Illustration of a port near a ship, where people of several generations in ragged clothing wait, huddled together.

Italian emigrant families with their baggage and belongings wait to board a ship at this crowded port.

Draw Conclusions

Why did many Italians emigrate to other countries in the early 1900s?

In the late 1800s, unrest increased as radicals on the left struggled against a conservative government. Socialists organized strikes while anarchists, people who want to abolish all government, turned to sabotage and violence.

Slowly, the government extended suffrage to more men and passed laws to improve social conditions. Still, the turmoil continued. To distract attention from troubles at home, the government set out to win an overseas empire in Ethiopia.

Economic Progress

Despite its problems, Italy did develop economically, especially after 1900. Although the nation lacked important natural resources such as coal, industries did sprout up in northern regions. Industrialization, of course, brought urbanization as peasants flocked to the cities to find jobs in factories. As in other countries, reformers campaigned to improve education and working conditions.

The population explosion of this period created tensions, but an important safety valve was emigration, or movement away from their homeland. Many Italians left for the United States, Canada, and Latin American nations.

By 1914, the country was significantly better off than it had been in 1861. But it was hardly prepared for the great war that broke out in that year.


  1. Analyze Context Why would Prince Metternich of Austria oppose the idea of Italian unification?
  2. Describe How did Cavour's appointment as prime minister of the kingdom of Sardinia help the cause of Italian unification?
  3. Analyze Information Garibaldi could easily have kept the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with himself as king. Why do you think he turned over control to Victor Emmanuel II instead?
  4. Cite Evidence Why did conflict in Italy continue even after unification?
  5. Explain Why do you think Rome and Venetia initially remained separate after unification?

End ofPage 560

Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments