Crispi, Francesco

Crispi, Francesco
born Oct. 4, 1819, Ribera, Sicily
died Aug. 12, 1901, Naples

Italian politician.

Exiled from Sicily for his revolutionary activities, he became an associate of Giuseppe Mazzini and encouraged Giuseppe de Garibaldi to conquer Sicily in 1860. He served as a deputy from Sicily in the newly unified Italian parliament (1861–96) and held office in several leftist governments. As premier (1887–91, 1893–96), he instituted liberal reforms and later improved the economy but became increasingly repressive. He embarked on a disastrous foreign policy, organizing Eritrea as a colony and attempting colonial expansion in Africa. He was forced to resign after the Italian defeat at the Battle of Adwa.

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▪ Italian statesman
born Oct. 4, 1819, Ribera, Sicily [Italy]
died Aug. 12, 1901, Naples

      Italian statesman who, after being exiled from Naples and Sardinia-Piedmont for revolutionary activities, eventually became premier of a united Italy.

      Crispi grew up in Sicily, where he studied law; but, disillusioned by conditions there, he went to Naples, where he became active in republican agitation. He helped plan the successful 1848 uprising in Sicily and became one of the deputies in the new government before the island was regained by the Bourbon King Ferdinand II in 1849.

      Crispi fled to Turin, where he became a journalist. Suspected of complicity in an uprising in Milan in 1853, he was exiled and made his way to London, where he met Giuseppe Mazzini (Mazzini, Giuseppe), the leader of the republican movement in Italy. Crispi and the republicans hoped eventually to unify Italy by beginning a revolution in Sicily, and in 1859 Crispi twice traveled to Sicily, using forged passports, to organize another uprising. After much delay he persuaded Giuseppe Garibaldi (Garibaldi, Giuseppe) to invade Sicily in May 1860 with his band of volunteers, known as “the Thousand,” to assist the popular uprising there. Quickly conquering the whole island, Garibaldi proclaimed himself dictator and named Crispi minister of the interior.

      In that powerful position Crispi came into conflict with Count Cavour, premier of Sardinia-Piedmont, who wanted to annex Sicily and Naples, which also had been conquered by Garibaldi. After Crispi's forced resignation, Sicily and Naples were annexed to the newly created Kingdom of Italy (October 1860).

      Elected deputy from Sicily in the new government (1861), Crispi, a temperamental, uncompromising man lacking diplomatic finesse, made many political enemies. He broke with his former ally Mazzini when he decided that unity, even under a monarch, was more important than the establishment of a republic (1865). Because of his past he was nevertheless suspected by the monarchists.

      When the leftists came to power Crispi was elected president of the chamber (1876). After a visit to the foreign heads of state in 1877 he began to advocate that Italy should ally with Germany. Invited to be minister of the interior in the cabinet of Agostino Depretis (December 1877), he was within a few months forced to resign over a charge of bigamy.

      When Depretis died Crispi formed his first cabinet (August 1887), which was characterized by liberal reform and economic crisis. Holding the positions of minister of the interior and minister of foreign affairs, as well as that of premier, he was accused of dictatorial tendencies. His foreign policy, moreover, was extremely unpopular, both because he renewed the alliance of 1882 with Austria-Hungary and Germany and because he broke off trade with France (1889), causing great economic hardship. A large budgetary deficit, necessitating increased taxes, toppled his government in 1891.

      Nevertheless, in December 1893 Crispi again became premier. While he greatly improved the economic situation, he became increasingly repressive, brutally crushing a socialist uprising in Sicily. He also embarked upon a disastrous foreign policy. He organized Italy's few possessions on the Red Sea into Eritrea, and then he tried to turn Italy into a colonial power in Africa. The disastrous Italian defeat at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 at the hands of Emperor Menilek II of Ethiopia earned Crispi a vote of censure that caused him to resign in March of the same year.

Additional Reading
M. Grillandi, Francesco Crispi (1969); N. Inglese, Crispi (1961); W.J. Stillman, Francesco Crispi (1899).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Crispi, Francesco — (1819–1901)    Almost alone of the major figures who created the Italian state, Francesco Crispi was a southerner, from Agrigento in Sicily. He took an active role in the Palermo uprising in 1848 and was subject to political persecution both in… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Crispi, Francesco — (4 oct. 1819, Ribera, Sicilia –12 ago. 1901, Nápoles). Político italiano. Exiliado de Sicilia por sus actividades revolucionarias, se asoció con Giuseppe Mazzini y alentó a Giuseppe Garibaldi a conquistar Sicilia en 1860. Fue diputado por Sicilia …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • CRISPI, FRANCESCO —    an Italian statesman, born in Sicily; co operated with Garibaldi in the Sicilian Revolution, and since active as a member of the Government in the kingdom of Italy; b. 1819 …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • CRISPI (F.) — CRISPI FRANCESCO (1818 1901) Établi à Naples en 1845, comme avocat, Francesco Crispi est tout d’abord un patriote conspirant contre les Bourbons pour l’indépendance de la Sicile. Membre du Comité de guerre lors de la révolution de Palerme (1848) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Crispi — Crispi, Francesco, ital. Staatsmann, geb. 4. Okt. 1819 in Ribera auf Sizilien, gest. 11. Aug. 1901 in Palermo, studierte die Rechte, ließ sich in Neapel als Advokat nieder, nahm im Januar 1848 an dem Aufstand in Palermo Anteil und war 1849… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Crispi — Crispi, Francesco, ital. Staatsmann, geb. 4. Okt. 1819 in Ribera (Sizilien), Advokat in Neapel, beteiligte sich 1848 an der sizil. neapolit. Revolution, nach deren Unterdrückung flüchtig, nahm 1860 an Garibaldis sizil. Expedition teil, seit 1861… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Crispi — Porträt etwa 1893 Francesco Crispi (* 4. Oktober 1819 in Ribera auf Sizilien; † 11. August 1901 in Neapel) war ein italienischer Revolutionär, Staatsmann und Kolonialpolitiker. Biographie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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