Venice

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Venice
Republic of Venice
Repùblega de Venèsia
RTL Flag of Venice.png
Locator Venice.pngLocation of Venice
CapitalVenice
Population17.5 Million
Languages
  • Venetian (Official)
Currency
  • Venetian Lira (VNL)

Venice (Venetian: Repùblega de Venèsia), officially the Republic of Venice, is a country lying on the eastern Adriatic coast of the Italian region.

History

Early History

The history of the Republic of Venice traditionally starts with the city's foundation in 421 AD. According to tradition, Venice's original population consisted of refugees from nearby Roman towns and the countryside who fled from waves of Germanic invasions. In the 7th century, lagoon communities came together in mutual defense against the Lombards, as the Duchy of Venetia, and in the 8th century, elected their first leader.

The republic grew into a trading power into the Middle Ages and had strengthened this position through the renaissance. In its early years, Venice prospered in the salt trade. This naturally led to the establishment of a thalassocracy, dominating trade on the Mediterranean sea, controlling commerce between Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Venice became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who served as patrons for art and architecture in the nation.

However, Venice competed with its main rival, Genoa, over trade. However, the opening up of new trade routes to Asia during the age of discovery caused the republic to be overshadowed by its rivals. Unable to secure ports outside of Europe, the Republic of Venice became less prominent in world trade.

19th century

Territorial Expansion

In the aftermath of the Augustine Wars in 1814, Venice became a vessel of British influence in the region. With no significant ports in the Mediterranean at the time, Britain signed a military alliance with Venice, in exchange for basing rights for the British navy. This was also done in part to guarantee the nation from possible Austrian aggression. In this treaty, Venice was allowed to keep Ravenna, Ferrara, and Bologna, which were formerly owned by the Papal States, awarded by France during the wars. Under the auspices of the British, Venice restarted and modernized their economy in the 1830s. By the 1840s, Venice shifted its attention to the pursuit of tera firma (lit. dry land). In the 1860s, Venice annexed the duchies of Parma and Modena. This was done with approval from the British.

Acquisition of Colonies in the late 19th century

Expeditions into the Guinea (1875)

In 1875, Venice signed the Treaty of Territorial Acquisition in Guinea and several other minor powers in Europe. The treaty resulted from the Guinea Conference in 1875, led by Sweden, in an ambitious effort to demarcate and divide colonial claims in the Guinea region of Africa among the "minor powers" of Europe, including Poland, Genoa, Pomerania, and Tuscany. The larger powers of Europe did not recognize this treaty, including Britain. Britain refused to give financial support for Venice's colonial ambitions. Despite this, Venice still sent an expedition in 1876, led by Iseppo de Rocco. He landed in the Volta region and was met by the local Adagme people. However, lack of interest and interest prevented further expeditions from being sent, and Venice abandoned their plans to create a trading port.

Algerian Expeditions (1886)

Colonial ambitions were once again renewed in the 1880s. In efforts to be seen as a major power, gain prestige, and an economic foothold in African trade, Venice plans to invade Algeria. Venice was not the first European nation to attempt establishing a foothold in Algeria; the French had tried to conquer Algeria but failed due to constant rebellion and resistance, eventually abandoning Algeria in the 1880s (in part due to the Communard Revolution).

Despite these historical precedents, the ambitious Venice was undeterred. In 1886, Venice first gained a foothold in Annaba in the eastern part of Algeria. More expeditions were sent in the 1890s, supported by Britain (who also started gaining a foothold in western Algeria). Despite claiming a vast portion of Algeria, the Venetians could only hold very little ground in the region. Venetian presence was centered around Annaba and Bugia while they tried to exploit local rivalries to their advantage. However, their Algerian expeditions were a burden to the treasuries of Venice. In 1912, they eventually relinquished their claims on Algeria to Britain. However, they kept the port in Annaba.

20th century

Invasion of the Papal Adriatic (1908), and the Alps against Austria (1911-1912)

Venetian gains in 1908 (light purple) from the invasion of the Papal States (cyan)

The 20th century saw the outbreak of the Latial Famine in 1901-1903, which devastated Italy. Central Italy, especially the Papal States and Tuscany, were the most affected by the crisis. This led to mass revolts in the Papal States (known as the Bread Revolts), but not Venice. By 1907, the Papal States was in a state of disarray. The Venetians grew concerned about the chaos spreading to their territory. In 1908, with the support of the British, Venice invaded the Marche region of the Papal States, situated on the Adriatic Coast. Local lords resisted the Venetian invasion but soon either switched allegiances or were defeated. In the same year, exacerbated by the Venetian attack, the revolts in the rest of the Papal States grew into a full-scale uprising, overthrowing the papacy and establishing the Republic of Latium with its capital in Rome causing the pope to flee to Spain.

France and Austria saw this as another act of Venetian (and, by extension, British) aggression. Both France and Austria issued diplomatic protests against the British to restore the papal holdings occupied by Venice, but nothing came out of it. Rising diplomatic tensions eventually led to the Alps War in 1911, when Austria declared war on Venice. Austria called on the French to join the war but refused due to the communard government's instability at the time. The war ended in a status quo ante bellum, and Austria was forced to recognize Venice's acquisition of territory in the Marche.

The Austrians unhappily agreed to the terms, while France openly denounced the war as an act of British and Venetian aggression. Due outcome of this conflict drew France and Austria to closer relations, and sown the seeds of a larger conflict in the decades to come.