Sunday, 15 October 2017

Republic of Genoa

The Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in north west Italy, including Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean. It began when Genoa became a self-governing commune within the Kingdom of Italy and ended when it was conquered by the French First Republic under Napoleon and replaced with the Ligurian Republic.

Modern Day Genoa

Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly.

Antonmaria Sauli, Bishop of Genoa

Genoa in the 12th century was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics", along with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean. The Republic of Genoa extended over modern Liguria and Piedmont, Sardinia, Corsica, Nice and had practically complete control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, Genoese colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa.

Venice

Genoa's political zenith came with its victory over the Republic of Pisa at the naval Battle of Meloria in 1284, and with a temporary victory over its rival, Venice, at the naval Battle of Curzola in 1298. 

Battle of Curzola

The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa (Theodosia) in Crimea, on the Black Sea. In 1390 Genoa initiated a crusade against the Barbary pirates with help from the French and laid siege to Mahdia. After a period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule by the Visconti of Milan. Genoa lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia Minor colonies to the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Plague Doctor

Genoa was able to stabilize its position as it moved into the sixteenth century, particularly thanks to the efforts of Andrea Doria, who established a new constitution in 1528, making Genoa a satellite of the Spanish Empire.  Christopher Columbus, was a native of Genoa and donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas for Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on foods.

Bank of Saint George, Genoa

At the time of Genoa’s peak in the 16th century, the city attracted many artists, including Peter Paul Rubens, Caravaggio and Van Dyck. The architect Galeazzo Alessi (1512–1572) designed many of the city’s splendid palazzi, as did in the decades that followed by fifty years Bartolomeo Bianco (1590–1657), designer of centrepieces of University of Genoa.

Peter Paul Rubens

The plague killed as many as half of the inhabitants of Genoa in 1656–57. In May 1625 the French-Savoian army that invaded the Republic was successfully driven out by the combined Spanish and Genoese armies. In May 1684, as a punishment for Genoese support for Spain, the city was subjected to a French naval bombardment, with some 13,000 cannonballs aimed at the city.

Naval Bombardment

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