What was it?

All About History - - BUFFER'S GUIDE -

In one of the most dra­matic mo­ments of Italy’s uni­fi­ca­tion, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary Giuseppe Garibaldi led an army of over 1,000 guer­ril­las to sup­port a re­volt in Si­cily against their Neapoli­tan ruler, Fran­cis II. While Garibaldi was a sea­soned gen­eral of proven abil­ity, the odds were stacked against him. His army – known as the Red­shirts – was made of mostly un­trained young ide­al­ists armed with rusty ri­fles. Mean­while, Fran­cis II boasted more than 20,000 highly skilled troops. How­ever, the scar­let fight­ers quickly took the town of Marsala when they landed on Si­cily’s west coast. As they made their way to Palermo, hun­dreds of Si­cil­ian rebels joined them. The Red­shirts won fur­ther Si­cil­ian sup­port af­ter Garibaldi had the Neapoli­tan troops run­ning scared at Calat­fimi. By July, they had seized nearly all of Si­cily and by Septem­ber, crossed the wa­ter and cap­tured Naples it­self. Though Garibaldi’s ef­forts to march on Rome were checked, his ally King Vic­tor Em­manuel II in­vaded the Papal States. Fol­low­ing a plebiscite, Garibaldi sur­ren­dered all of Si­cily and Naples to Vic­tor Em­manuel.

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