the early 1870's and its distancing itself from French client-state status during this time. During the so-called "Italian Golden Age" of the late 19th and early 20th century, Lombardy emerged as an intellectual and industrial hub amongst the Italian states, becoming an economic and regional rival of Naples.
Lombardy emerged as the most powerful Italian state by the late 1920's and early 1930's after eclipsing Naples and was the political leader of the Italian Alliance, believing that participation in the French Civil War would inevitably lead to potential unification. However, the deaths of thousands of young Lombardian soldiers in the war as well as the devastation to the industrial heartland around the capital at Milan devastated Lombardy, resulting in a flight of refugees totalling almost a fourth of the country's population southwards and the eventual annexation of the state into France. The fall of Lombardy, and the decline of northern Italy as a whole, is regarded as the great Italian tragedy of the 20th century.