Garibaldi’s visit to London antique print. Original page from ‘The Illustrated London News’ published April 23rd. in 1864. Image shows his carriage passing through Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s Column, the National Gallery and St. Martin’s in the Field in the background.
The following text is from a ‘blog’ published in Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area’ on 23rd. April 2019.
On this day April 23rd. in 1864 ‘The Illustrated London News’ carried this image of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s arrival in London.
Born on 4 July 1807 in Nice, Giuseppe Garibaldi’s childhood was as a citizen of the French First Republic. However, following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Congress of Vienna transferred his homeland to Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia.
Italy was divided into several Kingdoms, Duchies, principalities and the restored Papal State, and with Lombardy and Venice being ceded to Austria.
It was in this dismembered Italy that Garibaldi developed his passion for Italian unification.
Following his support of an unsuccessful attempt to organise a republican revolution in Piedmont, he fled to South America where he participated in ‘wars of liberation’ in Brazil and Uruguay.
In Uruguay his “Italian Legion” of soldiers known as Redshirts, who wore red, blouse-type shirt were effective guerrilas, a form of warfare little understood at the time.
Returning to Italy with sixty of his ‘Redshirts’ during the ‘Year of Revolutions’, 1848, he sought allies who would support the removal of foreign forces and the establishment of a unified Italy.
However, a promising beginning to the Risorgimento was short lived with the forces of reaction triumphing and Garibaldi again having to find refuge abroad.
He was exiled first in Tangier, then in New York, and finally in Peru.
On his return to Italy in 1854 he continued to involve himself in the question of unification, leading in 1859 to his capture of Lombardy for the Piedmontese.
From the very north of Italy, he then turned his attention to the southern extremity, taking advantage of a popular revolution in Sicily to defeat the King of Naples’ forces and capture Palermo, followed by Naples itself.
Thereby contributing to Italian Unification by handing over southern Italy to King Victor Emmanuel and declaring him to be king of a united Italy.
In 1864 Guiseppe Garibaldi visited England and was greeted by ecstatic crowds lining the streets.
During a visit to Covent garden his carriage was ‘mobbed’ by the crowd. The press reported that a large number of policemen drove back the crowd as best they could; but again the cry arose, “Garibaldi for ever!”
Similarly, at the Crystal Palace a great crowd assembled to hear the Italian patriot speak.
Giuseppe Garibaldi died at Caprera on 2nd. June 1882, where he was buried.
Nottingham Forest F.C. chose their home colours from the uniform worn by Garibaldi’s Redshirts.
His grandson, Brigadier-General Giuseppe Garibaldi II, volunteered and served with great distinction in the British Army during the Second Boer War.
… and Garibaldi buiscuits are named after him!