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The Duchies of Parma, Moderna and Lucca The rapid growth of the Risorgimento during the 1840s in the duchies, typical of Italy as a whole, was encouraged by a complex diplomatic transaction in late 1847. The powers had agreed that Parma should be ruled by Napoleon's wife, the Habsburg Archduchess Marie Louise, but that at her death it would be transferred to the Bourbon Duke Carlo II of Lucca; Lucca would then be joined to Tuscany, while several transfers of territory among Tuscany, Parma and Moderna would simplify their borders. These arrangements went into effect when Marie Louise died in December 1847, arousing much discontent: the Luchese resented the loss of their independence, while those of territories transferred to Moderna dreaded the rule of its Duke Franscesco V, the most reactionary of the Italian princes, and there was general indignation at transfers carried out without the consent of the peoples concerned. In consequence, discontent and liberal agitation grew rapidly.

News of the revolt in Lombardy arrived in both Duchies on March 19, 1848, and provoked increasingly violent demonstrations. Francesco V tried to resist, but was driven out on March 21. Carlo II attempted to conciliate liberals with promises of a constitution and other concessions, but he, too, was forced to flee on April 13. In both duchies, liberal provisional governments were set up which joined in the war against Austria and held plebiscites in early May which voted for union with Piedmont. However, Piedmontese defeat at Custozza and the subsequent armistice allowed Austria to reoccupy the duchies in August. Francesco V returned to take charge of the restoration, but Carlo II never returned, preferring to abdicate in April, 1849, in favor of his son, Carlo III. In both states, the old order was restored, accompanied by severe repression. Nonetheless, the old order had been fatally undermined, for public opinion was firmly opposed to the restored dukes, who were kept in power only by Austrian support.
Alan J. Reinerman


The best overview of the Duchies is provided by:

Antonio Archi, capitale (Modena, 1961).

Franco Boiardi, Lineament storici del Risogimento modenese (Modena, 1961).

______. Gli ultimi Asburgo e gli ultimi Borboni in Italia (1814-1861) (Bologna, 1961).

On the individual states, see:

Cesare Sardi, Lucca e suo Ducato dal 1814 al 1859 (Florence, 1912).

Glauco Lombardi, Il Ducato di Parma nella Storia del risorgimento italiano (Parma, 1911).

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