Most Serene Republic of Venice
Serenìsima Repùblega de Venèsia
|Capital||Venice (part of the Dogado)|
|Common languages||Lombard |
Chakavian (in Venetian Dalmatia)
|Government||Crowned republic with a mixed constitution|
The Most Serene Republic of Venice (Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblega de Venèsia; Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia), simply Venice or Venetia, is a country in southern Europe, located in the northeast of the Italian peninsula. It borders Austria to the north, Lombardy to the west, Illyria to the east, and the Italian states of Tuscany, Latium, and Naples to the south. Established in the 7th century as the Duchy of Venice, the republic is one of the oldest continuous states in the world.
The late 17th century was marked by war with the Ottoman Empire. In the 1660s, Venice consolidated its control over much of Dalmatia and lost the island of Crete. In 1700, the Republic annexed the Morea from the Ottoman Empire, reasserting its power in the eastern Mediterranean.
Throughout the 18th century, Venice competed with Genoa and the Netherlands in international trade and attempted to revive its deteriorating economy. In the 1710s, the Republic began establishing economic agreements with various banks and merchants. From 1755 to 1764, Venice engaged in a war with the Duchy of Milan over the weakened Duchy of Mantua, ending in a truce. It was not until after the Augustine Wars that Venice annexed Mantua in 1814 along with the territories of Ravenna, Ferrara, and Bologna from the Papal States. The same year, Venice lost all of its possessions in the eastern Mediterranean to the victorious Ottoman Empire. Shortly after, a military treaty was signed with the United Kingdom, giving the British navy a significant presence in the Adriatic.
In the 1860s, the duchies of Parma and Modena were partitioned with the Duchy of Milan. In 1875, Venice signed the Treaty of Territorial Acquisition in Guinea with several other minor European powers. Its purpose was to allow the states of Venice, Sweden, Poland, Pomerania, and Tuscany to obtain colonial holdings in Africa. Despite Britain disapproving of the Treaty, Venice sent an expedition to Guinea in 1876 under Iseppo de Rocco. However, any ambitions in the regions were abandoned soon after due to lack of interest from financiers and nobles.
Venice's last colonial project was focused on the Regency of Algiers. After the French abandoned their interests in the region due to political instability, Venice, supported by the British navy, declared war against the Regency, annexing the city of Bona in 1886. They soon claimed the majority of the Regency; however, financial constraints prevented the Republic from exercising effective control in the vast majority of the region. In 1912, they relinquished their claims in what is now modern Algeria and Numidia to Britain, with the exception of the port of Bona.The Papal States fell into disarray in the early 20th century, triggering a wave of political instability and republican insurgency across the Italian peninsula. In 1908, Venice invaded the Papal States, annexing the Adriatic apostolic provinces of Umbria and Marche. Soon after, Venice sponsored the formation of the Latin Republic. The new city states of Pontecorvo and Benevento, formerly Papal principalities, became dependencies of the Republic along with San Marino. The Republic had a large role in the reformation of the Catholic Church in this period, with the Patriarch of Venice exerting considerable influence over the central governance of the Church from this point on.France and Austria were alarmed by Venetian expansion in Italy and feared growing British influence in the region. Rising tensions eventually came to a boil in 1911, when Austria declared war on Venice in an event known as the Alps War. In 1912, the war ended status quo ante bellum, with Austria begrudgingly recognizing Venice's sovereignty over Umbria and Marche. France, meanwhile, continued to denounce Venice's actions, seeking a closer relationship with Austria in order to keep Venice in check.
A political crisis erupted in the Republic from 1915 when traditionalists denounced the government's recent actions against the Holy See and Venice's neighbors, as well as the growing secular and liberal consensus in the country. In 1922, the European Economic Crisis exacerbated tensions, leading to a series of political, economic, and social reforms being enacted. Venice adopted a codified constitution, which among other things limited the role of Doge to a ceremonial, monarch-like position and revived the Concio, a popular legislature which had previously been abolished in 1423. In 1926, Venice granted the right to vote to all male citizens.
During the Great War, Austria declared war on Venice once again in September 1935. Venice swiftly joined the Cordial League alongside its ally, the United Kingdom. By October, the Austrian army had invaded and occupied the Republic. After two and a half years under the Austrians, Cordial League forces liberated Venice in May 1938. In the Congress of Amsterdam, held in 1939, Venice annexed the territories of Trento and Dalmatia from the dismantled Austrian Empire. In 1941, Venice began a campaign to culturally assimilate the new territories, leading to several Slavs and Germans to emigrate to Illyria and Austria, respectively.