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The exiles of the Risorgimento: Italian volunteers in the Portuguese Civil War (1832-34)

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Between 1832 and 1834 during the civil war against the partisans of absolutism in Portugal about a hundred Italians fought as volunteers in the Portuguese liberal army. These Italians were motivated to participate by a Romantic culture of war that was strongly rooted in the liberal nationalism of the Italian Risorgimento, but above all, the decision to fight as a volunteer abroad was the result of an international movement of political solidarity with Portuguese liberalism in the early 1830s with which the Italian liberals came into contact during their political exile in France and in Belgium. For the Italian, fighting as volunteers in Portugal proved to be a decisive political experience which deeply shaped their own political ideas of the nation that the volunteers would subsequently draw on in their different political and professional roles in Italy where they became ministers, diplomats and generals of the Kingdom of Italy.
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Keywords: Portugal; Risorgimento; exile; international liberalism; nationalism; political Romanticism; volunteering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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