Antiqua Print Gallery French in Rome 1849
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French in Rome 1849

Italian nationalism had been stoked during the Napoleonic period but dashed by the settlement of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), which left Italy divided and largely under Habsburg Austrian domination. In 1848, nationalist and liberal revolutions began to break out across Europe; in 1849, a Roman Republic was declared and Pope Pius IX fled the city. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, recently elected president of the newly declared French Second Republic, saw an opportunity to assuage conservative Catholic opinion in France, and in cooperation with Austria sent troops to restore Papal rule in Rome. After some hard fighting (in which Giuseppe Garibaldi distinguished himself on the Italian side), Pius was returned to Rome, and repenting of his previous liberal tendencies pursued a harsh, conservative policy even more repressive than that of his predecessors. However, Pius did continue to build railroads, telegraphs, and gas lights.

(Source Wikipedia)