Today in World History: February 22nd

The Kingdom of Naples was a Medieval Era nation that covered the Southern portion of the Italian Peninsula, not including the island of Sicily. Formed in the 1300s, it was a prosperous nation, with Naples a major port. It was often contested between French and Spanish nobles, due to its complicated history. In the late 1400s, the Habsburg Dynasty of Europe was expanding at an alarming rate to most monarchs, taking over Austria, Spain, and the Netherlands. Since the ruler of Austria was at the time the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, France was almost completely surrounded by Habsburg nations. Only Brittany, a small peninsula off the North-West side of France was not Habsburg, and with Charles VIII’s marriage to Anne of Brittany, it came under French rule. Charles VIII also lay claim to Naples, due to his father’s inheritance. Despite some compromise, he was able to invade Naples in the First Italian War, between France, and the coalition against the invasion, consisting of the Habsburg Empire, or Spain, the Netherlands, and Austria, which dragged the Holy Roman Empire into the war, and an alliance of Italian city states including Venice and Florence. Although Charles VIII managed to secure Naples on this day in 1495, he was quickly kicked out of the city, and he later lost the war in 1498. This however was only the beginning of these Italian wars, which eventually ended with Naples joining the Spain in the Treaty of London in 1557.

“I have a concept of Naples that is not so much of a city, per se, but rather an ingredient of the human spirit that I detect in everyone, Neapolitan or not. The idea that ‘Neapolitanism’ and mass ignorance are somehow indissolubly linked is one that I am prepared to fight with all the strength I have.”

-Luciano De Crescenzo

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