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Old October 2nd, 2010, 05:34 PM   #1

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What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


Northern Italy during the 1400s was one of the most wealthiest and scientifically advanced places in Western Europe.

I think their downfall was that each city state was very small in comparison to many of the other powers in the area(such as the H.R.E. and the Ottoman Empire) and didn't have much man power.

What if Northern Italy was united and took control of the rest of the Italian Peninsula. Do you think they would of made a large colonial empire? Do you think Italy would of been a major power going into the 1800s along with France and Britain? And for fun lets assume that Corsica was still part of Italy.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 05:48 PM   #2
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Re: What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


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Originally Posted by zwolf1215 View Post
Corsica was still part of Italy.
A certain Emperor of France makes me think that this would prevent the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, The French Empire and to an extent a continuation of highly unstable regimes regularly being overthrown. France... assuming the revolution still happens, would be a mess and would hardly constitute as a great power. Prussia would never have become powerful because Napy wouldn't have demolished the HRE and formed the confederation of the Rhine. Furthermore since Spain wouldn't have been invaded by Napoleon it may have never lost her colonies making Spain a very significant power. Simply put, the formation of Italy would have been prevented by France and the Holy Roman Empire. If it did form then it would have changed history drastically, even more so because of Corsica. But there are some questions that I think must be answered before any real assessment can be made:

Who unites Italy?
The only ones with a shot would have been Milan, Venice, Genoa, the Papal States, Sicily, and Naples. and I have my doubts towards Venice, Genoa, and Sicily. That leaves Milan, the Papal States, and Naples. Even if they gobbled up their neighbors the Papal states would be right between them. Neither could possibly attack Rome and get away with it. If either moved towards them then the other would immediately come to the Pope's aid and the other kingdom would simply be broken into smaller pieces with nations like France, Aragon, and the HRE dictating who's sphere of influence the fraction states would fall under. With this very basic understanding the only one that could have hoped to accomplish this at such a point in time was the Pope, but the Pope couldn't invade Milan and the other states to the north because they were part of the Holy Roman Empire. That brings me back to the original question: Who unites Italy?

Who supported their rise?
Italy during this time was a mess of separated spheres of influence with the Iberians, French, and HRE dividing most of the region in terms of influence. The Pope, of course, had long since proved that he's ultimately in charge of everyone inside Europe (at this time). So, who ever was going to do this would need the support of the HRE, France, The Papacy, and Aragon if they wanted success, or they would at least have to go to war with one or more of them. This leads me back to the question: Who supported their rise?

There are other questions I think should be addressed, but those two have to be before we can talk about it's effects.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 06:30 PM   #3

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Re: What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


Boy when you add all these political issues you sure take the fun out of my question :P.

To answer your question of who unites Italy how about this. The Papal States and Naples become allies with the common objective to unify the peninsula. The Papal States are more or less in control. They march north in attempt to push the HRE out of Northern Italy. The Northern City states join with the Papacy to align themselves with the Pope and their fellow country men. The whole operation is obviously backed by the Pope as well as Aragon who I believed controlled Naples at that time. The papacy wins the war. The northern states become part of the alliance. Aragon relinquishes control of Naples to the Pope.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 06:54 PM   #4
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Re: What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


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Boy when you add all these political issues you sure take the fun out of my question :P.
Sorry

If it's the Papal States then it would cement neutrality with the HRE mainly because the HRE derives much of it's authority from the Pope. The Emperors were crowned by the Papacy. Aragon would have been the one to cede the region to the Popes so I seriously doubt there would be any contention there. That leaves France... I would doubt France would be able to make any overtly hostile actions against a fully militant and powerful Papacy. So, the Pope wouldn't do much with most of Italy firmly under his thumb. A militant Pope could make use of all of Italy to take on the Ottomans, but I think, in time, Italy would drop from the center of Europe in terms of philosophy, science, and culture to just the center of Religion. This will ultimately force it to slowly stagnate compared to it's neighbors and become increasingly conservative. When the reformation is in full swing I think the Papacy would be able to financially and militarily crush it. England is another story, but I think much of Germany would remain Catholic. When France devolves into chaos and there is no Napoleon to unite them I think the Papacy, Spain, and the HRE would slowly partition it. France itself would probably not lose it's independence, or even the bulk of it's land, but it would definitely lose it's place as a first rate power, conversely since the HRE would remain Catholic it would be far more unified this time around. I suppose the age of enlightenment may not happen as effectively and the evolution of modern weaponry may take quite some time to evolve. I seriously doubt the work of Marx and Engels would even come into being. So, I see a lot more Monarchies, a lot less scientific thought, and the HRE most likely surviving to the present date. Though this is all mostly speculation with spontaneous generation, if we dig a little deeper and think a little longer I believe an entirely different conclusion could be made.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 09:15 PM   #5

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Re: What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


I think that a Italian state comprising Milan, Venice, Florence, Genoa, and all points in between, in the late 1400s, especially with Rome and Naples, would have been a very serious contender in European history. In those days Venice included parts of the Dalmatian coast as well as Crete and Cyprus. Throw in Savoy and who knows? Maybe Italy gets Gibraltar and Minorca at Utrecht 200 years later. Maybe they build the Suez Canal after 100 more years. Maybe they join the Allies in 1914 and capture the Levant. Who knows?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 01:22 AM   #6
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Re: What if Italy was united during the 1400s?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zwolf1215 View Post
Northern Italy during the 1400s was one of the most wealthiest and scientifically advanced places in Western Europe.

I think their downfall was that each city state was very small in comparison to many of the other powers in the area(such as the H.R.E. and the Ottoman Empire) and didn't have much man power.

What if Northern Italy was united and took control of the rest of the Italian Peninsula. Do you think they would of made a large colonial empire? Do you think Italy would of been a major power going into the 1800s along with France and Britain? And for fun lets assume that Corsica was still part of Italy.
Corsica was actually Italian until the year before Monsieur Buonaparte was born, i.e. as late as 1768, well beyond your fictional scenario.
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