Short Essay on Cavour and Unification of Italy


In the meanwhile, in Piedmont, a state which had played a leading role during the struggle of 1848-49, Victor Emmanuel appointed Cavour as his Prime Minister, which set the ball rolling for the Italian unity. Cavour was a statesman with great diplomatic skill and was committed to make Italy a powerful nation, under the leadership of Sadinia-Piedmont.

He, there­fore, tried to increase the armed forces of Piedmont as well as to economi­cally develop the state. At the same time he also realized that Piedmont could fight against Austria with the help of other powers only. Realizing even though Britain may be sympatric towards Piedmont she was not hekly to plunge into a war with Austria.

The only country which could offer help to Piedmont was France because she had been conducting her international relations on the basis of practical and selfish considerations. Nonetheless he started working with a view to win the sympathy and support of other European powers.


First of all the extended support to England and France during the Crimean War in the hope that this alliance would promote Italy’s interests. He sent the Italian forces to the battle of Thernaya. When his soldiers complained of the excess of mud at the site of “war Covour asserted out this mud, Italy will be made”. At the end of Crimean War, Cavour took part in the Convention of Paris in 1856 on terms of equality with other powers.

He was accepted as the representative of entire Italy at the Congress of Paris despite protests from Austria. He convinced the European powers in the course of Congress that independence of Italy was essential for maintaining peace in Europe.

Thus he succeeded in making independence of Italy an international issue. He also utilized this occasion to vigorously attack Austria for misgovernment in central and southern Italy.

In 1858 he went to Switzerland and met Napoleon III, who was on soujourn there, and reached an agreement with him whereby France and Sardinia agreed to liberate Italy from the clutches of Austria. Sardinia was to place one lakh and France two lakh military soldiers for service in the war.


Sardinia also agreed to find out an excuse for picking up trouble with Austria. In return for this Sardinia were to extent its territories to Lombardy, Romogna, and Venetia etc. While Napoleon III was to get Savoy and Nice. It was further agreed that Pope shall continue to be the master of Rome and Kingdom of Sicily shall retain separate entity.

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