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Under the VolcanoEmpire and Revolution in a Sicilian Town$
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Lucy Riall

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646494

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646494.001.0001

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The Duchy

The Duchy

(p.7) 1 The Duchy
Under the Volcano

Lucy Riall

Oxford University Press

What kind of place was Bronte? Nobody knew anything about it. The community was located on the remote, western side of Mount Etna: it was a beautiful spot with commercial potential but it was also isolated, dangerous and unfriendly. The town was filled with poor peasants who were oppressed by a few rich landowners; the whole area was threatened by regular volcanic eruptions and outbreaks of disease (notably, malaria); and the Duchy headquarters at Maniace, where the British planned to live, had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 and never rebuilt again. The community also enjoyed a dubious reputation for violence and savagery.

Keywords:   Mount Etna, volcanic eruptions, latifondo, Maniace, malaria, Nebrodi, peasant poverty

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