Italianisation in Trieste and the Environs in the Second Half of the 19th Century Cover Image

Италијанизација у Трсту и околини у другој половини XIX века
Italianisation in Trieste and the Environs in the Second Half of the 19th Century

Author(s): Đorđe Mikić
Subject(s): Political history, Social history, 19th Century
Published by: Српска академија наука и уметности

Summary/Abstract: The Italianisation of Trieste and the environs in the state-legal framework of the Habsburg Monarchy and the far-away Slavic world relates to the emergence of the Italian national movement from the start of Risorgimento and during the activities on the unification of Italy between 1792 and 1871, including later irredentism in the so-called nonmerged and non-returned areas, which were still not liberated. Those were mainly the provinces in the Alpine and Slavic zone with a mixed Italian, German, French and Slavic population, or earlier Venetian areas of Dalmatia and the Bay of Kotor. The civilisational difference between Italians, Germans and particularly Slavs paved the way for the Italianisation of Trieste and the environs. The banner was carried by the irredentist movement, created at the time of the Great Eastern Crisis (1876), while the bases were laid by the father of the national movement Garibaldi. The irredentists’ aspirations to unite Italian provinces in the Habsburg Monarchy were clearly determined by Italian ethnic territorial areas. The moderate irredentist movement considered the area of Gorica, Trieste and western Istria an ethnic mix, to which no people had an exclusive right, given that in the late 19th century around 385,000 Italians and 388,000 Slavs lived there. The character of Italianisation and its sway changed the creation of an alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1879, joined by the united Kingdom of Italy as well. As Italian irredentism thus did not have a solid foundation, in Trieste it withdrew to culture and secret organisations on a Masonic basis, while playing a stronger role within the local authorities. In this way, Italianisation in Trieste and the environs on the eastern Adriatic coast began to regress despite the dominant Roman and Latin element in that part of the Adriatic. Trieste remained concentrated among several towns with burgeoning Italianisation, while its political borders severed the Italians from Austria. Civilisational progress shook the Yugoslav world on the Adriatic cost and downgraded the Italian world and Italianisation. Italianisation culturally marked the Italians, but it degraded them in all other terms compared to the Yugoslav world. Until 1797, Dalmatia resembled an Italian area for Venetian authorities, and a great number of Slavic intellectuals merged into the Italian ethnicity through schools and education. German immigrants were also being Italianised in Trieste and were even becoming Italian nationalists. There was also a pan-Germanic movement among them, aspiring to German unification and anti-semitic by its ideological orientation. The Jews from Trieste were divided among those who supported the Habsburg rule and those who supported the Italian cultural majority and representatives of their authorities at all levels. Given the results of Italianisation in Trieste and the environs, the Habsburg army and the Catholic Church were the only real backbone on which the Austro-Hungarian rule relied, which is why Trieste remained outside its borders.