Two Sicilies, kingdom of the

Two Sicilies, kingdom of the. The name Two Sicilies was used in the Middle Ages to mean the kingdoms of Sicily and of Naples (see Sicily and Naples, kingdom of). Alfonso V of Aragón, who in 1442 reunited the two kingdoms under his rule, styled himself king of the Two Sicilies. Under his successors the kingdoms were again separate, but the title was revived during Spanish domination (1504–1713) of both kingdoms and after the accession (1759) of a cadet branch of the Spanish line of Bourbon to Naples and Sicily. Ferdinand IV of Naples (Ferdinand III of Sicily) officially merged the two kingdoms in 1816 and called himself Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. Both the Sicilians, who thus lost their autonomy, and the pope, who saw his theoretical suzerainty over the two kingdoms ignored, protested the change. A popular uprising (1820) instigated by the Carbonari forced Ferdinand to concede a constitution, but Austrian intervention (1821) after the Congress of Laibach restored his absolute power. The reactionary regimes of his successors Francis I, Ferdinand II, and Francis II finally ended when Sicily and Naples fell to the forces of Garibaldi in 1860. In 1861, Gaeta, Francis's last fortress, surrendered to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, and the Two Sicilies became part of the kingdom of Italy.

See studies by H. M. M. Acton (1956 and 1962); B. Croce, History of the Kingdom of Naples (tr. 1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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