The central coast of the region is mostly high and rocky, with volcanic ridges and the crater of Vesuvius. The northern and southern coastal areas are fertile plains, famous since ancient times for their agricultural output. The interior of Campania is mountainous. The area had significant out-migration in the late 19th and early 20th cent., particularly to the United States. Overpopulation continues to be a problem, as the per capita income is far below the Italian average.
The region's farm products include grapes, citrus fruit, olives, apricots, grain, and vegetables. Industry is mostly clustered along the shore of the Bay of Naples; manufactures include textiles, shoes, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, refined petroleum, metal goods, wine, and processed food. There is also a thriving tourist industry.
Various Italic tribes, Greek colonists, Etruscans, and Samnites lived in the region before it was conquered (4th–2d cent. BC) by Rome. In Roman times the term Campania referred mainly to Naples and its surrounding area. After the fall of Rome, the Goths and the Byzantines occupied the region; it later became part of the Lombard duchy of Benevento (except Naples and Amalfi, which were independent republics). In the 11th cent. the Normans conquered Campania, and in the 12th cent. it became part of the kingdom of Sicily. Naples soon rose to prominence, and after the Sicilian Vespers revolt (1282) it was made the capital of a separate kingdom. For the later history of Campania, see Naples, kingdom of and Two Sicilies, kingdom of the. In World War II there was heavy fighting around Naples after the Allied landing (Sept., 1943) at Salerno.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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