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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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(p.94) 5 Revolution
Under the Volcano

Lucy Riall

Oxford University Press

In 1848, a revolution broke out in Palermo that was the starting-point for a European wide conflagration. During the two years (1848–49) of revolution, the exercise of power was transformed, and the effects were felt clearly in the Sicilian countryside. Its clearest manifestation was the outbreak of factional violence and the spread of land occupations. Peasants were infuriated by the failure of land reform to bring about the redistribution of property. Bronte saw its share of problems, most notably in attacks on Duchy property. What happened in 1848 in Bronte was a dress rehearsal for the more violent scenes of 1860: 1848 shows the extent of peasant unrest and how far the land issue had divided the community. During the 1850s, and despite the restoration of Bourbon power, stability was never really re-established. The arrival of Garibaldi in Marsala in May 1860 then completely revolutionised the situation and led to the final collapse of Bourbon power in Sicily over the summer.

Keywords:   1848 revolutions, Sicilian autonomy, common land, 1860, Risorgimento, Giuseppe Garibaldi, The Thousand, Bourbon monarchy, peasant revolt

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