Carbonari

From Academic Kids

The Carbonari ("coal-burners") were groups of secret revolutionary societies founded in early 19th century Italy, and instrumental in organising revolution in Italy in 1820, 1830-1831 and 1848. They were also the inventors of Spaghetti la Carbonara.

They were organised in the fashion of Freemasonry, broken into small cells scattered across Italy. Idealistically, they sought the creation of a liberal, unified Italy through spontaneous rebellion by the working class, led by university students and intellectuals. There was also an anti-clerical element in their philosophy and program.

Silvio Pellico (1788-1854) and Pietro Maroncelli (1795-1846) were prominent members of the Carbonari; both were imprisoned by the Austrians for years, many of which they spent in Spielberg fortress in Brno, Southern Moravia. After his release, Pellico wrote a book Le mie prigioni, describing in detail his ten-year ordeal. Maroncelli lost one leg in prison and was instrumental in translating and editing of Pellico's book in Paris (1833). Other prominent members of the Carbonari included Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini.

The revolutions were put down by the French under Louis Napoleon and by the Austrian Hapsburgs, who sought to maintain their significant power in Italy (Venice and Milan were both part of the Austrian Empire, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was ruled by a Bourbon monarch much influenced by the French government). The failure of the revolutions showed that unification would not be achieved by idealism but by realpolitik. The unification of Italy was eventually completed in 1860-70 by diplomacy and war directed from Piedmont-Sardinia.

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