Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II) belongs to the House of Savoy, a dynasty that ruled Savoy and Piedmont from the 11th century, the kingdom of Sicily from 1714 to 1718, the kingdom of Sardinia from 1720 to 1861, and the kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. Son of Carlo Alberto and Maria Teresa d'Asburgo, he was born in Turin on 14 March 1820. On 24 March 1849 he ascended the throne of Sardinia, after his father abdication.
He was a central figure of the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian unification. In conjunction with Napoleon III of France, he fought against Austria in the victorious Italian War of 1859, that forced Austria to the cession of Lombardy. In 1860, Tuscany, Romagna, Parma, and Modena voted for union with Sardinia and Vittorio Emanuele secured French consent to their incorporation in exchange for the cession of Savoy and Nice. He favored the expedition of Garibaldi into the southern Italy (1860) and joined his forces with the Garibaldi ones after crossing the Papal States. Plebiscites in Naples, Sicily, Marches, and Umbria favored the union of these lands with the Sardinia Kingdom. On 17 March 1861 the first Italian Parliament, settled in Turin (18 February 1861), proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy with Vittorio Emanuele II as king: the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy was celebrated in 1911 by Vittorio Emanuele III with the "Cinquantenario" series.
Italy was governed under the liberal constitution adopted by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1848. The capital was transferred from Turin to Florence in May 1865. Venice joined the kingdom in 1866, following a conflict with Austria that Italy won thanks to the intervention of Prussia. The remaining Papal States were protected by the troops of Napoleon III, but were attacked in 1870 when he fell. After the Porta Pia battle on 20 September 1870 and a plebiscite on 2 October 1870, the capital was transferred in Rome on June 1871.
On 9 January 1878 his son Umberto I succeeded him.
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