About Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi: Eroe dei Due Mondi -- Hero of Two Worlds

Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the founding fathers of Modern Italy, was an outstanding figure of the Risognimento, a man who dedicated his life to the great struggle for independence, unity and liberty for Italy and the Italians in the 1800's.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born on July 4, 1807, in Nizza. Today the city's name is Nice, but at that time it was part of the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia. As a young man, Garibaldi became conscious of the need for Italians to be liberated from the domination of Austria, the Bourbons and other foreign countries and for Italy to be unified as one country with Rome as its capital. As a young person, he joined "La Giovane Italia" and "I Carbonari", which organized uprisings with the objectives of liberating Italy from the foreign monarchical government and creating an independent and unified country.

Because of his revolutionary activities, he had to flee his country and live in exile for many years. From 1835 to 1846 he lived in Brazil and in Ecuador. There he took up the cause of independence of the Republics of Brazil and Ecuador. He became a General, successfully leading their armies to victories. In 1846 he returned to Italy to resume his struggle for an independent Italy. Due to several unsuccessful battles, he again went into exile. He lived in New York from 1850 to 1853 with Antonio Meucci, "inventor of the telephone," where he spent time working as a candlemaker.

Finally, Giuseppe Garibaldi's dream of a liberated and united country was achieved in 1860-61, when he led one thousand men called "I Mille" wearing "Red Shirts" as part of their uniform. He landed in Marsala, Sicily, and in a time period of several months he had defeated the Bourbons and the Austrians in the South of Italy up to Rome. However, Garibaldi's dream of Rome as the capital of the new Italy was not realized. He was not allowed to liberate Rome by Victor Emanuel II, King of Italy. Disillusioned, Garibaldi retired to the island of Caprera.

Garibaldi's dream became a reality when in 1870 Rome was liberated and became the capital of the new state of Italy. Giuseppe Garibaldi, the "Hero of Two Worlds" - Europe and Latin America - died on June 2, 1882 and is buried in Caprera.

Giuseppe Garibaldi will always be remembered as one of the heroes of the Risorgimento, the General who led the "1,000 Red Shirts" forces against the Bourbons and Austria and whose belief and victories aroused the patriotism of young Italians which culminated in the liberation and unification of Italy with Rome as its capital.

Original text by Carlo Sclafani, Co-President, and Vincent Zuccarelli, Co-President, Westchester Coalition of Italian American Organizations.